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

HMS DAMPIER (A 303)  - ex-Loch-class Frigate,  Survey Ship

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

LOCH Class Anti-submarine Frigate ordered from Smiths Dock. Middlesbrough on 23rd January 1943 and laid down on 7th August 1944 as Job No 4790 to be named HMS LOCH EIL. In 1944 the order was changed for build as an Anti-aircraft Frigate. The ship was launched on 15th May 1944 as HMS HERNE BAY but work was suspended on 26th September 1945. It was intended that the ship be completed by J.S. White at Cowes to satisfy a Sale to Belgium but this proposal was abandoned early in 1946 and the ship was towed to Chatham. Approval for her conversion for use as a Survey Ship was given in July 1946 and this work was taken in hand by HM Dockyard Chatham in July 1946. In common with the other three Ex LOCH Class frigate hulls also to be converted the name chosen was that of a notable British hydrographer William Dampier  (1652 – 1715. He was renowned as a pirate, buccaneer, privateer and navigator. This ship spent the whole of her service based at Singapore until transferred to Reserve in 1968.


Manning Division


Chatham till 1961

Transferred to Portsmouth until centralised.


H e r a l d i c   D a t a


Badge: On a Field White in front of 3 bars couped wavy Blue,

a Roebuck's head erased Proper, gorged with a ducal crown Gold



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 8


March                     Carried out First of Class harbour and Sea Trials

to                             (Note: First of the conversions to Survey Ship to be completed

April.                       Manned by Trials complement and after extensive trials consequential repair work

                                 was completed by HM Dockyard.)



               4th            Commissioned for foreign service in the Far East

.                               (Note: Seven Assistant Hydrographers were included in complement.)

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

.                                                                     (Later Rear Admiral, KBE,.DSC and Hydrographer 1957 to 1960).


First Commission 1948 - 50.



              18th           Took passage from Chatham and on completion of D/F calibration sailed for Devonport.

              22nd          Sailed from Devonport for foreign service.

              26th           Emergency repair work carried out at Gibraltar after rough passage

                                Resumed passage on completion.


July                          Passage in Red Sea and Indian Ocean with call at Aden.

                                 (Note: Oceanographic measurements and shoal examinations were carried out on passage.

.             27th            Searched for B29 aircraft which crashed when taking off at night from Khormaksar, Aden,

                                 (Note: No survivors found.

                                             Wreckage located by radar and buoyed.

August                     Diverted to Colombo to land rating for medical treatment.

                                  Joined BPF at Singapore (August).


September               Carried out Malayan Coasts Survey based at Singapore.

to                              (Note: These included Kelentan (East) and Bintulu (West). Klang Strait,

October                                 and  Port Swettenham.


November                On completion took passage to Hong Kong


 December                Under refit and docking at Hong Kong

                                  (Note: Work done included replacement of Starboard Danforth anchor by 34cwt Stockless

                                              type and Hawse pipe modified.


1 9 4 9


January                    Refit in continuation

to                              New Commanding Officer: Commander SJ Hennesey, RN (19/01/49)



April                         Carried out Survey  in Borneo area.

to                              (Work included Batang Sadong and Labuan (Ship and Detached parties)

June                          Brunei Bay (Ship) and Brunei River (Detached Parties)


July                           Docking and Essential Defects at Singapore

                                  On completion deployed for survey on East coast of Malaya

                                  (Note: Work included Sermut Abi; Kota Bahru area and Kelentan.


August                     Despatched to Hong Kong for special new requirement.

                                   Carried out Deep Bay local survey with protection provided by RM Commando unit.


September                Deep Bay survey in progress

               7th              Typhoon conditions  experienced with winds of up to 100 mph which enforced

                                   move from normal anchorage to a better position off TAINKEN Island.

                                   (Note: Two dinghies were wrecked on quarterdeck.

                                              Flooding caused due to poor fitting of scuttles and superstructure doors.

                                              Commanding Officer reported overall behaviour to be reassuring . ).

                                   Party taken to Pratas Reef to repair damaged Meteorological Equipment but unsuccessful.

                                   Returned to Singapore to continue East Coast survey.


October                      East Coast survey in continuation.

to                                (Note: Work included Perhentian Island to Sungei (Kelentan).

November                  Continuous sounding and 'least depth' determination recorded over wrecks in

                                   China Sea on passage to and from survey area.


December                   Taken in hand for Annual Refit and Docking at Hong Kong


1 9 5 0


January                       Under refit

to                                (Note: Work included fit of Electrical driven davits.

April                                      Repair of Hall structure damage sustained on passage.

                                               Funnel height extended by 6 feet which later proved fully worthwhile and reduced

                                               effect of fumes and heat haze in bridge area.

                                   On completion took passage to Borneo


May                            Carried out survey between Labuan and Gaya Bay

                                   Returned to Singapore to re-commission

             18th               Commissioned

                                   (Note: New Ship's Company from Chatham Depot travelled in HM Light Fleet Aircraft

                                              Carrier OCEAN and transferred with ships lying in adjacent berths.

             20th               Survey work was resumed off North Borneo between Labuan and Gaya Bay


 Second   Commission   1950  -  54


June                            Survey carried out at Victoria Harbour

to                                (Note: Kuala  Similajou commercial Timber development facilities were well in hand)

July                            Carried out survey of Tioman Exercise area.


August                       Transferred for further Malayan coast work including Cibu Channel to Blair Harbour,

to                                 Klang Strait and Penang)



December                  Passage to Hong Kong for annual refit.

                                   (Note: Shoal examination, least depth assessment of wrecks and continuous soundings on

                                               passage with Bathythermograph measurements.


1 9 5 1


January                    Under refit

to                              (Note: Local shoal examination work was undertaken at Hong Kong.

April                         Detached party was deployed on DG Range survey at Singapore.

                                  New Commanding Officer: Commander RH Connell (16/03/51).


May                          Resumed Borneo East Coast survey work including Tanjong Batu to Batang Tatau)

to                              (Note: Extensive use of Detached Parties for setting up Marks, Triangulation and Tide

June                                      Watching)

                                 Body of civilian Manager taken to Miri at request of Timber Company.


July                           Passage to Singapore for Docking period.

                                  Extended because of replacement of bearings in "A" bracket.

             31st              Dockyard work completed


August                     Resumed NE Borneo coast survey at Kuala Similajou

to                               Detached Party at Bintulu.



October                    Passage to continue Malayan coast survey.

                                  Local surveys carried out at Singapore and Penang


November                On completion took passage to Hong Kong for annual refit.

                                  During passage affected by Typhoon AMY  with wind speeds up to 80 knots and heavy seas.

                                  (Note: Commanding Officer reported:

                                              'Behaviour beautiful in a sea way with dry foc'sle but very wet quarterdeck.’

                                              'Little pounding but needed to keep Revolutions for 9 knots to hold required

                                                course '.

                                             ‘Damage to hull structure below waterline added to Defect List.’


December                 Taken in hand for refit by HM Dockyard, Hong Kong.


1 9 5 2


January                    Under refit

to                              Local survey work undertaken.



April                         Passage to resumed survey on West coast Borneo survey


May                          Survey in continuation including periods at Tanjong Pandaras and Tanganak:

to                              (Note: Extensive liaison established with shore survey authorities in Borneo.

July                                       Identified need for US co-operation during future work (See below).

                                  Ship and Detached parties used for Sandakan - Marudu Bay area.

                                  Located wreck of Japanese tanker using A/S and E/S equipment (May)


August                     Returned to Singapore to re-commission and for Docking Period.


Third Commission  1952-54.


             15th             Commissioned for service


September               Under refit

                                  Detached Parties carried out work in Pulau Tioman.


October                    Resumed survey including Burong, To Kong Bara, Sirbuat, Hariman and Sembilang.


November                Deployed on West Coast Malaya continuation

                                  Detached Parties at Penang and Georgetown.


December                 Diverted for special wreck investigation in Brunei Bay.

