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SERVICE HISTORIES of ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS in WORLD WAR 2
by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2005

HMS ALERT (K 647) - Despatch Vessel, ex-Bay-class Frigate

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMS Alert (Navy Photos/Gerry Wright, click to enlarge) return to Contents List 
 

BAY-Class Frigate DUNDRUM BAY (K 427) converted during build at Blyth for use as Despatch Vessel for the CinC on the Far East Station. This name had previously been used by 24 RN ships 4 of which were Sloops and the others not of significant size.

 

B a t t l e†† H o n o u r s

 

† LEXINGTON Single Ship Action 1777 - DOGGER BANK† 1781 - THE SAINTES† 1782 - KOREA† 1951

 

H e r a l d i c†† D a t a

Badge: On a Field Gold, on a mount Green a stag at gaze Proper.

 

 

S u m m a r y†† o f†† S e r v i c e

(for more ship information, go to Naval History Homepage and type name in Site Search

 

 

1 9 4 6

October

                24th        Commissioned for service as Despatch Vessel.

                                Commanding Officer: Commander J N Garnett, DSC, RN (P).

 

November              On completion of trials and storing took passage to Singapore for use by CinC British

                                Pacific Fleet

                29th        Arrived at Singapore.

 

December              Passage to join BPF at Hong Kong.

 

1 9 4 7

 

January                  Remained in Hong Kong.

 

February                Deployed for visits by CinC with calls at Jesselton, Shanghai and Tsingtao in company

                                with HM Cruiser BELFAST.

                24th        Returned to Hong Kong for docking.

 

March                    New Commanding Officer appointed: Commander AAF Talbot DSO, RN.

                                (Later Vice Admiral Sir Arthur, KBE, CBE, DSO*) At Singapore.

 

April                       Deployed at Singapore

to

May

 

June                        Deployed for Fleet Cruise programme

to                            Visited Bangkok, Kuching and Kure.

July                         Returned to Singapore.

 

August                  Passage to Japan to visit BPF units.

to                            Called at Tientsin, Inchon, Nagasaki and Yokohama.

September             Returned via Kure to Hong Kong.

 

October                  Under refit in Hong Kong

to                            New Commanding Officer appointed: Commander R M Smeeton MBE RN.

November              (Later Vice Admiral Sir Richard KCB, MBE, FRAeS, DL

                                Passage to Singapore on completion of trials

 

December              Deployed at Singapore.

 

1 9 4 8

 

January                  Deployed at Singapore

                                (Note: Pennant Number for visual signalling purposes changed to K421 during 1948)

 

 

February                Deployed for Flag visit Programme

                                At Saigon

 

March                    Carried out Flag visit to Borneo

                                At Brunei and Manila.

 

April                       Return passage to Singapore.

 

May                        Flag visit to Chinese ports including Nanking and Shanghai followed by call

to                            at Kuching, Borneo

June                        (Note: During this period British ships were being subjected to interference by

                                Communist and Nationalist forces.

                                An RN patrol was being maintained in the Formosan Channel to protect British

                                flagged shipping trading in Chinese waters.

 

July                         Sustained structural damage in Typhoon at Hong Kong and under repair in

                                HM Dockyard

 

August                  On completion took passage to Singapore.

 

September             Far East Station re-established and in future ALERT was to be used by CinC Far East

                                and retained at Singapore for his use.

                                Docking period in Singapore.

 

October                  Deployed operationally as a frigate in support of anti-terrorist operations by military

                                forces.

                                Carried out patrol duty off east coast of Malay to intercept craft providing assistance

                                to guerrillas.

 

November              Resumed Flag Frigate duty.

                                Passage to Hong Kong

 

December              Returned to Hong Kong.

 

1 9 4 9

 

January                  Under refit in Singapore.

 

February                Deployed for Flag visit by Flag Officer Malayan Area to Jesselton and Kuching in

                                Borneo.

 

March                    Deployed for Flag Visit to Shanghai and Nanking..

 

April                       Under repair at Hong Kong.

 

May                        Returned to Singapore.

 

June                        Deployed at Singapore

 

July                         Carried out Flag visit to Japan for calls at Kobe and Kure

                                (Note: Kure was used by US Navy as a Base for US warships in Japanese area).

 

August                  Under repair at Singapore.

 

September             Carried out Flag visit to ports in Borneo including Jesselton, Sandakan and Kudat.

 

October                  Deployed for Borneo visit programme.

                11th        Returned to Singapore

 

November              Deployed at Singapore.                     

