Bay-class frigate

HMS Bigbury Bay in 1945
Class overview
Name: Bay class
In commission: 19451971
Completed: 26
General characteristics
Type: Frigate
  • 1,600 long tons (1,626 t) standard
  • 2,530 long tons (2,571 t) full
  • 286 ft (87 m) p/p
  • 307 ft 3 in (93.65 m) o/a
Beam: 38 ft 6 in (11.73 m)
Draught: 12 ft 9 in (3.89 m)
Propulsion: 2 Admiralty 3-drum boilers, 2 shafts, 4-cylinder vertical triple expansion reciprocating engines, 5,500 ihp (4,100 kW)
Speed: 19.5 knots (36.1 km/h; 22.4 mph)
Range: 724 tons oil fuel, 9,500 nmi (17,600 km) at 12 knots (22 km/h)
  • Frigates: 157
  • Despatch vessels: 160
  • Survey ships: 133
Sensors and
processing systems:

The Bay class was a class of 26 anti-aircraft (A/A) frigates built for the Royal Navy under the 1943 War Emergency Programme during World War II (one of which was cancelled and six completed as despatch vessels or survey ships). They were based on the hulls of incomplete Loch class anti-submarine (A/S) frigates.

In 1959 and 1961, four frigates of the class (Bigbury Bay, Burghead Bay, Morecambe Bay and Mounts Bay) were transferred to the Portuguese Navy. Between 1966 and 1968, based in Mozambique, these ships were part of the Portuguese naval deterrent force against the Royal Navy Beira Patrol. In 1966 the Portuguese Navy also bought the survey vessel Dalrymple which served until 1983.


The Bay class made use of the hull, machinery, lattice mast and superstructure of incomplete Loch class frigates. The armament was altered to suit them to the A/A role, with twin QF 4 in Mark XVI guns fore and aft in mounts HA/LA Mark XIX fitted with remote power control (RPC), controlled by a rangefinder-director Mark V carried on the bridge and fitted with radar Type 285 for range taking. Due to a shortage of supply of 4-inch (10 cm) guns and mountings, many ships had these removed from laid up V and W class destroyer "WAIR" conversions and Hunt class destroyers that were constructive total losses. A pair of Mark V "utility" mounts for twin 40 mm Bofors guns were sited amidships, each with its own predictive Simple Tachymetric Director (STD) for fire control. The A/A armament was completed by a pair of mounts Mark V for twin 20 mm Oerlikon guns, carried in the bridge wings. Later, the Oerlikons were replaced with single mounts Mark VII for Bofors guns, a further pair of which were added amidships on raised platforms. For A/S use, a Hedgehog projector was carried on the fo'c'sle and the quarterdeck carried two racks and four throwers for up to 50 depth charges.

In addition to the Radar Type 285 fire control set, Radar Type 291 air warning was carried at the head of the topmast in addition to Radar Type 276 (later 293) target indication at the masthead. The associated IFF transponders were also carried on the foremast to distinguish between friendly and enemy targets and a high frequency direction finder (HF/DF) was carried on a short pole mainmast aft.

Six Bays were completed to different designs. Dundrum Bay and Gerrans Bay were renamed Alert and Surprise and completed as "despatch vessels", Commander-in-Chief's (C-in-C) yachts for the Mediterranean and Far East Stations. These ships omitted the Mark V Bofors mounts and the aft 4-inch (10 cm) guns and had the superstructure extended to provide additional flag accommodation and stepped a tall mainmast. The four other ships were completed as survey vessels, specifically to deal with the vast numbers of uncharted wrecks and mines around the British Isles from wartime. They were unarmed, except for four 3-pounder saluting guns. They had shorter forward shelter decks and carried survey boats under davits abreast the funnel and minesweeping gear aft.



Despatch vessels

Survey vessels

See also



    External links

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