The name of HMS Scimitar has been worn by several vessels of the Royal Navy. Some had famous and illustrious careers and one that certainly springs to mind was H21, an old 'R & S' class Destroyer that served in the two World War's (launched 1915 - scrapped 1946). Adopted by the good folk of Pershore, she took part in the evacuation of Dunkirk, being seriously damaged by bombing on 28th May 1940, while later in her career, her 'un-notified' dispatch to Plymouth for repairs, (after being rammed and holed on the 26th April 1944), can now be arguably given as just one of the reasons for the disaster that befell 'Operation Tiger', the D-Day rehearsal at Slapton Sands.
The famous name is currently being used (2004) by a diesel-powered craft attached to the RN Gibraltar Squadron and used as Guard Ship and Rescue Vessel, wearing the pennant number of P284.
The craft being introduced here however are the Gas Turbine powered craft of the late 60's and early 70's that collectively became known as Fast Training Craft and attached to the 'Fast Training Squadron' at Portland. Ordered in the late 60's, three craft were eventually launched in 1970 and named 'Scimitar (P271). 'Cutlass (P274). 'Sabre (P275). Developed from the very successful 'Brave' class of RN vessels, (the last Fast Attack Craft of the RN, which in turn can be seen as an engineering development from the two experimental 'Bold' class FPB's). These three craft however were not armed but used in the training role to give the Fleet more experience of the capabilities of fast, modern attack craft, then becoming available to potential enemies. The machinery fitted was 2 Bristol Siddeley 'Proteus' Gas Turbines with two Foden diesels able to be 'clutched in' for slow speed cruising but, should the necessity arise, they could be armed with missiles and have a third 'Proteus' fitted to give them a performance almost matching the 'Braves', then currently the fastest 'wet hulled' military craft in the World.
Designed and built by Messrs Vosper Thornycroft Ltd at their Portchester yard. The Hull was of laminated wood construction. They had a LOA of 100ft. Beam of 25ft 6ins, Draught 6ft 6ins, and a normal displacement of 102 tons.
All three craft were put on the 'Disposal List' in 1981 and subsequently bought by Greek interests.