Naval History Net Link HMS Londonderry Badge

HMS Londonderry
1st Commission
1960 - 1962



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HMS Londonderry



Link to the City of Derry Tourism website.
Londonderry, North Yorkshire.
Londonderry is a tiny village of less than 50 houses situated in the middle of the fertile Vale of Mowbray with the North York Moors to the east and the Yorkshire Dales to the west. At one time it would have been busy with travellers on the Great North Road, the A1, but now it is a quiet backwater on the road to nowhere. Where does it get its name? No one seems to know exactly why it is called Londonderry. There is a theory that the name comes from the Marquis of Londonderry who had extensive estates in the North East, mostly in Co Durham where he owned coalfields and developed the port of Seaham Harbour, but there seems to be no direct link between the family and this village, In centuries past it was most likely known simply as 'The Street'. This would make sense as it is on the course of the Roman Dere Street which linked Eboracum (York) with Hadrian's Wall and central Scotland. The same road through the village later became known as Leeming Lane and developed as one of several versions of the Great North Road between London and Edinburgh. It is often assumed that there was only one Great North Road, but in Yorkshire there were at least three versions, the busier routes being further east from Boroughbridge via Topcliffe and Northallerton towards Darlington, or from York to Darlington via Thirsk and Northallerton as these two routes visited more towns where there were more travellers, plus coaching inns and stables. In 1922 the road system in Great Britain was given its first series of numbers and Londonderry was on the A66. A later renumbering put Londonderry on the A1 and so began several decades of traffic rumbling through the village. This continued until the late 1960s when a by-pass was built around Londonderry and Leeming; the A1 being upgraded to a dual carriageway. During this time there was still access from Londonderry to the A1, but since 2011 there has been no access, as the A1 has been upgraded again to a three-lane motorway. The result of this has been to kill off any remaining passing trade. There is still a garage and transport yard, but the nearby Londonderry Lodge which used to offer accommodation has now been closed for three years or more. Read more at:
Link to Welcome to Yorkshire website

The following extract comes from the book
'Ravenscar Village Life'
The Town That Never Was.

Author Eileen Beaumont
Farthing Publishing

We should not forget the rugged Yorkshire coastline notorious for shipwrecks caused by the unforgiving North Sea. Robin Hood's bay resembles the jaws of a gigantic whale with the North Cheek as the upper and the South Cheek as the lower, enticing and capturing prey. Any escaping this hazard could be caught out by the chin at Blea Wyke. During January 1897 tragedy struck when the Londonderry a Scarborough coal boat owned by Mr Ward, was lost with all hands including his son. It was reported by some sources to have been in distress off Beast Cliff. The Londonderry left Hartlepool for Scarborough on the 21st January. On the 23rd the Scarborough Post reported: 'Last evening a piece of bulwark, with the name 'Londonderry' inserted upon it, was picked up in the vicinity of the Spa wall by a local fisherman … It is also stated that a ship's ladder had been washed up by the tide and found on the beach near the South Cliff tramway.' The coast suffered a week of strong northerly winds and blizzards, which probably caused the wreckage to drift ashore several miles south. By the 27th January the Scarborough Post stated: 'All hope of the return of the ill-fated 'Londonderry' has today been abandoned'.

2018 Derry Reunion.
The Country Hotel,
Basingstoke, Hampshire.


I believe that all of us had a great weekend at the Country Hotel and the organised visits to Beaulieu Motor Car Museum and the Fleet Air Arm Museum.  Our weekend enjoyment was increased by the presence of ships company members of HMS Wizard and HMS Cadiz who were also holding their reunion at the hotel.  David is in the near future going to publish a News Letter which will include all the events and happenings over the weekend.  Any photographs of the weekend can be sent to the webmaster who will upload them or create links to them via the 2018 Reunion Page.   Photographs can also be sent to David for inclusion in the News Letter.  Many Thanks to IOW Tours (Jackie) and our own Postie/Rum Bosun(Provider of) Brian (Noel) Coward.

H.M.S. Londonderry Name Board Presentation

Photograph by BJC

David Wickham and Brian Coward received from Wendy Doherty,
daughter of the late Chief Mechanician R F (Wyatt) Earp BEM
the ship's landrover name board at the RBL Club Fratton.

