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

HMS LOCH TARBERT (K 431) - Loch-class Frigate

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

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LOCH Class Anti-Submarine Frigate ordered from Ailsa SB Co at Troon on 24th January 1943 and laid down as Job No J1826 on 30th November 1943. First of two ships of this Class built by this builder and the largest built by the Company up to date of laying down. The ship was launched on 19th October 1944 and was the first RN ship to bear the name. Build was completed on 22nd February 1945 and took somewhat longer than the period under construction than the average for this type of warship. This may have been due possibly to lack of experience in dealing with the requirements necessary for assembly of units prefabricated elsewhere and delivered to the shipyard, as well as to increased standards for the installation of many new types of equipment. She was for example fitted with the improved radar Type 277 and a SQUID Anti-Submarine Mortar Outfit comprising two sets of three mortar units.


G e o g r a p h i c   D a t a

Sea Loch on Isle of Jura. Grid Reference NR5481


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s


(Note: Although no Battle Honour is appropriate, those serving on board

during the support of military operations in the Dutch East Indies were

entitled to the Naval General Service Medal with Clasp SE Asia 1945-46)


H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge: On a  Field White, a dexter hand couped above the wrist erect proper

grasping a cross crosslet fitches, Blue.


De t a i l s   o f   S e r v i c e

(Note: Dates are taken from Admiralty PINK List and may not have been maintained.

Most of the post-war dates are from a record compiled by Mr A Raper of Bradford who

served on board as a Signals rating.)



D e t a i l s   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


February                Contractors trials and commissioning for service in 12th Escort Group.

                                Commanding Officer: Lieut. Commander BW Harris, DSC RNVR.

                22nd       Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials in Clyde area.


March                    Delayed at Troon for repair of defects found on trials.

                                On completion of repairs and storing took passage to Tobermory from


                                (Note: Commanding Officer sick on shore and relieved by the First Lieutenant.

                                Lieutenant D G Matthews RN).

                25th        Commenced work-up at Tobermory for operational service


April                       Work-up in continuation.

                16th        Arrived at Liverpool to join 12th Escort Group on completion of work-up.

                                (Note: Commanding Officer resumed command.)

                                Deployed for anti-submarine patrols and escort of convoys on UK-Gibraltar route.

                                (Note: Enemy submarine activities were concentrated on coastal convoys in

                                SW Approaches and Irish Sea. See SEEK and STRIKE by W Hackmann

                                U-BOAT WAR IN THE ATLANTIC by W Hackmann and HITLERíS

                                U-BOAT WAR, Volume II by C Blair.)


May                        Western Approaches deployment in continuation..

                7th          Returned to Liverpool for special deployment for escort of surrendered

                                German submarines in NW Approaches (Operation DEADLIGHT).

                                (Note: Submarines had been ordered to fly a Black Flag and when located were

                                taken to Londonderry or Scapa Flow dependent upon their position on

                                interception. See references and Naval Staff History.)

                8th          VE (Victory in Europe) Day.

                9th          Passage in execution of DEADLIGHT.

                                12th Escort Group sailed for Operation DEADLIGHT. Ship allocated Blue Route

                                (North West Approaches) to locate surrendering U-Boats.

                                (Note: Subsequently escorted one U-Boat (believed to be U244) to Lisahally.

                                First Lieutenant as Boarding Officer.)


June                        Western Approaches deployment in continuation.

                                Nominated for service in East Indies based at Ceylon after refit in commercial


                6th          Arrived at Liverpool for refit including modifications to suit intended service.

                11th        Taken in hand for refit.

                                (Note: This included some modifications to ventilation and fit of additional

                                close range 20mm weapons to improve AA defence.).


July                         On completion of refit work carried out post refit trials and storing for foreign service.

                                Nominated for escort of HM Monitor ROBERTS with sister ship HMS LOCH

                                SCAVAIG during passage to Ceylon.

                23rd        New Commanding Officer appointed: Lieut. Cdr WS Thompson OBE RNR.

                27th        Took passage from Liverpool to join HMS ROBERTS for escort to Gibraltar.

                30th        HMS LOCH SCAVAIG joined after delay for repair at Liverpool.



                1st           Arrived at Gibraltar

                3rd          Independent passage from Gibraltar in western Mediterranean

                                (Note: HMS ROBERTS and HMS LOCH TRALAIG were on separate passage.)

