Once a ship had been built and launched she then had to be out-fitted, and then complete sea trials
before being handed over to her new owners, who would look to have that ship at sea, as long as possible to
pay for her build costs and of course to make the company good profits.
To this end one company may have had no requirement for a particular ship after a time and would then sell her on just like any other disposable commodity.
Hence a ship may have had a few owners and would go through many changes and names during what was
hoped for a long and successful working life.
The new motor vessel LOCHEE was ordered from the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb for the famous shipping line of Dundee, Perth & London Lines.
She was of a typical modern design for the time the type of diesel coaster that the Leith Shipyard of Henry Robb had decided to specialise in and it was to prove very successful and was completed just a couple of years before the outbreak of World War II
This two year old, new modern "Coaster" was requisitioned for war work by the Admiralty in October 1939. Her cargo was to be one of the most dangerous that of cased petrol for the supply at first of the British Expeditionary Force in France.
LOCHEE in fact took part in many trips across to the coasts of France in the first nine months of World War II her home port for most of those trips was the Port of Swansea in Wales.
She then switched to the action in Norway and was used again for the cargo of cased petrol, she managed to avoid any damage and returned to the Royal Navy base of Scapa in the North of Scotland, where she unfortunately sustained some damage during a severe storm, when rammed by a ship that was dragging her anchors during this ferocious storm, LOCHEE had damage to her hull, rigging and lifeboats, after repairs she was then to supply the troops in the invasion of Norway and made her way to Narvik in the north of Norway, up by the Artic Circle. When the aborted (although successful) invasion order was given she was used to evacuate troops from the city of Narvik.
After her return from Norway, she again became a petrol carrier between Northern Ireland and North Western ports, and it was while inward bound to Liverpool at the end of December 1940 that she exploded an acoustic mine.
The explosion, which caught the "LOCHEE" on the port quarter, unseated all the auxiliary engines, smashed the steering gear and windlass, and blew the winches and cables overboard. The whole of the stern was forced badly out of line. Mercifully, only three men were injured; the master, being thrown heavily to the deck, broke his collar bone. The extensive repairs took many weeks, but the "LOCHEE" returned again to her job as a petrol carrier between Britain and Gibraltar. She was one of the great convoy which took part in the North African landing and remained in the Mediterranean sea carrying petrol along the coast.
The "LOCHEE" also enjoyed the distinction of being the first merchant ship into Algiers, accompanied by two destroyers.
Many times she was attacked both by bomb and torpedo, but escaped serious damage, only to be driven ashore in February 1944 by a fierce gale whilst at anchor in the Bay of Naples. Pounded heavily by big seas for the next two months, she was re-floated in April, temporarily repaired in Naples, and brought home for completion. She was ready for the Normandy invasion and was again one of the great fleet which assisted at the landings on the heavily defended enemy coast.
D-Day operations, she was again used to supply cased petrol this time her supplies were for the U.S. army areas of the invasion, one one of her return trips LOCHEE was again involved in a collision with another ship this time a tanker which collided with the stern of the LOCHEE, she sustained damage to her port quarter, damaging her bridge and lifeboat along with her Oerlikon gun mounting, after repair she was again back at work with supplies to the Port of Dieppe which had finally been captured after some of the heaviest and sustained fighting of the invasion of Europe.
With the end of the War in Europe on 8th of May 1945, the need for supplies increased even more with many of the civilian populations at or near starvation levels so the role of the "Coaster" reverted back to supplying the hard pressed inhabitants of countries such as Norway, so it was back on the route north with supplies for the town of Kristiansund.
We try here to give as full an account of her history as time and research permits, if you know of missing info
or you have any photographs of her, then please get in touch and we shall update her story as we go along.