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

HMS DALRYMPLE  (A 302) - ex-Loch-class Frigate,  Survey Ship

HMS Dalrymple (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. Acknowledgment is 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 representative of the career of this ship during its deployment on hydrographic survey duties. Some place names in the Persian Gulf are not necessarily those in current use and it should be noted that during the survey work although local people were consulted, in many cases other names may be used in contemporary documents. This ship was responsible, with HMS OWEN for the whole of British survey work in the Persian Gulf area after 1950 until 1963. Service in Home waters after that date was in North Western Approaches and the Irish Sea and included participation in NATO Atlantic oceanographic programmes.


Original build order on 25tgh January 1943 with Pickersgill at Sunderland  for A/S Frigate LOCH GLASS changed in 1944 to AA Frigate  The ship was laid down as Job Number 4795 (Yard Number 263) on 29th April 1944 and launched on 12th April 1944 as HMS LUCE BAY. After launch the contract was terminated on 6th June 1944 and she was towed to Devonport for completion by HM Dockyard as HMS LUCE BAY. Build design was changed for use as a Survey Ship during fitting out. Before completion in January 1947 the name was again changed to HMS DALRYMPLE. Build was completed on 10th February 1949. In common with the other four Ex LOCH Class frigate hulls converted into survey ships the name chosen was that of a notable British hydrographer. Alexander Dalrymple (1737 - 1808).


Manning Port:   Devonport till centralised


H e r a l d i c   D a t a


Badge:  On a Field White, nine lozenges conjoined in saltire Red


First  Commission

Commissioned for service on 10th February 1948.

Commanding Officer:  Captain A. Day, CBE, DSO (30/12/48).



After repair to defects found on trials carried out shoal examinations off Spain during passage to Malta and called at Gibraltar.


Mediterranean (April - August).


Malta Harbour Survey.

Detached parties landed for survey of Grand Harbour creeks using 2 survey motor boats.

Ship offshore work with Beacons in Malta Channel. Taut wire measurements made.

(Note:  Type 972 most effective and ship visited by both FO Malta and CinC Mediterranean.)

Tripoli Harbour Clearance and Depth Examination (May)

Detached party with 2 survey motor boats left behind on departure.


Commanding Officer: Captain EHB Baker, DSO ( June 1949)


Malta Channel work 50% complete (June)

Refit at Gibraltar (July)

(Note:  Excess wear found in stem tubes and "A" Bracket bearings after only 6 months service.)

Towed Lighter C647 from Gibraltar on return to survey work (July)

Off shore work completed.

Grand Harbour incomplete due to access problems in some areas (August)


Passage to Persian Gulf  (September).


Towed MFV90. Speed limited by tow and duration extended by defects in MFV.

Tripoli harbour sweeping work (September)

Visited Socotra with Sultan's stipend (in Marie Theresa dollars) and Mjkalla for routine call

by Resident whilst MFV under repair (October).


Persian Gulf (November 1949 - March 1950).


Survey of Northern approaches to Bahrain.

Commenced triangulation before Xmas break at Basrah

(Note:  Operating difficulties with survey motor boats because of weather conditions.

             More use made of ship for sounding work.

Discussed survey requirements with OWEN prior to joint survey work (January - February).

Doha visit restricted by weather conditions (February)

Detached parties landed by both ships with Jeeps at Fuwairat.

Completed planned tasks including coast lining.


Passage to Mediterranean.


Called at Kamaran after leaving Aden.

(Note: Buoy positions fixed and improvements recommended (April)


Commanding Officer:  Captain EG Irving, OBE   ( /04/50)


Mediterranean (May - October).


Continued survey in Adventure Bank area between Malta and Sicily.

Visited Porto Hipadocle. Measured Mile off Ghain luffia survey for Fleet Navigation Officer.

Refit Period at Gibraltar (July to September)

Local harbour survey began on arrival. 14 Days Station leave granted.

Dockyard work included lengthening funnel by 12 feet to improve draught.

Unsatisfactory shore accommodation arrangements.

Oh completion checked new submarine target positioned off Gibraltar to test A/S equipment.

Captain visited Spanish Hydrographer at Cadiz and laboratory at Malaga.


Passage to Bahrein (October - November).


Bathythermograph measurements on lines of no magnetic variation in Red Sea and in Perim Strait.


Persian Gulf  (November 1950 to February 1951).


Based at Bahrain. Survey NW of Qatar commenced with Tide Watching parties detached ,.

Progress delayed by Shamal conditions. Visited Basrah and Abadan over Xmas/New Year period

Hospitality and social exchanges with Oil Company personnel. Survey in Bahrein approaches with further

delays by weather. Anchor damage sustained.


Passage to UK (February - March).


Sailed for UK to pay off on 15 February.

Shoal Examinations in Red Sea and near Cape Bon.

Annual Inspection in Malta.

Diversion to assist mv BONAIRE off Start Point cancelled. Arrived at Plymouth on 20 March


Interim Refit (April - July).