HMS Ganges mast 2017

HMS Ganges Mast September 2017.jpg
HMS Ganges mast and famous Suffolk landmark September 2017.
A shameful memorial to the thousands of boys, H.O.s, ships company
and instructors who served their country in two world wars
and the many conflicts between and afterwards.




thewagerdisaster.jpg In 1741, Britain and Spain were at war. Commodore Anson and his small squadron battled round Cape Horn into the Pacific to take the war to the Spanish possessions in the South Seas. It was a notable moment in British naval history, when far-sighted men were beginning to realise the great benefits to British trade from a strong Navy with a worldwide reach. There were no accurate charts of the west coast of South America. The marine chronometer had not been invented, so longitude was largely a matter of guesswork. And before the value of lime juice had been recognised, the dreaded scurvy took a grim toll on the health of ships companies. One of the squadron, HMS Wager, a 6th rate of 28 guns, was driven onto a lee shore in vicious hurricane-force winds and wrecked on an uninhabited island off the coast of what is now Chilean Patagonia. About 140 Wager men reached the land, most of them then to be lost through starvation, exhaustion, hypothermia, drowning, and sometimes violence. Gunner Bulkeley led a party who mutinied against an unpopular captain, and set off in an open boat with no chart. No one approves of mutiny, but his 2500 nautical-mile journey from Chilean Patagonia to Brazil, through the world s worst seas, was an epic feat of navigation, and one of the greatest castaway survival voyages in the annals of the sea. Only 36 men (including Midshipman Byron, grandfather of the poet) eventually made it back to Britain, where their tales of fearful ordeals in a far country caught the imagination of the public. This book uses their accounts to piece together the story of a dramatic fight for survival under extreme conditions. The wrecking of the Wager had surprisingly lasting effects on both the history of Chile and the administration of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines, as this book tells. Anson, justly called the Father of the Navy, saw to it that the lessons of the Wager disaster were learned and some important reforms implemented. In 2006 the wreck was discovered by a British expedition, and it is now being studied by Chilean marine archaeologists. Here in the Wager s extraordinary story, is a record of human endurance and perseverance in the face of almost superhuman adversity.
Kit Layman CB, DSO, LVO joined the Royal Navy in 1956, and served for 35 years in many parts of the world, including the waters around Patagonia where the Wager was wrecked. He commanded five ships of different sizes, from a minehunter based in Hong Kong to the aircraft carrier HMS Invincible. In 1982 he was commanding HMS Argonaut and the Seventh Frigate Squadron in the Falklands war, when his ship suffered damage and casualties but came home safely. As a Rear Admiral he spent a happy time as Commander British Forces Falkland Islands when he was able to study the old settlement founded by Commodore Byron in 1765. His last appointment was at NATO Headquarters for three interesting years, during which time the Soviet Union and its empire collapsed. On retirement he worked for various companies and charities and his local Community Council, was appointed Gentleman Usher of the Green Rod (an Officer of the Order of the Thistle), and has published two other books, The Falklands And The Dwarf: The Cruise Of HMS Dwarf In The Falkland Islands 1881-1882 and Man of Letters: Early Life and Love Letters of Robert Chambers.

reports-of-proceedings.jpg The autobiography of Rear Admiral Gatacre, CBE, DSO, DSC and Bar. Described by the Australian Chief of Naval Staff on his retirement as "Our most widely experienced officer". The Admiral's naval service occupied a space of 43 years, from 1921 to 1964. After graduating from the Naval College (Jervis Bay) he spent 24 years in sea-going appointments and only 15 years ashore; his service included ten years in ships and establishments of the Royal Navy and two periods (four years) in the Australian Embassy in Washington D.C., U.S.A. Admiral Gatacre had an 'involvement' in the Spanish Civil War, 1937 to 1939. In World War Two, he was the navigator of H.M.S. RODNEY which had a major part in the sinking of the German battleship BISMARK and was decorated with the Distinguished Service Cross; he participated in the Solomons and New Guinea campaigns in the Pacific with U.S. and Australian Task Forces and was awarded a bar to his D.S.C. for his part in the Guadacanal assault in 1942. As Captain of H.M.A.S. ANZAC in the Korean war, the Admiral received the Distinguished Service Order for gallantry in the face of the enemy. Admiral Gatacre was the first Captain of the aircraft carrier H.M.A.S. MELBOURNE, introducing into the R.A.N. and into Australias's region at that time, the day and night operation of jet aircraft. When commanding the Australian Fleet, Admiral Gatacre organised and conducted in the China Sea, the largest SEATO maritime exercise held up to that time, and perhaps ever. Admiral Gatacre, who was Flag Officer-in-Charge East Australian Area at the time, has offered a conjecture as to the cause of the H.M.A.S. MELBOURNE and H.M.A.S. VOYAGER collision. As the Admiral's navigation and command experience at sea is unmatched in the R.A.N. and would be matched by very few in any Navy, his conjecture is a compelling one. The retirement message from Admiral Moorer, Commander U.S. 7th Fleet (in the Pacific) told Admiral Gatacre "You have mad a very major contribution to your Navy as well as to the many others in the Free World, and you can view this with pride and satisfaction. Admiral Gatacre's REPORTS OF PROCEEDINGS gives a most interesting account of a varied and distinguished naval career and are a valuable contribution to Australia's naval heritage.
Admiral Gatacre was the father of our own Aussie Navigation Officer Lieutenant Rod Gatacre R.A.N. who took us around the world on such a memorable commission.

