Frigate ordered from Swan Hunter at
Newcastle on 13th February 1943 with four others
of this Class. The ship was
laid down as Job Number J4835 (Yard Number 1788)
on 18th October 1943 and was
launched on 19th June 1944 as HMS LOCH CREE. She
was the first RN ship to bear this name but as
the ship was to be
transferred to the South African Naval Force
(SANF) it was formally changed in
January 1945 to HMSAS NATAL. This name was
introduced in 1905 for a cruiser
which blew up in 1915. It was also used by two
minor RN warships
during WW2. Build was completed on 8th March
1945 and she was manned by South
African naval personnel.
e o g r a p h i c
L o c a t i
o n s
LOCH CREE - Grid Reference for
River in Galloway NX7038
NATAL - Province in Republic of South
e r a l d i
c D a t a
On a field
azure, two Black wildebeest in full course at
a circular border of cable also Or, ensigned
crest of the
of the Republic of South Africa proper, upon a
bordered and bearing the
name NATAL in letters .
e t a i
l s o f S e r v i
(for more ship
Naval History Homepage
type name in Site Search
9 4 5
for service in South African Naval Force.
Officer: Lieutenant Commander D S Hall DSC SANF.
completion and commenced Acceptance Trials.
for service in 8th Escort Group, Western
Approaches Command. (Note:
Other ships in Group were: HM Frigates
LOCH MORE, LOCH ACHRAY, LOCH GLENDHHU and
ship was the second of three
LOCH Class Frigates to be presented to South
Africa and one of the first major warships in
the SANF. )
for work-up at Tobermory for operation service.
from Tyne estuary to Methil. Took
search for U714 with HM Destroyer WIVERN after
Norwegian ss MAGNE had been sunk
whilst in convoy.
out attack on submarine as a result of which oil
and wreckage was observed on
credited with sinking U714. (Note:
IN MY BELFRY by Rear Admiral CC Anderson, who
was in command of HMS
WIVERN gives a different account which suggest
that U714 was not sunk but had
serious damage. He claims that the submarine was
destroyed in a series of depth
charge attacks later in the day. Awards made
to ship's company were two DSC, two DSM
with five Mentioned in Despatches.)
British Battle Honour is recorded in official
Record. (See U-BOATS DESTROYED by
P Kemp and
HITLER'S U-BOAT WAR by C Blair.)
STRIKE by W Hackmann and U-BOAT WAR IN THE
for details of weapons and U-Boat deployments.).
joined Group based at Greenock. Deployed
convoy defence and anti-submarine search
operations in Irish Sea and SW Approaches.
for repair in Clyde shipyard. (Note:
Day nominated for return to South Africa.)
South Africa with HMAS GOOD HOPE (Ex HMS LOCH
at Cape Town.
Durban with call at Port Elizabeth. Prepared
for service with British East Indies Fleet
passage to Singapore from Durban. (Note:
at variance with details in WAR WITH JAPAN
(HMSO), THE FORGOTTEN FLEET by J
Winton, both of which record ship as being
in the East Indies Fleet on VJ Day.
assumed the ship had joined the Fleet but not
deployed in the operational area on VJ Day.
convoy from Colombo to Singapore.
Singapore deployed for convoy escort in Strait
of Malacca. Deployed as
Guardship at Padang, Sumatra in place of
HM Cruiser NIGERIA.
release from Guardship duty
resumed convoy defence in Malacca Strait.
Singapore with East Indies Escort Force in
transport of South African personnel from Egypt.
passage to Durban with call at Mauritius.
9 4 6
from Suez to Durban with returning personnel.
- At Durban.
duties in continuation. (Note:
round trips with South African service personnel
release from trooping duties returned to Cape
Reorganisation of Naval
Service on a permanent basis made necessary the
of complement of the ship.).
at Capetown with reduced manning.
availability limited. Commanding
Lieutenant-Commander R P Dryden Dymond SANF.
Commodore, SM, ED, SAN.)
9 4 7
available for operational deployment.
passage to relieve HMSAS TRANSVAAL at Marion
The Sovereignty of Marion Island by the
Government of the Union of South Africa was
formally declared on 29th December 1946 and that
of nearby Prince Edward Island
two isolated territories were
annexed to prevent occupation by a foreign power
therefore considered to have strategic value as
missile bases (Operation
at Marion Island after meeting HMSAS TRANSVAAL
for transfer of charts and and local
of equipment suspended due to weather conditions
at anchorage. Slipped
cable and sailed for open waters.
to anchorage and resumed unloading. Cut
path through kelp to allow entry of supply ship
HMSAS GAMTOOS to Transvaal
by HMSAS GOOD HOPE.