 

December              Passage to Hong Kong for refit.

 

1 9 5 0

 

January                  Under refit in Hong Kong.

to

February

 

March                    Carried out Flag visit Programme to Manila including call at US Navy Base in

                                Subic Bay.

 

April                       Under refit at Singapore

                                New Commanding Officer appointed: Commander R De L Brooke DSO, DSC*

 

May                        On completion of trials took passage to Hong Kong.

 

June                        Deployed for Flag visit Programme to Japan and call at US Navy in Okinawa

                                after visits to Tokyo, Otaru, Ominatu and Kure.

                                (Note: Announcement of UN intervention made after leaving Okinawa.)

 

July.                        On arrival at Singapore deployed operationally for Malayan Coast patrol to

                                provide naval gunfire support of military anti-terrorist operations.

 

August                  Detached for use by Flag Officer, 2nd in Command, Far East Station as RN HQ

to                            ship for ships operating with UN off Korea and based at Sasebo, Japan.

September

 

October

                16th        Relieved by HMS LADYBIRD (Ex mercantile ss WUSUEH) which had been

                                converted for use as RN HQ ship at Sasebo..

                                Returned to Singapore with call in Hong Kong.

 

November              Deployed operationally on coastal patrol duties off Malaya.

to                            Commanding Officers: Lieut. Commander N R Turner RN

December

 

1 9 5 1

 

January                  Continued operational deployment.

 

February                Reverted to Flag Frigate role

                28th        Took passage to Hong Kong

 

March                    Visited Sandakan and Kuching in Borneo.

 

April                       Returned to Singapore.

 

May                        Deployed at Singapore.

 

June                        Periodic operation deployment for Malayan Coast patrol duty.

 

July                         Resumed Flag Frigate role.

 

August                  Routine Docking and Underwater Fittings inspection at Singapore.

 

September             Deployed for Flag Visit to British Naval units operating under UN Command off

                                Korea. Japan.

                                Temporarily deployed with UN Task Group and carried out support bombardment

                                operation off west coast Korea.

 

October                  On release from UN duties took return passage to Singapore.

 

November              Passage to Hong Kong

 

December              Passage to Singapore

                                New Commanding Officer appointed. Commander J R L Moore, DSC, RN

                                Passage to Hong Kong.

 

1 9 5 2

 

January                  Passage to Saigon for visit by CinC.

                17th        Diverted to assist ss TAIKENSHAN which had run aground on the north reef of

                                Paracel Islands.

                                Towage proved impossible due to weather conditions and the stranded ship broke her

                                back. Two European officers and 62 Asiatic crew were rescued and transferred to the

                                tug PRINCE SALVOR which had been summoned for towing operation.

 

February                Deployed at Saigon

                                On return to Singapore deployed operationally on West Coast Malaya patrol.

 

March                    Under refit at Singapore

to

April

 

May                        Remained in Singapore area on completion of post refit trials.

 

June                        Deployed periodically off Malayan coast to assist military operations...

to                            During patrol bombarded terrorist positions..

August

 

September             On release from operational deployment for patrols on West Coast of Malaya, reverted

                                to Flag Frigate role and took passage to Australia.

 

October

                3rd          Present at Montebello off the north west coast of Western Australia for British

                               A-Bomb test

                                (Note: The 15Kt weapon was detonated in the hull of HM Frigate PLYM.

                                (Operation HURRICANE - Part of HAVOC Series of tests).

                                Returned to Singapore on completion.

                                New Commanding Officer appointed: Commander H A Luard DSC RN

                                (Later Rear Admiral GCB, DSC)

 

November              Visited Saigon before operational deployment for patrol off west Coast of Malaya..

 

December              Deployed at Singapore.

 

1 9 5 3

 

January                  Flag visit to Hong Kong and returned to Singapore (2/53)

 

February                Return passage to Singapore.

 

March                    Deployed at Singapore.

to

April

 

May                        Under refit at Singapore.

 

June                        On completion of post refit trials deployed operationally for coastal patrols.

                                New Commanding Officer appointed: Commander E B Ashmore DSC RN

                                (Later Rear Admiral, GCB, DSC)

July                         Operational deployment off East and West coasts of Malaya

                                Called at Tioman, Kota Baru and Penang.

September             Resumed Flag Frigate role.

 

October                  Deployed for Flag visit to Bangkok, Hua Hin and Saigon.

 

November              On return from Flag visit deployed in Singapore area.

to

December

1 9 5 4

 

January                  Passage to Hong Kong

                                Visited Macao.