                                 Passage to Hong Kong for refit with calls at Manila and at US Navy Base at Subic Bay

                                 for US equipment. (12 December)

                                 Taken in hand for annual refit period and docking.

                                 (Note: Extensive preparation of Charts was carried out during these periods)


1 9 5 3


January                   Under refit

to                             Dockyard work included

March                     Replacement of Tail Shaft bearings by new type.

                                 Main Engines re-aligned in accordance with 1952 Directive from Admiralty.

                                 New Bottom Search Asdic, Type 162 fitted.

                                 (Note  Echo-Sounding Outfit Type 767 to replace E/S Type 765 not available.)

                                 Local survey work using ship's boats was carried out.

                                 New Commanding Officer: Commander JC Grattan, DSC*      (05/03/53)


April.                       On completion of dockyard work carries out Full Power Trial

                                (Note: Speed - 18 knots after many problems rectified

                                Took passage to resume North East Borneo continuation.


May                         Survey in continuation including Labuan area and Kennedy Bay for shoal examination

                                using newly installed Type 162:

                                Work included Sibuang to Billean; Darvel Bay; Kudat

                                Ship and Detached Parties were used for these tasks.):


June                         Work suspended to attend Coronation ceremonies at Sandakan with Parades and visits

                                 by Tribal dignitaries. Ship was illuminated and Open to Public visitors.

               8th            Returned to survey.

                                Court Martial of Stores Petty Officer carried out relating to deficiency in Cash Clothing

                                Account. Result: Disrated and deprived of GC Badges and LS Medal.


July                         Borneo survey tasks in continuation.


August                   On completion took passage to Singapore for Docking period

                                At Singapore for hull examination and essential defect repair by HM Dockyard.

                                During this period local reef examinations were carried out.


September               On completion resumed Malayan East Coast survey.

to                             Motor Launches were deployed to assist using portable Echo-sounding equipment

October                   Detached parties were landed for Tidal and other observations.


November               Transferred to West Coast of Malaya including survey work at Penang with ship

                                 anchored at Pulau Jerejak for extensive Boat work.

                                 (Note: Royal Malayan Navy trainees embarked for sea experience.)


December               Passage to Hong Kong for annual refit

                                Reef examination carried out off Jesselton.

              11th           Ship forced to Hove to for 48 hours in excess weather conditions.

                                (Note: Upper Deck fittings broken and flooding of compartments on Lower Deck.

                                            Damage to underwater Asdic transducer fittings and hull structure.

                                            Army personnel embarked for this trip accustomed themselves well !)

                                On arrival taken in hand for refit by HM Dockyard.


1 9 5 4


January                   Under refit 

to                             Work undertaken included replacement of parts of Funnel Deck and Midships structure

March                     due to excessive corrosion.

                                Air Conditioning Unit fitted in Survey Chartroom

                                (Note Similar unit was had previously been fitted in Sick Bay.)


April                        After trials took passage to Singapore for Annual Inspection.


May                         Resumed North East coast Borneo survey based at Labuan

to                              (Note: Recommendation made that urgent need existed for improved navigational aids

August                                  to be provided around this coast.

                                              Implementation was felt difficult because of financial constraints.

                                 Ship and detached parties engaged in Billean - Kukuban area: where a 40 foot

                                 Tower was sited on summit of Tigabu for a Beacon to be installed with local

                                 assistance and much effort required.

                                 Rating seriously injured in swimming pool accident and evacuated by air with neck

                                 vertebra fracture (May)

                                 Attended Queen's Birthday Parade at Sandakan with HMS NEWFOUNDLAND

                                 (Flag officer 2nd in Command, Far East Station  embarked) (5th and 6th June)

                                 Carried out unsuccessful search with Mosquito aircraft for a pirate vessel after raid on

                                 Jambougon Island (24th June).

                                 Visited Indonesia port of Tarakan. (16th-18th July).

                                 (Note: Sluggish start but eventually hospitable conclusions (16/8 July).

                                 Carried out shoal examinations on passage to Singapore for routine docking.


September               In hand for hull examination by HM Dockyard, Singapore.

                                 Rating injured in accident with motor vehicle in Dockyard.


October                    On completion resumed  East coast Malaya survey tasks in Aur - Tioman area

                                 Medical assistance provided at Paula Tioman.

                                 Detached party with Motor Launch assistance sent to Penang to prepare for future work.

              14th            Deployed on West coast Malaya at Penang.

                                 Royal Malayan Navy trainees embarked for sea experience

              23rd            Passage to Singapore to recommission


Notes on 3rd Commission


                                 Contemporary documentation suggests a higher number of warrants for punishment being read

                                 than would be expected. These included Leave breaking, Drunkenness, and in one Neglect of

                                 duty involving deficiency in cash accounting.

                                 Embarkation of Royal Malayan Navy personnel  (Commissioned Bos'n and 25 ratings) proved

                                 very successful. Future Arrangements were made to include ME and Supply Branch ratings in



Fourth Commission 1954-56


              29th            Commissioned


November               Resumed West coast Malaya survey based at Penang and included included Tidal

                                 observations and an Oropesa Sweep of Southern approach channel.

                                 Midshipmen from HM Cruiser NEWCASTLE embarked.


December                Passage to Hong Kong via Singapore for Annual Refit.

                                 Shoal examination carried out in South China Sea using Taut Wire Measuring Gear for

                                 Beacon laying. Bathythermograph measurements made.

                                 On arrival at Hong Kong taken in hand for refit by HM Dockyard.


1 9 5 5


January                     Under refit.

to                              (Note: This was marked by disciplinary problems some of which had to be dealt with by

March                      Court Martial (See below).

                                  Dockyard work included fitting of Echo-sounding Outfit Type 76? fitted.

                                  New Commanding Officer: Commander CRK Roe, DSC (18/02/55).


April                          Completion delayed till 4 April by replacement of fuel pipework found to be corroded

                                   beneath lagging.

                                   On completion took passage to Singapore  during which Shoal examinations were made.

              12th              After arrival despatched in emergency diversion to carry out search for missing civilian

                                   aircraft KASHMIR EXPRESS near Natuma Island.

                                   Raised steam quickly and sailed with some libertymen still ashore.

              13th              Three survivors and three bodies recovered and taken to Singapore

                                   (Note: It was later suggested that this was a result of sabotage as aircraft was carrying some

                                              representatives to an 'Afro-Asian' conference at Bandung).

              14th              Courts Martial held (See above.)

                                   Able Seaman charged with 'An act prejudicial ' - Found Guilty and sentenced to 15 months


                                   Signalman charged with 'Behaving with contempt' and other lesser charges - Pleaded Guilty

                                   and sentenced to 9 months detention, 9 days pay stopped and Deprived of 2 Good Conduct


                                   Able Seaman charged with 'Using insulting language' and other lesser charges.

                                   Found Guilty and sentenced to 6 months detention and deprived of 1 Good Conduct Badge.

                                   Able Seaman charged with 'Wilful disobedience', Striking a superior officer, Actual bodily

                                   harm and using insulting language. Pleaded Guilty and sentenced to 30 months cells and

                                   Dismissed the service.

                                   Carried out Local survey in Singapore area.

                                   Detached parties for tide watching sent to Banaggi and Tigarbu.


May                           North Borneo survey in continuation in Mallawali Channel area.

                                   Detached parties carried out tidal observations and triangulation work.

                                   Main Camp at Patanunma Island.

                                   Boats engaged in sweeping and sounding operations.

                                   Pinnacle located at Tanjong Datu. whilst based at Sandakan and at Kudat for R&R periods.

                                   Assisted in local fire-fighting at Jesselton (May)


June                            Attended Queen's Birthday Parade at Sandakan

                                   Shoal examination in Balabac Strait and Miri

                                   Radar fixing used due to poor weather.


July                            Local harbour survey work undertaken at Sandakan for SHELL petroleum installation

                                   Magnetic observation using recently supplied OHM and BMZ instruments.

                                   Passage to Singapore.

