Royal Navy ignored warning of Iranian attack

HMS Cornwall (F 99) transits through the Persian Gulf in 2007. Photo: US Navy
HMS Cornwall (F 99) transits through the Persian Gulf in 2007. Photo: US Navy

Navy top brass failed to act on warnings of Iranian aggression, leaving British sailors vulnerable to a surprise attack that resulted in 15 of them being taken hostage in Tehran, according to a secret report.

The incident in March 2007 was described at the time as a “national embarrassment” after sailors from HMS Cornwall were paraded on Iranian television and then the Ministry of Defence allowed the returning prisoners to sell their stories to a tabloid newspaper.

During their captivity the sailors, including the first British servicewoman to be captured since the Second World War, were forced to make propaganda statements on Iranian television.

• Read my article on the Sunday Times web site (subscription required for full story)

About Tim Ripley 34 Articles
Tim Ripley has been writing on defence issues since 1990, for a wide range of British and international publications. He has reported from conflict zones in the Balkans and Middle East, as well as major defence and aerospace industry exhibitions around the world. Recent assignments include the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Croatia, Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia, the Farnborough, Paris, Dubai and Singapore Airshows, NATO Headquarters in Brussels, The Hague war crimes tribunal and the Pentagon in Washington DC. His news reporting and features have appeared in the mainstream news media (The Sunday Telegraph, The Economist, The Scotsman) as well as specialist defence publications (Jane's Defence Weekly, Jane's Intelligence Review, Jane's Sentinel, Air Forces Monthly, Air International, Defence Helicopter, Unmanned Vehicles, Flight International, Flight Daily News, World Air Power Journal, International Air Power Review)

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