Both propeller shafts replaced; Fire in Paint Shop extinguished by ships staff. A/S 162 fitted and E/S 765 replaced by E/S 767.


Second Commission

Commissioned:   21 June 1951

Commanding Officer:  Commander Irving


Passage to Indian Ocean (July).


Called at Gibraltar to land medical case.

Shoal examination work in Mediterranean abandoned due to weather and another off Zubair Island

in Red Sea was unsuccessful. Brief stay at Aden for leave to Somali's.


Zanzibar Approaches (August - November).


Preparatory work proceeded without interruption as unrest in Zanzibar had subsided.

Detached parties for tide watching and clearance before setting up triangulation Marks.

Future work discussed with shore authorities at Mombasa. Investigated existing land survey marks.

Astronomer Royal advised of queries and asked Hydrographer to make further checks.

Field and boat work started. Shoal areas discovered notified to local shipping.

During visit to Pemba invitation to local 'bull baiting' (dating back to Portuguese occupation)

was arranged. Excellent local assistance and hospitality provided Programme completed and shore parties  recovered.

Sailed for Khor Kuwai (November).

Arrived Bahrain in company with LOCH GLENDHU.


Persian Gulf (December 1951 - March 1952)


Shah Alum Shoal survey prior to provision of navigational light.

Planned Jetty near HMS JUFAIR discussed.

Detached parties and reconnaissance prior to setting up Marks and triangulation work (December).

Xmas at Bahrain with Dance for Servicemen arranged by Lady Hay, wife of Political Resident.

Arson attempt in Boiler Room by ME rating failed

 (Note:  Returned to UK as schizophrenic

Work in Western approaches to Um Said with OWEN delayed by shamal conditions.

Detached parties continued shore work. Beacons set up. R&R at Urn Said.

Diverted to Basra for Manorial Service after death of King George VI.

On return increased boat work and other activity to make up for earlier delays.


Shamal conditions persisted until May but ship sounding not seriously affected.

Survey liaison established with US Navy survey ship (USS VALCOUR) for future work

(Note: Jeep vehicle available for first time during this period.


Passage to Mediterranean (April )


Soundings and magnetic checks. Called at Hallamya, Kuria Marie Islands.

Extensive shoal examinations carried out in Red Sea.


Mediterranean (April 1952 - June 1952).


Soundings off Crete for Cambridge University.

Annual Inspection at Malta (April)

Passage via Messina Straits to attend International Hydrographic

Berthed alongside International  Hydrographic Bureau.

(Note: Many international visitors and Rear Admiral Day, Hydrographer of the Navy hosted reception

Continuation of Adventure Bank and Grand Harbour work with detached parties in Malta (May to June)

Sicily Channel Taut wire measurements using Beacons and least depth checks by boats.

Interim Refit and Chart preparation at Gibraltar (July - October]

Local sounding work in harbour by detached party

Captain visited Spanish Hydrographic Office at Cadiz.

Dockyard work delayed till August.

(Note:  Two Somali ratings returned to Aden after messdeck altercation.)

On completion of dockyard work took passage to Gibraltar

Flag Officer Gibraltar embarked for first official visit to Cadiz by Royal Navy since 1936.

Sporting exchanges and visits by Spanish hydrographers.

Ship's boats rescued FLAMINGO ratings from water on two separate occasions (October)

New Commanding Officer Commander R Bill, DSO RN appointed


Passage to Persian Gulf.


Embarked 22 soldiers for passage to Port Said from Malta (November)

Assisted in repair of telephone cable off Aden (December)

Soundings recorded during passage from Aden.


Persian Gulf Survey (December 1952 - March 1953.


Progress discussion with HMS OWEN

Short survey at Bahrein (December)

Xmas arrangements at Bahrain similar to 1951.

Progressed Dalma - Yas area survey off Trucial Coast with OWEN (January  to March )

At Bahrein with HMS OWEN for CinC East Indies visit in  HMS CEYLON (January).

Dubai dhow rescued (February).

Survey work additionally delayed by severe shamal conditions which caused much frustration.


Passage to East Africa.


Investigations carried out into best methods of landing equipment over open beaches in anticipation of future requirements.


East African Coast (April - June 1953)


Continuation of Zanzibar area survey

Detached parties carried out harbour work

At Dar-es-Salaam for Coronation ceremonies and R&R.

Visited Mombasa for International Indian Ocean Exploration requirements in 1954.


Passages to and from Refit at Devonport


Embarked Governor and Lady Crawford at Seychelles for passage to Aden (June).

Returned to Devonport for interim refit period until October.


On return passage to Persian Gulf called at Aden to embark Somali ratings (November)

Completed Survey of Ras Mandrake


Persian Gulf (December 1953 - April 1954)


Daz (?) area survey by ship only as weather prevented use of boats. (December).

Met OWEN to discuss progress of survey work.

Detached party landed for tidal measurements at Yaz (?).

Withdrawn early for medivac on 20 December.

Xrnas and New Year at Bahrain.

Survey resumed and completed despite interruption for two medivacs.

Ship grounded on coral pinnacle - Log unit damaged (20 January).


