CARDIGAN BAY DATA.
BAY was originally named LOCH LAXFORD as part of the Loch class AS frigate building
programme, but 26 Lochs were scheduled for completion as Bay class AA frigates,
named after bays in the United Kingdom. Only 19 were eventually completed as Bays;
2 were completed as despatch vessels, 4 as survey vessels and 1 cancelled.
CARDIGAN BAY was built by Henry Robb Ltd, Leith.
Displacement 1580 tons
Length overall 307ft 3ins
Beam 38ft 6ins
Boilers 2 x Admiralty 3-drum oil-fired boilers operating at 225 lb/sq
Engines 4-cylinder triple expansion reciprocating engines driving 2 shafts
giving a total of 5500 ihp
Speed 19 - 20 knots
Oil Fuel 720 tons
4 x 4-inch AA (2 x 2) 6 x 40mm AA (2 x 2)(2 x 1) 6 x 20mm AA (6 x 1)
20mm and 40mm fit was variable)
AS Weapons 1 x Hedgehog 24-spigot mortar
4 x depth-charge throwers and 2 x depth-charge rails
A Short History 1944-62
submitted By Shipmate Paul Morel)
HMS CARDIGAN BAY was launched in
December 1944 as one of a new class of anti-aircraft frigates designed for service
in the Pacific War Zone but completed too late for wartime operations. The ship
commissioned on 25 June 1945 at Leith and worked-up in Scottish waters but on
15 August VJ Day was declared and CARDIGAN BAY was to serve with the Mediterranean
Escort Force for the next 4 years.
Duties included the Palestine Patrols,
to intercept ships carrying illegal Jewish immigrants to Palestine, and patrols
in the Adriatic and Red Sea. In February 1946 CARDIGAN BAY assisted in the salvage
of the SS GRADISCA, aground off Gavdos, and in October carried out surveillance
in the Corfu Channel after the mining of HM Ships SAUMAREZ and VOLAGE by Albania.
In July 1947 CARDIGAN BAY was involved, together with a cruiser and several destroyers,
in the interception and boarding of the illegal immigrant ship PRESIDENT WARFIELD.
In January 1948 CARDIGAN BAY intercepted the PAN YORK and PAN CRESCENT and escorted
them to Famagusta.
In 1949 CARDIGAN BAY was transferred to the Far East,
reaching Singapore in August for service in the 4th Frigate Flotilla. Over the
following years the ship was to carry out patrols and bombardments during the
Malayan Emergency; Yangtse Estuary and Formosa Strait patrols to assist British
merchant ships under harassment by Chinese warships during the civil war between
Chinese Communists and Nationalists; and complete 5 Operational Tours during the
Korean War, 1950-53.
CARDIGAN BAY's first Malayan coastal patrol began in
September 1949, followed by Yangtse patrol in November. She was under refit at
Singapore when the Korean War broke out on 25 June 1950 and, after another Malayan
patrol and bombardment, was diverted on passage to Japan to assist, and eventually
negotiate the release of, the British merchant ship SHUN LEE, which had been arrested
by Chinese Nationalists in the Peshan Islands.
During the Korean War,
Kure and Sasebo were CARDIGAN BAY's Japanese rest and replenishment bases and
the ship reached Kure in late November to begin her first Korean coast patrol
as part of a UN Task Group. During December and early January the ship assisted
in the evacuation of Inchon and patrolling the harbour entrance. Although some
RN ships were also deployed on the Korean east coast, CARDIGAN BAY operated only
on the west coast, with an island base at Chodo. Tasks included blockade, bombardment
and keeping many of the strategic islands off the west coast in UN control. Enemy
shore batteries and minefields were constant threats and the coast was navigationally
hazardous. In winter there was extensive pack-ice. Patrols alternated with maintenance
and exercise periods at Hong Kong and Singapore.
In July 1951 CARDIGAN
BAY carried out the urgent and hazardous task of salvaging a crashed Russian-built
MiG-15 jet fighter. The wreckage lay in shallow water, south-west of Hanchon,
some 100 miles behind enemy lines, within range of shore batteries and in an area
of mudbanks and treacherous tides and at the end of a narrow channel, supposedly
mined. UN aircraft provided guidance along the approach channel to the wreckage,
which a US helicopter had marked with buoys. CARDIGAN BAY, a US Navy crane-bearing
landing craft and a South Korean launch completed the task early on 21 July. UN
aircraft provided air cover and the cruiser KENYA provided long-range radar cover.
Before leading the convoy back to Chodo, CARDIGAN BAY bombarded a gun position.
Next day the MiG-15 wreckage was transported to Inchon and handed over to the
US 5th Air Force. The UN were anxious to discover the secrets of the MiG-15, which
in vital functions outclassed the US jets. There was no enemy interference with
Within days, CARDIGAN BAY was ordered to initiate a 'show
of force' bombardment in the Han River where ships' boats had to take many soundings
to locate the negotiable channels among the mudbanks. CARDIGAN BAY, HMAS MURCHISON,
HMNZS HAWEA, a South Korean frigate and patrol craft began the operation in the
western channel and bombardment began on 25 July. On 27 July, after a hazardous
return down channel, and joined by MORECAMBE BAY, the ships negotiated the eastern
channel and began bombardments, which CARDIGAN BAY and other ships variously continued
until November when CARDIGAN BAY returned to Singapore for refit.
ship resumed Korean patrols in January 1952 and between then and April was intermittently
involved in bombardment and illumination in the Taedong estuary to protect various
strategic islands from invasion, an operation known as 'Smoking Concert'. CARDIGAN
BAY also took part in the subsequent defensive patrols which became known as the
'Battle of the Islands.' The ship returned to Hong Kong in May and after Squadron
manoeuvres began her 4th Korean tour in June. In January 1953, on her last Operational
Tour, the ship carried out bombardments in the Sokto area, amid pack-ice, and
in April bombarded gun caves on Wolsari Peninsula. By late April the ship was
back on Malayan patrol, bombarding terrorist positions, then in May took part
in an exercise with French naval units.
Armistice in the Korean War was
declared on 27 July 1953. The Korean War had gained CARDIGAN BAY her only Battle
The ship returned to the pattern of Malayan and Hong Kong patrols,
Chinese warship surveillance, exercises and also Korean guardship duties which
continued for some time after the war ended. Other duties included anti-piracy
patrols off Borneo and Indonesia in 1954 and 1955, training of Malayan RNVR and
numerous flag-showing visits.
By now the ship was well into obsolescence,
but in January 1957, after a 9-month refit, she recommissioned as Leader of the
3rd Frigate Squadron and took part in a series of major exercises before undertaking
detached service in New Zealand waters until January 1958. Recommissioning in
March 1958 she continued the usual pattern of exercises and visits before joining
in the escort of HMY BRITANNIA on passage to Borneo in March 1959.
BAY's final commission began in October 1959 and after a major SEATO exercise
in April and May 1960 and a Malayan patrol in August, the ship took leave of Hong
Kong in October. In November she left Singapore for the last time, for a South
Pacific tour ending the year in Western Samoa. In January 1961 she continued to
Pearl Harbor, Californian and Central American ports, then via the Panama Canal
for her first and last Caribbean cruise, reaching Devonport on 7 April. CARDIGAN
BAY entered Devonport Reserve at the end of June, after 16 years' service, and
in March 1962 was towed to West of Scotland Shipbreaking at Troon, where destruction
was completed by early September.