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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2004

HMS LOCH SCAVAIG (K 648) - Loch-class Frigate

HMS Loch Scavaig (Navy Photos/Mark Teadham, click to enlarge)

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LOCH-Class Twin Screw Fast Frigate ordered on 26th January 1903 from Charles Hill, Bristol and laid down on 31st March 1943 as Yard Number 299 (Admiralty Job No J530). The ship was launched by the Queen Mother HM Queen Mary on 9th September 1944 as the 1st Royal Navy ship to carry the name. Build was completed on 22nd December that year. The Gaelic name for the Loch is Scabhaig.


G e o g r a p h i c   D a t a

Loch in Isle of Skye. Grid Reference NG5015.

(Note: Three Clans are associated with this area: Clan MacLeod - Western shore,

Clan MacDonald - NE shore, Clan MacKinnon - SE shore.)


B a t t le   H o n o u r s




H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge: On a Field barry wavy of eight White and Blue, a dexter hand grasping

a whortleberry fructed proper.

 (Note: Derived from the Clan Badge of the MacLeods

An unofficial badge was used before the official Seal described above

was authorised).



D e t a i l s   o f   W a r  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 4


December              Ship's Company joined from Devonport Depot.

                                Commanding Officer: Lieutenant Commander C W Hancock.

                22nd       Build completion and commenced Harbour Trials.

                                Accepted from builder and commissioned for service with 23rd Escort Group.


1 9 4 5



                1st           Embarked ammunition off Avonmouth and commenced Sea acceptance trials.

                                Took passage to Tobermory to work-up for operational service.



                4th          Completed work-up and took passage to Londonderry for gun trials and an A/S exercise before

                                joining Group.

                                Detected submarine during trial and attacked with SQUID Mortar.

                                Joined by HM Frigates PAPUA and NYASALAND in search for submarine.

                                Anti-submarine operations with sustained depth charge attacks.

                5th          HM Frigate LOCH SHIP joined operations.

                                Significant quantities of wreckage, documents and clothing were found and attacks ceased

                                Sinking of U1011 off the entrance to Loch Foyle ,in position 55.17N 06.WW was credited to

                                these ships. See U-BOATS DESTROYED by P Kemp.

                                (Note: U1011 was commanded by Oberleutenant zur See Wolfgang Glaser.

.                               Captain later awarded the DSC and ASDIC operator the DSM.

                                For details of weapons and tactics used for convoy defence see SEEK AND STRIKE by

                                W Hackmann and BUSINESS IN GREAT WATERS by J Terrains).

                6th          Passage with HMS PAPUA and HNS NYASALAND to Join Force 38 in SH Approaches for

                                support of convoy escorts in place of ships of 6th Escort Group.

                8th          Commenced duty as Force 138 and joined escort for KMS Convoy on passage to the


                9th          Deployed on patrol from Coningbeg Light to Stella LV in support of convoys.

                11th        Passage to Milford Haven for replenishment and repair.

                12th        Returned to support duty and escorted Convoys KMS81 and HX336.

                16th        On entering Milford Haven collided with buoy and sustained damage to Fuel Tank.

                17th        Taken in hand for repair in Liverpool

                                (Note: Opportunity was taken during this period to stiffen the hull structure in accordance

                                with an Admiralty directive following reports from other ships of the Class).


March                    Rejoined Group and deployed for anti-submarine patrol in NW Approaches.

to                            Transferred to Scapa Flow for convoy defence in North Sea.

April                       Nominated for service in East Indies after end of hostilities in Europe.


May                        Deployed in North Sea based at Scapa Flow for convoy defence.

                4th          On cessation of hostilities deployed at Rosyth with Group.

                18th        Deployed as escort for Convoy RN1with HM Frigates LOCH GORM, PAPUA, MONTSERRAT,

                                and HM Minesweeper MAENAD to Stavanger, Bergen and Oslo

                                (Operation DOOMSDAY).

                                (Note: Convoy comprised ten ships including HM Danlayer TRODDAY manned by the Royal

                                Norwegian Navy and taking Norwegian nationals back to Norway.

                20th        At Oslo

                22nd       Visited Moss

                                Note: Later visited Horten.

                27th        Escorted surrendered German submarines U874, U975, U170 and U1108 to Scapa Flow from

                                Oslo with HMS BAHAMAS.

                                (Note: These submarines were to be disposed of by sinking in NW Approaches.

                                (Operation DEADLIGHT).)

                30th        After arrival U-Boats detached and took passage with HM Frigates BAYNTUN and TAVY to


                31st         At Bergen.



                2nd         Escorted 13 Type 23 U-Boats from Bergen with HM Frigates BAYNTUN, BAHAMAS and


                                During passage sighted mines which were sunk by rifle fire.

