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Leith Shipyards

A history of the Ships built at the Henry Robb Shipyard in Leith, Scotland. Also a testimony to the men who built the Ships and to all who sailed in them.
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River Class Frigate



HMS WYE River Class Frigate Ship No 341

“River Class" Frigate. 

This class was developed to have the same capabilities as the pre WW11 "Black Swan" class. However, they were much simpler, cheaper and easier to build with "Reciprocating" rather than "Steam Turbine" power plants. They were designed to be 50ft. longer, at 300ft., than the contemporary "Castle Class", and so the task of building them could not be carried out in many smaller "Civilian" yards.

Designed as an improved Flower Class Corvette the River Class were highly successful Convoy Escorts with long range, heavy depth charge load and good sea keeping. Built in both Canada and Britain they became the mainstay of the Atlantic Escorts in the latter stages of the war.

They were however amongst the first vessels to be built part welded and riveted, which meant that units could be built around the country and delivered to the shipyard for building. A method pioneered by the British yards, with the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb being at the forefront of this type of Lofting and modular build method, which had been used to great effect on the Flower Class Ships first, and indeed the way ships are still built to this day.

The only River Class ship that still survives can be seen in Queensland Australia, although some what different than the original design she is still a great historical vessel.

HMAS Diamantina Royal Australian Navy frigate built in Queensland and commissioned in 1945 and now the last remaining WW2 River Class frigate in the world.

Visit  for more.

The design was also used as the basis of the USN "Tacoma class", known to the RN as the "Colony Class". The design of her hull lines ensured very good sea keeping qualities that were to prove the ships stabilities in all the worlds oceans through the life time of the Class.



USS BISBEE one of the many "Tacoma" Class Frigates built in the U.S. based on the "River Class" ships lines. (Photo from

The Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb were to go onto build six "River Class" Frigates during World War II.

The hull design was later elaborated into the "Loch and Bay Class" Frigates

They were powered by 2 x Admiralty 3-drum boilers, feeding the 2 shafts, with a reciprocal vertical triple expansion engine producing 5,500 ihp to give a speed of 20 knots. With a range of around 7,200 nautical miles steaming at 12 knots they were well suited for the ravages of fighting a battle at sea on the North Atlantic against the foul and notorious weather along with the ever present danger of enemy surface ships and the dreaded U-Boat “Wolf Packs”

With a crew of 107 Officers and Men, the main armament at build: consisted of

2 x QF 4 in (102 mm) /40 Mk.XIX, single mounts CP Mk.XXIII

up to 10 x QF 20 mm Oerlikon A/A on twin mounts Mk.V and single mounts Mk.III 

With 1 x Hedgehog 24 spigot A/S projector, with up to 150 depth charges.


 HMS WYE seen from astern.

(Photo credit unknown)

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