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

HMS COOK (A 307) - ex-Loch-class Frigate,  Survey Ship

HMS Cook (Navy Photos, click to enlarge) return to Contents List 

Summary of  Service 1950 to 1964.


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



The enclosed details are primarily based upon the Reports Proceedings and also details from documents in the Naval Historical Branch, Ministry of Defence. Acknowledgement made to the Keeper of Public Records, Public Records Office who arranged for access to the Reports held in Taunton at the Hydrographic Office.


Whilst the information contained in this Summary is not intended to be completely comprehensive it sets out to be be representative of the career of this ship during its deployment on hydrographic survey duties. Some place names in the various Islands in the Pacific Ocean are not those in current use and the some of Groups of Islands have also been re-identified ( e.g., The Gilbert and Ellice Islands now known as Kiribati and Tuvalu.)



H.  M.  S.   C O O K  ( K 6 3 8 )


 LOCH CLASS Frigate ordered on 25th January 1943 from Pickersgill at Sunderland to be named LOCH MOCHRUM but changed in 1944 to an AA Frigate  The ship was laid down as Job Number 4813 (Yard Number 269) on 30th November 1944 and launched on 24th September 1945 as HMS PEGWELL BAY. After launch the contract was terminated and she was towed to Devonport for completion by HM Dockyard for use as a Survey Ship. during fitting out. Before completion on 20th July 1950 the name was again changed to HMS COOK. In common with the other four Ex LOCH Class frigate hulls converted into survey ships the name chosen was that of the best known British hydrographer. James Cook (1728 - 1779)


Conversion began in February 1948 and completed in July 1950. No armament fitted and changes made to provide additional accommodation and office space for hydrographic work. More boats and associated handling facilities were fitted together with a radar suitable for survey work (Type 972). Pennant Number for visual signalling purposes changed to A307.


H e r a l d i c   D a t a


Badge: On a Field Blue , impaled a hemisphere White between an estoile in chief

and in base Gold.

Explanation: From the arms of Captain James Cook).


M a n n i n g   Division


Devonport till centralised


First Commission 1950 – 51

Commissioned for trials: 6 June 1950

Commanding Officer: Lieut. Cdr J. Pryor       (01/01/50)


Under Care and Maintenance at Devonport with reduced complement.


Carried out Local survey tasks (August 1950 - January 1951)

Stored for sea service (January).

(Note: Additional complement joined from HM Survey Ship SEAGULL (February).


Commissioned for service: 27 March 1951.

Commanding Officer: Captain K St. B. Collins, QBE, DSC )

(Later Rear Admiral CB, OBE, DSC and Hydrographer of the Navy 1955 - 60).


Home Waters deployment 1951-52


Relieved Halcyon-Class Minesweeper SEAGULL employed on survey work since 1945.

Diverted to join CTF26 in search for wreckage of submarine AFFRAY in English Channel. (April - June 1951).

Visited by Hydrographer in Portsmouth when released from search and then resumed survey work in Dublin Bay.

Landed detached party in Gunna Sound to prepare for  survey tasks in The Minches

Carried out Oceanographic soundings and sampling between Scapa Flow and Spitzbergen.

University expedition embarked and landed on Spitzbergen.

Machinery condenser defects delayed continuation of sampling work on return passage.

Collected expedition and paid visit to capital of Spitzbergen, LONGEARBYENN (August).

Landed expedition at Gourock and carried out oceanographic programme (September).

Resumed West coast of Scotland survey in conjunction with survey ML's and detached parties.

Intermediate R&R visits at local ports.

(Note: Areas surveyed included Loch Maddy and The Minches.

             Severe gales caused many interruptions and defect in windlass caused loss of anchor –which was

             recovered later after repair work at Greenock (October - November).

Returned to Plymouth 2 December. 1952



Second Commission 1952 - 53.

Commissioned: March 1952

Commanding Officer: Captain EHB Baker, DSC (03/03/52)


West Coast of Scotland Survey Continuation (1952-3).


Based at Portree, Isle of Skye with detached party employed on coastlining and marking.

(Note: Unseasonable weather made it necessary to seek shelter sought on several occasions between

            May and August.

Carried out Planned work which included check on newly established DECCA Navigation Chain for Western Aproaches - Hebrides.

(Note: Radio signals too erratic for hydrographic use.

             A recommendation was made that survey snips should carry a portable system instead of using

              a commercial Chain.

Hydrographer embarked at Mallalg for 3 day visit before transfer to FRANKLIN (September).

Anchor dragged whilst sheltering from gales of over 70 knots in Loch Dunvegan (October)

Returned to area after winter refit period and Annual Inspection in Devonport (Dec 1952 - April 1953)

Diverted from wreck location and least depth sweeping in Bristol Channel for search and rescue of crew of missing FIREFLY aircraft

(Note: Thia was.called off after 24 hours (April)

Continued Hebrides Survey in Loch Shell area (May)

Attended Coronation Review at Spithead and was Host Ship for Hydrographer's guests (June).

Prepared for foreign Service at Plymouth on completion.


Commanding Officer: Commander RH Cornell, DSC  (29/06/53)


West African Coast Survey (July to September 1953).


