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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2005

HMS WIGTOWN BAY (K 616) - Bay-class Frigate

HMS Largo Bay, sister-ship (NavyPhotos/Bob Hanley, click to enlarge)

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LOCH Class Anti-Submarine Frigate ordered from Harland & Wolff at Belfast on 6th March 1943 and laid down on 24th October 1944 as Job NO J3932 (Yard Number 1260). She was to be named LOCH GARASDALE but after a policy change to satisfy the need for anti-aircraft escorts for service in the Far East the contract was changed for completion to the revised design of a BAY-Class Frigate. The ship was renamed WIGTOWN BAY when she was launched on 26th April 1945 and was the first RN ship to carry this name. Build completion date was 19th January 1946.  See General Information for details of design changes to the basic LOCH Class hull structure.


G e o g r a p h i c    D a t a

Bay of south coast of Galloway 25 miles  SE of Stranraer.

Grid Reference NX5249.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s



H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge: On a Field Blue, between 2 piles wavy White a spear erect

point upwards Gold.

(Note: Wigtown means either the farm or village of Wigs or the spear

The  field denotes the sea.)


M a n n i n g   D i v i s i o n




S u m m a r y   o f   S e r v i c e

(for more ship information, go to Naval History Homepage and type name in Site Search


1 9 4 5


November              Commissioned for trials.

                                Commanding Officer: Lieut Cdr D Carson. (Appointed 28th August 1945.)

                                (Note: It was originally intended to place the ship in Category A Reserve at Devonport but

                                this was subsequently changed for Trooping duty with the Mediterranean Escort Force

                                in August 1945).


December              Contractors trials


1 9 4 6



January                  Contractors sea trials

                19th        Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials

                                On completion took passage to Portland for Ranging and weapon equipment trials.


February                During trials at Portland ship grounded and bent port propeller.

                                (Source: Admiralty Acquaint SMBA 2785 and Letter NL 5912/46.)

                                After docking took passage to Malta with call at Gibraltar before joining 5th Escort Flotilla.

                                Deployed for patrol duty in Aegean area.

                11th        At Piraeus.

                13th        Arrived at Malta.

                15th        Deployed for patrol duties.

                25th        Visited Leghorn.


March                    Nominated for visit to Istanbul with a view to possible sale to Turkey.

                14th        At Istanbul.

                16th        Return to Malta.


April                       Deployed for Flotilla duties and exercises based in Malta.


May                        Deployed for patrol in eastern Mediterranean.

                                (Note: Mediterranean Fleet frigates and destroyers were deployed to intercept

                                mercantiles carrying illegal immigrants to Palestine.

                14th        At Piraeus

                                Passage to Malta to rejoin Flotilla for exercises.

                29th        At Gibraltar


June                        Nominated for duty in Adriatic for duty as Guardship.

                3rd          Passage to Trieste.

                8th          At Trieste.

                                (Note: Some of ship's company visited Venice.)

                                Embarked passengers for passage to Civitavecchia.


July                         Return passage to Malta after visit to Italian coast.

                                Took part in Fleet Regatta at Argostoli.


August                  Deployed in eastern Mediterranean and visited Istanbul.

                                Return passage to Malta.


September             Deployed at Malta.

                                Under repair in Malta.

                                (Note: Structural defects as found in LOCH Class were noted.)

                                On completion took passage for duty in Adriatic


October                  Returned to Malta after Guardship duty.

                                Took passage form Malta for Interception patrol based at Larnaka.


November              On relief returned to Malta and resumed Flotilla duties

                4th          Deployed in Corfu Straits after HM Destroyers SAUMAREZ and VOLAGE had been

                                badly damaged after having striking mines in this area during October.


December              Deployed in Malta with Flotilla.

                                Nominated for return to UK and to be reduced to Reserve status for use as a an

                                Accommodation Ship.


1 9 4 7


January                  Flotilla deployment at Malta for Guardship and interception duties.




April                       Passage to Devonport to pay-off.


May                        Paid-off and de-stored.


June                        Reduced to Reserve status and accepted into Reserve Fleet, Devonport.

                                Used as Living Ship for Reserve Fleet personnel.


F i n a l   P h a s e


HMS WIGTOWN BAY was laid-up in Reserve at Devonport and was refitted in 1948 and 1951 to ensure her availability for operational use was maintained. In April 1957 the ship was offered to Ceylon and to be refitted but negotiations for sale failed. Placed on the Disposal List in 1958, the ship was sold to BISCO for demolition by Metal Industries in October 1958 as part of the reduction of the number of ships held in Reserve. She arrived in tow at the breaker's yard at Faslane on 10th April 1959.


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