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 WINDRUSH - Yard No 340 - River Class Frigate - Royal Navy - Built 1943

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HMS WINDRUSH - Yard No 340 - River Class Frigate - Royal Navy - Built 1943



 HMS WINDRUSH Ship No 340 (River Class Frigate)


Owners   Royal Navy
Registered     Keel Laid    18/11/1942
Type of Ship    River Class Frigate Launched    18/06/1943
      Commissioned    03/11/1943
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   Steam triple-expansion reciprocating boiler producing 5,500ihp      
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   1944- La Découverte, 1967-Lucifer II    
Current Status   Cut up for scrap in 2009    

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



HMS WINDRUSH as she was when she left the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb in Scotland



HMS WINDRUSH re-named La Découverte in her new role with the Free French Navy

(photo credit unknown)



 A starbd view of La Découverte passing

(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 WINDRUSH was the second last of the six "River Class" Frigates to be built at the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb during World War II

She was launched as HMS WINDRUSH but was never commissioned into the Royal Navy, three months after her launch she was one of five such Frigates gifted to the (F.N.F.L.) Free French Navy and she was christened "La Découverte",

She served as an escort to the Atlantic convoys, under Canadian Navy control before being transferred to the F.N.F.L. (Free French) in February 1944 under French control.

HMS WINDRUSH now as La Découverte was to play a large part in the D-Day invasion of the Normandy beaches, when she sailed from Great Yarmouth to lead  a convoy, comprising the Group 11, G Force, which was part of the Assault forces for the landing of the 3rd Canadian Division, heading for Juno Beach at the head of the convoy of more than 100 LCT's (Landing Craft Tank) once the invasion forces had reached the beaches she also provided anti-aircraft cover and shelled the coast.

La Découverte continued her duties along the French coast for the next couple of months. 

At the end of July she was the first French Ship into Cherbourg with the French Admiral Thierry d'Argenlieu.

She also participated in the delivery of fuel to the  6th Armoured Div, 12th Group, 8th US Army, and took part in many further operations until the end of hostilities in May 1945.

After the war she stayed on active service with the French Navy until 1959 when she was dumped in the French naval cemetery at L'anderennec.

In 1967 she was towed north to become a training ship in the port of Cherbourg.
She was beached in front of the training college and concreted into position.

This was when her name was changed to "Lucifer II" very apt as she was to be used amongst other things as a fire control ship to give practice to fire fighter who may have the un-enviable task some day of fighting a fire on board a ship.

After 33 years on the beach where she became a well known sight it was decided that there was no need for her anymore and for the next 8 years many schemes were thought up to try and preserve this the last of her type, but the decision was made in 2009 that she should be cut up for scrap, so ended the story of the last "River Class" Frigate.

True to say that we cant keep them all....but. 


(From a photograph kindly sent in by John at

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.




(photo is from John at


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.




Another photo of the old "River Class Frigate" before she was cut up for scrap.



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0 #3 WILLIAM HERVO 2016-08-01 15:34
Hi my father Raymond Hervo Free French Navy , served aboard this ship before he joined the Commando's .. I would appreciate any information you may find on his service , he never spoke much about his wartime experience..
Thank you
0 #2 DEVISME Sylvain 2012-02-11 17:53
Fire Instructor I was on that ship (Lucifer II) I can provide some photos Building on fire for training exercises;

j'ai été instructeur incendie sur ce navire (Lucifer II) Je peux vous fournir quelques photos Batiment en feu pour exercices d'instruction;

0 #1 Daniel 2011-11-27 14:08

My father shoot a small film of that ship in 1952 while in was serving on the French Jeanne d'Arc.
Sorry for the poor video quality, those were the beginning of color movies !

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