                3rd          Detached as escort for U2328 which could not maintain convoy speed.

                                Returned independently to Scapa Flow.

                4th          Arrived at Scapa Flow.

                                Deployed as escorted for U2321, U2325, U2328, U2335, U2337, U2350, U2353, U2354, U2361

                                and U2363 to Loch Ryan with HM Frigates LOCH ACHRAY, LOCH MORE and GRINDALL.

                                (Note: U-Boats were to be prepared for destruction at Loch Ryan).

                6th          East Indies deployment by end August 1945 confirmed.

                                Returned to Londonderry to give foreign service leave and prepare for foreign service.

                                Four 20mm Oerlikon guns fitted on quarterdeck to improve AA defence.

                9th          New Commanding Officer: Lieutenant Commander. C W Leadbetter RNR appointed.


July                         At Londonderry preparing for foreign service in East Indies Escort Force.

                27th        Developed machinery defect during passage to Liverpool.

                28th        On completion of repair took passage to Gibraltar.

                29th        Joined HM Monitor ROBERTS for Joint passage.



                1st           Arrived at Gibraltar.

                3rd          Took passage to Alexandria with HM Monitor ROBERTS.

                10th        At Alexandria.

                15th        Transit of Suez Canal.

                20th        Arrived at Aden.

                                (Note: HMS ROBERTS detached during Red Sea passage.)

                27th        At Colombo and prepared for support of landings in Malaya.

                                (Operation ZIPPER - This had been delayed at American insistence and problems. at service

                                departments in London due to demobilisation arrangements under the PYTHON Scheme.

                30th        Deployed as escort for escort of LCT's (Convoy JMD16) to Port Swettenham with HM Frigate




                5th          At Port Swettenham during landings of Indian troops (Operation ZIPPER).

                10th        Passage to Singapore.

                12th        At Singapore for for formal surrender ceremony.

                13th        Escorted Convoy No 5 from Singapore during passage to ports in Bay of Bengal

                17th        Deployed for guardship, patrol and convoy escort in Straits of Malacca after return to

                to            Singapore.

                30th        Visited Port Swettenham.

                                (For details see BRITISH INVASION FLEETS by J de Winser)



                3rd          Took passage to Saigon, French Into China.

                6th          At Saigon.

                7th          Passage from Saigon with HM Landing Ship (Infantry) QUEEN EMMA in tow.

                                (Note: HM Frigate LOCH MORE and ss MALACCA in company.

                                The LSI had been mined)

                10th        Resumed duties at Singapore on arrival.

                18th        Passage to Bangkok,

                31st         Return passage from Bangkok to Singapore.



                4th          Taken in hand for docking and repair of stern tube linings in commercial shipyard.

                                (Note: The shafts and linings ware believed to have been misaligned after an earlier incident

                                when a depth charge detonated prematurely.

                                The recent towing of HM LSI QUEEN EMMA was also believed to have caused further


                                New linings ware fitted and one tail shaft skimmed.

                                Leakage through the stem glands became a source of anxiety after this docking.)


December              Dry-docking and repair in continuation.

                16th        Prepared for operational use after undocking.

                18th        Deployed for Air-Sea Rescue duties in Bay of Bengal.

                                (Note: This was part of an East Indies Fleet operation during the visit by HM King George VI

                                to the XIV Army in Burma)

                29th        Arrived at Trincomalee after release from Air Sea Rescue deployment.


1 9 4 6


January                  Nominated for duty as Guardship in Dutch East Indies.

                12th        Passage from Trincomalee to Singapore.

                18th        Arrived at Singapore to prepare for Guardship duties.

                20th        Took passage to Sourabaya.

                28th        Sailed for Ball for patrol duties to intercept vessels reported to be used for supply of arms and

                                personnel for insurrections by those opposed to the Dutch colonial administration.

                29th        Began patrol duty off Bali.



                3rd          Returned to Sourabaya.

                                (Note: During this period off Bali an offer of surrender by Japanese officers was not accepted.

                                Later the surrender took place on board HMS LOCH ECK.

                8th          Deployed at Semerang as Guardship.

                12th        Returned to Singapore and deployed at Johore.



                1st           Deployed at Singapore.

                4th          Took passage to Bangkok to embark diplomatic personnel.

                9th          At Bangkok

                17th        Passage to Singapore with Italian Ambassador, diplomatic staff and FANY officer.

                                (Note: Change of Officers’ cabin arrangements was necessary.)

                21st         Resumed duties at Singapore.

                24th        Passage to Batavia.

                26th        At Batavia.

                28th        Passage to Macassar to embark Dutch military and civilian passengers.



                1st           Embarked passengers at Macassar

                2nd         Took passage to Amboina Island.

                4th          At Amboina.