                7th          Arrived Malta.

                12th        Sailed Malta

                15th        Arrived Port Said.

                17th        Passage to Aden.

                20th        HMS ROBERTS sighted on independent passage in Red Sea.

                                (Note: HMS LOCH SCAVAIG parted company on 18th.)

                21st         Arrived at Aden.

                22nd       Passage in Indian Ocean to Ceylon.

                                (Note: One source records ship encountered swarm of locust like insects which

                                were still on board some days later.)

                27th        Arrived at Colombo.

                                (Note: During this period Lieut. Cdr D G Matthews RN took Command when Lieut. Cdr

                                W S Thompson RNR left the ship to return to UK for release from the Service.)

                                Lieutenant Commander D G Matthews was granted the rank of Acting Lieutenant

                                Commander from 5th December 1945 until 4th March 1946 when wartime acting

                                ranks were cancelled. Lieutenant DG Matthews RN remained in Command until ship

                                Paid-off at Portsmouth on 12th May 1946.)


September             Deployed at Colombo to prepare for service on East Indies Station.

                                (Note: Planned landings in Malaya (Operation ZIPPER) had been delayed but

                                the majority of East Indies Fleet were deployed in Penang area to support

                                re-occupation after Japanese had surrendered.

                                Nominated for escort of HM Boom Defence Vessels BARRANCA, BARBERRY and

                                BARNWELL, HM Tug EMINENT and six Motor Fishing Vessels (MFV) during passage

                                Deployed at Colombo to prepare for service on East Indies Station.

                                (Note: Planned landings in Malaya (Operation ZIPPER) had been delayed but

                                the majority of East Indies Fleet were deployed in Penang area to support

                                re-occupation after Japanese had surrendered.

                                Nominated for escort of HM Boom Defence Vessels BARRANCA, BARBERRY and

                                BARNWELL, HM Tug EMINENT and six Motor Fishing Vessels (MFV) during passage

                10th        Took passage to Port Swettenham from Colombo with vessels in transit.

                19th        Arrived at Port Swettenham with escorted craft after tedious journey due to defects

                                which involved tow of disabled vessels.

                                On release from escort took passage to Singapore in company with HMS LOCH GLENDHU

                21st         Returned to Port Swettenham after visit to Singapore.

                                (Note: This visit may have been to brief shipís officers on the intended

                                deployment in the Dutch East Indies in support of the military operations

                                against dissident groups opposed to the possibility of a return to Dutch

                                colonial rule and also defence of convoys evacuating military and civil

                                personnel from ports in Java and Sumatra (Returning Prisoners of

                                War and internees - RAPWI)

                22nd       Deployed at Port Swettenham for patrol and supervision of convoys from Dutch

                                East Indies ports.

                                (Note: Passage into Singapore and other ports was rendered dangerous by mines

                                and embarkation involved protection against local population elements.)

                                Several LOCH Class Frigates were similarly deployed.)


October                  Port Swettenham deployment in continuation.

                10th        Released from support duties for routine docking and self-maintenance at Singapore.

                                Passage to Singapore.

                11th        Arrived at Singapore.

                19th        Docked in KGV Graving Dock for routine maintenance including boiler clean.

                27th        Resumed operational service at Singapore for support duties.

                31st         Embarked Major General Mansergh and staff officers of 7th Indian Division for

                                passage to Batavia to command operations against insurgents.

                                (Note: The Brigade with HM Landing Ship (HQ) BULOLO and a convoy of Landing

                                Ships (Infantry) with other craft were also on passage covered by HM Cruiser

                                SUSSEX, HM Destroyers CAESAR, CARRON and CAVALIER.



                2nd         Disembarked Major General Mansergh and staff officer and took passage to

                                Sourabaya for Guardship duties.

                                (Note: These included providing food to RAPWI and providing support parties as

                                needed ashore. Other warships were providing naval gunfire support to the

                                military operations. Ship received commendation by CS5 for the work in

                                support of the evacuation of RAPWI.)

                7th          Salvaged disabled LST199 whose steering gear had been damaged by a mine.

                15th        Took passage to Singapore on relief as Guardship.

                                Deployed as escort for nine Tank Landing Craft of 74th LCT Flotilla and with HM

                                Tug ASSIDUOUS for passage to Singapore.

                21st         Arrived at Singapore with ASSIDUOUS in tow and three other Landing Craft also

                                under tow.

