LST (Landing Ship Tank/Troop)

 


Landing Ship Tank, abbreviation LST, naval ship specially designed to transport and deploy troops, vehicles, and supplies onto foreign shores for the conduct of offensive military operations. LST's were designed during World War II to disembark military forces without the use of dock facilities or the various cranes and lifts necessary to unload merchant ships. They gave the Allies the ability to conduct amphibious invasions at any location on a foreign shore that had a gradually sloped beach. This ability permitted the Allies to assault poorly defended sectors, thereby achieving operational surprise and in some cases even tactical surprise.

Specially designed landing ships were first employed by the British in "Operation Torch," the invasion of North Africa in 1942. The British recognized the need for such ships after the debacle at Dunkirk in 1940, when they left behind tons of badly needed equipment because no vessels were available with the capability to bridge the gap between the sea and the land. Following the evacuation, Prime Minister Winston Churchill sent his minister of supply a memorandum posing the question "What is being done about designing and planning vessels to transport tanks across the sea for a British attack on enemy countries? These must be able to move six or seven hundred vehicles in one voyage and land them on the beach, or, alternatively, take them off the beaches. " As an interim measure, three shallow-draft tankers were converted to LST's. The bows were redesigned so that a door, hinged at the bottom, and a 68-foot- (21-metre-) long double ramp could be fitted to the vessels. These modifications made it possible for vehicles to disembark directly from the ship to the beach. Both the new design and the vessel were considered unsatisfactory, but the concept was sound. At the request of the British, the Americans undertook the redesign and production of LST's in November 1941, and John Niedermair of the Bureau of Ships designed a ship with a large ballast system. Deep-draft ships were necessary to cross the ocean, and shallow-draft vessels were required to bridge the water gap. A new proposed ballast system gave one ship both capabilities: when at sea, the LST took on water for stability, and when conducting landing operations, the water was pumped out to produce a shallow-draft vessel. The American-built LST Mk2, or LST (2), was 328 feet in length and 50 feet wide. It could carry 2,100 tons. Built into the bow were two doors that opened outward to a width of 14 feet. Most Allied vehicles could be transported on, and off-loaded from LST (2)'s. The lower deck was the tank deck, where 20 Sherman tanks could be loaded. Lighter vehicles were carried on the upper deck. An elevator was used to load and off-load vehicles, artillery, and other equipment from the upper deck; in later models, a ramp replaced the elevator. The vessel was powered by two diesel engines, and it had a maximum speed of 11.5 knots and a cruising speed of 8.75 knots. LST's were lightly armed with a variety of weapons. A typical American LST was armed with seven 40-millimetre and 12 20-millimetre antiaircraft guns.

The first mass-produced American LST, the LST-1, was commissioned on December 14, 1942. One thousand fifty-one LST(2)'s were produced in American shipyards during the war. Construction time declined, so that by 1945 it took approximately two months to construct an LST--half the time it took in 1943. Through lend-lease the British were provided 113 LST(2)'s. LST's were in great demand in both the Pacific and Europe. They were used in the invasions at Sicily, Italy, Normandy, and southern France. At Normandy, the Americans' employment of LST's enabled them to meet their off-loading requirements following the destruction of their Mulberry artificial harbour in a storm. In the Southwest Pacific theatre, General Douglas MacArthur employed LST's in his "island hopping campaigns" and in the invasion of the Philippines. In the Central Pacific, Admiral Chester Nimitz used them at Iwo Jima and Okinawa. LST(2)'s served as troop ships, ammunition ships, hospital ships, repair ships, and numerous other special purposes. A number of LST(2)'s were even fitted with flight decks for small reconnaissance aircraft. During the war 26 LST's were lost in action, and 13 more were lost in accidents and rough seas.

Numerous other types of landing ships were produced by the British and Americans during the war. Examples are: the Landing Ship, Infantry (Large), or LSI(L), named Auxiliary Personnel Attack Ship (APA) by the U.S. Navy; the Landing Ship, Headquarters, or LSH, named Command Ship by the U.S. Navy; Landing Ship, Dock, or LSD; and Landing Ship, Medium, or LSM. Some vessels called landing ships did not have the capability to off-load troops and supplies onto beaches; they were in fact simply transports or command-and-control vessels.

During the Korean War, LST's were employed in the Inchon Landing. Limited numbers of LST's were produced in the 1950s and '60s. The most prominent were the diesel-powered Newport LST's, which were built for the U.S. Navy in the 1960s. These vessels displaced more than 8,000 tons full load and transported amphibious craft, tanks, and other combat vehicles, along with 400 men, at speeds of up to 20 knots. Such speeds were made possible by abandoning the bow doors of their World War II predecessors in favour of an extendable ramp supported by huge projecting derrick extensions on each side of the bow. As the ship beached, the ramp would shoot forward hydraulically 112 feet. Vehicles and troops would land over the ramp, while amphibious craft in the tank deck would disembark from stern gates.