                                   Carried out survey in Singapore Roads survey before Docking Period.


August                      Carried out Local surveys at Woodlands and for planned jetty at Boom Defence Depot.

                                   Docked at Singapore for routine Hull examination.


September                 On completion resumed East Coast Malaya survey between Telak and Kuala Rompin with

to                                Magnetic observations.

October                     Shallow Water Diving Team exercised.

                                   Fixed position of Pulau Rosin in Gulf of Thailand.

                                   Transferred to West Coast Malaya for continuation of work including

November                 Work included southern approaches to Penang.

                                   Guards provided for Remembrance Ceremonial occasions at Penang

                                   Tidal observations made at Pulau Rimau and inshore surveying

                                   Magnetic observations carried out at Rimau Island

                                   Inshore Beacons were lost in this period

                                   On completion of season’s work took passage to Hong Kong for annual refit with call at



December                 Taut Wire Measurements, soundings and shoal examinations in South China Sea on

                                  passage to  Hong Kong for refit.

                                  Rough weather caused damage and prevented completion of planned work

                                  Taken in hand for by HM Dockyard, Hong Kong for refit and docking.


1 9 5 6


January                     Under Refit.

to                               Work included modernisation of Messdecks

February                   Installation of DECCA Track Plotter Unit loaned for future work (See Below).

                                  Local survey work undertaken at Hong Kong.

                                  New Commanding Officer: Commander ND Royds, RN (02/01/56).


March                        On completion took passage to Singapore to re-commission.


Fifth Commission 1956-1958


April                           Commissioned


May                           Resumed North Borneo coastal survey.

to                               Extensive use of boats.

July                            Tide watching party established at Mantanam Island and Rajang (Sarawak).

                                   Earlier Mark sited at Tawau by HMS MERLIN in 1910 found to have been moved and had to

                                   be reset,

                                   Bench Mark placed by HMS HERALD not found and datum remade by transfer from


                                   New temporary DECCA Chain checked using beacons and Track Plotter which proved to

                                   proved be a great asset especially for soundings work.

                                   (Note: One result of the work done during this period was to establish that the shorter route

                                              from Tawau to ports on NE coast could be used safely.

                                              This was adopted later by timber ships when improved Wallace Bay Saw Mills

                                              facilities had been brought into use.)

                                   Rescued crew of Kumpit (Local craft) which was on passage to Philipines from Tawau and

                                   wrecked on reef 10 miles north of Sempora. Survivors were landed at Sempora and met by

                                   armed police

                                   Capstan shaft fractured and replaced by new sent from Singapore.

                                   Unexploded Bomb destroyed at Labuan at request of local authorities.


August                     Temporary DECCA Chain set up for oil exploration removed and  to no longer available

                                  for RN use (August)

                                  Increase of leave breaking offences was noted during this period.

                                  Detached party landed at Mjara in Brunei Bay to continue work whilst ship in Singapore.

                                  Passage to Singapore for Maintenance Period.

                                  Measured Mile in Singapore area surveyed to check least clearance over reefs.


September                Resumed North Borneo coastal survey continuation.

to                               Lack of local DECCA Chain made necessary greater shore clearance work by shore parties to

October                    set up Marks.

                                  (Note: This task was not popular.

                                             Kudat used as base for collection of support requirements always provided a good

                                             reception and made ship's company welcome.

                                             Labuan also used for R&R.

                                  Detached Party in North West approaches to Mallalawi Channel. Mjara recovered.


November                Transferred to west coast of Malaya to carry out small survey tasks in Port Swettenham area

                                  and in Malacca Straits

                                  Detached party sent to Tanjong Kling work.


December                 On completion took passage to Hong Kong for refit after call at Singapore.

                                  Carried out  Shoal examinations on Macclesfield Bank.

                                  Prince Consort Island Lighthouse fixed by intersection.

                                  Taken in hand for refit by HM Dockyard on arrival.


1 9 5 7



January                     Under refit.

to                               During this period the usual harbour tasks for hydrographers to prepare charts from the results

March                       of the surveying work were carried out.


April                          On completion of refit took passage to resume East coast of Malaya survey work.


May                           This period required extensive use of Shore Parties for tide observations and of ships’ boats

                                   for setting up survey datum Beacons.

                                   (Note:  Despite lack of entertainment the duty in isolated sites for tide measurement was very

                                              attractive as  the extent of the tasks was not overwhelming and little supervision was


                                   Screw of one boat was fouled by wire and barriers erected to protect divers from sharks

.                                  A Slight 'Flu epidemic occurred on board (May)

June                            Mail delivery was carried out by RAF Sunderland aircraft (June)

                                   Made visit to Kuala Pahang for Sultan's Jubilee but this proved disappointing.


July                            Leave during R&R period restricted by lack of berth (July).

                                   During passage to Hong Kong soundings were made in Paracel Islands area.

                                   Paid off into Dockyard control on arrival.

                                   Extended refit commenced by HM Dockyard.

                                   Principal work done was the installation of two Range DECCA Navigational; Aid

                                   Equipment to improve accuracy of position fixing of survey datum points.

                                   Detached Beat parties were employed to re-survey at Singapore and also in Hong Kong

                                   harbour approaches.

                                   Work undertaken included: -Installation of Two Range DECCA equipment.

                                   Trials were carried out by ship's staff during this period to become familiar with the operation

                                   and handling of the equipment.

                                   Problems with Radio communication between Slave Stations and ship using US radio set

                                   (Type TCS) were not fully satisfactory as this equipment is not easily transported.

                                   Improvements were made to accommodation by provision of bunks instead for use instead

                                   of hammocks.

                                   Provision of Cafeteria messing facilities was provided by changes to Galley arrangements.


1 9 5 8


January                       Under refit




Sixth Commission 1958 - 60.



             18th               Commissioned   18th July 1958

                                   Commanding Officer: Commander EW Haslam, RN (20/05/58).

                                                                        (Later Rear Admiral, CB, QBE and Hydrographer 1975 -77).

                                   Army personnel from GREEN HOWARDS embarked during sea trials.

                                   Sister Survey Ship HMS  COOK in company briefly before leaving Hong Kong

                                   (Note: This was the first time two survey ships had been together on Far East Station

                                               since 1946.)


August                       Machinery trials not totally satisfactory but ship sailed to conform with survey programme.

                                    Passage to Singapore with examination Helen Shoal in South China Sea.

                                    On arrival at Singapore difficulties were experienced in arranging the return of survey boats

                                    left for repair in Singapore Dockyard.

                                    Carried out SMASHEX exercise with HM Sloop CRANE, HM Destroyer CAVALIER and

                                    HM New Zealand Frigate ROTOITI to simulate emergency requirements for submarine

                                    rescue operation.

                                    Detached party sent to Pulua Tionan.


September                   Carried Survey in Fleet Exercise areas K & L

                                    Taut Wire measurement made from Pulau Aur to 10 Beacon positions off shore

              4th                 Survey Launch SEALARK lost off Pulau Aur (4 Sept.),

                                    Passage to West Coast of Malaya to resume survey work using newly installed Two Range

                                    DECCA equipment


October                        Slave Stations equipment landed using lighter (5 ½ tons).

                                     (Note: GREEN Station site 30 miles south of Butterworth on Chernose Estate.

                                                Transfer proved difficult and involved difficult access by ferry and subject to


                                                RED Station site 6 miles south of Penang  on Dindings Estate)

                                                Presence of snakes presented problems but easy access.

                                                TCS used for communication.

                                     Two Range DECCA used for fixing with Survey Boats on either beam.

                                     (Note: Some ‘ Lane Slipping ‘ experienced possibly due to chosen Slave sites.)

                                     Detached parties used for re-survey of Didings River approaches and left to continue survey

                                     work during forthcoming docking period.

            18th                  Formal visit paid to Penang.


November                   Survey in continuation


December                    Survey carried in area north of Cape Racchado for proposed new oil terminal near

                                     an associated power station near Penang.