Commanding Officer:  Commander J T K Paisley    (08/02/54)


New area survey commenced (Hallul - Hadid) but delay experienced due to weather.

Barge (VYC144) under tow during passage from Bahrain to Basra sank (27 February).

Buoyed wreck for later recovery action

.Basra R&R visit coincided with international exhibition attended by King Hussein of Jordan and King

Faisal of Iraq. 25% of survey work planned for Persian Gulf completed (April).


Passage to Zanzibar (April).


Embarked workman for landing at Khor Kuwai.

Soundings and detached party tidal work at Qibliya Island, Kuria Maria Group

Medical emergency - evacuated by air from Salalah.

(Note:  Assistance from HMS OWEN not needed


East African Survey Work (April - December 1954).


Preparatory work for Zanzibar harbour approaches survey (May).

Assisted in search for defective underwater communications cable.

Visited Mombasa (May)

Passage to Simonstown for refit (May)

Carried out Shoal examination off Hully Point.

Medivac to Salisbury Island SAN Base near Durban.

Hull damage during heavy weather whilst on passage to Simonstown.


Docking and essential defects (June - September).

Repairs needed to steering gear and machinery defects found during sea trials.

(Note:  Lack of lubricating oil in shaft Plummer Blocks.

             Subsequent Court Martial found rating guilty of one of 3 charges involving this defect.)

At request of Portuguese Government searched for rock off Punta Zavoma where ss KLIPFONTEIN

foundered in January 1953.

Southern approaches to Zanzibar survey (October 1954 - January 1955).

Detached parties deployed for for coast lining and boat sounding.

Local harbour survey at request of Port authority

(Note:  Severe storm whilst in harbour  but ship rode steadily (October)

Escorted Royal Yacht for visit (October)

.Despite delays completion as planned for end December.

Visit to Pemba included Bull Fight and disappointing behaviour by libertymen (December).

Exercises were carried out with Royal East African Navy vessels during this period.

Xmas and New Year spent at Zanzibar.

(Note:  Social exchanges including performances by Ship's Concert Party and Dance arrange by British


             Improved shore behaviour noted.


 Passage to Mediterranean (January 1955).


Triangulation work in Malta by Royal Engineers discussed during call at Suez.


Mediterranean (February - May 1955).


Large scale survey at Famgusta, Cyprus using detached parties (January - February)

Malta coastline and offshore areas surveyed in conjunction with RE Survey Team (See above).

RN work included: -

                 Grand Harbour and other Creeks by detached parties

                 Fleet Exercise Areas and bays together with coastal areas by ship.

Taut wire measuring gear frequently used.

Fire in Galley due to Deep Fat Fryer being left switched ON.

(Note:  Incorrect fire-fighting procedure used.

            Total cost of repair and rewiring £64 (31 March)

Display of Hydrographic work arranged to encourage candidates for surveying duties.


Passage to UK.


Continuation of Adventure Bank work from 1953 (May)

Met OWEN at Gibraltar

Arrived at Plymouth 30 May.


Third Commission

Commissioned:  6 July 1955

Commanding Officer:  Commander JTK Paisley (8/2/54


Refit Period (June - September 1955)


Port main engine re-aligned. Shaft bearings overheated during trials.

Clearance parameters revised in future.

Captain and officers attended launch of Zanzibar Government ship at Kingswear shipyard.

Hydrographer visited ship (September)

No Somali ratings carried and accommodation used as Gunroom for officers under training.


Mediterranean (September 1955 - Mid May 1956).


Detached parties in Malta continued Grand Harbour and creeks survey.

Ship Soundings and triangulation of the Exercise Areas progressed but hampered by weather.

Adventure Bank and Pantelleria Strait sweeping and shoal examination (February - March).

Magnetic observations using new BMZ gear.

Visited Sorrento for R&R.

At Monaco for the wedding of Price Rainier to Grace Kelly.

(Note:  Floodlit and Guard landed (April)

Premature SUBSUNK operation for HM Submarine SEA DEVIL  (May).

EXPEDITION party making  journey to Cape Bon IN SHIP’S WHALER discontinued because of weather (May)


Passage to UK (May).


Landed party at Syracuse to return overland to Plymouth on minimum budget.


Interim Refit at Devonport (July - September 1956)


Commanding Officer   Lieut. Cdr. JD Winstanley


Completion delay by repair work on refrigeration equipment and on post refit trials defects.


Mediterranean Service (October 1956 - April 1957 including Suez Operation).


During visit to Gibraltar for repair of weather damage newly dredged are of harbour swept to confirm no obstructions, (September).

Grand Harbour and coastal work continued on arrival at Malta.

Annual inspection by Flag Officer Malta.

Diverted from planned Tobruk survey to take part in Operation MUSKETEER on 27th October.


Operation MUSKETEER (November).


Joined Convoy MES2 and required for wreck dispersal duty.

(Note:  Additional depth charges stowage had been fitted earlier

.            Stores transferred from HM Depot Ship FORTH.

Arrived Port Said on 6 November.