LST-1 Class Tank Landing Ship: Laid down, 20 July 1942 at Dravo Corp., Pittsburgh, PA.; Launched, 7 September 1942; Commissioned USS LST-1, 14 December 1942; During World War II, LST-1 was assigned to the European theatre and participated in the following operations: Sicilian Occupation, July 1943; Salerno Landings, September 1943; Anzio-Nettuno phase of operations on west coast of Italy, January to March 1944; Invasion of Normandy, June 1944. Decommissioned. 21 May 1946; Struck from the Naval Register, 19 June 1946; Final Disposition, sold for scrapping, 5 December 1947, to Ships Power and Equipment Co., Barber, NJ. LST-1 earned four battle stars for World War 11 service.

Specifications: Displacement 1,780 t.(lt), 3,880 t.(fl); Length 328'; Beam 50'; Draft unloaded, bow 2' 4" stern 7' 6", loaded bow 8' 2" stern 14' 1"; Speed 12k.; Complement 8-10 Officers, 100-115 Enlisted; Troop Capacity, approx. 140 officers and enlisted; Boats, 2-6 LCVP; Armament; one single 3"/50 gun mount, five 40mm gun mounts, six 20mm gun mounts, two .50-cal machine guns, four .30-cal machine guns; Propulsion, two General Motors 12-567 diesel engines, two shafts, twin rudders.

 

Other specialised craft

 



British LST's

 

The basic UK LST was LST(3) but there were three variants based on the standard "model": LST(A), LST(C) and LST(Q).

UK Basic Type, LST (3)
Displacement: 2140 tons light, 4820 tons full load
Dimensions: 330 (pp.), 347.5 (oa) * 55.25 *4.55 (forward), 12 (max.) feet (Beaching draughts)
Guns: 8-20 mm. Oerlikon AA. (Not on Empire named ships)
Machinery: Triple expansion, 2 shafts. IHP 5500=13kts (10 kts cruising)
Boilers: 2 Admiralty 3-drum type
Oil fuel: 1400 tons
Complement: 115 officers and ratings
Could carry: 10 tanks plus 15 vehicles
Military load: 168 troops, seven LCMs, eighteen 40 ton tanks and twenty seven trucks.
All cargoes could be discharged through the bow door mechanism which was fitted with a 23 feet by 14 feet ramp.
Inside was a second ramp (50 feet by 11 feet) connecting the enclosed tank deck to the open upper deck.
The tank deck was 204 feet 6 inches long and 28 feet to 29 feet 6 inches wide.


LST (A- for Assault) Type
This was the Assault ship version of a standard LST(3).
A handful of LST(3)s were converted to LST(A)s by stiffening them to carry heavy tanks
Displacement: 2140 tons light, 5000 tons full load
Dimensions: 330 (pp.), 347.5 (oa) * 55.25 *4.55 (forward), 12 (max.) feet (Beaching draughts)
Guns: 7 or 8-20 mm. Oerlikon AA., 4-40mm. forward
Machinery: Triple expansion, 2 shafts. IHP 5500=13kts (10 kts cruising)
Boilers: 2 Admiralty 3-drum type
Oil fuel: 1400 tons
Complement: 115 officers and ratings


LST (C - for Command) Type
This was the Command ship version of a standard LST(3). There were just two of these ships that started being built as LST(3)s but were completed as LST(C)s - LST 3043 and LST 3044.
Displacement: 2256 tons light, 4980 tons full load
Dimensions: 330 (pp.), 345 (oa) * 54 *4.5 (forward), 12.25 (max.) feet (Beaching draughts)
Guns: 10-20 mm. Oerlikon AA., 4-40mm. forward
Machinery: Triple expansion, 2 shafts. IHP 5500=13kts (10 kts cruising)
Boilers: 2 Admiralty 3-drum type
Oil fuel: 1400 tons
Complement: 115 officers and ratings


LST (Q - for head Quarters) Type (the "Ben" class)
This was the head Quarters version of a standard LST(3). There were just two of these ships that started being built as LST(3)s but were completed as LST(Q)s - LST 3012 and LST 3013.

 

Listing of LSTs including Pennant numbers and Type

The following list includes details of the original Boxer class LST(1)s and all LST 30xx and LST 35xx ships. (Please refer to the notes at the bottom of the article.)

HMS Boxer. F121 LST(1)

Ordered on 6/3/41 and built and engined by Harland & Wolfe (Belfast). Launched 12 December 1942 as a Landing Ship Tank. Completed 10th April 1943 in time to take place in the landings at Sicily, Salerno and Anzio.

HMS Bruiser Nilla, Silver Star F127 LST(1)

Ordered on 6/3/41 and built and engined by Harland & Wolfe (Belfast). Launched 24/10/42 and completed 12/3/43. She became a Fighter Direction Ship (LSF(?) Landing Ships Fighter Direction) in 1944. In 1946 she became mercantile 'Nilla', 1950 'Silver Star' and 1957 'Ciudad de Santa Fe'. Scrapped in Argentina 1968.