                                     (Note: Position not recommended because of limited depth making costly dredging likely

                                                Ground for breakwaters was also believed unsuitable (December 1958).

                                    (Special Note: Wilful disobedience charges against five  ratings necessitated Warrant


                                    Passage to Singapore for docking.

                                    Under repair in AFD 11 at Singapore

                                    (Note: Port shaft bushes refitted to correct earlier work at Hong Kong.

                                                Starboard Steam Generator rewired.

                                                Boat winch defect repaired.

                                    On completion deployed for East Coast survey.


1 9 5 9


January                       Resumed West Coast Malaya Two Range DECCA survey continued between Kuala Gula

to                                 and Tanjong Hantu area (35 mile south of Penang).

February                     R&R at Penang with children's parties.

                                    Dindings Detached Party reported discrepancies with earlier survey by HM Sloop in 1920’s

                                    and latest work.

                                    Ship's Crest presented to Lumut Museum and accepted by Rajah.

                                    Extensive use of boats

                                    (Note: Significant wear on shafts since September 1958 noted.)

                                    Further survey work to be resumed in November 1960.



           24th                  Present during visit by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh to Singapore Dockyard.

                                    Embarked party for Borneo whilst Passage to Hong Kong (March).

                                    Passage to Hong Kong with call in Borneo to disembark passengers


March                         At Hong Kong for  Royal Visit

                                    Carried out shoal investigation in Kowloon Bay for check on South Channel approaches

                                    Objectives not fully achieved because weather conditions prevent astro fix.

            3rd                   Present at departure of Royal Yacht after visit by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh.

                                    (Special Note: Recommendation made that Local Leave in Hang Kong for 7 days plus a

                                                            Long Weekend should be given to all ships companies of survey vessels in

                                                            Far East in middle of each commission was made by Commanding Officer HMS DAMPIER.

                                                            This would provide compensation in a better climate for hard work necessary

                                                            during hydrographic activities. In this period £7000 was withdrawn from

                                                            ship's POSB facility with only £45 paid in.)


April                            Sailed from Hong Kong for routine Hull examination and carried out shoal examination


                                    Training programme arranged during stay.


May                            Deployed for continuation of East coast Malaya survey using Two Range DECCA

to                                 Sites for Slave Stations established with assistance from Army Landing Craft for transport of

July                             equipment

                                    (Note       RED Station sited 4 miles south of Mersing.

                                                    GREEN Station sited at Tanjong Datok, Johore.

                                                    During Special survey of Exercise areas off Palau Tioman. GREEN Slave site

                                                     transferred to position north of Kuantan (22 Way)

                                                     Work included Coastal area and inshore waters Kuala Pahang - Tanjong Gelang

                                                     and Tangjong Sirik - Batang Mukah.

                                    Investigation of shoals discovered delayed completion of programme.

                                    Regular mail deliveries were received

                                    Leave only possible on 28 days out of  92 on task.

                                    Boat work during R&R at Kuantan difficult in poor weather and at low water.

                                    In first year of Commission 830 man-days lost through sickness ashore.


August                       Docking and Annual Inspection at Singapore (August)

                                    (Notes: Ship won Far East Fleet Soccer Trophy.

                                    Dockyard work included extensive boiler re-tubing.

                                    Both survey whalers unserviceable and repaired

                                    Two ratings sentenced to local detention for leave breaking offences.


September                  Deployed for joint survey tasks off Borneo with Sarawak Hydrographic Survey Department

to                                 Detached parties for Tide Watching and Marking.

October                       Visits paid to Kuching and Miri for R&R.

           23rd                  Diverted briefly to cross the Equator for first time (23 October)

                                    (Note: Night Leave given on only seven  nights during 52 days on station.


November                  Resumed survey tasks on West coast Malaya including Dindings River area and approaches

                                    to Penang

                                    (Notes: R&R week-ends at Penang.

                                    Future work sharing discussed with Malayan Director of Marine.

                                    Tide camps set-up for simultaneous observations at Port Swettenham

                                    Check surveys carried out at Pintu Gedong Bar, Kuala Batu and Port Dickson.

                                    Soundings made in Klang Strait before return for to re-commission at Singapore


December                Passage to Singapore.

             5th              Arrived at Singapore

                                 (Note: Statistics for commission ending December 1959 - 5,300 hours of boat survey work.)

                                Taken in hand for refit by HM Dockyard Singapore


 Seventh Commission, 1960-61


1 9 6 0


January                  Under refit

             1st              Commissioned

                                Commanding Officer: Commander DW Haslam,  RN (20/05/58).


February                 Under refit

to                             (Notes: Detached party deployed in entrance to Johore Strait.

March                                    One officer narrowly escaped serious injury when he fell into a submerged trap whilst

                                              carrying out coastal survey tasks.

                                New ship’s company joined.

                                Refit Work included:

                                 Installation of the new Survey Radar (Type 979) and TELLUROMETER equipment

                                 (Note: Type 279 was specifically designed for hydrographic use.

                                             Radar Type 979 fit incomplete at end of refit (Transformer required)

                                             TELLUROMETER equipment designed in South Africa had been developed

                                             specifically for precision measurement of distance for surveying use.)

                                             A&A to reduce high temperatures in Radar and DECCA compartments recommended.

                                             Extensive hull maintenance and some deck plates renewed

                                 2 Range DECCA Equipment checked by manufacturer.

                                 Port Main Propulsion Engine stripped and both Boilers partially re-tubed



             6th               Ship ready for new ship's company for new season 6 April 1960.

                                 Army Air Corps party embarked during sea trials.

                                 Resumed survey tasks off west coast Malaya

                                 Deployed for special survey of Port Dickson area to establish whether further commercial

                                 development of existing facilities for use by Royal Malayan Navy was feasible

                                 Survey carried out of Perak River.

May                         Carried out shoal examination in Java Sea in position where ss SOGNEFJELL had grounded

                                and Least Depth established over two shoals which were fixed.

                                Resumed East coast of Borneo survey

                                Special examination and clearance of entrance into KUNAK (Mostyn area) with coastal

                                survey to compare with previous work dated 1891/2.

                                (Note: Work done in the Darvel Bay area was later proved to be Invaluable during the

                                           Confrontation with Indonesia between 1962 and 1966 when British forces were very

                                           active in suppression of infiltration by sea in this region.)


June                        Borneo survey in continuation

                                R&R visit to Birds Nest Caves

                                Attended Queen's Birthday celebration at Sandakan with HM Depot Ship WOODBRIDGE

                                HAVEN in company)

                                Detached shore parties sent to East Coast of Malaya to set up 2 Range DECCA equipment

                                required for next major survey task.

                                (Note: It was hoped that by re-siting Slave Stations, performance could be improved.


July                         Passage to Singapore for routine docking.

             4th              New Commanding Officer; Commander JD Winstanley, RN

                                Docking period at Singapore included repair of fuel tank and rewiring of electrical circuits in

                                Gland Space after small fire due to short-circuit

           27th              Submarine SUBSUNK exercise


August                   Docking period.


September              On completion carried out examination of Howard Shoal off Borneo by search using Anti-

to                             submarine outfit

October                   Least depth 34 feet.

                                (Note: Could not carry out sweeping operation because of fishing ground markers.

                                Resumed tasks off East Coast Malaya Two Range DECCA Survey including Tanjong

                                Gelang - Dungun; Selar Sinki - Pulo Blankang Mati:

                                Detached parties landed for Slave Stations and coastlining work.

                                Slave station equipment returned by road to Singapore.


November              Returned to Singapore.

                                Surf Boat won Round the Island Race.

                                Took passage to Hong Kong for Local  Survey task.

                                On passage carried out Delineation of 100 fathom line south of Hainan for National Institute

                                of Oceanography.


December              Deployed at Hong Kong

                               Carried out Shore line survey in preparation for local redevelopment and reclamation work

                               Passage to Singapore during which shoal examination made in Carimata Strait.

