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 DERG - Yard No 330 - River Class Frigate - Royal Navy - Built 1943

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HMS DERG - Yard No 330 - River Class Frigate - Royal Navy - Built 1943


 HMS DERG River Class Frigate Ship No 330  
Owners   Royal Navy
Registered     Keel Laid    16/04/1942
Type of Ship    River Class Frigate Launched    07/01/1943
      Commissioned    10/06/1943
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     140 Officers and Men      
Engines   Two Admiralty 3-drum type boilers      
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   HMS WESSEX-HMS CAMBRIA    
Current Status   Scrapped in 1960    

Content on HMS DERG will be added as and when available. 



HMS DERG underway

(photo credit unknown for now)



HMS DERG Ship No 330

(photo credit unknown)

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 DERG was a River Class Frigate, one of six in number built at the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb Ltd.

She was commissioned into the Royal Navy on 10th June 1943 and within a couple of months she was on convoy duty to South Africa.   

On 17 August 1943 convoy WS3-2 arrived in South Africa from the U.K. with reinforcements for service in Burma, the convoy consisted of 5 ships. HMS DERG and her sisters HMS KALE and HMS TAY along with the destroyers HMS RAPID and HMS RELENTLESS and the two Australians warships HMAS NORMAN and HMAS QUIBERON who  were responsible for providing the A/S escort for the final leg of the passage.

In September 1944 HMS DERG was docked in the Selborne dry dock at Simonstown, South Africa.

In September 1945 HMS DERG was part of the large armada of naval ships assembled at Tokyo Bay, where the official surrender of Japan was held onboard the American battleship USS MISSOURI.

HMS DERG as part of the British Pacific Fleet

The River Class Frigate HMS DERG was not only lucky enough to be present at the Japanese unconditional surrender ceremony held in Tokyo Bay but she had been part of the most formidable and powerful fleet ever assembled.

She was an escort vessel of the large fleet train that had been set up at the end of 1944 beginning of 1945  this fleet train was set up to supply the British Pacific Fleet in the war against Japan.

A part of British history during World War II which perhaps because of "Hollywood" type films about how America fought the war in the Pacific single handed has been amazingly neglected and is no-where as well know as the part the Royal Navy played in other theatres of World War II

This powerful fleet which had been assembled in only a few short months along with all the logistics required to supply such a fleet at a time when the country was near exhaustion was no less a feat in it's self and was only possible with the huge contributions made by Canada, Australia and New Zealand (New Zealand in fact supplied a quarter of the fighter pilots who engaged the enemy so bravely)in ships and men, with the main fleet being based in Australia at Sydney and at Freemantle in the west of the country.

HMS DERG was with the fleet as it supplied the fighting forces from the Philippines to the coast of Japan.

Although just a small ship compared with the Aircraft Carriers and Battleships involved she played her part all the same.

The British Pacific Fleet was unique at the time in the annuls of Royal Navy history as they were under orders (or requests) from the commander of the American Third fleet of which they were now part, this fleet of more than 2,000 ships was the most powerful ever assembled and was to take part in the invasion of mainland Japan until the dropping of the Atomic bomb forced them into surrender.

British warships and aircraft attacking mainland Japan is a fact as I have said that has largely gone un-noticed by the general public and a ship built at the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb was there 

In 1951 HMS DERG was renamed HMS WESSEX and was used as an RNVR drill-ship, She was later to be renamed again to HMS CAMBRIA.

In September 1960, the frigate was broken up for scrap, at Cashmore, Newport.

Her badge with her original name can be seen painted on the side of the Selborne dry dock wall. Simonstown, Soth Africa.


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.



The end of World War II as Japan surrenders some place among the many ships of many nations is the Leith built ship HMS DERG as the ship lay at anchor in Tokio Bay




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.


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