                8th          Passage to Kai to land Dutch civilians and family of Dutch Governor.

                11th        Return passage from Kei to Macassar.

                15th        Arrived at Macassar.

                16th        Embarked two Japanese war criminals and Dutch military guard.

                                (Note: Prisoners were kept under guard on quarterdeck during passage to Singapore.

                20th        At Singapore and landed passengers.

                                Secured at Sembawang naval bass.

                                Nominated for Guardship duty at Morotai.

                22nd       Took passage from Singapore to Morotai to relieve HM Destroyers CAVALIER and


                29th        Arrived at Morotai to begin Guardship duty.

                                (Note: Morotai , in the Moluccas Group of islands was being used for the detention of

                                Japanese POW whilst awaiting return to Japan.

                                Arrangements for custody of the POW in Liberty Ships was the responsibility of the

                                Australian Army but these ships had to be inspected by personnel from the Guardship to

                                ensure they were satisfactory for this duty).


May                        Deployed as Guardship at Morotai.

                                (Note: Conditions on board a LOCH Class Frigate without air conditioning and a ventilation

                                system inadequate for tropical climate were far from satisfactory.

                                The limited facilities available, apart from the abundance of swimming and ‘Banyan’

                                opportunities did little to enthuse the Ship's Company, largely made up of HO personnel!)



                1st           Sailed for Singapore without regret.

                7th          Arrived at Singapore.

                8th          Prepared for return passage to UK.

                10th        Took passage from Singapore.

                19th        Sailed from Trincomalee.

                29th        Called at Aden.



                5th          Suez Canal transit.

                15th        Took passage from Gibraltar for Plymouth.

                                (Statistical Note: Mileage steamed - 37,525).

                20th        Paid off began reduction to Reserve status

                                De-ammunitioned and de-stored


August                  Reducing to Reserve status in continuation.

                24th        Docked for extensive investigation into shaft alignment consequent on incidents during

                                service (See above).



                10th        Undocked.


October                  Laid up in Reserve Fleet at Plymouth.




1 9 4 7    t o    1 9 4 8


                                In Reserve at Plymouth.

                                Pennant Number for visual signalling purposes changed to F648 (May 1948)


1 9 4 9


January                  In Reserve at Plymouth.

to                            Nominated for refit in commercial shipyard.

September             (Note: This refit was undertaken to ensure high state of availability when brought forward for

                                Fleet service).


October                  Passage under tow from Plymouth to London.


November              Taken in had for refit by Green and Silley Weir, East India Docks, London.


December              Under refit.


1 9 5 0


January                  Under refit.


February                Post refit trials.

                16th        Refit work completed


March                    To be brought forward for service and re-commissioned.

                                (Note: Nine LOCH Class Frigates were to taken out of Reserve to replace seven BATTLE

                                Class Destroyers in the Mediterranean).



                3rd          Commanding Officer: Commander A H Williams appointed.



                8th          Commissioned with Chatham Depot personnel for service in 2nd Frigate Flotilla, Mediterranean


                7th          Passage to Sheerness..

                11th        At Chatham for refit to prepare for operational service.

                12th        Taken in hand for refit and repair work not undertaken in London.

                to            Embarked outfit of naval and victualling stores.



June                        At Chatham preparing for service and embarked ammunition at Sheerness.

                5th          Sailed from Sheerness for Portsmouth.

                23rd        Passage to Gibraltar from Portsmouth.

                28th        Arrived at Gibraltar

                                Docked after collision with RFA PRESTOL.



                5th          Sailed from Gibraltar to Malta.

                10th        Joined Flotilla In Malta.

                23rd        Deployed with Flotilla in Malta.

                31st         Visited Messina.



                3rd          Returned to Malta.

                23rd        Took part in 2nd Summer Cruise including visits to Crete and Aegean islands.


September             Nominated for detached duty as Guardship duty at Aqaba.

                8th          At Izmir.

                12th        Passage to Port Said from Izmir.

                16th        Suez Canal transit.

                17th        Arrived at Aqaba.

                29th        On relief as Guardship took passage to Athens,



                4th          Embarked HM Ambassador to Greece and Lady Norton with Sir Malcolm Sargent, who

                                was nationally renowned as a musical conductor.

                5th          Sailed from Athena.

                7th          Visited Patros and Kos.

                10th        At Scarpanto.

                11th        At Leros and Amogos.

                12th        Passengers disembarked and took passage to Malta.

                14th        Rejoined Flotilla in Malta



                3rd          Deployed with Flotilla and visited Tripoli.

                9th          Transferred to 5th Frigate Flotilla with HM Frigates LOCH MORE and LOCH CRAGGIE

                                based in Malta.


December              Deployed with Flotilla in Malta for local exercises


1 9 5 1


January                  Deployed at Malta.

