HMS Iron Duke is a Type 23 frigate of the Royal Navy, and the third ship to bear the name. Iron Duke was launched on 2 March 1991 by Lady King in the presence of the Duke and Duchess of Wellington. Her affiliated town is Kingston upon Hull, and she is named after Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington (the “Iron Duke”). She was the fifth Duke-class Type 23 frigate to be launched for the Royal Navy, at a cost of £140 million.

HMS Iron Duke Seaboat Boards Drugs Vessel

The motto of Iron Duke is Virtutis Fortuna Comes (latin: “Fortune is the companion of valour”) – inherited from the 33rd (The Duke of Wellington’s) Regiment of Foot.

Iron Duke carries a number of weapons and sensors which make her a multi-purpose combat vessel. Like all T23s, her original design role was anti-submarine warfare, but she can be employed in a variety of roles. She carries a Lynx Helicopter which can be used in an anti-submarine and anti-surface role as well as for humanitarian and search and rescue purposes.

Iron Duke has intercepted several large consignments of illegal drugs being sent from the Caribbean to Europe, in many cases with the aid of embarked United States Coast Guard personnel. She was also involved in action off Libya in 2011 on her way back from a patrol in the Persian Gulf.

More recently, Iron Duke has been the First of Class fit for the Royal Navy’s new Type 997 Artisan 3D, successfully firing her missile system, using the new radar combined with the updated ‘SWMLU’ Seawolf missile targeting system, in the English Channel.


Back in August 2014, the Iron Duke received a 21 gun salute as she approached Robben Island to dock at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, and of course we couldn’t exactly miss the chance to head out and go and see her in her full glory.

We were joined on the day by Evan, Natasha and little Evalynne (though by “joined”, it is more fair to say that they beat us to it), and in the end everyone had quite a nice time out, soaking up the sun and vibe that usually comes from a visit out to the Waterfront.

It must be said though, I don’t think that Jessica and Evalynne were quite as impressed with the great grey hunk of metal and missiles as what their daddies were – so, so many guns, plus a helicopter, not to mention torpedoes! Seriously, what more could a guy ask for?

(Chantelle on the other hand was quite impressed with all the lads manning the walkabout. Something or other about big guns, uniforms, and what not…)

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