H.M.S. CARDIGAN BAY
Ship No 348
Twin screw “Bay Class” Frigate.
H.M.S. Cardigan Bay was the first of three Bay Class Frigates ordered from the Henry Robb yard.
She was built by Henry Robb of Leith in 1943 and was to be named HMS Loch Laxford but due to a policy change and a need for anti-aircraft escorts for service in the Far East the contract was changed and the design was changed to that of a “Bay” Class Anti-aircraft frigate and laid down on the 14th of April 1944 as Ship No 348. She was launched on 28th December 1944 as HMS Cardigan Bay, the first ship to carry the name. Her build was completed on 15th June 1945.
She was commissioned in June 1945 and was to serve in the Pacific War Zone but with the declaration of VJ Day on 15 August her Far East Service was deferred.
She served in the Mediterranean including surveillance in the Corfu Channel in 1946 after the mining of HM Ships Saumarez and Volage by Albania. She undertook patrols in the Adriatic and Red Sea intercepting ships attempting to transport illegal Jewish immigrants to Palestine.
In 1949 she transferred to the Far East and served on patrols and bombardments during the Malayan Emergency, Yangste Estuary and Formosa Strait.
She completed five operational tours during the Korean War 1950-1953, where she gained a Battle Honour
She entered the Reserve and in March 1962 was towed to the West of Scotland (Troon) ship breaking where, by early September her destruction was completed.
Cardigan Bay was an unassuming small warship, a workhorse of escort groups, designed and built for the Second War. She was one of a numerous class, none of whose names became famous or even well–known in history.
Was a modified Loch Class to convert to Anti-aircraft. They carried heavier Anti-aircraft weaponry and radar director. Still carried a hedgehog and depth charges but primary role was now Anti-aircraft, intended to give support to the D Day landings and for the Pacific theatre, where the main threat was from air attack. Use of pre-fabrication and the ability to use a common hull for different variants were features that ensured much of the Bay and Loch classes would influence post war Escort design. The excellent sea-keeping qualities of the hulls were ably demonstrated on several occasions when ships of the class rode out Typhoons which were a common hazard in the Far East.
By the mid 1950 the usefulness against modern aircraft was in decline.