 

February                Took return passage to Singapore..

 

March                    Deployed at Singapore.

 

April                       Passage to Hong Kong.

 

May                        Returned to Singapore for operational deployment

                                Deployed for East Coast Malaya Patrol.

 

June                        Resumed Flag Frigate role on release from operational duty.

 

July                         Under refit at Singapore

 

August                  New Commanding Officer appointed: Commander DA Dunbar-Nasmith DSC RN.

                                (Later Rear Admiral, CB, DSC, DL)

                                (Note: Court martial of rating charged with attempting to strike an officer and using

                                insulting language. Plea of Guilty made and offender sentenced to 9 months detention 

                                at a Military Prison in Kuala Lumpur.

 

September             Under refit.

 

October                  On completion of post refit trials took passage for Flag visit to Sourabaya, Indonesia 

                                with call at Bali.

                                Passage to Port Darwin and visited Timor and Sandakan

                                Return passage to Hong Kong.

                                Deployed at Hong Kong.

 

1 9 5 5

 

January                  Passage to Singapore

 

February                Deployed for Flag visit to Cocos Island and Xmas Island, Indian Ocean with call at

                                Penang.

 

March                    Carried out Flag visit to Bangkok.

                                On return to Singapore carried out routine docking period at Singapore.

 

April                       Carried out Flag visit to RN units serving with UN off Korea.

to                            On passage called at Hong Kong.

July                         Flag visit included calls at Inchon, Sasebo and Kure.

                                (Note: At Inchon, party from ship was taken to sites of British military actions during

                                Korean War.)

                                Returned to Hong Kong.

 

August                  Under refit at Hong Kong.

to

October

 

November              Passage to Singapore on completion of post refit trials.

 

December              Deployed at Singapore.

 

1 9 5 6

 

January

                2nd         Re-commissioned.

                                Commanding Officer: Commander R F Buller RN.

                                Carried out Shakedown cruise and work-up with visits to Port Swettenham and Penang

 

February                Visited Bangkok and Borneo.

 

March                    Flag visit to Atomic Tests Area at Montebello.

 

April                       Deployed at Maralinga Test site.

 

May                        Return passage to Singapore from Montebello.

 

June                        Deployed at Singapore.

to

July

 

August                  Passage to Montebello to attend test of atomic fission weapon.

                                (Operation BUFFALO).

 

September             Attended test of ONE TREE and MARCO weapons.

                                On completion of tests took passage to Hong Kong after call at Onslow, Western .

                                Australia. New Commanding Officer appointed: Commander EF Hamilton-Msikle (sic)

                                MBE  RN. Passage to Japan for Flag visit.

 

October                  Flag visit to Tokyo, Yokosuka and Kobe with calls at Inchon and Chinhae in Korea

                                before return to Kure.

                                Passage to Singapore with call at Hong Kong.

 

November              Embarked Flag Officer Malayan area for West coast Malaya cruise.

 

December              Passage to Hong Kong.

 

1 9 5 7

 

January                  Passage to Singapore with call at Manila.

 

February                Took passage from Singapore to Hong Kong for refit.

 

March                    Under refit at Hong Kong.

 

April                       On completion of post refit trials embarked CinC for passage to Christmas Island for

                                H Bomb Test (Operation GRAPPLE)

                                Passage via Guam and Manus.

 

May

                15th        Present at first H-Bomb Test (Operation SHORT GRANITE)

                                Took passage to Singapore on completion of Test.

                                Called at Labuan on passage

 

June                        Returned to Singapore and prepared to re-commission.

 

July                         Re-commissioned.

                                Commanding Officer: Commander Sir Peter Anson Bt RN

                                (Later Rear Admiral Sir Peter Bt, CB)

 

August                  Deployed for work-up and visited Port Swettenham

to

September

 

October                  Deployed for Flag visit to Rangoon.

 

November              Passage to Hong Kong for routine docking period.

 

December              Return passage to Singapore.

 

1 9 5 8

 

 

Photos courtesy of Tom Parry who served on her 1958-60

 

 

January                  Carried out Flag Cruise to Penang , Malacca and Bangkok..

                                Passage to Bangkok to take part in multi-national SEAC exercises

 

February                Deployed at Saigon and Saigon and Nhom Penn.

                                Took part exercises in Gulf of Siam

 

March                    Return passage to Singapore on completion.

