The Loftsman
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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Home Ships Built in Leith 1939 to 1945 HMS NESS - Yard No 326 - River Class Frigate - Royal Navy - Built 1942

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HMS NESS - Yard No 326 - River Class Frigate - Royal Navy - Built 1942

 HMS NESS Ship No 326 (River Class Frigate)  
Owners   Royal Navy
Registered     Keel Laid    03/09/1941
Type of Ship    River Class Corvette Launched    30/07/1942
      Commissioned    22/12/1942
Ship Details          
Length Overall    301' 3" Launch Details    
Length B.P.    283' 0" Weather    
Beam    36' 6" Time to Water    
Depth Mld     17' 6"      
Draught    13' 0"      
G.R.T.    1590 tons      
Complement     107 Officers and Men      
Engines   Reciprocating vertical triple expansion, producing 5,500 ihp      
Props    2      
Speed    20 knots      
Armament    2 x QF 4 in /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
•1 x Hedgehog 24 spigot A/S projector
•up to 150 depth charges
Other known names    N/A    
Current Status   Scrapped September 1956    
Content on HMS NESS will be added as and when available. 
Ships History
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, in the case of a ship for the Royal Navy this meant she also had to be commissioned as fit for purpose, once commissioned she was then considered ready for action and would take her place in the fleet.
 HMS NESS was the first of the "River Class Frigates that were to be built in the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb, 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 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.
HMS NESS was a superb seakeeping ship, and the "River Class" 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"
The hull design was later to "morph" into the "Loch and Bay Class" Frigates
HMS NESS was credited with the sinking of the Italian Submarine "Leonardo Da Vinci" along with the Destroyer HMS ACTIVE North East of the Azores in May 1943, she also almost destoyed herself on her own depth charges but managed to limp back to dry dock in Gibraltar, her hull was never quit the same after.
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.
HMS NESS from a photograph in the Imperial War Museum



Here’s the crew taken at Londonderry after the Battle of the Atlantic had ended - centre is the skipper Ronald Steel RNR to his left his 1st Lieutenant Robert Morton RANVR and standing behind his left shoulder is Alan Gordon, who commented on the Ness page on your web-site.

The photograph was sent into the website from Richard Moss who has now got a book out about the fine ships adventure and heroics during World War II

We shall feature a link to the book through our book part of the site soon. 





Model of HMS Ness Ship No 326
Completed by Andy Forrest is 1/96 scale for more pictures of this Model see the Model Makers pages.


Tales from the Ship
Here you will find the stories from the men and women who sailed on the ships, what was it really like to be working on a ship in a raging sea and in the pitch dark of night, the real stories some funny some sad, some good and some bad.

Dedicated to all the brave men and women who sailed the vessels from the Leith Shipyards.
Should you know of anyone who may have sailed on her, then please feel free to get in touch so that we can add the story here.
A truly amazing record of this fine ship and her crew from 1943 until wars end in August 1945 a remarkable journey through the camera lens of Philip Forrest if a picture is worth a thousand words then this collection is worth many thousands of words. The following pages show the wartime journey of
HMS NESS in photograph's taken by Phil Forrest.
<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Next > End >>
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0 #23 w watters 2017-04-02 18:01
HMS ness was built with contributions from the population of Orkney. There were dances and other activities. The population of Orkney at the time was boosted by 1000s 0f servicemen.
0 #22 Andy Forrest 2017-01-05 15:59
Hi Harold How nice to hear about your dad's connection with HMS Ness. My father was a telegraphist and may well have known your father
As far as photo's go I have a load of them and am not quite sure which one you need.if you can email on I am happy to send some which may help
0 #21 Howard Rose 2017-01-02 12:09
Hi, my father Harold Eric Rose served on 'Ness' from Dec 42 to Mar 44. I have his crossing the equator proclamation dated 30/09/43. I am sure he is in the picture showing the ships company in Freetown in 1944, do you know how I can obtain a copy? In 1944 he moved to 'Loch Fyne' as a radar operator. He may have been a radar operator on 'Ness'. Would appreciate any advice you can offer.
+1 #20 Andy Forrest 2016-05-24 16:54
Hi Phil great to see your comment and that your dad can still relate stories. My father who died in 2011 aged nearly 90 was a telegraphist and so may have known your father. I have copies of the convoy records and most of the photo's on the site are from my father. If you want copies please let me know
Kind regards to you and your dad
0 #19 phil squires 2016-05-23 22:43
my Dad served on Ness as a Radar operator from 1944 on I think. He is 90 now.
0 #18 Graham Nind 2014-09-20 09:43
My dad, Donald Nind, served on HMS Ness probably from 1942 onwards. He died in 1997. Does anyone remember him? I have some photos (somewhere) and will try and find them
-1 #17 Richard Green 2014-05-30 21:25
On the photo "the comm's crew in Gibraltar at Xmas 1943" my dad John Green is 6th from the left (or right). He died age 80 in 2003 and I'd be very interested to hear any memories of him.
+1 #16 Andy Forrest 2014-05-07 19:04
Thanks Alan for your very quick reply
Now for the difficult bit - making the minesweeping gear
Bring out the beer!!
0 #15 Alan Gordon 2014-05-07 15:07
She still had all the sweeping gear aboard when I left her in mid 45
including the fox gear.....
0 #14 Alan Gordon 2014-05-07 15:01
I left HMS Ness about Aug 1945 and she still had all the sweeping gear on deck including the paravanes (I thinks thats the name of the line Floats)
I hope this helps...

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