Ship No 347
Twin screw “Loch Class” Frigate.
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. RotoitiHMNZS 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.
H.M.N.Z.S.ROTOITIBeing 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.
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.)