HMS Thruster Pelikaan F131/a830 LST(1)

Ordered on 6/3/41 and built and engined by Harland & Wolfe (Belfast). She was laid down 31/7/41, launched 24/9/42 and completed 28/1/43. Converted to a Fighter Direction Ship in 1944, she was purchased by the Royal Netherlands Navy in 1947 and commissioned July 1948 RNethN 'Pelikaan' Pennant A830, as a Stores and Accommodation Ship at Den Helder. Scrapped Bilbao 1973.

LST 3001 Frederick Clover, Pacific Pioneer LST(3)

The hull was built by Vickers-Armstrong's Naval yard, High Walker, Newcastle-on-Tyne and it was engined by Hicks and Hargeaves. It was launched on 15th Jan 1945.  Transferred on charter to the War Office in 1946 when it was named Frederick Clover. Operated as a troop carrier, managed for the War Department by the Atlantic Steam Navigation Company. She was later managed by the British India Steam Navigation Company from 1961 until 1966 (with a gross tonnage of 4255). Became mercantile Pacific Pioneer in 1966. Sold Leung Yau 1968 and scrapped Hong Kong.

LST 3002 RHN Aliakmon -/L104 LST(3)

Built by Vickers-Armstrong's Naval yard, High Walker, Newcastle-on-Tyne. It was launched on 9th April 1945. Richard Williamson served on LST 3002 when it sailed from England destined for Java in 1945. At some point during 1945 it collided with USS Poland Victory in 1945. Transferred on loan to Royal Hellenic Navy in 1947 when it was named Aliakmon and given pennant L104. Sold Greece 1971 and scrapped 1972.

LST 3003 HMS Anzio L101/L3003 LST(3)(A)

Built by Vickers-Armstrong's Naval yard, High Walker, Newcastle-on-Tyne. It was launched on 8th June 1945. It was named Anzio in 1947. Converted from LST(3) to carry heavier tanks. Sold  Spain 1970 and scrapped Valencia 1971.

LST 3004 Rio Tejo, Sao Joaquim LST(3)

Hull built by Vickers-Armstrong's Naval yard, High Walker, Newcastle-on-Tyne and engined by Markham. It was launched on 30th July 1945.  It was completed as mercantile. It was named Rio Tejo in 1950 and Sao Joaquim in 1951.

LST 3005 LST(3)

Scrapped incomplete Barrow 1945.

LST 3006 HMS Tromso, Empire Gannet ?/L3006 LST(3)

The hull was built in 1944 by Harland & Wolff Ltd and it was engined by Lobnitz. Name changed to Tromso in 1947. Became Empire Gannet in 1956 when it was recalled to service being transferred into the MOD(Army) during the Suez crisis as a military transport ferry (having previously been cocooned in the River Clyde). She was operated by the Atlantic Steam Navigation Company on behalf of the Ministry of Transport. She was later managed by the British India Steam Navigation Company from 1961 until 1968 (with a gross tonnage of 4260). Sold Singapore 1968 for scrapping.

LST 3007 RHN Axios LST(3)

The hull was built in 1944 by Harland & Wolff Ltd and it was engined by Worthington and Simpson. Transferred on loan to Royal Hellenic Navy in 1947 when it was named Axios. Returned to RN between 1962 and 1969, refitted at Malta and taken over by Ministry of Transport. Sold Italy 19?? and scrapped Genoa.

LST 3008 LST(3

Built by Harland & Wolff Ltd in 1944. Transferred to the Royal Australian Navy being commissioned on 1st July 1946. Operated as a stores transport  up to 1948. Sold to R.H. Coots 1960 and scrapped  Sydney .

LST 3009 Reginald Kerr LST(3)

Built by Harland & Wolff Ltd in 1944. Transferred on charter to the War Office in 1946 when it was named Reginald Kerr. Operated as a troop carrier, managed for the War Department by the Atlantic Steam Navigation Company.  She was later managed by the British India Steam Navigation Company from 1961 until 1966 (with a gross tonnage of  2385).  Sold Singapore 1966 for scrapping.

LST 3010 HMS Attacker, Empire Cymric L102/L3010 LST(3)

Built by Harland & Wolff Ltd in 1944. Launched 30.9.44. Transferred to the Dutch Navy from 1945 to 1947.  Transferred back to RN in 1947 when its name was changed to Attacker.  Commercial charter to Ministry of Transport  (but available for recall in emergency). Acquired by The Atlantic Steam Navigation Company for a transport ferry service in 1955 when it was renamed Empire Cymric.  In operation until 1962. Sold 1963 and scrapped Faslane.