                                (Note: Requirement had been reported by HM Destroyer CARYSFORT and Least Depth of

                                            19 feet found lower than marked. Core samples were take by Shallow Walter Divers.

                                Taken in hand for Annual refit and docking by HM Dockyard Singapore.


1 9 6 1


January                  Under refit during which outstanding defects in Radar Type 979 were repaired.

                                (Note: Required improvement of Range and Bearing accuracy was established later.

                                Detached parties continued survey of western approaches to Singapore.

                                Least depth was established over four wrecks

                                (Note: 1960 target reached due to increased speed of soundings and night operation



February                 On completion of dockyard work 18 students from Singapore Polytechnic were embarked.

                                Resumed tasks on West coast Malaya including Perak River.

                                R&R at Pangkor


March                      Deployed off west coast Malaya. Visited  Penang.

                                Took passage to Singapore.


April                        Deployed at Singapore during official visit to Far East Station by the First Lord of the

                                Admiralty (Lord Carrington)

                                Slave Stations sites established for next series of surveys off east coast Malaya

                                Passage for survey tasks on completion of visit.

                                (Note: Poor performance of Two Range DECCA noted, possibly due to unsatisfactory siting of

                                             Slave Stations.

                                New radar (979) used with Beacons to check Deccometer Lanes provided by DECCA to

                                offset these problems.

           10th              Assisted in search for sailing craft run down by ss LEEDS CITY. but only wreckage found


May                         East coast Malaya tasks in continuation.

                                 Took passage to resume tasks off North West Borneo continuation


June                          Deployed off Borneo.

                                 Fuel contamination problems on passage to work between Usakan Bay  and Bisa Island

                                 Sounding work and tidewatching delayed by weather.

                                 R&R at Jesselton. Attended Queens Birthday Parade at Jesselton with Australian Arm

                                 Took passage to Singapore to re-commission. and routine docking

                                 Taken in hand for docking and essential defects by HM Dockyard Singapore.


Eighth Commission 1961-62


                                 Commissioned: June 1961

                                 Local survey work carried out using ships boats in Western Approaches to port.

                                 Azimuth position for Satellite Tracking Station established at Sembawang.

                                 Security Platoon and other specialised training carried out in shore facilities.


July                          Under refit and annual docking for hull inspection

                                 New Commanding Officer: Commander JD Winstanley  (04/07/60).

                                 On completion resumed survey tasks off NW Borneo.


August                     North West Borneo survey in continuation

to                              Visited Kuching to discuss arrangements with shore authorities

November                Deployed in Darvel Bay and Lamak Bay, North Borneo.

                                  Major triangulation work linked with 1958 surveys.

                                  (Note: Some survey time lost by weather conditions and replenishment

                                              Extensive Coastlining, Tide Watching and sounding work was carried out.

                                              Significant effort deployed in setting up Marks on shore sites at Pulau Gaia and

                                              Tarma Balu involved clearance of paths through virgin jungle and at one time

                                              required use of 103 men
.                                 R&R periods at
Sibuan Island and Sandakan.

                                  Position of ORIENT EXPLORER Oil Rig fixed using survey Marks and 979 Radar.

                                  Light Buoy re-fixed.

                                  Diverted to investigate anchorage at Pura Pura Island (Labuk Bay) for ships loading

                                  Palm Oil during NE Monsoon season. Full survey recommended

                                  Electrical storm caused error in Magnetic Compass and required unusual repair.

                                  Passage to Singapore on completion of tasks for Annual Inspection

                                  (Note: During General Drill a 'Real fire' alarm was activated by an overheated fan.


December                 Resumed tasks on West Coast Malaya continuation including NW approaches to Penang

                                  using Radar 979 with Beacons incorporating reflectors.

                                  Trilateration carried out by day and night.

                                  (Note: The procedures used were prompted extensive discussion

                                               and recommendations to improve efficiency.

           23rd                At  Christmas and New Year at Penang.


1 9 6 2


January                    Sailed from Penang to resume tasks from  Kuala Muda northward along Kedah coast.

                                 Tidal Camp established at Pulau Bidau (RAAF Range).

                                 R&R at Penang.

                                 Machinery defects occurred but did not cause extensive delay

                                  Tasks continued between Kedah Pier and Pulau Bidau

                                  Sounding carried out by ships and boats

                                  Coastlining and soundings carried out between Kuala Mjdah and Sungei Sala Kachil

                                  (Note: Progress was slow due to access difficulties, mud and snakes.)


February                   Under refit and docking by HM Dockyard, Singapore

to                               Work undertaken included:

March                        Replacement of davits and winches for Survey boats

                                   Fixed mounted Saluting guns replaced by portable version.

                                   Three new survey boats fitted with modern E/S equipment provided.


 April                         Under refit

                                   Court Martial of two Stores ratings held following accounting discrepancies.

                                         Both dismissed the service.

            9th                  New Commanding Officer appointed for next commission: Commander J Pryor, RN.


May                            Dockyard Completion date delayed till 27 May due to:

                                        Additional Hull repair work.

                                        Fire in Ship's Company Galley on 20th May when Deep Fat Fryer electrical supply was

                                        not isolated.

                                        (Note: Emergency feeding by HM Light Fleet Aircraft Carrier BULWARK.

                                        Modification required to enable new Davits to be used with new survey boats.

                                        Repair of mechanical defects found during sea trials.'

                                        (Note: Warping was found in tops of tables in Chart Drawing Office. Possibly caused by

                                                    air conditioning

                                    On completion of trials took passage to Hong Kong


June                            Carried out  soundings over proposed Commonwealth telephone cable route during passage and 

 to                                Oceanographic Station work including water sampling and temperature measurements.

July                              (Note: Bottom sampling work failed.)

                                    On arrival carried out  Local Survey of harbour and western approaches at Hong Kong.

                                    Harbour and Territorial waters task completed.

                                    Minor accident involving shallow water diver.

                                    Work was interrupted by Typhoon KATE.

                                    Two fires in survey motor boat caused by poor design arrangements of exhaust pipework.

                                    (Note: Wiring repaired and all boats modified.)

                                    Re-investigated Helen Shoal area to check earlier 1953 survey.

                                    Work in Western approaches to Hong Kong progressed.


August                       Took passage to continue North Borneo tasks and carried out further Oceanographic

to                                 Stations work on passage from Hong Kong.

September                  On arrival relieved HM Destroyer CAESAR as SO Anti-Piracy Duty, North Borneo.

                                    (Note: Piracy was rife in these waters and has even increased since 1980)

                                    Labuk Bay area completed by ship and detached parties.

                                    R&R periods at Sandakan.

                                    Assessment made of TanJong Niug area in Labuk Bay for use as Terminal for palm oil ships.

                                    Darvel Bay approaches survey with detached parties at Lahad Datu.


October                      Returned to Singapore for repair of  condenseritis and bearing defect.

                                    Whilst at Singapore undertook preparatory work for forthcoming survey of Singapore Straits

.                                  and  had discussion with representative of Indonesian naval authorities to establish liaison

                                    arrangements during planned survey in Indonesian waters.

                                    (Note: This subject had been raised at 1962 International Conference in Monaco.)

                                    Passage to Borneo Survey and carried out Shoal investigations in Exercise area as well as

                                    determination of Least Depth of pinnacle south of Natuma Island.

                                    Deployed off shore at Lahad Datu and landed detached party inshore.

                                    During R&R period at Tawau demolished underwater obstruction at for new wharf.

                                    Diverted by Admiralty for shoal investigation at proposed timber ship anchorage in

                                    Soai Solalum Bay, west of Darvel Bay)

                                    Visited Kuching to discuss 1963 survey work with Geological Survey Department.

           29th                  Took passage to Singapore for re-commissioning and DED period at Singapore.


Ninth Commission 1962-64


November                  Deployed at Singapore

to                                 Commissioned

December                   Commanding Officer: Commander  J. Pryor, RN

                                    Docked for routine hull inspection.