Unloading of equipment from
HMSAS GAMTOOS had been severely affected by the
passage to Cape Town from Marion Island.
Marion Island to relieve HMSAS GOOD HOPE.
at Marion Island with supplies including
aviation fuel and livestock.
return passage to Cape Town with personnel of
Construction Party. (Note: This
completed the first phase of the
establishment of a permanent base. Technical
assistance was given by ships staff to provide
electric power supplies and other
ceremonies to mark visit to South Africa by HM
King George VI, HM Queen Elizabeth,
Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret.
(Operation TOT SIENS). (Note:
the SAN provided escort for HM Battleship
VANGUARD on departure from Capetown
with Royal Family embarked.
SAN ships for patrol, visits and exercises.
9 4 8
operational deployment in continuation.
9 4 9
deployment in continuation.
hydrographic survey in Marion Island area by
Commander Tripp SAN. Two visits
to the area were made Commanding
Officer: Commander M R Terry-Lloyd SAN (Later Rear
Admiral, SSA, SM.)
with SAN in continuation.
HM Dockyard, Simonstown.
9 5 0
post refit harbour and sea trials.
SAN service and carries out exercise programme
with visits to east coast
including visit to Durban.
at Cape Town. Commanding
Commander A A C Ouvry DSC SAN.
9 5 1
deployment in continuation including visit to
Marion Island in October
9 5 2
to Care and Maintenance on relief by HMSAS
SIMON VAN DER STEL.
This ship, the former RN
destroyer HMS WHELP, which had been laid up in
at Simonstown since 1947. She was transferred to
the SAN in 1952 and commissioned
as a replacement.)
9 5 3 t o
1 9 5 4
-up at Cape Town.
9 5 5
docking period at HM
for conversion for use as a
Survey Ship similar to Royal Navy DAMPIER type.
9 5 6
in hand for conversion.
o t e o n
n v e r s i o n
equipment fitted to reduce reliance en the use
of visual methods of
survey. This significantly reduced the length of
time taken and enabled
surveying to be done when beyond sight of land
and at night.
Natal as survey ship (Photo Ships)
9 5 7
for visual signalling purposes changed to A301
Commander J C Walters SAN (H).
trials and prepared for hydrographic duty
for International Geophysical Year duty.
out cruise to south as far south as 51.30S.
and hydrographic sounding recordings made.
9 5 8
investigation of shoal water off Cape Agulhas
and St Helena Bay. Carried out
survey using ship's launches in Lamberts
for International Geophysical Year service.
out cruise in southern waters (Note:
tasks were restricted by bad weather and area
assigned was not fully
9 5 9
out further coastal water surveys including
extensive examination of
Helena Bay, Port Shepstone,
Port St Johns, Cape Morgan, South Sand Bluff and
to survey planned route for
undersea cable near Milnerton and Table Bay.
Relief Ship for support of Base at Marion
Hydrographic sounding were recorded during
stores and replenishment supplies for Marion
9 6 0 t o
1 9 6 1
for hydrographic surveys in coastal areas
around Cape of Good Hope. (Note:
included NE shore of Robben Island, Simons Bay,
Gordons Bay and NE part of
part of False Bay over Whittle Rock were
examined by underwater swimmers Survey was
also made of Agulhas Bank south of Mossel
Electronic position fixing
using DECCA system was used when visual contact
was not possible.)
stage in 1961 included
examination of shoal areas off Bok Point between
Town and Soldahna and survey of approaches to
Port St Johns between Port
Elizabeth and Durban.
was carried out for obstructions off Dakana Pt.
After the formation of the Republic of South
Africa warships were no longer designated
HMSAS and identified by the prefix SAN.)
9 6 2
for International Geophysical research in
Eleven cruises were carried
out. During final cruise new seamount discovered
with a depth
10 fathoms in position 685 miles south of
Madagascar on the Madagascar Ridge.) Commanding
Lieutenant Commander C J F Netterberg DSC SAN
9 6 3
SAN Hydrographic duties and
deployed for coastal surveys. Commanding
Commander JC Walters, SAN(H) (January)
surveys included coastal waters between Walker
Point and Storms River which were
completed in four months. (Note:
Completion before planned date was possible
because of the availability of the the
electronic equipment. See above.)
Lieutenant Commander A Fawthrop SAN (H)
9 6 4
SAN Hydrographic survey work in coastal area
between Walker Point and Cape St
Blaize, Mossel Bay.
Geophysical Year oceanographic work.
out running line surveys in Indian Ocean
starting at Cape St Lucia and taking
passage across the Agulhas current between
oceanographic stations. Scientists
Cape Town university were embarked Detached
party carried out detailed survey of North Bay,
off Cape St Lucia, Zululand experienced heavy
one week later whilst 180 miles SE of Durban
sustained structural damage. (Note: Some
equipment was lost including a launch
which was carried away from davits).