LST 3011 HMS Avenger, RIN Magar L103/L3011/L11 LST(3)

Hull built in 1944 by Fairfield SB & E. Co Ltd, Glasgow, and engined by Blairs. Bart (bert) Odonoghue  was cooks mate on   LST3011 from 31st July 45 to the 4th Sept. 45.  Named Avenger in 1948.  Transferred to Royal Indian Navy in 1949 with pennant number L3011. Renamed Magar in 1951 with pennant L11. Decommissioned in 1984 and probably broken up at Alang near Bombay.

LST 3012 LST 3101, LST(Q),1 , HMS Ben Nevis L104/L3101 LST(Q

Hull built in 1944 by Fairfield SB & E. Co Ltd, Glasgow, and engined by Blairs. Launched in 1945 as LST 3012 but completed as LST(Q),1 (a headquarters landing ship). Named Ben Nevis in 1947. George Caton says: "Ben Nevis was used by the 3rd Submarine Squadron c 1957 up in Faslane. The squadron moved from Rothsey to Garelochhead. I was aboard her for a couple of months or so prior to demob. "Later used as a fender ship in 1964. Sold 1965 and scrapped Faslane.

LST 3013 LST 3102, LST(Q),2 , HMS Ben Lomond LST(Q

Hull built in 1944 by Fairfield SB & E. Co Ltd, Glasgow, and engined by Blairs.  Launched 24/4/45 as LST 3013 but completed as LST(Q) 2 (a headquarters landing ship). Named Ben Lomond in 1947 and operated as headquarters ship for bacteriological defence trials. Sold 1960 and scrapped Grays, Essex.

LST 3014 LST(3)

Built by Barclay Curle and launched on 11 November 1944. Transferred to the Royal Australian Navy being commissioned on 1st July 1946.  Employed to dump ammunition. Sold to R.H. Coots 1960 and scrapped Sydney.

LST 3015 HMS Battler, Empire Puffin L118/L3015 LST(3)

Built in 1945 by Barclay Curle & Co Ltd, Glasgow and launched on 16th March 1945. Name changed to Battler in 1947. Became mercantile Empire Puffin in 1956 when it was recalled to service being transferred into the MOD(Army) during the Suez crisis as a military transport ferry (having previously been cocooned in the River Clyde). Operated by the Atlantic Steam Navigation Company  on behalf of the Ministry of Transport. Vic Gray (ex-crew) provided the following information: "In 1960, it was sold to Canadian interests, and crewed for the delivery voyage by HENRY ABRAMS Ltd of 153 Hope street GLASGOW. Sailed BELFAST 29 AUG. 1960. for ST.JOHN NEW BRUNSWICK. via Azores. Arrived ST. John 21 OCT 1960.Master. J.F. DYSON. One 250 Ton Tug lashed on foredeck ,one 350 Ton Tug Towed astern. Called Portsmouth Before Azores. All three vessels sold to Canadian owner for paper pulp trade on Canadian lakes" .Sold Italy 1966 and scrapped La Spezia

LST 3016 HMS Dieppe L108/L3016 LST(3)

The hull was built by R & W Hawthorn, Leslie & Co Ltd, Hebburn Shipyard, Hebberd-On-Tyne and it was engined by N.E Marine. It was launched on 14th December 1944. it was named Dieppe in 1947. Designated harbour accommodation ship in 1967. Sold Spain 1980 and scrapped Santander.

LST 3017 HMAS Tarakan LST(3)

The hull was built by R & W Hawthorn, Leslie & Co Ltd, Hebburn Shipyard, Hebberd-On-Tyne and it was engined by N.E Marine. It was launched on 18th November 1944. Lieutenant John Bryce Stewart was Number One aboard the 3017 from March 1945. Transferred to the Royal Australian Navy being commissioned on 1st July 1946.

It was named Tarakan on 16 August 1948. Commenced service in northern Australian and New Guinea waters dumping condemned ammunition at sea. She acted as a supply ship to Manus Island.  On 25 January 1950 an internal explosion wrecked her stern while alongside Garden Island, Sydney. Surveys undertaken showed her hull free of damage, but in spite of this she was laid up in reserve and subsequently sold to E.A.Marr & Sons Pty Ltd, Mascot, New South Wales in March 1954. While being broken up, she suffered a further explosion in an oil tank.

LST 3018 Rio Minho, Sao Pedro LST(3)

The hull was built by R & W Hawthorn, Leslie & Co Ltd, Hebburn Shipyard, Hebberd-On-Tyne and it was engined by Clark. It was launched on 12th June 1945.  It was completed as mercantile. It was named Rio Minho in 1949 and Sao Pedro in 1955.

LST 3019 HMS Vaagso ?/L3019 LST(3)

Hull built in 1944 by Swan, Hunter and Wigham Richardson Ltd, Wallsend-On-Tyne and engined by Wallsend Slipway. Launched on 4th September 1944. Became Vaagso in 1947. Sold 1949 (?). Scrapped at Faslane December 1959.

