HMS Monmouth (F235)

HMS Monmouth, known as the 'Black Duke' is the frigate with more battle honours than any other serving warship.

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March 2016 saw the 350th anniversary of the use of the name “Monmouth” in the Royal Navy.  An 8-gun yacht, the first Monmouth was commissioned on 5th March 1666 under the command of Captain Nicholas Hill. 

Although relatively little is known of the yachts later service in the navy it is recorded that in 1683 under Captain Grenville Collins, she was engaged in his great survey of the British coastline which resulted in the publication of his magnificent atlas, Great Britain’s Coasting Pilot.

On 17th April 1690, she was under the command of Captain William Wright and part of a squadron under the command of Cloudesley Shovel in a skirmish with the French in Dublin Bay, during which the yacht and more particularly her commander was ‘very serviceable .. [and] behaved himself very well in the action.’  The yacht was sold out of the Navy in 1698.

HMS Monmouth is unique in the Royal Navy as in reference to the heritage of the name “The Black Duke” the frigate flies a black flag and has black, rather than the traditional red, name plates.

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Current operation Maintenance and Sea-trials

Ships, units and aircraft need periods of maintenance and sea-trials to ensure that they are at their best for any tasks asked of them.

  • Exercise Baltops

    Exercise Baltops is the largest multinational maritime exercise in the Baltic Sea, demonstrating the UK's continuing commitment to the collective security of NATO allies.

  • Alongside in Devonport

    Alongside in her home port of Devonport Naval Base.

Location Plymouth

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Unit History

The First Monmouth1666

There are seven ships of the Fleet named Monmouth which have served the country, beginning with a 17th-Century eight-gun yacht launched in 1666.

The Second 'Fearsome' Monmouth1667

The second bearer of the name served for 100 years, was rebuilt three times and earned no fewer than ten battle honours.

The Third Monmouth1772

The third Monmouth saw extensive action against the French in the 1780s before being turned into the appropriately-named prison ship Captivity in 1796. She was broken up in 1818.

The Fourth Monmouth1796

Monmouth No.4 was built for the East India Company but was acquired by the Royal Navy during the French Revolutionary War, seeing action at Camperdown and in the Mediterranean.

The Fifth Monmouth1868

The fifth ship began life as HMS Hotspur, renamed as Monmouth in 1868 and serving as the Roman Catholic chapel in Devonport for more than 30 years. She was sold in 1902.

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Commanding Officer William King

William King

Rank: Commander

After reading Politics and International Relations at Southampton University as an RN Bursar, Will joined Britannia Royal Naval College in 1999. He assumed Command of the Black Duke in March 2018.

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Displacement: 4,900 tonnes; length: 133m; beam: 16.1m; complement: 185


The ‘Black Duke’, has more battle honours than any other serving warship

HMNB Devonport

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