 

April                       Deployed for Flag Visit to Japan and Korea. with calls at

                                Hong Kong, Yokohama and Tokyo Kobe followed by visit to the UN Operational area

                                on West coast Korea including calls at Chinhae and Inchon.

                                (Note: This visit include attendance at celebration of 338th anniversary of the

                                foundation of the Imperial Japanese Navy by Will Adams who, after being

                                shipwrecked, in Japan, is credited with introducing western scientific principles to

                                Japan. CinC laid a wreath at his tomb.)

                                RN and Commonwealth warships were mainly deployed on west coast of Korea.

 

May                        Visited Sasebo and Chinhae before taking passage to Manila.

                                Passage from Manila to Hong Kong..

 

June                        Under refit in Hong Kong

to

July

 

August                  Took passage to Singapore from Hong Kong on completion of post refit trials.

 

September             Deployed for Visit to Borneo

                                (Note: Visit including Kuching, Jesselton, Sandakan and Brunei.

 

October                  Carried out visits to communities in Indian Ocean visits programme

to                            (Note: This was arranged after closure of East Indies Station.)

November              Visited Colombo, Trincomalee, Madras, Calcutta and Chittagong.                            

                                Returned to Singapore.

 

December              Passage to Hong Kong for routine docking and for re-commissioning.

                15th        Re-commissioned

                                Commanding Officer: Commander W H Hoyle RN

                                Returned to Singapore after docking.

 

 

1 9 5 9

 

January                  Deployed at Singapore

to

February

 

March                    Passage to Hong Kong for visit by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh.

                                Deployed as part of escort for HM Yacht BRITANNIA on departure from Hong Kong.

 

April                       Carried out Flag visit to Rangoon and returned to Singapore.

 

May                        Deployed for Flag cruise off East Coast of Malaya.

 

June                        Passage to Hong Kong.

 

July                         Returned to Singapore for refit

 

August                  Under refit.

 

September             Took passage to Hong Kong on completion of post refit trials.

 

October                  Deployed for Flag visit to Yokohama with call on passage at Kure.

                                Returned to Hong Kong via Sasebo.

 

November              Deployed for Flag visit to Mekong and Nhon Penn.

 

December              Took passage to Australia and New Zealand for Flag visit and called at Cairns and

                                Brisbane to embark CinC.

                                Deployed at Sydney and took passage to Wellington, New Zealand.

                                Arrived at Wellington after rough passage through Tasman Sea.

 

1 9 6 0

 

January                  Passage to Brisbane to disembark CinC.

                                Docked at Brisbane for repair to propeller shaft..

                                Took return passage to Singapore.

 

February                Passage to join SEAT Exercise JET 60 in Indian Ocean based at Trincomalee.

 

Match                    On completion of JET 60 carried out Flag visit to Vizgapatam, Calcutta and Chittagong.

 

April                       Return passage to Singapore.

 

May                        Passage to Hong Kong for Fleet exercises.

                                Return passage to Singapore to recommission

                23rd        Re-commissioned at Singapore

                                Commanding Officer: Commander J M de M Leathes RN.

 

June                        Under refit.

to

August

 

September             Carried out Flag visit to Borneo with calls at Jesselton, Brunei and Kuching.

                                Conducted exercises with Far East Fleet ships.

 

October                  Carried out Flag visit to Bangkok, Saigon and Nhom Penn

                                Attended annual Water Festival at Nhom Penn and gave firework display.

 

November              Return passage to Singapore with call at Hong Kong.

 

December              Carried out Flag visit to Calcutta and Vizgapatan.

                                Returned to Singapore and deployed in Malayan area.

                                On completion of local deployment took passage to Hong Kong.

 

1 9 6 1

 

January                  Passage to Singapore for routine docking period.

 

February                Passage to Colombo prior to joining SEAT Exercise JET61 in Indian Ocean

                                Visited Gan during passage

 

March                    Took part in JET 61 with Indian, Pakistan and commonwealth warships of Eastern Fleet.

                                On completion took return passage to Singapore.

 

April                       Deployed on West Coast of Malaya and called at Port Dickson , Port Swettenham and

                                Penang.

 

May                        Passage to Hong Kong prior to Flag visit to Yokohama and Kobe.

 

June                        On completion took passage to Singapore with call at Hong Kong.

 

July                         Under refit at Singapore

 

August

                16th        Commissioned at Singapore

                                Commanding Officer: Commander G Y Temple RN

 

September             Post refit harbour and sea trials.

 

October                  Flag visit to Borneo and Manila.

                                Called at Labuan.

 

November              Continued Flag visit with calls at Jesselton and Sandakan..