LST 3020 RHN Alfios LST(3)

Hull built in 1945 by Swan, Hunter and Wigham Richardson Ltd, Wallsend-On-Tyne and engined by Wallsend Slipway.  Launched 31st October 1944.

Alfred Wedge says "I served on this ship as O/cook Wedge - we made a landing in Bali. "Transferred on loan to Royal Hellenic Navy in 1947 when it was named Alfios. Returned to RN between 1962 and 1969, refitted at Malta and taken over by Ministry of Transport. Scrapped La Spezia

LST 3021 Charles Macleod LST(3)

The hull was built by Lithgow and it was engined by Kincaid. It was launched on 23rd October 1944. Transferred on charter to the War Office in 1946 when it was named Charles Macleod. Operated as a troop carrier, managed for the War Department by the Atlantic Steam Navigation Company.  She was later managed by the British India Steam Navigation Company from 1961 until 1968 (with a gross tonnage of  4255).

Vic Tucker says   "I served on Charles Macleod Aug to Oct 1963 then base ship Malta, as 3rd Engineer Officer." Sold Italy 1968 and scrapped La Spezia.

LST 3022 Coral LST(3)

The hull was built by Lithgow and it was engined by Kincaid. It was launched on 26th January 1945. Transferred to the Royal Australian Navy being commissioned on 1st July 1946. Paid off to the reserves after a brief commission during 1946. Sold in 1950 to the Queensland Cement & Lime Co. Pty Ltd in September 1954 and converted to a dredge during the same year. Renamed Coral, she operated from Brisbane until the late 1980s, eventually being scuttled off the city to form part of an artificial reef.

LST 3023 Rio GuarDiana, Sao Paulo LST(3)

The hull was built by Lithgow and it was engined by Kincaid. It was launched on 13th June 1945. It was completed as mercantile. It was named Rio GuarDiana in 1949 and Sao Paulo in 1955.

LST 3024 Maxwell Brander, Fredrege Isabel LST(3)

Built by Smith's Dock Co Ltd, South Bank-on-Tees and launched on 15th October 1944. Transferred on charter to the War Office  in 1946 when it was named Maxwell Brander. Operated as a troop carrier, managed for the War Department by the Atlantic Steam Navigation Company.  She was later managed by the British India Steam Navigation Company from 1961 until 1968 (with a gross tonnage of  4255).  Became mercantile Fredrege Isabel in 1968. Sold and scrapped Hong Kong 1969.

LST 3025 HMS Bruizer L127/L3025 LST(3)

Built by Smith's Dock Co Ltd, South Bank-on-Tees and launched on 14th January 1945. It was named HMS Bruizer in 1947. Stricken 1959. Sold Singapore 1959 for scrapping.

LST 3026 HMS Charger, Empire Nordic L107/L3026 LST(3)

The hull was built by Blyth Dry Dock & SB Co Ltd and it was engined by Walker Bros. It was launched on 30th October 1944. It was named HMS Charger in 1946. Commercial charter to Ministry of Transport  (but available for recall in emergency). In 1955 it was chartered by the Atlantic Steam Navigation Company for a transport ferry service and it was named Empire Nordic. In operation until 1966. Operated on a regular service between Tilbury and Antwerp. Broken up in the Far East.

LST 3027 HMS Lofoten L111/L3027/K07 LST(3)

The hull was built by Blyth Dry Dock & SB Co Ltd and it was engined by Walker Bros. Launched 26.1.45 and completed 24.10.45 as LST(3) 3027. In 1947 named HMS Lofoten. For more information and pictures please go to  HMS Lofoten

LST 3028 Snowden Smith, Elbano Primo LST(3)

Hull built by Alexander Stephen and engined by Fullerton, Hodgarth & Barclay. It was launched on 16th November 1944.  Transferred on charter to the War Office  in 1946 when it was named Snowden Smith.   Operated as a troop carrier, being managed for the War Department by the Atlantic Steam Navigation Company.   Became mercantile Elbano Primo in 1964.   Sold and scrapped Italy 1969.

LST 3029 HMS Chaser L132/L3029 LST(3)

Built by Alexander Stephen and launched on 12th January 1945. It was named HMS Chaser in 1947. Tom (Buster) Brown served on Chaser in 1956. Tom told me "At that time H.M.S. Chaser was part of an artificial harbour at Harwich and was used as a depot ship for Inshore and Coastal minesweepers. The only sea time we saw was in transit to East India Dock in London where she underwent a refit." Became submarine support ship in 1958. Sold Italy 1962 and scrapped La Spezia 

LST 3030 Clupea LST(3)

Built by Hall Russell and launched on 12th June 1945. It was completed as a mercantile  and was named Clupea in 1947.