1 9 6 3


January                       Carried out Shakedown and survey work-up on completion of docking (January 1963)

                                     Attempted investigation of sinking position of ss KIEUNG in Malacca Strait abandoned.

                                     Passage to resume west coast Malaya survey tasks

                                     Detached party resumed Port Swettenham inner area.

                                     Ship work commenced between Penang and Langawi Langkawi with 2 Range DECCA

                                     and Radar Type 979 extensively used during ship sounding work.

                                            RED Slave sited at at Kuala Muda

                                            GREEN Slave sited at Kuala Sanglang

                                            (Note: This is inaccessible by sea).

                                     Tide watching camps with boat sounding used for inshore tasks.


February                      West coast Malay tasks in continuation.


March                          On completion returned to Singapore

                                     Visited by Hydrographer of the Navy (Rear Admiral Irving.)

                                     Passage to Hong Kong carried out survey of cable route


April                             At Hong Kong for planned local survey work.

to                                  Deployed for investigation of tidal stream in a\ Wan Island prior to use by vessels of

June                              deep draught.

                                      Landed detached parties.

                                      Serious accident in W/T Office. Prompt action saved life of Petty Officer.

                                      US Design Navigational aid (DAS2) fitted.

                                      Early passage to Borneo to avoid Typhoon TRIX and continued Cable route survey

                                      when weather allowed.

                                      Diverted to join HMS MANXMAN and other ships to search for missing SEA VIXEN

                                      aircraft belonging to HMS HERMES

                                      (Note: This was unsuccessful.)

                                      Detached and took passage to Singapore for repair of machinery defect


July                                On completion deployed in Borneo for planned survey work 

to                                    Work included:

September                           Brunei River survey with detached party.

                                              Survey of Continental Shelf in South China Sea in conjunction with SHELL Company

                                                  and Kuching Survey unit. Visited Spratly Island and Amboyan Cay.

                                              Darvel Bay survey work continued

                                              Ship Survey work resumed between Sibaum Island and Bakuhang.

                                               (Note: Only six days in harbour during this work.)

                                       Carried out pre-refit machinery trial during passage to Singapore for refit.


October                         Under refit including docking for inspection of underwater fitting

to                                    Detached party to set-up 2 Range DECCA’equipment at Port Swettenham in preparation

December                      for planned survey work on West Coast of Malay

                                       (Note: Ship undocked until strike by dockyard workers was settled.)

                                                   Exhibition of results of recent survey work was not well attended.)


1 9 6 4


January                          Refit in continuation

to                                    Commander Pryor attended Court Martial of commanding Officer HMS COOK

February                         as a Member.

                                        (Note: HMS Cook has been damaged after grounding.)

                                        On completion of Post Refit sea trails took passage to re-commence work off

                                        west coast.


March                             Carried out planned work between Penang and Langkawi using 2 Range DECCA,

                                         which proved to be most satisfactory

                                         Tide watching and boat sounding parties were landed.

                                         (Note: The Slave stations were inaccessible by sea.)

                                         70% of planned work was completed

                                         Shore station DECCA equipment was dismantled and returned to Singapore.

                                         Meningitis case airlifted to VICTORIOUS

                                         (Note: Recovered later)

                                          Passage to Singapore.


April                                 Sailed for Hong Kong to resume survey tasks in eastern Approaches

                                         No berth available on arrival due to Fleet exercise.

                                         (Note: Inspection of survey area by helicopter from CENTAUR.

                                          Advance party joined for re-commissioning

.                                         Eastern Approaches work resumed and included ship sounding and coastlining by

                                          detached party.

                                          Obstruction located west of Aberdeen after some difficulty.

          15th                         Work completed.

                                          Trial carried out using prototype sideways-looking Sonar developed by Hong Kong


                                                     Transducer unit streamed from starboard derrick with receiver and display in

                                                     Captains Flat.

                                          During passage to Singapore to re-commission. Fuel pump defect was followed by

                                          major incident in No 1 Boiler Room.

                                                  Steam feed heater pipe fractured and filled the compartment with steam and boiling

                                                  water  Fortunately no one was injured and after a delay of an hour the other boiler

                                                  was brought into  service and ship was able to proceed.


Tenth Commission 1964 - 65.


June                           Deployed at Singapore.

            2nd                 Commissioned

                                    Commanding Officer: Commander MJ Baker, RN (09/04/64).

           10th                 Carried out work-up NW of Sumatra to practice survey and ship safety requirements.

                                    On return Local survey work in Singapore area

                                    (Note: Tide poles set up in Boom Defence Depot area.

                                                Benchmark made by HM Survey Ship WATERWITCH set down in 1910 found.)

                                    Diverted from local survey to go to Gan in Maldives Island Group to assist in a combined

                                    UK/US survey task.


July                             Whilst on passage to Gan further diversion necessary to deal with medical emergency on


                                    (Note: Intended passage direct to Colombo to land patient was avoided by provision of an air

                                               lift by helicopter to HM Light Fleet Aircraft Carrier CENTAUR.

                                               A successful operation was carried out on board.

                                    On arrival attended Briefing meeting prior to commencing new task

                                    (Note: Gan area Survey.

                                               This was intended to cover islands in the Chagos Archipelago with special attention

                                                paid to Diego Garcia.

                                               UK team included representatives from Ministry of Defence and the Colonial Office.

                                               US Team consisted of 11 uniformed and civilian personnel.

                                               Triangulation work using buoys with measurements by radar, TELLUROMETER and

                                               Taut Wire Measuring Gear to be carried out.

                                               Diego Suarez has since been developed as a United States Base in the Indian Ocean)


 August                       Deployed for Gan area survey.

                                     (Note: On completion reported that suitable anchorages were available.)

.                                    Return passage to Singapore

                                     Resumed local survey work


September                   Routine docking and Emergency Defects carried out by HM Dockyard at Singapore.


October                       Deployed for special task on east coast Malaya.

                                     Buoy position fixing near Pulau Aur using 979, TELLUROMETER and Taut Wire gear

                                     On completion took passage to resume Hong Kong survey tasks.

                                     Eastern Approaches work using boats and detached parties resumed.

                                     East Lamma Channel survey commenced using ship and boat sounding.

                                     Tide watching parties landed on Stanley Jetty.


November                   Hong Kong deployment in continuation 

                                     Chinese child rescued by tidewatcher

                                     Accident on board when Seaman fell from boat at davit head in swell.

                                     (Note: Transferred to British Medical Hospital and recovered.

                                     TELLUROMETER equipment extensively used for local survey work.


December                    Hong Kong deployment in continuation

            8th                    Coastlining work completed by 8 December.

                                     Oil Fuel leak discovered in Flour Store.


1 9 6 5


January                       Deployed at Hong Kong

                                     Machinery defect dealt with by local contract as Dockyard facilities not now available

                                     Shoal examination and soundings work continued during this period.


February                     Deployed at Hong Kong

                                     Local check sweep made for Commodore Hong Kong off KUN TUNG Jetty.

                                     Passage to Darvel Bay to resume Borneo survey work and carried out Oceanographic

                                     Station work.


                                     Deployed at Darvel Bay NW Borneo

                                     Tidal camps set up at Bakungan Island and Mataking Island.

                                     (Note: Extensive effort had to be made on clearance work to set up Marks essential for


                                                A Triangulation Point set up by HM Survey Ship HERALD in 1937 found.

                                                Some delays experienced during extension of triangulation in order to include Bajapa

                                                Reef and Matakingi.

                                     Tidal stream measurement work was carried out  by ship


March                          NW Borneo survey in continuation.

                                     TELLUROMETER measurements made during shore survey work.

                                     Defective anchor windlass shaft repaired by ship's staff.

                                     Visited Manila for R&R and to collect Philippine Liaison Officer.


April                            NW Borneo work in continuation.

            6th                   New  Commanding Officer appointed: Commander MJ Baker, RN

                                     Southern area sounding work completed before departure.

                                     (Note: Safe use of coastal passage via Malawi Channel now assured.)

