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Sunday, 20 June 2010



Ship No 347
Twin screw “Loch Class” Frigate.

The British Pacific Fleet The British Pacific Fleet
In August 1944 the British Pacific Fleet did not exist. Six months later it was strong enough to launch air attacks on Japanese territory, and by the end of the war it constituted the most powerful force in the history of the Royal Navy, fighting as professional equals alongside the US Navy in the thick of the action. How this was achieved by a nation nearing exhaustion after five years of conflict is a story of epic proportions in which ingenuity, diplomacy and dogged persistence all played a part. As much a political as a technical triumph, the BPF was uniquely complex in its make-up: its C-in-C was responsible to the Admiralty for the general direction of his Fleet; took operational orders from the American Admiral Nimitz; answered to the Government of Australia for the construction and maintenance of a vast base infrastructure, and to other Commonwealth Governments for the ships and men that formed his fully-integrated multi-national fleet.This ground-breaking new work by David Hobbs describes the background, creation and expansion of the BPF from its first tentative strikes, through operations off the coast of Japan to its impact on the immediate post-war period, including the opinions of USN liaison officers attached to the British flagships. The book is the first to demonstrate the real scope and scale of the BPF’s impressive achievement.

Third LOCH built in Leith by Henry Robb.
Laid down 31 Dec 1943

Launched 21 Aug 1944

Commissioned 29 Dec 1944

Refitted in Londonderry for service with East Indies Escort Force (June - July 1945)

East Indies Service
Commanding Officers: Lieut. Commander Bidwell RNR

Lieut. Commander A C D Leach DSC RN
Took passage with LOCH QUOICH (July 1945).

Escort of assault convoys for Operation ZIPPER (September 1945).

Present at Singapore for re-occupation (September 1945).

Went to Bangkok with Officials (November 1945). Guardship and Patrols from Batavia and Padang (December 1945).

East Coast of India patrol and escort (January 1946).

Air-Sea rescue duty in Indian Ocean. Relieved LOCH ACHRAY (February)

Sailed for UK in company with LOCH TARBERT.

Paid off into Reserve at Portsmouth (April).


Became the new Zealand ship H.M.N.Z.S. Rotoiti
HMNZS Rotoiti (formerly HMS Loch Katrine), a Loch-class anti-submarine frigate, was commissioned in 1949. It operated in a variety of roles including a two deployments to Korea during the Korean War from 1950-51 and 1952-53, involvement in the nuclear bomb tests, Christmas Island, 1957, and undertaking weather reporting duties between New Zealand and Antarctica as part of 'Operation Deep Freeze' in 1961-63.

Being one of six frigates purchased from the Royal Navy in 1947 by the Royal New Zealand Navy (Two of them being ex-Henry Robb built ships), designated the 11th Flotilla. The six ships were modernised in the United Kingdom, before sailing to New Zealand in groups between 1948 and 1949.

She was decommissioned in August 1965.

Then sold to be broken up for scrap in September 1966.

The New Zealand Loch Class – Some Historical Notes.

These were developed from the slightly smaller River Class frigates and were designed as anti-submarine convoy escorts. In 1947, NZ looked at buying seven of these frigates from the RN – six for anti-submarine work and the seventh as a survey ship. However, by June 1948, the seventh frigate was put on hold.

All six Lochs served as AS escorts protecting shipping in the North Atlantic approaches to the British Isles. Loch Eck (Hawea) was on Russian convoys to Murmansk in 1945 and was responsible/aided in the sinking of 4 U-Boats. All paid off into reserve 1945-46.

The six frigates were refitted at either Devonport, Portsmouth, Chatham and Sheerness and prepared for the RNZNs needs. Initial manning came from the corvettes Arabis and Arbutus and further crew members came from a recruiting drive from the RN.

Loch Eck K422 Hawea F422 1/10/48 to 15/2/57 - ZMXF

Loch Achray K426 Kaniere F426 28/9/48 to 22/12/60 - ZMXG

Loch Achanalt K424 Pukaki F424 13/9/48 to 24/5/65 - ZMXD

Loch Katrine K625 Rotoiti F625 7/6/49 to 6/8/65 - ZMXK

Loch Shin K421 Taupo F421 13/9/48 to 26/1/53 - ZMXC

Loch Morlich K517 Tutira F517 11/4/49 to 31/8/51 - ZMXJ

The six frigates formed the 11th Frigate Flotilla in August 1948, with Taupo designated as Senior Officer. This changed when the first four ships arrived in NZ and from March 1949, the NZ Squadron had the SO in HMNZS Bellona.

All six Lochs were named after NZ Lakes.

(My thanks, to Jim Dell for the above.)

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