Passage investigations included seabed profile off Fowey and inconclusive checks on movements of water temperature layers.

Experiments carried out using Kite apparatus for magnetic field measurements but these were unsuccessful. Carried out

planned survey areas included Takoradi, Accra, and Sekondi.

Detached parties landed for coastlining, marking and tidal measurements

(Note: Shore parties lived in Bungalow leased fron a UK contractor.

             Work co-ordinated with concurrent shore survey

             Swell conditions off shore made boat soundings difficult but manageable except when visibility was

             reduced by local mists. Trials using Radar reflectors for fixing and range measurements proved these

              to be a useful asset to survey work. Sports fixtures during R&R periods at Takoradi.

             Excess rust and mould increased maintenance load on ships company depleted by shore

             party requirements.

Carried out two day survey at Sekondi followed by a final call at Takoradi.

Made Soundings and Shoal examination off the Canary Islands,

Bathythermograph work carried out on return passage

(Note Passengers embarked at Gibraltar (September).)


UK Waters Survey (October - November 1953; April - November 1954).


Work on West coast continued.

Soundings in St. Ives followed by oceanographic measurements across Irish Sea entrance.

Seabed samples obtained hourly until corer became defective (again).

Boat survey and tidal observations in Heysham Bay (ML 3516 assisted but ship alongside).

(Note: Propeller fouled by wire whilst berthed and ship moved away from quay (November)

Isle of Arran measured mile checked with Taut Wire gear and attended by AEW scientists.

Local survey undertaken by detached party during Winter lay-up.

Resumed UK West Coast survey work (April - July 1954).

R&R in Stornoway and refuelled at Londonderry.

Scientific investigations in St Brides Bay with London University staff.

Shoal examination carried out with HM Survey Ship VIDAL in Bishops Rock area.

(Note: Transferred 2 Depth Charge Throwers to Bar Lightship for use in Liverpool as collection boxes.

            (Weight 15 Cwt each).

Tidewatching and boat survey parties detached in Hebrides.

Ship continued sounding in The Minches with delays caused by heavy rain and gales.

Hydrographer's three day visit  included detached parties.

Repeat of Arran measurements (July).

(Note:  Swiss lady in difficulty whilst swimming in Plymouth harbour rescued by line (July).

Carried out Core sampling and local survey by detached party in Padstow area (August)

Minches survey completed (September)

Carried out extensive sweeping using Sonar outfits and two boat sweep techniques in Sound of Harris

(Note: Many interruptions by gales (September).)

Sweeping trials in Loch Long and Loch Fyne (September)

Firth of Lone survey - weekends in Oban (October)

Took part in Armistice Day ceremonies at Greenock (November)

Special survey of Liverpool Bay for local port authority on return passage (November)


Third Commission 1955 - 56

Commissioned:   March 1955

Commanding Officer: Lieut. Cdr. PJD Hayter (07/03/55)


 Refit Period (December 1954 - March 1955).


Two Range DECCA Survey System fitted

(Note: Master Station and large aerial unit installed on board

             Storage facilities provided for the associated two Slave Stations.

              A series of meetings attended by Admiralty specialist and manufacturer was held to plan acceptance trials.

              Sites were selected on Bristol Channel coast for the Slave Station


Two Range DECCA Trials (March - May 1955).


Ship based at Barry.

(Note: Position visually fixed from selected shore positions to confirm the position determined by the radio signals.

             Initial delays due to lack of cooling for power supply generators and damp conditions affected operation of

             master transmitter

             A defect in ship's windlass and poor visibility caused further delays.

             Equipment performance at distances up to 40 miles from land was unsatisfactory

Returned to Plymouth in late April.

Further trials during May also unsuccessful.

All the equipment returned to manufacturer for investigation.

Repeat Trials planned for September during programmed survey work in the NW Approaches.


 UK West Coast Survey Continuation Work (1955 - 56).


Carried out Arran Mile measurements using Taut Wire gear

Firth of Lorne and Loch Fyne work commenced by detached parties for boat sounding and tidal measurements.

Reconnaissance work to identify suitable sites for Slave Stations needed for repeat Two Range DECCA trials (June)

(Note: Slave Stations set up on Gavellach Island and on Isle of Hill (July - August)

Two Range DECCA System calibration and repeat trials carried out (September - October).

Overall performance satisfactory and results 'exceeded all expectations'

(Note: Changes recommended to ship and slave equipment to improve reliability.

Wreck of CATO fixed in Bristol Channel with assistance from HM Trawler STEEPHOLM (November).

Completed wreck sweeping off Welsh coast.

Tide pole set at Pembroke Dock (April 1956)

Slave Stations established on Ulster coast and at Machrinhanish on Mull of Kintyre.

Detached party landed on Islay to set up tidal measurement equipment (April).

Annual Inspection at Londonderry (May).


UK West Coast Survey Continuation Work (1955 - 56). (Continued)


North Channel and islands work continued (May - November).

Tidal stream measurements and checks at Castle Bay, Barra for planned Royal visit (May)

Checks made on Scottish commercial DECCA Chain and period of oceanographic work (August)

Visited Bergen with civil and naval hospitality (September):

Wreath laid at British War Grave cemetery.

