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 NITH - Yard No 327 - River Class Frigate - Royal Navy - Built 1942

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HMS NITH - Yard No 327 - River Class Frigate - Royal Navy - Built 1942



 HMS NITH Ship No 327 (River Class Frigate)

(Photo credit unknown)

Owners   Royal Navy
Registered     Keel Laid    05/09/1941
Type of Ship    River Class Frigate Launched    25/09/1942
      Commissioned    16/02/1943
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   1948-Domiat    
Current Status   Sunk by the R.N.Cruiser "Newfoundland" during the Suez Crisis October 1956    
Content on HMS NITH will be added as and when available. 

Turton Tower, a historical house in Lancashire.

The local village of Turton adopted the HMS Nith during WWII and they have a small but limited display on show in the tower. So if you happen to be passing by then why not pay a visit.


HMS NITH (K-215)

(Photo credit to Bob Hanley)


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 NITH was the second of the River Class Frigates to be built in the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb, a sister ship to HMS NESS.

She was to serve the Royal Navy well, assigned in June 1944 as the headquarters for the British landings at Normandy on "D"-day, landing the 231 Infantry Brigade on "Jig" Green beach, after which, she commenced duties in routine control of convoys to the assault force zones. In order to be more readily recognized while performing her duties, her stack and bridgeworks were painted bright red.

On 24 June 1944 she was attacked by a German JU-88 modified to be a "Mistel" (an experimental weapon developed by the Germans which is basically a plane filled with a shape charge and guided by a mother aircraft). The Mistel struck the Nith on the starboard side resulting in 9, or possibly 10, casualties and 26 wounded. The ship was then towed to Cowes for drydocking and repair.

The following October, the Nith was modified at the Clyde shipyards and prepared for duties in the Far East. Modifications were completed in April 1945 and the ship sailed for Arakan, via Gibralter and the Suez Canal in order to take part in Operation Dracula (retaking of Rangoon). However, the Japanese Army had already departed. Once the re-occupation of Rangoon was completed, the Nith was then chosen to be the Headquarters of the Senior Naval Officer in Charge. She then participated in Operation Bibber to retake Thailand, but by then the Japanese had surrendered.

In March of the following year (1946), the HMS Nith departed India and became part of the Reserve Fleet at Harwich, England.

In 1948, she was sold to Egypt and renamed Domiat. 

The Sinking of the Domiat

On the evening of 31 October 1956, with Egypt and Britain being at war during the Suez Canal crisis, the HMS Newfoundland, a British Fiji-class cruiser, was patrolling the Red Sea south of Suez. She encountered a darkened ship passing here in the opposite direction. The Newfoundland closed to 1,500 yards, and came parallel to this ship, signalling it to heave-to or be fired upon. The darkened ship signaled acknowledgement and appeared to slow down. Then it extinguished its running lights and trained her guns on the Newfoundland who then immediatley opened fire. This was at approximately 0130 on 01 November 1956.

The ship, later identified as the Egyptian Navy Frigate Domiat, had just left the port of Adabieh on its way to rendevouz with the Egyptian Frigate Rosetta, began returning fire a moment later.

By all accounts given, the Egyptian sailors onboard the ship bravely returned fire, scoring a few hits on the Newfoundland causing some damage and a few injuries with her 4-inch shells. However, the Domiat was no match for the British cruiser and, after her bridge and wheelhouse had been destroyed, among other battle damage, the Domiat soon capsized, and sank after being finished off by the HMS Diana (Daring Class destroyer), under the command of Capt. J. Gowers, when it was thought that the Domiat was trying to ram her.

The Newfoundland and Diana rescued 69 survivors from the wreckage. Egyptian casualites were reported as being 6 officers and 50 sailors. British casualties, 6 sailors.


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 NITH as the Egyptian ship Domiat
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.

The above was sent into the website by the Heritage building Supervisor (Chris) of Turton Tower where there is a small museum dedicated to the ship that the small town adopted during World War II

(Shown here by permission)

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.

 For much more on HMS NITH than could be added on this site, please visit the site of the Royal Naval Association-Carmarthen Branch, and read about HMS NITH from the men who were there.

The above photograph is Fred Lee he was a leading Stoker on the Nith. He was on watch when the ship was hit by the Mistel on 23rd June. The story is detailed here , where you can see a photo of a very young Fred Lee on one of the pages (he joined up under age!). 

And Fred Lee as seen in 2013 a brave tribute to all who served on HMS NITH River Class Frigate


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+1 #10 Ian Allen 2015-11-04 21:49
Fred Lee has just bought from the IWM film unit a film detailing the 'Burma Victory Parade - Navy' filmed in 1945. It contains a short clip of Lord Louis Mountbatten taking the salute from his motor launch, as he passes the moored ships which includes HMS Nith. Fred was on board at the time.
0 #9 Paul Byrne 2015-02-15 17:18
My dad Harry Byrne served on the Nith during the war, but unfortunately I don't have any details
0 #8 Brenda Hillier 2014-11-21 22:52
Dear Lesley Kirby,
My son will also contact you, but I want to confirm that the letters you have found were for my former father-in-law, Peter Alec Hillier, who served on the Nith. The letters were from my late mother-in-law, Joyce Hillier (nee Wood). I am flabbergasted to hear such an amazing discovery, after so many years!
Their son, my ex-husband Peter, will also be surprised to hear of their discovery.
I hope that you still have them. I live in Coventry, and if you email me I can give you contact details and addresses.
I look forward to hearing from you, or that my son has heard from you.
Yours sincerely, Brenda Hillier.
0 #7 Stephen Hillier 2014-11-21 22:14
hi, I think I just commented on here but I can't see it. I am Pete's grandson! The letters were from my nan to him. This is quite surreal after a Google search for Hms Nith! He is alive and well in Essex. Thanks for posting this Leslie! I hope you still have them 3 years later. Kind regards, Stephen
0 #6 Stephen Hillier 2014-11-21 22:05
Hello! I hope I haven't missed the boat here! (Excuse the pun!). I am Pete's grandson! He is alive and well in Essex! The letters were from my Nanny Joyce (sadly no longer with us). I can't believe I found this after a Google search for hms Nith. I love his stories about the ship and am amazed you might have some of his post! Wow. Please drop me an email :)
0 #5 David Seymour 2014-11-01 13:15
My father W.H.Seymour served for a while on HMS Ninth after HMS Duncan. He was a CPO telegraphist and was on board when the ship was hit by the Mistal. He was taking a message to the bridge when she was hit. That saved his life as all the other wireless men were killed.
0 #4 Tony Dancer 2014-06-07 16:09
My dad served on board the Nith, Benjamin (BEN) George Dancer.
-1 #3 Ian Allen 2012-02-15 13:34
My father inlaw, Fred Lee is aware of the names of about twenty other HMS Nith veterans but unfortunately he cannot recollect Peter Hillier among them. He hasn't given up yet however, and so there may be an update on here at a later date.
+1 #2 Ian Allen 2012-02-14 13:38
My father in-law served on HMS Nith during WW2, I will ask him about Mr Hillier.
+1 #1 Lesley Kirby 2011-07-21 16:12
I have been handed some personal letters addressed to a P.A.Hillier A/B
12 Mess
H.M.S Nith
c/o G.P.O

the letters are all dated from March - August 1945 from a lady called Joyce Woods. We have no idea how they got in my friends loft or who they belong to. Can you help us find Peter, Joyce or any of their family to return the letters. Thank you

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