Officer: Lieutenant Commander A Fawthrop
in hand for
Year deployment on completion.
9 6 5
for coastal survey
between Mossel Bay and Duivenhoks Rivisr.
survey launch to SAS HARLEEM for survey of
harbour at Sildahana. Carried out
investigation of area off False Cape Friuo
near border with Angola to
report of breakers made in 1907. (Note:
established that shipping should not approach
the coast due to the existence
of a pinnacled reef . Further survey by
boats was needed at a later date
Notice to Mariners was issued. Carried
extensive survey of approaches to Port St Johns,
NE of East London.
9 6 6
expedition for passage to
Bouvet Island (54 Degrees S 3 Degrees E) in
Objective was to determine
its feasibility for use as a meteorological
out survey around island and made oceanographic
trading during passages. (Note:
Geological and Meteorological assessments made
did not support future use.)
carried out of Millers Point and of False Bay by
a Detached Party as well as
a survey of the approaches to Khysna
harbour, Alphard Banks and St
Helena Bay . (Note:
These were completed with work between
Duivenhoks river and Cape St Balize begun
coastal survey between
Duivenhoks river and Cape Alguhas was started.
Officer: Commander A Fawthrop SAN (H),
9 6 7
hydrographic work included
completion of three investigations in Table
and survey of Luderitz harbour with SAS HARLEEM
which carried out inshore work. Commanding
Lieutenant Commander J B de Wet SAN (H) (From
for seismic survey work in conjunction with
Department of Mines.
9 6 8
out surveys en Zululand
coast and in Richards Bay area. After
in April resumed coastal survey east of Cape
During the night of 13th July ship was diverted
to carry out search
rescue operation for survivors
of tanker WORLD GLORY which had
to NE of Durban. Two survivors ware rescued and
De Wit was later awarded
the Gold Medal of the Greek Maritime
for his services en this occasion.)
9 6 9
Bay Coastal survey
completed in April.
out local surveys in Table
Bay and on west coast of the peninsula.
completion resumed survey work between Cape
Agulhas and Duivenoks river.
A Fawthrop SAN (H) was appointed in command
He was last to command her in
service and remained until Paying-off in 1972.)
9 7 0
Cape Agulhas to Duivenoks
river survey in March.
between Cape Haugklip and Cape Agulhas completed
except for some inshore
work which could be carried out by smaller
survey was made off Isipinga,
south of Durban, to enable a mooring buoy to be
large tankers for discharge of cargo without
entering harbour (Note: The
whole African coastline from the Mozambique
border to St Helena Bay 140
of Cape Town had been accurately surveyed by the
9 7 1
final contribution to
hydrography the ship was deployed to calibrate
the South West
African and the Namagualand DECCA Chains. Before
paying-of the ship visited Port Elizabeth, East
London and Durban for a final visit
ports with which she had been associated during
9 7 2
NATAL paid off on 15th March
after relief by the new purpose built Survey
PROTEA which was similar in design to the RN
HECLA Class vessels.
F i n
a l P h a s e
SAS NATAL was taken in tow to a
position 14.5 miles SW of Cape Point in
September 1572 and sunk by the frigate SAS
PRESIDENT STEYN in
September 1972. The signal recorded in
the Appendix paid well deserved tribute to the
long service of the ship in
war and peace as a warship and a survey
P P E N D I X
NATAL covered some 250,000 miles and was
acknowledged as being the most hard-worked ship
in the SAN.
i g n a l
s o f
R e c o g n i t i
following congratulatory signals confirm the
high regard in which this ship NATAL was held as
a 'happy' and efficient ship:
Chief of the South
171435 March 1972)
was with much sadness that I watched NATAL lower
her Ensign for the
last time on
There are officers and men still serving who
knew NATAL when
she was young though grey.
are many others who knew her as a middle aged
frigate and others who sailed in her when
was old and white. All will remember her with
pride and affection.
Soon she will be struck from the list
but she passes with the knowledge that she has
mariners of all nations.
PROTEA takes over from a worthy predecessor.
receipt of the final Report of Proceedings from
the Commanding Officer of SAS NATAL in 1971 the
South African Defence Ministry made the
signal to the ship.
life as a survey ship the passage has been one
hard work with
few 'flag -showing'
visits to provide light relief. You can be
satisfied that your tasks have
been well completed and
that the ship will always be remembered with
pride in the
history of the Navy. Well done!!"
ESCORT MOVEMENTS of
This convoy list has not been cross-checked with
the text above
convoy as escort