Measured Mile survey at Anglesea by Detached Party (October - December).

Sweeping and sounding work carried out off SW Ireland (November).

Anglesey work continued with detached party during refit period.


Fourth Commission 1957 - 59

Commissioned: 13 March 1957

                              Commanding Officer: Commander HR Hatfield  (07/02/57)


Families on board after sea trials (February).

Hydrographer visited ship at sea prior to departure on 18 March for foreign service.


Passage to Pacific Survey area (March - June).


Damage to upper deck equipment including Liferafts by heavy weather in SW Approaches.

Shoal examination and oceanographic work during passage to central Pacific via Azores, West Indies and Panama.

Medical emergency when the First Lieutenant (Lieut. Cdr. J. Raton) accidentally spilled ammonia on his face (May)

(Note: Air-lift requested from USN to ensure early hospital attention.

             Patient initially transferred to ss CITY OF OXFORD inward bound for Panama and later to a US Flying Boat.

             Colon hospital later reported no permanent damage to eyes and would rejoin ship after completion of treatment Periods at High speed during this emergency made significant demands on fuel.

Planned economies included use of Quarterdeck awning as a sail !


Operation GRAPPLE.


Joined other RN ships off Maiden Island for Dress Rehearsal of Test.

Present for explosion of a megaton weapon dropped from an aircraft on 15 May.

Personnel not essentially required assembled on F'xle and wore anti-flash gear.

Some sounding work was carried out before sailing for Samoa.


Pacific Islands Survey 1957-8.


Shoal examinations before arrival in Fiji on 6 June.

(Note: Formal welcoming ceremony and preliminary discussion held on seasons work.)

RNZAF provided aircraft for aerial reconnaissance of Natewa Bay and Vuya Passage area.

(Note: Unwanted publicity after incident during practice for Queen's Birthday Parade when

            Petty Officer accidentally fell into water near ship.

            Excellent relations established with local community leaders and Fijian RNVR.

Carried out Self Maintenance Period at Auckland.

Oceanographic measurements and sampling during passage and on return to Suva (June - July).

Survey work in Fiji area based at Natewa Bay.

Assisted by Fijian RNVR vessel VTTI (ML3555) in Vuya Passage south of Vanua Lew.

(Note: This proved of restricted value and was later discontinued (July to November 1957).

Detached parties landed for tidal measurements and establishment of controls.

(Note: During R&R periods personnel enjoyed traditional ceremonies including presentation of whales

           teeth (Tambuas) with Kava refreshment  and dancing exhibitions with choral accompaniment.

           Ship open to visitors and sporting exchanges arranged.

           Provision of cinema shows ashore - later a standard feature with Children's parties.

           Participated in annual Hibiscus Festival at Suva also attended by 4 USN ships and cruise ship

           ORSOVA with tourists.

           Entry of float "Mrs Hibiscus" drawn by ship's Landrover won a prize for 'most amusing entry' (August).

Carried out Preliminary examination of Tarawa in Gilbert Islands for 1958 work (November 1957)

Annual inspection at Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand. (November).


Interim Refit at RNZN Dockyard, Auckland (December 1957 to March 1958)


(Note: Local Navy League members arranged accommodation on sheep farms for ships company

           CinC FES on board (March).

           Proton Magnetometer arrived for use on passages, supervised by UK scientist

Local contact with NZ research team established programme of work to be undertaken

Departure delayed by collision with Calliope Dock Jetty at Auckland and by delivery of new power supply generators for 2 Range DECCA.

Sailed for Solomon Islands via Suva; Fiji on 17 March 1958 with two RNZN sporting trophies

(Note: This was specially allowed to be carried off Station by Commodore Auckland,.

             Commodore Goff-Davies who was an Ex LOCH Class captain).

There were 2 absentees on leaving but 1 was recovered later.


Solomon Islands Survey (March - July).


Survey programme agreed on arrival. First since HM Ships PINGUIN (Circa 1895) and SEALARK (1907).

(Note: Many triangulation marks from 1947 US survey had not survived.

            Recent increase in manganese export trade made present tasks additionally important and positions of some

            islands were found to be incorrect.

Detached parties landed at Honiara and Gizo.

Ship carried out soundings, Taut Wire measurements, Reef Fixing and sweeping work, in Gizo Strait and New Georgia Sound.

(Note: Astralobe observations made at Gizo in Garden of High Commissioner.

           Whilst at Honiara for Queen's Birthday Parade embarked High Commissioner for day at sea.

During passage to Port Moresby to refuel, Packlington Reef inspected and leak in Lower Naval Store repaired (June).

On return paid first RN visit to Mono (Treasury Islands) for 12 years.

(Note: Position found 4.50 miles east of chart.

            Unconventional football match and cinema landed.

            75% of population (100) came on board when 'open to visitors' (June).

            New Proton Magnetometer proved efficient and economic if carefully handled.

             Significant magnetic field strength changes noted in areas with 'sea- mounts'

             Facilities for R&R at Honiara not outstandingly suitable for personnel in survey ships which spent many

             days actively employed at sea

             Few Social contacts with Europeans.