Suez  Clearance Work.


Joined other ships in task of clearance of obstructions preventing access to Canal.

(Note:  This was of major importance and clearly suited to a survey ship.

             The RN Staff Officer (Salvage) - Commander JRL Dore, DSC joined on 7 December to assist

.            Lord Hailsham (First Lord of the Admiralty) and other senior officers visited ship on 14th December.

             Some sniping and small arms fire took place before 22 December when all RN warships were withdrawn.

             UN Flag was then worn and RN Liaison Officer to UN Emergency Force, Captain TE Podger)

              accommodated on board.

             During period of service with UN personnel wore overalls and berets and ships flew UN flag

             Saluting guns had been removed and four Finnish guards remained on board at all times as independent


             Communications facilities were provided until ship released from UN service

.            Seven of the known 23 wrecks were removed by DALRYMPLE staff.

             Morale was excellent throughout and various  out of hours emergencies were tackled in a commendable


Sailed for Cyprus two days later with Z-Lighter in tow for delivery to Famagusta.

No shore leave had been possible for 11 weeks and a special R&R programne was approved by CinC Mediterranean.

Visited Palermo and Naples after a 3 day return to survey of Malta Exercise areas.


Malta Area (February - March 1957)


Coastal survey including Gozo and Exercise areas was completed and joined with military shore survey.

Detached Party triangulation in Sliema was also completed.


Passage to UK (March - April).


Sailed to Gibraltar on 20th March

Shoal examination and difficult core sampling work.

Boat work carried out in dredged area of harbour at Gibraltar.

Embarked military and RAF personnel for passage (April)

Planned provision of Cover for  passage of Landing Craft Tank in Atlantic passage abandoned

due to weather conditions which delayed arrival at Plymouth.

Wore UN Flag and Suez Company flag on arrival at Devonport on 8 April.


Fourth Commission

Commissioned:  21 May 1957

Commanding Officer:  Lieutenant Commander JD Winstanley (24/ /06/56)


Refit Period at Devonport (April - June)


(Note: 2 Range DECCA System equipment (Ex OWEN) fitted.

Detached parties sent to Moll of Galloway area to find suitable sites for Slave Stations (May).

Trial planning meeting with ASRE and Geodetic scientists (June)


Carried out 2 Range DECCA Equipment Trials (June)


(Note:  Measurements made from shore positions whilst ship steamed from Lands End to Holyhead.)

On completion Slave Station calibration was effected with ship at Port Patrick, near Stranraer.


West Coast Scotland Survey (July - October).


Tobermory harbour by detached party and ship sounding (July)

Local survey of Lerwick area with  FETLAR (July)

Sound of Mill Least Depth sweeping over wreck (July).

(Note:  Five punishment warrants for discipline offences by a minority of new ship's company. )

Carried out survey in Western Approaches to North Channel (August - November).


First 2 Range DECCA Survey.

Weekends at Londonderry.

(Note: Weather overall poor.

             Slave Stations at Port Ellen, Islay and Benbane Head, NW of Portrush, Antrim.

Tide watching Party at Portnahaven, and later Bruichladdich (Islay) and Ihstrhall

.Poor weather caused damage to ship and at Benbane Head Slave Station.

Leave period at Liverpool (August)

Detached party at Londonderry for Lough Foyle work.

Ship sounding across North Channel in poor weather which reduced boat sounding.

Outbreak of Asian 'flu reduced effort available.


Passage to Devonport (November).


Local survey at Dartmouth with detached party used.

(Note:  23 relatives joined ship for return trip to Devonport.)


South Coast Survey (February - May 1958).

Commanding Officer:  Commander DW Haslam 18/1/58

(Later Hydrographer of the Navy 1975 – 1985)


Home Waters (Continued)

Wreck investigations in the Solent area.

Cowes harbour and Medina River survey by detached party.

Charts and hydrography exhibition at Portsmouth Navy Days (May).


Extended Refit Period (June 1958 - July 1959).


Note: Improvements included:

          Replacement of Type 972 Radar by special new design Type 979 with improved ranging facility.

          New Bridge Plotting Room to improve facilities needed survey using 2 Range DECCA equipment.

          Modernised Galley to suit a cafeteria system of messing.

          Fitting of bunks were to replace use of hammocks

Hull damaged by HM Destroyer DECOY during internal dockyard ship movement (August 1958).


Fifth Commission

Commissioned:  7 July 1959

Commanding Officer:  Captain G. S. Ritchie, DSC.

(Later Rear Admiral, CB, DSC and Hydrographer of the Navy)


Trials in the North Sea (July)

Home Waters (Cont.)

Slave Stations set up in East Anglia and ship fixed using TELLUROMETER equipment.

Visited Peterhead, near Aberdeen (August)

(Note:  Wide ranging social programme included dances, football match against local prison and local Beauty Contest..)


Passage to Persian Gulf (September - October).

Annual Inspection prior to departure (August).

Cambridge scientific team lead by Dr Tom Allan embarked for trials of new design towed magnetometer.