LST 3031 LST(3)

Hull built by Connel and engined by Rowan. AA firing ship  in 1950/51, later a Mechanical Training Ship administered by HMS Sultan. Became fender ship in 1963. Sold Italy 1970 and scrapped in Valencia 1971.

LST 3032 Rio Mondego, Sao Sebastiao LST(3)

Hull built by Connel and engined by Rowan. Launched in 1945. Completed as a mercantile. Named Rio Mondego in 1950 and Sao Sebastiao in 1956.

LST 3033 Empire Shearwater LST(3)

Hull built by Williams Pickersgill & Sons Ltd, Sunderland and engined by Clark. Launched 1945. AA firing ship  in 1950/51. Named Empire Shearwater in 1956 when it was recalled to service as a mercantile, being transferred into the MOD(Army) during the Suez crisis as a military transport ferry (having previously been cocooned in the River Clyde). Operated by the Atlantic Steam Navigation Company  on behalf of the Ministry of Transport.

In 1958 management transferred to European Ferries Ltd (Townsend Bros Ferries Ltd). She was managed by the British India Steam Navigation Company from 1961 until 1962 (with a gross tonnage of  4285). Scrapped Terneuzan 1962.

LST 3034 LST(3)

Built by Pickersgill in 1945 but cancelled. Scrapped incomplete Charlestown 1950

LST 3035 HMAS Lae LST(3)

Hull built by Denny and engined by Clark. Launched on 24th October 1944. Transferred to the Dutch Navy from 1945 to 1946 and then transferred to the Royal Australian Navy being commissioned on 1st July 1946 but it was transferred into the reserves almost immediately. Named RAN Lae on 16th December 1948.  On 9th November 1955 Labuan and Lae were  sold to Byrne and Boyle, Balmain, New South Wales on behalf of the Admiralty. Filled with scrap metal, the two ships  left Sydney under tow from the tug Bustler on 28 October 1956, for scrapping in Hong Kong.

On 3 November heavy seas were encountered off the Queensland coast, causing Lae's towline to break. Lae drifted to the southeast of South Percy Island and grounded beneath the rocky cliffs. An expedition sent to recover the scrap metal failed, the tracks and equipment still remaining to this day. Over the ensuing years Lae gradually slipped into deeper water.

LST 3036 HMS Puncher L115/L3036 LST(3)

Hull built by Ailsa Shipbuilding and engined by Clark. Launched on 20th November 1944. It was named HMS Puncher in 1947. Sold Belgium 1961 and was scrapped at Gwent on 4th June 1961.

LST 3037 Evan Gibb LST(3)

Hull built by Fairfield, Govan and engined by Rankin & Blackmore. Launched on 30th January 1945. Transferred on charter to the War Office  in 1946 when it was named Evan Gibb.  Operated as a troop carrier, managed for the War Department by the Atlantic Steam Navigation Company.  She was later managed by the British India Steam Navigation Company from 1961 until 1963 (with a gross tonnage of  4262). Scrapped in La Spezia in 1963.

LST 3038 HMS Fighter, Empire Grebe L109/L3038 LST(3)

Hull built by Fairfield SB & E. Co Ltd, Glasgow, and engined by Blairs. Launched on 14th March 1945.  Named HMS Fighter in 1947. Became mercantile Empire Grebe in 1956 when it was recalled to service being transferred into the MOD(Army) during the Suez crisis as a military transport ferry (having previously been cocooned in the River Clyde)  She was operated by the Atlantic Steam Navigation Company  on behalf of the Ministry of Transport. She was later managed by the British India Steam Navigation Company from 1961 until 1968 (with a gross tonnage of 4251).

Vic Tucker says   "In Aden Dec.1963 I joined Empire Grebe - did the milk run up the coast as far as RAF Mashirah on regular basis, lots of parties  invited the nurses, teachers, (met my wife to be at a party at Dolphin  Square, she was a teacher with the RAF. We then returned to Malta, runs to Benghazi and Tripoli, we were tied up in Sliema Creek, near Manoel Island. Again plenty of parties our guests were Army and RAF girls from the various bases and mainly the Wrens from the wren depot at Tax-Biex."

Sold Singapore 1968 for scrapping.

LST 3039 Rio Duoro, San Bernado LST(3)

Hull built by Fairfield, Govan and engined by Rankin & Blackmore. Launched on 27th June 1945. Completed as mercantile. Named Rio Duoro in 1951 and renamed as San Bernado in 1957.

LST 3040 LST(3)

Built in 1945 by Fairfield. Scrapped incomplete at Hayle 17th January 1949.

LST 3041 Empire Doric LST(3)

Hull built by Harland & Wolff Ltd, Govan and engined by Fletcher. Launched on 31st October 1944. Commercial charter to Ministry of Transport  (but available for recall in emergency).  In 1948 it was chartered by the Atlantic Steam Navigation Company for a transport ferry service and it was named Empire Doric. In operation until 1960.  Sold 1960 and scrapped Port Glasgow.