             Shore Cinema shows in isolated communities a great attraction.

Carried out Shoal examination work on passage to Port Moresby.

(Note: Reception in this small community quite remarkable and due recognition of the efforts made by the Returned

             Serviceman's League (Australian equivalent of the Royal British Legion) was made by the CinC FES).

Passage to Hong Kong with Paying-off Pennant flown on departure from Port Moresby (14 July).

Royal Marines Band greeted ship on arrival in Singapore.

(Note: Due to delay in air transport re-commissioning deferred and volunteers steamed ship to Hong Kong arriving

            on 7 August


Interim Refit at Hong Kong (August - November).


Hull Corrosion area found smaller than expected. Boiler tubes replaced without delay in completion.

All survey boats were refitted after very extensive use in previous year.

(Note: Plan to provide crew for MFV 1540 intended for use at Honiara cancelled by Commodore Hong Kong when

             vessel flooded soon after departure for Leyte.


Fifth Commission.

Re-commissioned:  21 October 1958


Completed refit.

(Note: Machinery satisfactory but some defects in electronic gear remained (November).

           Ship's cat failed to re-join and found in HMS ST BRIDES BAY.


Passage to New Britain (November).


Shoal and reef examinations on east coast of Philippines

(Note: Pinnacle reported by USS BENHAM in 1944 found to extend from 1500 fathoms to 21 fathoms.

           Second reef found 5 miles NW of its charted position and new name proposed "Unexpected Bank"

Carried out examination of Philippines Trench for 11 hours with depths over 4,500 fathoms measured


Solomon Islands survey Continuation (November 1958 - February 1959).


Shoal Examination in New Ireland area at LIHRI and BUKA Islands.

Detached party with boat at BINA Harbour and ship work at FUI Bay, Malaita Island.

(Note: Evidence found of recent volcanic activity in BUKA area with deep water and shoals adjacent.

           Cat rejoined at Honiara.

Third fracture of windlass shaft.

(Note: Two hours needed to anchored weighed using boat winch and improvised tackle

             Repaired later at Port Moresby.

Survey work at BINA considered very necessary and worth maximum effort possible.

(Note: Special written request received from local headman at village of Arabala on island of Malaita.

            Villagers were allowed on board and Doctor visited local Mission hospital.


SW Pacific survey Continuation (November 1958 - February 1959).


Christmas at Port Moresby with superlative hospitality once again.

(Note: Reciprocal invitations for Children's Party on Xmas Day and also to Cinema show.

New shallow water area south of Guadalcanal found on New Year's Day.

(Note: This was identified provisionally as ‘New Year Bank’ and surveyed later (January 1959).

             Weather conditions during depressions reminiscent of those in Atlantic.

             Increase in defect load noted, particularly distiller pump, and problems with boilers and generators.

             Water rationing necessary.

             Damp conditions considered primary causeof increased defect load. and delay in obtaining spares

             an added complication.

             Fleet Boilermaker visited ship at Port Moresby.

             Increase in malaria cases noted and attention paid to correct use of Paludrine.

Collected Detached Parties who had completed work at Bina Harbour (February)

(Note: Cinema performance and Doctor visit at Bina before leaving.

            Briefed District Commissioner at Malaita on navigational features affecting Royal visit

 Sailed for Sydney to exchange Captain and surveying teams joining by air from UK.

Shoal examinations on passage. Selfridge Bank fixed

(Note: This was originally reported by USS SELFRIDGE)

Kelso Bank delineated and 24 fathom least depth established.

Press reception on arrival at Sydney with much interest in ship's cat (3 March).


Commanding Officer: Commander JSN Prior  (12/2/59)


Change of Hydrographic Officers at Sydney (March).


Outstanding repair work carried out and liaison with RAN Hydrographic authorities and civil scientists relating to

oceanographic work in South Pacific area.


Diversion for Repair (April).


Whilst on passage to Fiji diverted to Auckland because of Main Engine defect and hull leak.

Advance party sent by air to Labasa to prepare for survey of approaches.

(Note: Local corrosion discovered during docking.

          DED extended and Station Leave granted.

On completion of repair sailed for surveys in Fiji Islands(May)

(Note: Five absentees on sailing.


Fijian Area Survey (May – July 1959)


Shoal examination and Oceanographic Station work on passage.

Fijian welcoming ceremony an arrival (See later).

Use of lighter reduced time taken for survey work in Labasa (Malau) Approaches.

(Note: Shoals identification needed because of use by 8,000 ton merchant vessels collecting sugar )

Vuya Passage south of the island of Vanua Levu surveyed (June).

Boiler defect due to distorted tubes limited power available.

(Note: Progress delayed also by weather and E/S defect.)

Attended Queen's Birthday Parade at Labasa and provided Gun Salute (June).

(Note: During SMP at Suva third hole discovered in Engine Room - repaired by Shallow Water Divers.)

Survey of Passage between Ovalau Island and Viti Levu completed (July).

Tidewatching party at Levuka. Weekends spent at Levuka and Suva.

TELLUROMETER demonstration to local Survey Department at Suva.

(Note: During this period an increase in malaria cases was again noted.