Unsatisfactory Trial on Echo Sounder Type MS26J by Admiralty scientist during passage to Gibraltar (September).

Magnetometer outfit also tested in Atlantic and Mediterranean prior to use during Topographic Traverses in Red Sea

(Note: 16 passages made between African and Arabian shores using magnetometer and E/S equipment.


Presence of Shoal in Red Sea confirmed but completion of survey delayed by radar defect.

(Note: Very hot passage and arrived in Aden with Boiler defect (October).

           Local water boat strike aggravated need to replenish fresh water supplies.

Further magnetometer measurements were obtained in Indian Ocean.


Persian Gulf Surveys (October 1959 - March 1960).


Ship Survey:  Jazirat Halul - Das Island. (November - December)

Slave Stations set up at Unn Said, in Qatar and on Jazirat Zarqa Island 180 miles westward.

(Note:  Considerable difficulty experienced in landing equipment and stores at Zarqa

           Problems also had to be surmounted before site near Unn Said was ready for use.

            Only suitable position on large sand dune was not easily accessible for heavy loads

            Both stations ready for use by 13 November.

Tide-watching station set up on Halul Island

Ship work interrupted by salvage of Landrover (See below) and shamal conditions.

Coastal Survey with Boats carried out  South and West of Dalma (October 1959 - February 1960)

Camps set up at Gagah Island and at Raz al Hazra on mainland.

Inflatable raft carrying Landrover damaged and sank during use.

(Note:  Vehicle retrieved with aid of divers and flotation drums.

             After Repair on board set back to use (November).

During initial calibration work on 2 Range DECCA a steel barge which had broken away whilst under tow

from Doha was located and saved (November)


Operation LINK I (November)

Special survey in conjunction with Qatar Petroleum Company aimed at fixing the position of the Mussandam

Peninsula in relation to Iranian shore.

(Note: Triangulation network on Iranian side of Hormuz Strait from survey in 1949-51 by Iranian Oil Company

               had to join with that established in 1931 by HMS ORMONDE.

Detached parties established near Ras al Khaimah for TELLUROMETER and theodolite measurements.

(Note:  This was supported by helicopter.)

Poor weather conditions prevented completion before helicopter had to return to oil company duties

(Note: Concert party from ship gave successful performances during R&R periods at Bahrain for JUFAIR

           personnel and oil company staff from Umm Said and Daz  Island.

           During the Christmas period at Karachi two performances were given simultaneously at the Gymkhana

           and Boat Clubs.

On return to Bahrein for annual inspection a detached party carried out sweeping work at Sitra on

approach channel to Khor Kaliya.

(Note:  Channel buoys were the fixed using radar and Taut Wire gear.

            In this period Persian Gulf RN Football Cup was won by ship's team (January)

Continuation of survey (January - March)

Establishment of new base camp for detached coastal party involved passage through an uncharted

area in fog with attendant reliance on E/S and radar.

Ship resumed soundings work off Halul using existing Slave Stations.

Coastal work and ship sounding was continued off Halul using 2 Range DECCA slave stations at

which personnel were exchanged periodically.

(Note R&R at Doha and Ihm Said.)

Shamal conditions resulted in damage to anchor (27 January).

(Note: Replacement anchor obtained on temporary loan from SHELL MARINE at Doha (February)

Diverted to fix site of new DECCA commercial radio navigation Chain Station at Shaikh Shu'aib Island

on Iranian side of Gulf and to fix position of Shah Alum Shoal Light where there had been several groundings (February).

Previous Triangulation work carried out by OWEN linked with current survey of southern Gulf using

TELLUROMETER for distance measurement.

Coastal passage Ghaga - Naiti Strait completed (February)

Local survey completed at Umm Said by detached party (February).


Medical emergency (March)

(Note: Surveying Recorder rating diagnosed as requiring immediate attention to deal with a ruptured appendix.

           Medical Officer assisted by Sick Berth Chief Petty Officer and the Supply Officer carried out the operation

           successfully, to the relief of all concerned (3 March).

           Patient landed at Doha to convalesce in civil hospital.

After recovering all detached parties and slave station equipment made an 65 mile passage using newly

established inshore route from Gahah to Dalma Island through Na Itah Strait and southward of Yasat (March)

General comments reported following this commission included

           Improvement in local facilities provided by JUFAIR such as mail deliveries and film exchanges

.          Satisfactory radio communications always available to maintain contact with the five detached parties

           in continuous use.

Investigations made by Work Study Team relating to use of new maintenance system (January).


Passage to Passage to UK (March - May).


Soundings made on Murray Ridge in Indian Ocean and refuelled at Karachi (March).

Shoal examination in Brothers Light area in Red Sea (March).

Local survey in Malta.

Shoal examination off Cape Eon using Beacons and assisted by four Coastal Minesweepers. (April).

Called at Tunis and embarked Admiralty underwater scientist for oceanographic work (April).

Experienced very adverse sea conditions in this 3 day task.

Carried out planned shoal examination work off Cape St. Vincent (May)

Arrived Plymouth for refit 12 May 1960.