                                     Took passage to Singapore and carried out Oceanographic work at ten Stations including

                                     Bathythermograph measurements and surface water sampling.

                                     On arrival carried out Singapore Local Survey work. with Harbour area boat sounding.


May                             Deployed at Singapore including establishment of Clearance depth over existing wrecks.

to                                 (Note: Discussions with US scientist (Dr. JC Rose, Hawaii University) about future Pacific

June                                        Ocean work were carried out.)

                                    Detached for patrol duty in Singapore Straits associated with current KONFRONTASI


                                    Annual Inspection carried out by Captain of HM Light Aircraft Carrier  TRIUMPH.

July                              Taken in hand for Annual refit by HM Dockyard Singapore

to                                 (Note: Hull condition considered generally satisfactory in view of age of ship.

August                                     Some holes in structure repaired.

                                    Nominated for Pacific Ocean Coarse Grained Physical Survey (HI 1)


Eleventh Commission 1965-66


September                  Nominated for special duty

           27th                  Commissioned

                                    Commanding Officer: Commander MJ Baker, RN (06/04/64).

                                    Refit completed after delay due to completion of work in Cold and Cool Rooms.

                                    Took passage to SW Pacific Ocean via Malawali and Sibutu Channels to Manus.for Pacific

                                    Ocean Coarse Grained Physical Survey (HI 1).

                                    (Note: Dr Rose was embarked with specialist equipment.


October                       Port stem gland leak discovered and repacked after arrival at Manus.

                                    EOTVOS corrections made to Gravimeter were unsatisfactory due to weather conditions.

                                    Commenced survey tasks in Coral Sea area North of Savo Island.

                                    Landed detached parties with three Boats in 1,000 Ships Bay in British Solomon Islands.

                                    Traverses made to record Geophysical measurements between Russell Island to-Guadalcanal

                                    Diverted to land patient with appendicitis at Honiara.

                                    Continued work between Santa Catalina Island to Santa Cruz Basin

                                    Carried out survey in Western part of Torres Trench between Venicoro Island and Torres

                                    Island and between Rennell Island and Indispensable Reefs



             1st                  Diverted to assist HM New Zealand Cruiser ROYALIST that was stranded without motive

                                    power due to boiler water contamination.

                                    (Note: Ship was drifting towards Bellona Island about 90 miles away from survey area.)

                                    On arrival went to render assistance with feeding and to provide fuel but could not remain

                                    alongside because swell conditions were causing structural damage.

                                    Took HMNZS ROYALIST in tow for over 100 miles into clear water to safely wait until

                                    tug CARLOCK arrived from Brisbane.

             4th                  Lack of fuel obliged departure for Port Moresby, with the cheers of ROYALIST ship's

                                    company ringing across the Coral Sea in acknowledgement of the assistance given.

                                    After refuelling took passage to recommence scientific work.

                                    On passage carried Traverses across Planet Trench in the Solomon Sea to make Gravimeter


                                    Refuelled at Manus before return to 1000 Ships Bay to resume Physical Survey work.

                                    Fixed Sable Island and Nugurias Group and made shoal examinations during passage

.                                   Some discrepancies found with existing charts.

                                    (Note: Only Starboard Shaft in use except in restricted waters.

                                    Completed traverse of Trench SE of Ulawa Island.

            23rd                 Shoal measurement restricted by weather conditions.

                                    Passage to Port Moresby to refuel


November                  Gravity and Magnetic profile measurements across Solomon and Coral Seas

                                    Returned after refuelling to Honiara via 1000 Ships Bay.


December                   Carried out Final leg of Survey Task HI 1with Easterly traverses across Vitiaz Trench

                                     between Malaita Island and Charlotte Bank.

                                     Arrived at Suva, Fiji to land gear for Xrnas

                                     Took passage to Auckland, New Zealand.


1 9 6 6


January                       Routine docking and essential defect work carried out in HM New Zealand Dockyard.

                                     Extensive shaft alignment and structural work.


February                     Carried out sea Trials on completion of dockyard work.

                                     On return from sea trials collided with Jetty

                                     Court of Inquiry convened in Auckland Naval Base before return to survey work in SW


                                     (Note: On leaving New Zealand eight members of the ship's company were absentees)

                                     Passage from Auckland

                                     Deployed for survey in South Pacific.

            28th                 Detached parties landed at Vila, New Caledonia for setting up Marks and Tide Watching


March                         Commenced ship sounding and shoal examination between Malekula and Port Sandwich.

to                                 Delayed by defect in port main engine pump.

April                           Repair effected at Suva after spares received from New Zealand.

                                    Returned to survey area on completion.

            21st                 New Commanding Officer: Commander PGN Cardno, RN. appointed and to join in

                                    Singapore to re-commission ship.

                                    Landed detached parties in New Hebrides and New Caledonia

                                    Carried out ship and boat soundings with tidal work in Norsup Bay and in Erromanga area

                                    with boat party in Dillons Bay.

                                    Deployed for joint survey work with French Coastal Mineweeper LA DUNKERQUOISE at

                                    Port Narevin.

                                    (Note: This French warship was permanently stationed in this area.)


May                             Deployment for Fiji Survey continuation of earlier work by HM Survey Ship  COOK.

to                                 (Note: The esteem of HMS COOK was found as revered as ever)

June                             Planned tasks at VANU LEVU completed.

                                    (Note: Farewell celebrations to thank villagers living near camp site included exchange of

                                               gifts and competitive sports as well as Fijian style meal.

                                    Tidal Camp established at Nanduri.

                                    Four Boat party landed and TELLUROMETER measurements made across Channel.

                                    Extensive ship sounding in Vatu Ira Channel and Mali Passage.

                                    Ship at Malau for Queen's Birthday ceremonial at Labasa.

                                    (Note: Whole period affected by spasmodic winds.


July                             Fiji work in continuation.

                                    (Note: Visitors on final visit to Suva included Raymond Burr (TV's ' Perry Mason' )

                                    Passage to Singapore during which position of Petri Reef near Erronanga, New Hebrides was


                                    (Note: This had been in dispute since 1834.

                                    Water sampling and Shoal examination with beacons were carried out in Bligh Water.,

                                    Torres Strait.

                                    Fuelled at Darwin.

                                    (Note: Whilst at Darwin met British couple in Trimaran.

                                                 Much hospitality was enjoyed.)

                                    Water sampling took place during passage to Singapore


August                        Deployed at Singapore and prepared for planned Oceanographic Exploration work.

                                     (Note: This included use of new equipment required for special acoustic trial and a

                                                Velocimeter which incorporated a Temperature/Salinity Bridge to be streamed

                                                 overboard and an analogue tape recorder unit.)


September                  Passage to South China Sea.

                                    Carried out trials in company with RAN Survey Ship HMAS DIAMANTINA and an RFA

                                    (Note: Measurements were made for analysis after explosive charges were dropped by

                                                 consort at  predetermined intervals and ranges. Core samples and photographs taken

                                                 of seabed with water temperature and salinity recorded after each serial.)

                                    Visited US Naval Base at Subic Bay and continued trial during passage to Hong Kong with

                                    swell conditions due to Typhoon ELSIE.

                                    MAYDAY signal intercepted from Ore Carrier AUGUST MOON aground on Patras Reef

.                                   Diverted for rescue of personnel which were airlifted to safety by US Navy helicopter.

                                    Position of Wreck fixed. 37 people taken to Hong Kong.

                                    Resumed passage to Hong Kong.

            26th                 Assistant Manager of Great Southern Steamship Company presented a Cup to ship in

                                    recognition of the extent of help provided.


October                      Taken in hand for routine docking at commercial shipyard.

                                    Docked at Kowloon during which leak in Engine Room. was repaired.

                                    Advance party joined.

                                    On completion took passage to Singapore to re-commission,


Twelfth Commission 1966 - 68.


November                   Commissioned

                                     Commanding Officer: Commander PGN Cardno, RN

                                     On completion of shakedown resumed North Borneo Survey.

