Farewell, Broadsword/Greenhalgh

Following 16 years of service with the Royal Navy and another 26 with the Marinha do Brasil, the veteran Type 22 frigate HMS Broadsword (F 88)/ fragata Greenhalgh (F 46) was retired on 10 August 2021.

Frigate HMS Broadsword, Irish Sea, 1990. Taken by Royal Yacht photographer contributed by Harvey Page, via the HMS Broadsword Association

Broadsword was laid down at Yarrow 7 February 1975, intended to face off with the growing Red Banner Fleet in the North Atlantic, and joined the RN in 1979– just in time to face off against the nominal Western-allied Argentine Navy in the South Atlantic.

During the Falklands conflict, Broadsword stood by the stricken HMS Coventry, recusing 170 of that destroyer’s crew. Broadsword was hit by one bomb herself, which bounced through the frigate’s helicopter deck before exploding just off her stern. In retribution, Broadsword was credited with downing an Argentine Dagger and a partial kill on an A-4C Skyhawk.

After continued Cold War service, and a stint enforcing UN sanctions off Yugoslavia in the 1990s, she was decommissioned on 31 March 1995 and sold to the Brazilian Navy three months later. She had been the second and final Broadsword in the Royal Navy, following in the footsteps of HMS Broadsword (D31), a Weapon-class destroyer launched in 1946 and broken up in 1968. Jeffrey Archer’s novel First Among Equals mentions the frigate and the ship has a very active veterans association. 

She is also remembered extensively in maritime art for her Falklands service.

David Lidd-HMS ‘Broadsword’ Rescuing Survivors from HMS ‘Coventry’, 25 May 1982.

HMS ‘Broadsword’ with HMS ‘Hermes’ by John Alan Hamilton via MoD (c) Mrs. B.G.S. Hamilton (widow); Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Renamed “Greenhalgh” in honor of Brazilan naval hero João Guilherme Greenhalgh, fragata Greenhalgh (F 46) continued to deliver another quarter-century of service in the South Atlantic, familiar stomping grounds for the warship. The name had previously been used for a British-built torpedo boat in the 1900s as well as a Marcílio Dias-class destroyer that operated against the Germans in WWII. 

Brazilian frigate Greenhalgh F-46, former HMS Broadsword of Falklands fame

2 comments

  • Thanks for the great article, and for the older one on the Mariz e Barros class, which I had missed. One of those ships (the older Greenhalgh) was the first ship my father served on. Just for future reference: the abbreviation NAeL stands for “Navio AErodormo Ligeiro” – which means “Light Aircraft Carrier”. In other words, it designates a class of ships, something like a CVE, not all Brazilian Navy ships. It applied only to the old “Minas Gerais”. Generally in Brazil we don’t prefix ships with something like USS or HMS, but in other Internet forums I have seen the use of BNS for Brazilian Navy Ship.

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