Puneet Varma

HMS Dampier (K611)

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Name  HMS Dampier
Ordered  23 January 1943
Commissioned  4 May 1948, as Dampier
Construction started  7 August 1944
Draft  3.89 m
Namesake  William Dampier
Laid down  7 August 1944
Decommissioned  31 January 1968
Launched  15 May 1945
Builders  Smiths Dock Company, South Bank, Middlesbrough

HMS Dampier was a Bay-class anti-aircraft frigate of the British Royal Navy, named after the explorer, author and privateer, William Dampier (1652-1715). The ship was in commission from 1948 to 1968, spending her entire career based at Singapore, carrying out survey work.

Contents

Construction

The ship was ordered on 23 January 1943 from Smiths Dock Company, South Bank, Middlesbrough, as the Loch-class frigate Loch Eil. The ship was laid down on 7 August 1944, but the contract was then changed, and the ship was completed to a revised design as a Bay-class anti-aircraft frigate, and launched on 15 May 1945 as Herne Bay (K611). Work on the ship was suspended on 26 September 1945, and she was towed to Chatham Dockyard. In July 1946 work recommenced to convert her into a survey ship. She was renamed Dampier and assigned the pennant number A303.

Service history

Dampier was commissioned on 4 May 1948, and in June arrived at Singapore, which would be her home port for almost the next twenty years. There she was employed in carrying out oceanographic and hydrographic surveys around the coasts of Malaya, Borneo, and Hong Kong, in the South China and Java Seas, with regular annual refits at Hong Kong, and inspections at Singapore.

On 5 October 1967 Dampier finally left Singapore to return to the UK, arriving at Simon's Town, South Africa, on 17 November. A week later, after local exercises, it was discovered that the ship's starboard propeller shaft was broken. The ship was obliged to continue her voyage on only one shaft. At Freetown, Sierra Leone, she found that there was no suitable equipment available to make repairs. With only three weeks remaining to make the 3,000 miles back to England in time for Christmas, the ship took the unusual step of manufacturing and hoisting a set of sails. Three lug sails made from awning canvas were hoisted on 11 December, and four days later a set of square sails. With the assistance of this rig, Dampier arrived at Chatham on 23 December to be greeted by Flag Officer Medway and the Hydrographer of the Navy.

Dampier was decommissioned at Chatham on 31 January 1968 and reduced to the Reserve. The ship was later placed on the Disposal List, and then sold to a Belgian shipbreaker. She was towed away for breaking-up on 17 January 1969.

Publications

  • Colledge, J. J.; Warlow, Ben (2006) [1969]. Ships of the Royal Navy: The Complete Record of all Fighting Ships of the Royal Navy (Rev. ed.). London: Chatham Publishing. ISBN 978-1-86176-281-8. OCLC 67375475. 
  • References

    HMS Dampier (K611) Wikipedia


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