Detached Party sent ahead by RNZAF aircraft to start survey at Betio Anchorage, Tarawa.


Gilbert Islands Surveys (August to November 1959).


First visit by RN ship to Tarawa in recent years.

(Note: Anchored off Betio. Social exchanges and Cinema landed. (August)

             TELLUROMETER proved most valuable for work in this survey period.

Detached Party with boats accommodated in RNZAF Bairiki and another at Nikunau Island.

SMP at Suva with reduced party left at Tarawa.

Carrried out survey between Abemama Island and Lagoon.

Detached Party and ship used (September - November).

Boat investigation made to ensure safe entry.

(Note: TELLUROMETER extensively employed.

            During this period snip was without mail and gave no leave for 23 days in September


Gilbert Islands Surveys (August to November 1959).


Attended Hibiscus Festival at Suva and entered new design Float (October)

Returned to Gilbert & Ellice work.

Fixed position of Abemama Island

(Note: Result  five mile different from US Chart.

             Completed in November,

Painted ship with assistance from prisoners in local goal.

Carried out  Sketch survey between  Tamama and Nanmumanga  with shoal examination (October)

                    (Note: Attended Feast and dancing display (Batere)

                              Each visitor received grass skirt.

                              Cinema landed.

Carried out Running survey at Nui Island – 3.5 mile discrepancy (North of charted position).


Passage to Singapore.


Position of Alita Reef, Laughlan Island and Stewart Island investigated (November).

Called at Port Moresby and Rendezvous with HM Frigate LLANDAFF.

Carried out Shoal examinations in Flores Sea.

Annual Inspection carried out before Paying off (December 1959)

Paid off at Singapore for Extended Refit on 14 December 1959.'


Sixth Commission 1961 - 62

Commissioned: 20 March 1961

Commanding Officer: Commander J Paton


During Extended Refit the changes made included:

            Improved living acccomodation with cafeteria messing Extensive work on boilers which were re-tubed

            as previously recommended.


During Extended Refit in 1960 the changes made included: (Cont.)

            Installation of new variant of improved Tweo Range DECCA (LAMDA) with roaster

            transmitter equipment resited in Blacksmith's Shop.

            Old site converted for use as Asian Mess and Tailors shop.

            Original radar (Type 972) replaced by latest design for survey use (Type 979).

            Incomplete delivery of items delayed setting to work and acceptance for use.

            New Echo Sounding Gear Type 771 which was supplied without operating instructions and spares !!)

            Air conditioning provided in Chartroom, Canteen/Sick Bay and Radar Office.

            Bridge Plotting Room enlarged, layout and natural ventilation improved.

             Inspection of hull showed it seemed in excellent condition.

             Particular attention was drawn by Commanding Officer to following aspects

                      Need to completely destore ship with all items landed into shore custody by dockyard.

                      Inspection and maintenance of all Hydrographic stores and equipment whilst not in use.

                      Improved habitability in Messdecks.

                      Important role of naval stores staff especially during refit periods such as

                                 Deficiencies in first supply of part of 979 Radar and spares for other new equipment.


Carried out LAMBDA Equipment Trials in Malayan area (April - May 1961).


Carried out at Paula Ticman with HM Survey Ship DAMPIER in company.

DECCA Slave Stations set up ashore to carry out trials using new survey techniques.

(Note: Assistance provided by 848 Squadron HMS BULWARK to land and collect heavy items.

            Collection also assisted by helicopters from 825 Squadron HMS VICTORIOUS

            Clearance of sites by new ships company provided a foretaste of many future similar

             activities, including the attendant risk of injury and the need for reliable radio telephone

             communication for surveying or for emergency purposes.

             The importance of trouble free operation of power supply generator equipment for Slave Stations as

             learnt in the earlier acceptance trials off the west coast of Scotland was again confirmed.


Passage to New Hebrides (May - July).


Soundings were made along proposed route for Commonwealth telephone cable in Celebes Sea.

(Note: Calls made at Miri, Borneo and Port Moresby for fuel.

             Contacts made with HM Australian Survey Ships DIAMANTINA and PALUMA.


Passage to New Hebrides (May - July).


Prior to arrival at Vila weather conditions deteriorated.

(Note: Defects in radar and E/S equipment not repaired due to lack of spares required and  caused interruption

             to programme (June)).

Hydrographic survey requirements discussed with Condoninion authorities at Vila after official exchange of calls.

(Note: Social and porting exchanges during the three day visit (July).

Medical emergency during passage to Suva for Planned maintenance period required diversion to Luganvilla,

Santo Island where operation was carried out ashore on ME1 rating (July).


Impressive ‘Fijian’ welcome


After Maintenance Period at Suva commenced survey programme NW of Vanau Levu.

Called at Naduri on north coast of Vanau Levu for traditional ceremony.

(Note: This seemed more intense as ship considered 'local property – as ‘HM Fijian Ship COOK’

.           Presentation of two whales teeth (TAMBUA) - usually made by swinmers, one to give permission to anchor

            and the other to land.

            Followed by YAQONA rituals attended by Captain and 50 others at which local 'brew' , KAVA – reputedly

            narcotic, was provided.

            Dancing and singing by the local ccranunity followed in profusion.