Refit Period (May - September).


Commanding Officer:  Lieut. Commander M. Baker ( /05/60)


Damaged by catamaran after being struck by HM Destroyer DECOY during dockyard movement.

Consequential structural repair carried out  by dockyard.


Commanding Officer: Commander H. R. Hatfield         (11/07/60)


Speed of 17.4 knots achieved during power trials on completion of refit (September)

No machinery bearing problems.

Hydrographer of the Navy embarked for sounding task north of Eddystone Light (September)


Passage to Persian Gulf  (September - October).


Sailed from Plymouth on 13th  September.

Mediterranean transit coincided with NATO exercise (September).

(Note:  Yellow flag flown to show ship was not involved.)

.Arrived Aden 5th October.

Rendezvous with HM Frigate LOCH RUTHVEN to embark First Lord of the Admiralty (Lord Carrington)

by jackstay transfer during passage to Bahrein (October).


Persian Gulf ( October 1960 - March 1961).


Local survey in Sitra Channel

Diverted to assist with fire-fighting on ss POLYANA abandoned 95 miles east of Bahrain.

(Note:  This major salvage operation lasted over 7 days.

             Inadequate stock of Foam available caused delays.

             Derelict ship was towed back to Bahrain.

              Substantial Salvage awards were paid..

Ship sounding began in Balul area on completion of salvage work. Operation LINK H (November).

Continuation of LINK I (See above)

(Note:  Two Helicopters provided by Qatar Petroleum Company.)

            Detached party landed by helicopter on Iranian Islands of Qishm (Qeshm) for TELLUROMETER and

            Theodolite measurements

           An Iranian Navy Liaison Officer embarked at Bandar Abbas.

DECCA Slave stations established.


(Note:  A US Navy Survey was also undertaking work in the area

           Linking measurements completed by 26 November.

Checks made on accuracy of new commercial DECCA Chain for use by merchant shipping (November).

Mussandam Peninsular survey (December 1960 - January 1961)

Detached party at Khor Kuwai for tide watching, local sounding and coastlining southern shore of the

Strait of Hormuz. Slave stations retained at earlier sites.

Boat Soundings made in Khor whilst ship dealt with open waters.

Christmas was spent at Unn Said.

(Note. Extensive social and seasonal exchanges with British Community and DECCA Company engineers

           associated with   local RN survey.

Tidal gauge was set up at Sharjah  (One rating accommodated at RAF station).

Ship soundings in Arabian Sea (January - February 1961)

Proposed site for automatic tide gauge at Masirah area on Qnani coast was surveyed.

Partial eclipse of the sun proved disappointing (February)

Medical emergency. Captain landed by boat at Masirah and went by air to Aden with suspected appendicitis

proved false alarm (February).

Checks made on DECCA Chain in Shah Alum Shoal area (February)

Return passage by inshore channel (FAKK AL ASAD) between mainland and Mjsandam Island

instead of Hormuz Strait shipping lane (February). Recovered Slave Stations equipment and arrived at Aden on 20 March.


Passage to UK

Oceanographic measurements at 6 Stations and Shoal examinations in Red Sea (March).


Mediterranean (April - May).


Planned survey work in Cyprus area cancelled.

Diverted for 2 Range DECCA survey on Adventure Bank and Pantelliria Bank based at Malta.

Delayed whilst clearance obtained to set up Slave Stations at  Sciacca and Marsala, Sicily

Called at Marsala to land equipment.

Ship sounding work and sweeping completed in four designated areas despite unseasonal weather

Local survey in Malta in Msida Creek entrance by detached party (April).

Collected Slave equipment at Marsala on completion.

Arrived at Plymouth on 18 May

Hydrographer of the Navy visited ship Navy before start of refit.


Sixth Commission

Re-commissioned:  21st August 1961

  Commanding Officer:  Commander HR Hatfield (01/8/61


Refit Period (June - September 1962.


(Note:  Work included:

            Quarterdeck corrosion below wooden surface treated.

            Boat Davits replaced by new VIDAL-type.

            Bridge Plotting Office enlarged and air conditioning unit fitted.

Completion delayed by late delivery of winch controllers and extensive A&A work.

New design Proton Magnetometer using towed sensor and on board Recorder Unit provided.


Passage to Persian Gulf  (September - October).


Three scientists from London University embarked for magnetic observation work.

Msida survey work continued whilst at Malta.

Automatic tide gauge set up at Masirah and Survey work in conjunction with BP Company craft.

(Note:  Now site of a major oil terminal)


.Murray Ridge investigations in Indian Ocean with Magnetometer.

Core samples taken.


Persian Gulf (October 1961 - February 1962).


Detached Party landed at Bahranni Island off Trucial coast for tidal measurement.

Ship sounding in approaches to Abu Dhabi and took rock samples (November)

Survey carried out on Trucial Coast  between  Sir Abu Nu'air to Abu Dhabi (November 1961 - January 1962).

Detached parties landed for triangulation and measurements ashore.

Ship sounding with beacons.