LST 3042 HMS Hunter, Empire Curlew L180/L3042 LST(3)

Hull built by Harland & Wolff Ltd, Govan and engined by Lobnitz. Launched on 31st January 1945. Named HMS Hunter in 1947. Became mercantile Empire Curlew in 1956 when it was recalled to service being transferred into the MOD(Army) during the Suez crisis as a military transport ferry (having previously been cocooned in the River Clyde).  She was operated by the Atlantic Steam Navigation Company  on behalf of the Ministry of Transport. She was later managed by the British India Steam Navigation Company from 1961 until 1962 (with a gross tonnage of 4273). Sold Italy 1962 for scrapping at La Spezia.

LST 3043 HMS Messina L112/L3043 LST(C)(A)

Built by Scotts at Greenock. Launched 27/4/45 as LST 3043. Named HMS Messina in 1947. Operated in the Mediterranean and Persian Gulf and represented the Mediterranean Fleet Amphibious Warfare Squadron at the 1953 Coronation Review.

1957 detached to take part in Operation Grapple - the Christmas Island A-bomb tests. 15/5/58 returned to Chatham. 1/59 recommissioned for further service East of Suez. Converted from LST(C) to LST(A) in 1960 for service in a new Amphibious Warfare Squadron.

Michael Herbert served on HMS Messina 1961/62 - he comments "at that time mainly in the Persian Gulf when we landed tanks of The 19/21 Lancers (Death or Glory) in order to dissuade Iraq who were showing an interest in Kuwait-- sounds familiar!! When I left 'Messina' in Gibraltar dockyard it was not known if she would continue in commission as when she was put into dry dock sea water fountained out from the double bottom, many of the rivets had rusted and could be pushed out by hand.!!"

David Thomas  joined Messina as a very young Engine Room Artificer third class in early 1963. He served on her "up the Gulf" until 1964 when he left her at Gibraltar for a refit. David says "A great ship - I had lots of good times. I passed out top of my class after training and thought I was going to the most modern ship in the RN. Little did I know that it was just about the oldest ship in the RN!!! She was a great time and a good ship held together with anything we could find. But she kept us going time after time."

On 7/7/65 Messina arrived Portsmouth to pay off. In 1969 it was transferred to Devonport for use as a store hulk. Eventually it met its end when on 13/10/80 Messina was towed from Plymouth to be broken up.

LST 3044 HMS Narvik L114/L3044 LST(C)

Built by Vickers-Armstrong's, Barrow. Launched 29th July 1945 as LST 3044. Named HMS Narvik in 1947. (The  Sub-Lieutenant P. "Dicky" Bird who served on Les Sheen's LST 383, later served on Narvik). She was flagship of the British Task Force for the atomic bomb tests in Monte Bello Islands in 1952.

Phil (Lofty) Gilbert  was on the Narvik Jan 58-Aug 59 "leaving Chatham we went to Christmas Island via Kingston Jamaica arriving in March and after the main bomb tests were complete, which included a dickey refit in Pearl Harbour where we went into a dry-dock big enough to fit the USS Forestall the Carrier where they had to put a flight of stairs on the deck so we so the brow could reach the edge of the dock to allow us to get ashore, then back to C.I. as we were still going to places like Malden Is where I read that the biggest bomb ever detonated was set off, and that's where they caught the pigs that had survived the bomb blast, our next trip was we had to take equipment that was no longer required on Christmas Is or it was u/s to Adelaide calling in at several places on the way like Rarotonga where the locals put on a show for us on the tank deck still have colour slides of it. we also went to N.Z. two places Napier and Dunedin, after Adelaide we spent Christmas in Sydney and back to C.I. via Suva in Fiji. March we started our journey back to the UK but only got as far as Port Rodman in the Panama where we had boiler trouble, fixed that and then on our way to Chatham stopping to refuel at Kingston arriving in Chatham in April I was on the retarded party and the ship went into dockyard hands and four of us run the floating galley for about three months our journey was over 44000 miles"

Became a submarine support ship at Chatham. In 1960 Narvik was a depot ship to the 108th Minesweeper Squadron in Malta. My previous sources indicated that the ship was broken up in 1965 but  Randal McDowell has provided the following update:

"HMS Narvik was converted to an accommodation ship and used as such during 1966 - 1968 at Faslane during the construction of the Polaris Base.   I was living onboard during this period while we were responsible for installing, testing and operating a group of wireless-stations for the Polaris fleet around the Clyde area.  The Narvik was tied up to the jetty during this period while HMS Maidstone was tied up on the outside of the Narvik. I was in a watch keepers mess which was located on the main transport deck of the Narvik. (nicely decorated !!) Towards the front was a open mess area where there was TV and the usual attributes (Dart Board etc). I don't believe we were more than 40 accommodated at the time. PO's CPO's were in small messes along each side while "Jack" was shown to the "jungle" on the main deck.  (All Bunks !). We used to have some tremendous runs ashore to Helensburgh and further a field to "the Mansions" at Dumbarton."