            A Turtle was then presented to the ship but in accordance with local practice returned for the entertainers to

            enjoy as a meal.


Fijian Islands (Vanau Levu) Survey (July - September).


Detached parties landed at Malau  for tidal readings and at Visoggo with boats for local soundings and coastal wo

(Note: Assistance provided by local Fijians.

            In addition the community at Visoggo provided accommodation for the party and ensured services were

            were available including clothes washing, provision of food, cooking and mail collection by 'runner'.


Fijian Islands (Vanau Levu) Survey (July – September 1961).


(Note:   The local 'Ratu' or Headman had fought the Japanese between 1942 and 1944. Perhaps this visit gave

            an opportunity to make a contribution to demonstrate his allegiance to the Crown  (Little shown


             These outstanding efforts by a small community were recognised by arranging a special visit to the ship for

             school children and by social entertainment for the local notables.

             A Cinema performance ashore was provided.

             The Captain noted in a his Report of Proceeding that the Fijians recognise the Royal Navy as their personal

             contact with the Crown.

During survey around the northern island (Vanua Levu) R&R periods were spent at Labassa

Reduced standard of behaviour of ships company was being influenced by a 20% element of Junior Ratings who had

known poor records of Conduct.

Weather conditions allowed good progress but an accident on 5 August when an officer engaged in coastal marking

work fell and injured his back.

Emergency return made to Labassa for hospital attention to compression fracture of back and possible damage

to his spinal chord.

(Note: Casualty was evacuated to UK from Suva later.)

R&R at Malau (Labassa)

Survey work in Savu Savu and Tilangitha passages completed and returned to Suva (Sept).


Preliminary work in Gilbert and Ellice Group (September).


Embarked local official for passage to Tarawa.

(Note: Stay limited to 9 days by fuel availability)

Main effort made at Abaiang Lagoon including use of detached party.

(Note: Good relations were established with shore communities of Beito and Bairiki.

Additional task to fix island of Nfeiana made by party embarked in Government ship (NAREAU)

Continuation work at Vanau Levu (October)

(Note: Need for future alongside berthing for SMP at Suva emphasised.)

Maintenance Period  at Levuka on Ovalua Island coincided with 'Cession Day' to mark the transfer to Britain in 1874.

(Note: Took part in parade and later Dancing Competition (‘Mekes’)

Advance Party sent for reconnaissance of Tasman Strait between TAVEUNI and NGAMEA

Large Scale survey at Savu  Savu Bay.

Note: Impressive local hospitality

Due to weather conditions sampling and water  temperature measurement activities were unprofitable

(Note: . Particpated in Remembrance Parade at Suva before leaving Fiji.)


Passage to Auckland (November).


Carried out Harbour survey at Vila, New Hebrides.

Medical case evacuated by RNZAF to Suva.

Made good weather damage to paintwork and fittings at Bay of Islands before entry.

Docking and annual inspection were carried out at Auckland (December)


Return Passage to Fiji (January 1962).


Hydrographic work at Vila, New Hebrides resumed and harbour survey completed.

(Note: Divers and 70 Ton pump assisted Swedish mv CARLA with leak.)


Continuation Survey in Fijian Waters (February – April  1962).


LAMBDA assisted survey with boat work in approaches to RINGGOLD CHANNEL, NE of Vanua Levu.

(Note: At Fijian Government request in anticipation of increased Bauxite export requirements.

Green Slave Station established at Napuka.
Red Slave position at Ihikombia Island (North of Group) proved unsatisfactory  as natives unfriendly.

Alternate site at Wailangilala used.

Both stations operational by 23 February but Green Slave resited at Wainunu (March).

Detached party with two boats at Wainunu River.


Continuation Survey in Fijian Waters (February – April 1962). (Continued)


 (Note: Two calves presented by French Consul.

             Mat RE party working on blasting of reefs at Savu Savu.)

             Social visit to Somo-Somo on Tavenui Island with dancing displays and return school visit.)

Dangerous situation due to Steering failure near Undu Point avoided by quick response to 'Full Astern' demand.

Report made "Constant state of alertness has to be maintained in these waters "

(Note: Was this the 'Gypsies Warning' for 1 October 1963 ?)

Survey completed (700 Square miles) and Slaves dismantled (April).

Easter spent at Levuka, Ovalau Island

(Note: Polynesian dancing display.)

           Rot discovered in survey boats gave rise to concern.


Gilbert Islands survey (May - June).


Detached parties landed with boats at Tamana and Abaing with ship sounding between islands.

Marakei Island found to be 5 miles West of charted position.

(Note: Party landed at Tamana for local feast and dancing.

           Two canoes overturned with many wet grass skirts as a result

.          Rating married at Suva during Maintenance Period.

           Captain addressed Fijian Society on hydrographic work in Fijian islands

Detached party landed at Arorae for stellar observations and ship carried out Sketch Survey.

Participated in Queens Birthday Parade.

(Note: New Union Flag presented to ship)

.Sketch Survey carried out at Maiana Island.


Passage to Singapore (June - July).


Large crowd with Police band attended departure from Suva after 12 months duty (20 June).