(Note:  Rating injured after fall landed at Abu Dhabi for air transport to hospital.)

Sea demonstration for Ruler of Abu Dhabi.

Completed survey of approaches to Sitra on Bahrain Island.

Christmas at Kuwait.

(Note:  This period was marked with a series of irritating problems.)

            Telemotor Steering unserviceable for several days.

            Boiler Feed pump and Engine Throttle Valve defects.

            Use of hand lead sounding when Boats E/S Recorder Unit defective.

Diverted for medical emergency work at Doha.

Political adviser requested assistance to vaccinate the entire population (January)

(Note: .Two visits paid)


Passage to Mediterranean (March).


Modified Tide Gauge at Masirah which had become submerged in sand.

Checks also made on Commercial DECCA Chain operation.


Cyprus (April - May).


Annual Inspection by Commodore, Cyprus.

Continuation of North Coast Survey.

Ship and boat sounding off Cape Andreas and from Exarchos Bay to Nbra Psaria.

 Detached parties landed for coast lining and setting up control marks

(Note: R&R periods at Famagusta, Kyrenia and at Salamis, Greece).

             Intact but cracked amphora recovered by shallow water diver at Salamis.

             Increase in alcohol-related offences compared with the number when in Persian Gulf area.

Carried out Alongside-RAS for first time,

Haifa Visit (May).

(Note: Extensive hospitality by Israeli Navy.

           Shore excursions provided to Jerusalem, Nazareth, Sea of Galilee and Acre.

           Sporting exchanges and reciprocal social events.


Passage to UK (May).


Met OWEN for period of joint exercises in Mediterranean.

Delay caused by defective circulating pump bearing after leaving Gibraltar

Families joined ship for machinery pre-refit trial on June 1st.


Refit Period (June - September 1962).


Financial limits on Dockyard work.

(Note:  Only mandatory A&A, repair to survey equipment and boats.

            Liaison was established with Staff and pupils of Notre Dame High School, Plymouth.)

Sea trials marked by a series of defects and a Submarine Emergency exercise (SMASHEX)

(Note: Friends and relatives were embarked on one day of trials (August),

Hydrographer of the Navy visited ship and transferred to HMS  OWEN (September).


Passage to Persian Gulf (September -October).


Two scientists embarked magnetometer work, rock samples and water sampling at various depths.

Leak caused during rough passage repaired at Gibraltar (September)

(Note:  Fete held on board off (?)Zagar Island, Red Sea, collected £20 for Plymouth Charities.)

Tide Gauge party landed at Aden for air passage to Masirah.

Murray Ridge Scientific Examinations and sampling work carried out

Excellent readings were obtained by the magnetometer which sustain sane damage by collision with a shark (October).


Persian Gulf (November 1962 - March 1963).


Abu Dhabi area Continuation (November)

Coast-lining party landed at Sir Abu N'air and extensive ship sounding.

Some interruption by Shamal conditions.

Measurements were made by TELLUROMETER and astronomical fixes taken.

Christmas period at Karachi.

On return passage participated in Indian Ocean International Exploration work..

Investigated characteristics and extent of Murray Ridge.

Note:  It was found to be SW extremity of a chain of underwater mountains extending from Continental Shelf off Karachi.

Sampling work and magnetometer records made.

Bottom sampling and an investigation of wrecks by shallow water divers North of Qatar.

Checks made on accuracy of Commercial DECCA Chain recently introduced for mercantile use (January 1963)

Kuwait Approaches survey progressed (January - February 1963).


Indian Ocean (March).


Diverted from programmed visit to Maldives for 14 day Guardship duty at Can.

During passage leak in the Engine Room repaired

(Note:  One of crew of sea-boat thrown into water when lowering mechanism failed was recovered safely

            Sporting and social exchanges with the RAF Station.

On  release from duty ship sailed for Cyprus via Aden.


Completion of Cyprus Survey (April - May).


Coast-lining by detached parties and sounding by survey boats and ship in uncomfortable conditions.

Shoal examination south of Limassol. End of programme covering 25 years.


Passage to UK to recommission.


Off shore rocks in Malta area fixed in response to Admiralty request

Maintenance period in Gibraltar.

(Note:  Embarked a 'Rock Ape' (Simon) banished from Gibraltar after misconduct (chasing juniors and

           entering homes). To be transferred to a Zoo in Plymouth.

           Television crews and families came on board for entry into harbour.


Seventh Commission

Re-commissioned:  18 June 1963

Commanding Officer:  Commander H. R. Hatfield    (1/08/61)


Work-up and shakedown (July - August)

Note: Participated in Plymouth Navy Days and open to visitors.)

Transfer to Sales List at end of next period under consideration.


NW Approaches (September 1963 - December).


Survey and oceanographic work in poor weather.

Core samples and magnetometer measurements in Rockall sea area.

Detached parties in Ulster at Lisahally for coastal work.

Minor collision at Greenock with RFA ROWANOL without serious damage.

Docking and Essential Defect Repair (November 1963 to January 1964).

(Note:  Starboard shaft removed for repair

             Boiler tubes replaced.