 

December              Visited Manila and returned to Singapore via Hong Kong.

 

1 9 6 2

 

January                  Flag visit to Bangkok and Sihanoukville.

                                Routine docking at Singapore on return.

 

February                On completion took passage to take part in Exercise JET 62 in Indian Ocean.

                                Called at Keppel Harbour and Chittagong.

                                Involved in collision at Chittagong.

 

March                    Visited Madras before joining Exercise JET 62.

                                On completion of JET62 took passage to Singapore with call at Langkawi Island off

                                Northern Malaya.

                                Passage to Hong Kong.

 

April                       Passage to Subic Bay for joint RN/USN exercises and visit to USN Base.

 

May                        On completion of exercises returned to Singapore with call at Manila.

                                Passage to Hong Kong for Flag visit to Japan.

 

June                        Called at Toba, Wakayema and Tokyo.

                                Returned to Singapore.

 

July                         Visited Penang and directed RN Exercise FOTEX for ships of Far East Fleet.

 

August                  Under refit in Singapore

 

September             On completion carried out post refit trials at Singapore..

 

October                  Passage to Labuan.

 

November              Returned to Singapore.

                                Passage to Hong Kong.

 

December              Deployed operationally as HQ ship at Brunei after start of confrontation with

                                Indonesia. (KONFRONTASI).

                                Passage to Hong Kong on relief and returned to Singapore.

 

Notes on KONFRONTASI

 

Resumed Frigate role when the Brunei rebellion took place in December 1962. This heralded the long period of Confrontation with Indonesia. Troops and supplies were embarked to support the military operations against terrorist forces. Additionally the ship provided a communications link and was occasionally deployed with other ships of the 3rd Frigate Squadron for patrol duty off Borneo based at Tawau en the NE coast

 

1 9 6 3

 

January                  Re-commissioned at Singapore

                                Commanding Officer: Commander J M Jessop RN.

                                Carried out Worked-up with Fleet units in Singapore area.

 

February                Routine docking before passage to Colombo

 

March                    Took part in SEATO Exercise in Indian Ocean with Indian, Pakistan and commonwealth

                                warships (Note: Called at Trincomalee between serials.)

 

April                       Deployed operationally for patrol off west coast of Malaya to intercept Indonesian

                                craft attempting to land in Malaya.

                                During patrol called at Penang, Port Swettenham and Port Dickson.

 

May                        Took part in RN/USN Exercise SEA SERPENT in South China Sea.

                                Called at Manila between serials.

 

June                        Passage to Japan for Flag visit.

                                Calls made at Nagasaki and Wakayama.

 

July                         Continued visit programme with calls at Argowan and Tokyo.

                                Passage to Singapore.

                                Carried out Flag visit to Bangkok.

 

August                  Under refit at Singapore.

to

September

 

October                  Deployed operationally in Borneo in support of KONFRONTASI operations against

                                Indonesian infiltrations.

                                Based at Labuan and Tawau.

                3rd          Embarked a Gurkha detachment for passage to Subu in Sarawak

                                Whilst preparing 'scare charges' for use against underwater attack, one charge  

                                exploded injuring four ratings.

 

November              Took passage to Hong Kong on relief.

 

December              Returned to Singapore after maintenance period in Hong Kong.

                                Deployed for Flag Visit to Colombo and Cochin. with call at Gan during passage.

                                (Note: Gan was used as a staging point for aircraft during Indian Ocean transits.)

 

1 9 6 4

 

January                  Carried out Flag Visit to Colombo and Cochin

                                Deployed at Colombo

                                Passage from Colombo to Cochin

                                Took return passage from Cochin to Singapore and called at Gan.

 

February                On arrival at Singapore docked in commercial shipyard for emergency repair.

                                (Note: This must have been for examination of underwater fitting or defect arising

                                during passage from Gan.)

 

March                    Deployed for participation in SEATO Exercise JET64 in Indian Ocean and returned to

                                Singapore between serials for matters arising from exercises or shore training..

 

Final Phase

 

Approval to Pay-off in UK had been given during 1963 and ship took passage to Plymouth on 10th April 1964. Calls were made at Gan, Aden and Gibraltar during passage. Ship arrived on 18th May and Paid-off at Devonport. After being reduced to Reserve status she was laid up in the Reserve Fleet until 1971 when placed on the Disposal List. Sold to BISCO for demolition by TW Ward at Inverkeithing the ship arrived in tow at the breakerís yard during October that year.

 

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