                23rd        Sailed from Singapore with HM Frigate TAFF and took passage to Colombo after

                                release from support and patrol duties based at Singapore.

                28th        Arrived at Colombo after call at Sabang in Sumatra.


December              Deployed at Colombo and nominated for Air Sea Rescue duties

                5th          Sailed from Colombo to take up duty at Air Sea Rescue Station in Indian Ocean area.

                                (Note: Ships of the East Indies Fleet were deployed to carry out these duties

                                in Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean in case of any assistance being required

                                by aircraft taking personnel from duty in SEAC to UK. This duty was

                                carried out by several LOCH Class Frigates.)

                22nd       On release from ASR duty took passage to Cocos Islands for visit.

                25th        At Cocos.

                26th        Took passage from Cocos for Trincomalee.

                                (Note: Admiralty records show the appointment of another officer to command

                                on 15th December. Clearly this must have been cancelled later.)


1 9 4 6



                1st           Arrived at Trincomalee and commenced routine maintenance and repair work with

                                Station Leave granted at Dyatalawa Rest Camp.

                                (Note: Whilst at Trincomalee several of the shipís company left the ship under

                                the Release Scheme for demobilisation of Hostilities Only personnel

                                and Regular Engagements which were extended during WW2.)

                                Nominated for further period of support duties based at Singapore

                23rd        On completion of repair and leave resumed operational service and sailed independently

                                from Trincomalee for Cochin, India.

                25th        Arrived at Cochin.

                28th        Sailed Cochin escorting 14 Motor Fishing Vessels for passage to Singapore.

                30th        MFV1512 sank at 1206, crew picked up by ship and taken to Colombo, before

                                rejoining convoy.



                12th        Arrived at Penang with MFV.

                                (Note: Length of passage time was due restricted speed possible, continual breakdowns

                                requiring towage and need to supply fresh meat, bread and water each

                                forenoon of the voyage to craft in company.)

                17th        Sailed from Penang to take up duties at Singapore.

                18th        MFV reported sighting floating mine, which was sunk by ship.

                20th        Took MFV in tow.

                21st         Arrived at Singapore for military support duties in Sumatra.

                                (Note: One source records MFV were escorted during passage to Singapore.

                                This is at variance with PINK List record which indicates ship escorted

                                Landing Craft with RAPWI into Singapore. To be confirmed.)

                27th        Deployed at Palembang as Guardship.

                                (Note: Special agreement with military authorities had been given to use armed

                                Japanese army personnel to assist in maintaining law and order. No specific

                                record of involvement of ship by provision of shore parties is known but

                                records for other LOCH Class Frigates suggest this was not uncommon and

                                at least one rating from another ship was killed during duty ashore.)


March                    Nominated for return to UK to pay off into Reserve at Portsmouth.

                8th          Took return passage to Singapore on release from Guardship duties.

                10th        Arrived at Singapore and prepared for return passage to UK.

                12th        Took passage to Trincomalee with call at Penang.

                17th        Arrived at Trincomalee.

                25th        Sailed from Trincomalee.


April                       Passage in Red Sea and Suez Canal transit

                25th        At Gibraltar


May                        Arrived at Portsmouth and Paid-off


June                        On completion of reduction to Reserve status laid-up with Reserve Fleet at Portsmouth


P o s t   W a r   N o t e s


HMS LOCH TARBERT remained in Reserve and never recommissioned for service. During the period she was laid-up at Portsmouth in 1949 she was refitted but two years later her Reserve Status was reduced from Category A to Category B. Before the ship was transferred to lay-up at Gibraltar dehumidification equipment was fitted to ensure preservation of exposed armament equipment .In 1956 whilst at Gibraltar on offer sale was made to Portugal but this was not taken up and the ship was reduced to Extended  Reserve category which had replaced Category C. She was placed on the Disposal List in 1958 as part of the policy to reduce the number of ships in the Reserve Fleet. After sale to an Italian shipbreaker she was taken in tow to Genoa and arrived at the Breakerís Yard for demolition on 18th September 1959.


A c k n o w l e d g e m e n t s


To Mr A Raper for most of the post-war details in this record which were invaluable and which, in addition to giving information not previously known also confirmed data recorded earlier.


To Commander D G Matthews Royal Navy for helpful advice, providing details of Mr Raperís record and his additional research since the first issue of this record which have all contributed to a significant improvement of this record of service.


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