Following is an interesting YouTube video from Ric Broniman

This video is historically interesting to all ex - RN personnel.
Britain, under Harold (The pipe and duffel coat) Wilson, as Prime Minister refused to join the Vietnam War. However, in this video the British RFA TIDEPOOL is seen fuelling and storing HMAS SYDNEY as she transports troops and stores to Vietnam

Starbuck's hat

Sent: Tuesday, 1 July 2014, 5:22
Subject: HMS Londonderry Crew Member? I am not sure if you can assist me in my quest but here goes. My cousin a few years ago purchased an old sailors hat with the name HMS Londonderry on the band and a name Starbuck printed inside.
Do you know anyone who could find out anything about this for me - if anyone was interested my cousin would be only too happy for give it to them. I live in New Zealand so not sure if this makes things difficult. We would both be interested in its history and have always wondered why it ended up here in NZ. Look forward to your reply Ms Bev Bowden

HMS Londonderry Deck Logs for 23rd and 24th October 1961

The National Archives has kindly given permission for copies of the HMS Londonderry
deck logs covering the Bianca C incident to be displayed on the website and can be seen at:
They are not for reproduction or commercial use without their permission.

Derry Tie

A first class quality HMS Londonderry badged tie can be purchased for the incredible bargain price of £7 from Robbie Robson. Please email Robbie for further details. HMS Londonderry badged tie


Your Military History Filmed for the Next Generation

Dear Sirs The Legasee war veterans project is looking for volunteers who want to tell their stories.
As part of an exciting social history project, the film company Legasee is looking for war veterans who would like to have their stories filmed for posterity.
This footage will be used to launch a unique online archive of interviews for use by schools, colleges and members of the public.
To kick-start the project, we're looking for war veterans of any age who wish to recall their experiences in front of the camera for the benefit of future generations.
It doesn't matter what campaign or country they served in, or what role they played. The Legasee war veterans project is completely free of charge, with any travel expenses paid - all we need is their knowledge, enthusiasm and a small amount of their time to take part in the filming.
If you know anyone that's interested, please ask them to email me giving their name, age, daytime phone number and brief details of their wartime service so we can contact them to discuss this further.
We hope to hear from you, and please feel free to forward this email to any war veterans that you think might be interested.
Please visit our web site for more information about Legasee - Kind regards
Dave Player
Ex-Royal Engineer
Email:- Legasee - 'become a part of history'

HMS Londonderry on Facebook

The following link takes you to what I think is a Chinese Facebook page at
with a further link from there to the Wikipedia source page of the photograph taken by the US Coast Guard at
Any further information of the incident would be very much appreciated.

Derry Commissioning Tankard

HMS Londonderry Tankard
The tankard has the engraved ships crest and beneath - Presented by J Samuel White & Co Ltd. on the occasion of commissioning HMS Londonderry on the 20th July 1960.
On the other side it has the names engraved of her six captains:
Cdr I.S. Primrose 1960 - 1962
Cdr D.E.P. George 1962 - 1964
Cdr W.J. Soames 1964 - 1966
Cdr N.A.B. Anson 1966 - 1967
Cdr M.T. Prest 1969 - 1971
Cdr T.D.A. Thomas 1971 - 1972


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