The Eagle-class frigate Gawain and her sister ship FWLS Mordred were both under construction in 3059 and were intended to be escort vessels for the third of the Thera-class of carriers being built by the Free Worlds League, the FWLS Corinth. The Corinth was due to enter service in 3063 and would form the center of a battle group, alongside the Gawain and Mordred.
All three ships were serving together in 3067 and prior to the outbreak of the Jihad the Corinth and the Mordred were both suborned by the Word of Blake. The Gawain was involved in a pitched naval battle in the Atreus system on the 25th of October 3068, when loyalist and Blakist elements of the Free Worlds League navy turned on each other; the Corinth and Mordred joined the Aegis-class heavy cruiser FWLS Nueva Badajoz, Agamemnon-class heavy cruiser FWLS Aeneas, Black Lion-class battlecruiser FWLS Xanthos and the Impavido-class destroyer FWLS Impavido. The Blakist-aligned WarShips attacked the loyalist WarShips in the system, which were mainly lighter destroyers and corvettes, and which consisted of the Gawain, the Impavido-class FWLS Janos Marik, the Zechetinu-class corvette FWLS Sparta, the Zechetinu II-class corvettes FWLS Acari and FWLS Scorpion and the Essex-class destroyer FWLS Raven.
The naval battle in the Atreus system was a victory for the Blakist forces; none of the Blakist WarShips were destroyed, although all of them had suffered damage, but of the loyalist forces, only the FWLS Acari and FWLS Raven escaped to seek refuge in the Duchy of Oriente.
The Gawain appears to have been named for a figure associated with the myths around the 5th or 6th century AD King Arthur; in this case, one of the Knights of the Round Table, Sir Gawain. The pairing of the Gawain and the Mordred as escorts together may be an allusion to stories indicating that in some of the Arthurian tales Sir Gawain and Mordred were brothers.
- Field Manual: Free Worlds League, p. 119, "Renovation/Construction"
- Field Manual: Updates, p. 144, "Ships Of The FWL"
- Jihad: Final Reckoning, p. 128, "Captured Ships"
- Jihad Turning Points: Atreus BattleCorps Exclusive Track, p. 2, "True Colors Revealed"