                                     Deployed for survey of Eastern Approaches to Victoria Harbour, Labuan


December                    Borneo survey in continuation.

                                      Passage to Singapore for Annual refit.


1 9 6 7


January                         Under refit by HM Dockyard Singapore.

to                                   Local survey work in Langkawi Strait continued by detached party with some assistance from

February                       Coastal Minesweeper from local Squadron

                                      Local chart to be printed by Royal Engineers for provisionally when work completed

.                                     Detached two  Boat Camp party at Remunia for soundings work in Johore Strait


March                            Nominated for Indian Ocean Oceanographic work.

                                        On completion of dockyard work and trials first deployed to carry out ship soundings

:                                       between Luna Island and Tanjong Punggai.

                                       Indian Ocean work delayed by radar defect and engine failure.

                                       Sailed from Singapore and  called at Penang on passage to first station.

                                       Carried out Traverses and wave observation work in position NW of Sinatra.

                                       (Note: These included Equatorial traverses with extensive Bathythermograph



April                              Paid  Official visit to Tanjong Priok in Indonesia.

                                       Note: This was made despite machinery defect as situation was politically sensitive.

                                                  First visit by RN ship since end of KONFRONTASI).

                                                  Same Indonesian Naval Liaison Officer as during earlier survey (See above).

                                                   ormal and Hydrographic exchanges made as well as social events.

                                      Returned to Singapore on completion of visit for machinery repairs.

                                      On arrival Detached party landed to continue local survey work.

            28th                  Resumed oceanographic work with RAS support.


May                              Deployed in  Sunda Strait, Java Sea and Caspar Strait. Edntang Island

                                       Indonesian Navy Liaison officer embarked during period at Berakit.

                                      Carried out Malacca Straits Survey between Pair Channel Bankand Bahu Pahat.with Two

                                      Range DECCA Slave Stations set up at Batu Pahat.

                                       (Note: An extensive task involving ship, survey boats, floating beacons and detached

                                                    shore parties.


June                               Made Local soundings off Singapore.

                                      Detached party landed in West Johore for shore observations.

            17th                   Visited Royal Malayan Navy Base at Pintu Gedong

            19th                   Resumed work programme

            22nd                  On completion carried out A/S and sweep examination of Amazon Maru Shoal and Cape


                                       Slave Station parties and stores collected at Port Dickson.


July                                Carried out survey of  One Fathom Bank Channel with Two Range DECCA Stations

                                       resited.  Ship sounding and observations made

                                       (Note: TELLEUROMETER measurements unsatisfactory and visual methods used.)

                                       R&R at Port Swettenham.

                                       Sonar Sweep of area on completion.


August                          Transferred to South China Sea to carry out oceanographic traverses

                                       Periodic oceanographic work carried out at selected points and shoal examinations.

                                       (Note: This task was impeded by Typhoon FRAN, defects and losses of equipment.

                                       Visit paid to Hong Kong  during which machinery defects repaired with assistance from local


                                       Last Annual Inspection carried out and presentation made to Side Party for there support

                                       during 19 years service on China Station

                                       Resumed Oceanographic work during passage to Singapore.

                                       Passage made via Mindoro Strait to land boat party at Senporna, Borneo for completion of

                                       outstanding work at Darvel Bay work.

                                       Traverse work continued to latitude of Labuan at meeting point with 1966 work.


September                      Deployed to complete survey work in Malacca Straits in Cape Rachado area for

                                       identification of potential hazards to tanker traffic.

                                       Ship sounding and Taut Wire measurements made with Beacons and observations by shore


                                       (Note: Day and night work required.)



             5th                     Sailed from Singapore for return passage to UK via Sunda Strait.

                                       (Note: Oceanographic Traverses to be made at Stations in Indian Ocean.)

                                       Carried out periodic  measurements and collected supporting data at selected equatorial


                                       (Note: Problems with VELOCIMETER equipment and a winch failure introduced delays

                                                  as well as those due to marginal weather conditions

                                       Support for fuel replenishment provided by RFA's GOLD RANGER and TIDEPOOL.

                                        Shoal examinations made off Rodrigues,

                                       (Note: Unscheduled company by Russian ship VASILI  GOLOVIN).

                                       Called at Mauritius after brief shoal examination nearby.

                                       (Note: Much hospitality from RN W/T Station)


November                     Left Far East Station and came under operational commmand of CinC Western Fleet

                                       Met SAN Survey Slip NATAL (Ex HM Frigate LOCH CREE) during passage.

           17th                     Arrived at Simonstown on 17 November.

                                       (Note: Contact made with South African Navy Hydrographer (Captain JC Walters).

                                       Passage in Atlantic with shoal examination which established least depth was lower than


           28th                     Final Drama

                                       After exercise involving use of ships boats and liferafts, propulsion machinery failed to

                                       drive one propeller. Examination showed starboard propeller shaft was broken. First

                                       priority was to secure the loose portion of shaft together with the attached propeller so that

                                       the ship could move ahead in safety at a reasonable speed.

                                       Several hours work above and below water was needed to devise a satisfactory

                                       arrangement. Wires and chains were used to stop any movement of the screw which was

                                       lashed by chains to the A-bracket

.                                      This extempore rig was secured to existing bollards with chain blocks and tackles and

                                       enable passage to Freetown to be continued on one engine.

                                       A request for cutting equipment to be made available on arrival was sent so that the broken

                                       shaft could be removed.

                                       King Neptune's 16th attempt to extract due homage was belated achieved successfully

                                       although the proceedings were somewhat overshadowed by the unknowns which lay

                                       ahead. No suitable equipment was available at Freetown and the some of extempore

                                       arrangements which had been removed were reinstated by ships Shallow Water Divers to

                                       allow final leg of the journey to be made.

                                       The importance of ensuring to safe arrival in time for Christmas Leave was the sole factor

                                       of importance and on sailing from Sierra Leone there was less than three weeks available.

                                       Everything depended on performance of the one engine for 3,000 miles.

                                       To offset some of these circumstances a bold decision was made to supplement the

                                       available engine power by using sails.

                                       Three lugsails were made from Awnings canvas and hoisted for a trial period.

                                       Concurrently work was begun on the manufacture of a suit of square sails which would be

                                       required when suitable winds were available. The lugsails were hoisted on 11th December

                                        and the remainder were used when following winds were available four days later.

                                       These additional features made unusual demands on the ship's company who soon adjusted

                                        to practices of earlier seafarers. They became adept in the trimming, jibing, lowering and

                                        hoisting the new accoutrements.


December                       Under sail in Atlantic.

           17th                     Brief rendezvous was made with HM Assault Ship FEARLESS for transfer of mail.

                                        Providentially, a fair proportion of following winds and careful husbandry in the Engine

                                        Room avoided diversion to Devonport.

                                        Despite poor visibility on arrival in the Channel progress was maintained.

                                        Sails were lowered and the Jury foremast struck before arrival off the Goodwins.

                                        (Note: During an evolution period on 29 October, whilst crossing the Indian Ocean, a

                                                    square sail had been rigged on the DECCA mast - forward thinking at its best,

                                                    perhaps ?)

            23rd                     Homecoming.

                                        Passage up the Medway to Bull Nose, Chatham was achieved on the revised date.

                                        The celebrations included the firing of finishing gun by Flag Officer Medway,

                                        (Vice  Admiral W J Parker, CB, OBE, DSC)

                                        The Hydrographer of the Navy (Rear Admiral G.S. Ritchie, CB, DSC, FRICS) greeted the

                                        ship to suitably conclude a long voyage and an even longer career spent in the service of

                                        seafarers of all nations.


L a s t   D a y s


HMS DAMPIER Paid Off at Chatham on 31 January 1968 and reduced to Reserve. Approval was given for disposal in April and the ship was later placed on the Disposal List. She was sold to a Belgian shipbreaker and taken in tow for breaking-up on 17th January 1969.



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