All on board had good cause to recall with pleasure the generous hospitality of the local people who had also contributed so much to assist the work accomplished.

Called at Port Moresby for fuel and thence via Carimati Channel

Note: Ship under surveillance by Indonesian aircraft

Oceanographic measurements made including magnetometer and gravimeter readings in New Hebrides area

and subsequently (July 1962).


Refit Period (August - October).


Commanding Officer: Lieut. Cdr. MJ Stumbles


Refit began on 20 July and new ships company joined

(Note: 11 Junior Seaman Ratings and Chinese Galley staff  had all joined by end August.

Defect items other than survey boats all completed by Terminal Date which was most unusual.

All trials completed by 24 October.

Engine Room equipment results were satisfactory but aging electronic equipment required further attention.



Seventh Commission 1962- 64

Commissioned: 6 October 1962

Commanding Officer: Commander FW Hunt, MBE


Host to visiting Dutch Survey Ship SNELLIUS during this visit


Passage to Tarawa to Gilbert & Ellice Islands (October - November).


Intercepted suspicious vessel off Kiadat.

Note: James Cooks’ birthday observed on board.

Deep water sampling in Mindanao Trench for National Oceanographic Institute.


Passage to Tarawa to Gilbert & Ellice Islands (October - November).


New measurement recorded - 6297 fathoms.

(Note: This reading was later considered suspect due to use of defective equipment. - See below). Bathythermographic work restricted after loss of thermometers.


Passage to Tarawa to Gilbert & Ellice Islands (October - November). (Continued)


Extent of LYRA Reef determined and variations in depth between 20 and 2000 fathoms measured.

(Note: Work continued day and night.

             Core sample taken for British Museum.

             During this task accuracy of deep water Sounding measurements was suspect thus putting in doubt the

             reading obtained in October for the Mindanao Trench.


Gilbert and Ellice Continuation (November 1962 - February 1963).


After arrival at Tarawa detached parties landed at NONOUTT, KURIA and BUTARITARI.

Ship soundings as well as Gravitoneter and Magnetometer measurements made

Carried out position fixing of islands

(Note: Radar used extensively as TELLUROMETER not available.

              Echo Sounder outfit E/S 771 not satisfactory for deep soundings (November - December).

Christmas spent at at Suva with alongside secure berthing and workshop available.

Preparations made for Street Lining during Royal visit street

(Note: Three VSO civilians embarked (2 male and 1 female) for work on islands.


Bligh Water (Fiji) Survey continuation work (January - March 1963).


Two Range Decca Stations established at Viti Levu and Vanu Levu for Northern Approaches survey work.

Reconnoitred Navula passage in anticipation of Royal Yacht arrival.

(Note: Fijian and Indian community welcome ceremonies at Port Ellington and Vaileka.

            Over 2,000 visitors despite 8 mile journey to ship.

Met Royal Yacht at LAUTGKA and accompanied her to Suva.

Sailed before arrival due to delay of Royal flight.

(Note: Street lining party not used (2 March 1963)

.            VSO's landed.

Detached parties remained to continue work.


Royal Visit to New Zealand (February - March).


Attended Waitangi Day ceremony and provided 60 ratings for crowd control.

(Note: Commodore Auckland with his Broad Pennant in HMNZ Cruiser ROYALIST was

            Senior Naval Officer.)

           This is an annual ceremony to commemorate the signing of the Treaty between the Maori Chiefs

            and the Crown.

Ships illuminated (5-7 February).

During passage to Auckland with HM Submarine TAPIR, some exchanges of crews.

(Note: 20 ratings went overland.

            Station Leave granted during the six  day stay.

Returned to Bligh Water survey on completion of self maintenance. (12 March)


Continuation of Fiji Survey (March 1963).


On arrival landed detached party on Yanuda Island. Work delayed by Decca problems

(Note: Boatwork progressed but Motor cutter damaged on reef and sank.

            Later it was salved and repaired)

During Yandua Passage and Round Island Passage ship sounding and sweepingcarried out.

Intermittent problems experienced with Two Range Decca equipment.

Diverted by Search and Rescue duty NE Canton Island in Phoenix Group for Royal Flight to USA (28 March).

Shoal examination work confirmed 1943 US data.

Embarked Bear Admiral Irving (Hydrographer) and Mr Pascoe (Chief Civil Hydrographic Office at Port Ellington.

(Note: Visits were also paid to Slave Station.

Windlass and radar failures.

Passage to Suva via Vatui Ira Channel to disembark party (6 April).


Annual Inspection and Docking at Auckland (April – May 1963).


GEMINI dinghy supplied which later proved a valuable asset to survey work.

Return passage to Suva with NZ ornithologist and Decca engineer embarked to investigate LAMBDA problems

Diverted to Suva for medical case (9 June)


Bligh Water Continuation Survey (June).


Two-Boat camp re-established on Yandua Island.

(Note: Decca investigation resulted in only slight improvement.

Ship sounding work continued with completion target date of mid-July.

During fuelling visit to Suva prepared to give assistance during South Pacific Games.

Visit extended to allow maximum maintenance effort in view of future programme.

Embarked Mr. E.D. Stroup of Baltimore University for oceanographic work.