                                Involved in collision with HM Destroyer CHIVALROUS at Malta..

                                Nominated for detached duty at Aqaba.

                9th          Took passage to Aqaba.

                14th        Deployed as Guardship at Aqaba

                20th        On relief sailed from Aqaba to return to Malta with call at Port Sudan.



                8th          Arrived at Malta and rejoined Flotilla.

                                Prepared for Mediterranean Spring Cruise and Exercises.

                10th        Sailed from Malta for Fleet cruise and exercises.

                13th        At Aranci Bay

                14th        Took passage to Gibraltar.

                17th        Arrived at Gibraltar.


March                    At Gibraltar

                12th        Sailed for combined Fleet exercises with Home Fleet ships.

                16th        At Cannes.

                23rd        At Taranto.

                27th        At Augusta, Sicily.

                31st         Passage to Malta.


April                       Deployed at Malta with Flotilla..




June                        Prepared for Fleet 1st Summer Cruise Exercise and Visits programme.

                4th          Sailed for Fleet Exercises in Eastern Mediterranean.

                8th          At Izmir.

                15th        At Khios.

                23rd        At Milos.

                30th        Arrived at Marmarice, Turkey for Fleet Regatta.



                9th          Took passage for exercises.

                12th        Arrived in Malta

                                (Note: Nominated for Guardship duty at Aqaba.

                                No confirmation is available).


August                  Deployed with Flotilla in Malta

                                (Note: Contemporary records show no passage to or from Aqaba.


September             Flotilla duties based in Malta.

                14th        Took passage to Athena.

                17th        Sailed from Athens for Crete.

                20th        Returned to Athens.

                22nd       Sailed from Athens for visit to Istanbul.

                24th        At Istanbul.

                29th        Sailed from Istanbul for NATO Exercise SYMPHONIE DEUX


October                  Took part in SYMPHONIE DEUX.

                3rd          At Juan lea Pins, French Riviera.

                5th          At Toulon.

                6th          At Golfe Juan and Nice.

                9th          Sailed from Nice for continuation of exercise.

                12th        At Menton

                15th        Sailed from Menton for passage to Malta.

                18th        Arrived in Malta after exercising on passage.


November              Deployed in Malta with Flotilla.


December              Nominated for Guardship duty at Port Said.

                6th          Passage to Port Said.

                10th        Arrived at Port Said.

                                (Note: This deployment was ordered to increase in the RN presence in the Eastern

                                Mediterranean because of the political unrest in the Middle East).


1 9 5 2


January                  Deployed at Port Said.

                8th          Passage to Malta to rejoin Flotilla.

                10th        Resumed Flotilla duties on arrival.


February                Deployed with Flotilla in Malta





                1st           Took passage for exercises in Central Mediterranean.

                4th          At Messina.

                7th          Sailed to resume exercises.

                10th        Returned to Malta.

                21st         Passage to Venice with HM Sloops CYGNET, PEACOCK and HM Frigate LOCH MORE.

                24th        At Venice with chips of Flotilla.



                1st           Sailed for return to Malta with Flotilla.

                4th          At Messina.

                7th          Passage to Malta from Messina, Sicily.

                                (Note: A new commanding Officer joined ship during mid 1952,

                                Commander AC Mackworth RN).


June                        Took part in 1st Summer Cruise Fleet Exercise and Visits Programme.

to                            Calls made at Berletta, Lautaki and Dogamsti before Fleet Regatta at Navarino in southern

July                         Greece.

Nominated for reduction to Reserve status at Chatham)


August                  On return to Malta carried out self maintenance and prepared for return passage.



                1st           Took passage from Malta to UK with four Motor Launches and HM Landing Craft

                                (Headquarters) 236 under tow.

                                Speed was restricted.

                                (Note: Calls were made at Gibraltar, Lisbon and Santander, Spain.

                15th        Arrived at Chatham.

                                Paid-off and commenced Reduction to Reserve status.


October                  Laid-up at Chatham in Reserve Fleet.


F i n a l   P h a s e


HMS LOCH SCAVAIG had been recommended for modernisation by CinC Mediterranean but this was never implemented The ship was towed to Liverpool in May 1953 to be fully preserved by Henderson's. On completion in November that year she was towed to Gibraltar and joined the Reserve Fleet Sub-Division. Whilst at Gibraltar it became evident that dockyard refit would be needed she could be brought forward for further operational service and her Reserve Category was accordingly reduced. No refit was therefore arranged and she was placed on the Disposal List in 1958 as part of the reduction of the Reserve Fleet in 1958. Before being scrapped the ship was de-equipped and placed on the Sales List. Sold to an Italian shipbreaker at Genoa she arrived at the breakers’ yard in tow on 5th September 1959.


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