Commanding Officer:  Commander W. M. Powell (28/01/64)


NW Approaches Continuation (January - June 1964).


Hydrographer visited ship before departure.

Fisheries Inspectors and scientists embarked for series of scientific studies at oceanographic stations between Instrahull and Rockall.


First Rockall Cruise (March).


Sampling and water temperature measurement work hampered by weather Force 10 winds).

(Note: Two Inflatable rafts lost in severe weather conditions.

            Sheltered in Lough Swilly.

            Four compartments completely flooded.

            Partial flooding and damage to Dome mechanism in A/S Compartment (March).

Repair undertaken in Liverpool and Inquiry held (March)

Detached Parties sent to set up Slave Stations and for coastlining and TELLUROMETER work in Ulster (April).

On completion of repair continued ship sounding.

(Note: Weekends in Liverpool (May).


2nd Rockall cruise (May).


Confirmed position of Rockall. Sonar sweeping.

Investigations at Stations between Malin Head and Rockall.

Chemical Sampling undertaken and Towed Electrodes used for collection of data

Sonar search made for obstructions during return passage.

Annual Inspection at Davenport (May)


Completed survey off Ulster coast (June).

Visited Belfast and carried out sounding in Belfast Lough on departure.

DECCA Slave Stations dismantled and transferred to Islay and Tiree.

Detached parties landed at Moville for local survey of Lough Foyle, western shore.

Calibrated Slave Stations for future use

Ship Master Transmitter defective.


Ulster Coast Survey Continuation Work (April - June 1965).


Coastal survey with ships boats off Down Coast completed (May).

DECCA HI-FIX System and Slave Stations established with assistance from manufacturer (May)

Wreck of ss NEATSFIELD located by Sonar, marked and least depth measured (May)

Survey completed SE of Rathlin Island (May)

Delayed by repair of machinery defects in Londonderry.


Repeat Rockall Cruise


Similar to 1964 series.

Completed with water sampling and bathythermograph measurements.

Fisheries Laboratory representative on board.

Concurrent ship soundings


MLLOC 65 (July).


Repeat of 1964 Programme in four Phases.

(Note:  A Mail drop including heavy mechanical spares caused damage to another parcel containing clothing.

             Suitable compensation was made by ship's welfare committee !)

Weather conditions deteriorated towards end of the period and swell made measurements barely acceptable.

Diverted to assist ss MANCHESTER MERCHANT.

Seaman landed at Buncrana for hospital treatment.

(Note: During this month of continual activities no breakdowns affecting ship's operation.)

Detached party with two boats was employed in a local survey of Lough Swilly in the Irish Republic.

Formal Approval for transfer to Sales List announced 27 July 1965-

Attended Royal Review by HM the Queen in Clyde (8 August)

(Note:  Recovered detached party from Lough Swilly before preparing for Royal Review.)

            Extempore arrangements for floodlighting.

            HMS VIDAL wore flag of the Hydrographer and five  other survey ships took part.


Final Survey in NW Approaches (September - October)


Examination of St. George's Channel profile (As 1965).

Position and least depth of Wreck in Cardigan Bay established.

Detached party returned to Lough Swilly area to continue wreck identification.

Additional party sent to Sligo.

Slave Station transferred from Tiree to Malin Head area in Irish Republic to assist with sounding work.

(Note: Some interference with signals experienced from commercial radio station in Germany.

Delay due to weather conditions and sheltered in Lough Swilly but despatched to search for

Royal Norwegian Navy seamen lost overboard from KNM BERGEN north of Instrahull.

(Note  Although two rafts were sighted by aircraft, ship search was unsuccessful.)

Located two section of wreck of HM Cruiser CURACOA which was sunk in North Channel in 1942

after collision with rms QUEEN MARY (November)

Recovered Slave Station equipment.


Rockall Cruise (November)

Repeat of previous requirement.

On completion recovered Sligo detached party.

Ship soundings made at Sligo..

Last visit paid to Londonderry and satisfactory full power trial completed –

(Note:  Speed 17 knots,)

Hydrographer of the Navy embarked for entry into Plymouth on 28 November 1965.

Escorted by MERMAID and MEDUSA for final return after 17 years surveying service.

Reduced to Reserve on 2 February 1966 and placed on Disposal List.


F i n a l   P h a s e


HMS DALRYMPLE was sold to Portugal and renamed NRP AFONSO DE ALBUQUERQUE  in March 1966) This sale may be in part due to the significant degree of co-operation and liaison between the two Hydrographic Services. Portugal had also purchased two other BA Class AA Frigates whose basic machinery was identical. She continued to be used as a  Survey Ship. She was used to carry out hydrographic work on the Portuguese Continental Shelf, off the Azores and the Madeira Islands. After being de-commissioned on 14 January 1983 the ship was used to accommodate ships companies during refits in the Portuguese Naval Dockyard at Lisbon. In 1988 the Portuguese Naval Attache in London confirmed she was still used in this role and so must have then have been the last LOCH Class hull still afloat. 


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