Heavy Duty Bathythermograph unit fitted.


Survey and Oceanographic Work in Gilbert and ELlice Group (July - August)


Detached Party landed at Nonouti with boat for local repeat survey.

Four day farewell visit to Tarawa with social exchanges.

Ship sounding at Nonouti and gravity survey at Tabitevea using GEMINI.

Meridianal hydrographic investigation near Ocean Island.

(Note: Part of an International exploration project to examine equatorial currents in the central Pacific area.)

Water sampling and current readings down to 400 metres at 50 metre intervals.

(Note: Significant undercurrents found at 200 metres.)

Ridge investigation carried out at position between Tarawa and Mainana (August).

Bathythermograph measurements made in Mainana - Kuria and Aranuka - Nonouti gaps.

Variation swing and soundings carried out on passage to Ocean Island.

Carried out Seamount investigations in Tabituea area

Special survey made to prepare for laying of deep moorings for buoys at Ocean Island.

(Note: The work proved difficult and time consuming.)

Embarked Gilbert and Ellice Islands competitors for South Pacific Games at Suva.

R&R period at Suva.

Provided Assistant Camp Commandants and Timekeepers for Games

(Note: Presentation was made to ship made for help given (August - September).

Manned and cheered ship with 17 gun slute when HE Governor left in rms ORIANA (September)


Bligh Water Continuation work (September).


Completed sounding work for which air photographs proved valuable.

Electrical storm affected operation of 2 Range DECCA. After SMP at Suva recommenced survey on 1 October.


Grounding of  HMS COOK at Suva 1 October 1963)


At 1737 whilst seeking a satisfactory anchorage near Vatu - Ra ship grounded on a coral head and was badly holed forward.

Refloated after 10 hours. Hull examination of hull showed major flooding.

In order to carry out temporary repair on slip at Suva, 1300 tons of equipment removed.

Damage assessment carried out included use of divers from HMNZS TARANAKI.


Aftermath of Grounding


Board of Enquiry convened at Suva on 15 October.

President: Captain BE Turner, RNZN (HMNZS ROYALIST)

Hydrographic Member - Commander J. S. N. Pryor ((H) Charge HMS DAMPIER).

Crew accommodated at RNZAF Lauthala Bay.

Repair completed and ship refloated  (27 October 1963)

Ready for sea after equipment refitted (22 November 1963).


During the non-operational period local survey work was completed by detached parties and ship's boats at Lautoka,

At Viti Levu. help was also provided by the New Zealand survey vessel HMZNS LACLAN which also recovered

Slave Stations (October)

The ships saluting guns were landed for use by Fijian Military Forces.


Farewell to Fiji (November).


Various tasks were carried out before departure including

(Note: One of these was the provision: of assistance to US Yacht FJORD in which had run aground at NAIRARI

            Salvage awards (DCI 1077/65) included £46 for the Captain and less than £1 for the lowest share (6/12/63)

Carried out ship sounding on approaches to Bligh Water.

Swept channel off Labassa, Vanua Levu to check depth for safe use by manganese ore ships.

Inspection made of  reef passage at Ngau.

(Note: Prior to departure from Fiji the Vanivalu of Fiji, Ratu George K Cakabua, QBE presented two Fijian War Clubs

             NGANDI – a Peace dub and WAKA - a War Club) for retention by the RN Surveying Service in

             commemoration of the close association of the survey ships with the islands in recent years.

             A particularly strong rapport had been established with HMS COOK which had become known locally as

             HM Fijian  Ship COOK.


Passage to Singapore (December).


Embarked sugar and building materials for delivery to New Hebrides.

NOTE: Emergency stores for use at Tongoa after hurricane during November.

Called at Honiara, British Solomons

(Note: A geologist was embarked for New Georgia and investigated volcanic eruptions in Blanche


              Core samples were obtained.

Shore survey was carried out at the end of telecommunications cable in NE New Guinea at Madang.

Called at Manus for fuel.

Spent Christmas at sea followed by refuelling again at Labuan.

New Year at sea.

Arrived Singapore on 3 January 1964

(Note: At a Court Martial held at Singapore on 10/11 January. Captain found Guilty of hazarding and stranding

             his ship.)


Commanding Officer: Lt. Cdr M J Stumbles


Passage to UK.


Sailed for Gan on 12 January.

Indonesian Gunboat approached in Strait but left when Royal Malayan Navy Motor Launch appeared.

New Captain joined ship at Gan


Commanding Officer: Commander RAG Nesbit


Commendations for services after Grounding were promulgated during this period: -

Chief Shipwright JF Norris and Leading Seaman DJ Wilkinson

Replenished at sea after leaving Gan on 21 January.

Called at Aden, Malta and Gibraltar.


F i n a l   P h a s e


On arrival in Home Waters on 24 February 1964 the Hydrographer of the Navy embarked and the ship wore his flag for its return to Devonport Dockyard for the last time.


HMS COOK  was withdrawn from service and Paid off on 1st May 1954. The ship was placed in Reserve and destored. She was put on the Disposal List and in 1968 sold to BISCO for demolition. In April that year she was towed to Zeebrugge for breaking-up.


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