LST 3045 LST(3)

Built by Vickers-Armstrong's, Barrow. Launched 24th October 1945. Scrapped incomplete 1945.

LST 3501 HMAS Labuan LST(3)

Built by Canadian Vickers. Launched on 24th August 1944. She was completed in time to see war service in the English Channel and was only one of two ships to see RN service prior to joining the RAN, with the battle honour, English Channel 1945. Transferred to the Royal Australian Navy - HMALST 3501 sailed from Trincomalee and was commissioned in the RAN on 1 July 1946. Named  Labuan on December 16th 1948.

Commenced service in northern Australian and New Guinea waters as a stores transport.  On 31 October 1946 she sailed from Sydney on the first of 7 voyages to the Antarctic, visiting Australian National Antarctic Research expedition bases on Heard Island (4 voyages)  and Macquaire Island (4 voyages). She continued transporting supplies to the north between her voyages to the Expedition bases.  Returned to Fremantle on 1st March 1951 following her final Antarctic voyage, after which she proceeded to Sydney to pay off on 28 September 1951.

On 9th November 1955 Labuan and Lae were  sold to Byrne and Boyle, Balmain, New South Wales on behalf of the Admiralty. Filled with scrap metal, the two ships  left Sydney under tow from the tug Bustler on 28 October 1956, for scrapping in Hong Kong.

LST 3502 RHN Strymon LST(3)

Built by Canadian Vickers. Launched on 31st August 1944.  Transferred to the Dutch Navy from 1945 to 1946.

Geoff Jones (Ex  Fleet Air Arm) wrote to say  "In August 1946 I took passage in LST3502 from Singapore to Trincomalee.   My passage on 3502 was fairly brief, three weeks at the most I feel; at the age of 77 now, the exact dates elude me, but what I do remember was that it coincided with my 21st birthday August 9th at which time we were somewhere in the Bay of Bengal. We were fifteen ratings in all, and our quarters were in one of the spaces which would have been normally used by the tank crews, so really quite cramped, not that there was anything so unusual about that on R.N ships in those days. Everyone in the mess gave me their tot, which amounted to 15 tots of one and one, telling me custom demanded that it had to be consumed at one session, which I tried, but needless to say failed to do. I can remember being most unwell for a couple of days. Obviously we had nothing to do with the   running of the ship, and to keep us occupied we were set to with chipping hammers attacking the rust on the fore deck. Having boarded the ship in Singapore Roads, we then went somewhere off the coast of Burma to pick up some ratings from a mine sweeping flotilla, thence on to Madras where we hit the mooring jetty with quite a thump, much to the disgust and not a little annoyance of the skipper, who I remember was a Lieutenant RNZVR. It appeared that the engines developed some sort of a problem, so we headed for Trincomalee and anchored offshore welcoming the pipe "Hands to Bathe" except when it was realised that the whaler which had been launched was to look out for sharks!! We completed our journey overland to Colombo where we joined HMS Rajah a Ruler Class Escort Carrier."

Transferred on loan to Royal Hellenic Navy and named RHN Strymon in 1947. Returned to RN between 1962 and 1969, refitted at Malta and taken over by Ministry of Transport. Sold Italy 1962 and scrapped La Spezia 10th July 1962.

LST 3503 RHN Acheloos LST(3)

Built by Canadian Vickers. Launched on 12th October 1944. Transferred on loan to Royal Hellenic Navy and named RHN Acheloos in 1947. Sold Italy 1971 and scrapped La Spezia

LST 3504 HMS Pursuer, Empire Tern L116/L3504 LST(3)

Built in 1945 by Canadian Vickers Ltd, Montreal.. Launched 3rd November 1945.

Jim Morris was part of the original crew when the ship was commissioned in Montreal in 1945. Jim was the Leading Sick Berth Attendant and looked after  Ted Bates when Ted had a fall in the tank deck - Ted served on 3504 in 1946.

Jim passed on the following interesting information about  its activities in 1945/46:   "The activities of the ship after being commissioned in Montreal were as follows: It was quite an uneventful trip back to the UK where all of the crew were given a few days leave before setting sail for the far east and an unknown destination. It transpired that on reaching Suez we would take part in operation Zipper for the invasion of Japan along with other craft already out there. However, the dropping of the atomic bomb changed the situation. Several buzzes went around the ship (Australia was mentioned). After leaving Suez we had engine problems at Ismalia where we spent a few days while the ship was repaired. We then sailed onto Singapore via Aden, Cochin, Calcutta, Madras, The Andaman Isles and Rangoon . From Singapore we operated between Indonesia, Java, Surabaya, Batavia where we picked up some Indian troops (I believe) to transport them back to Singapore. After a few journeys we came back home to Portsmouth to a very quiet homecoming where I was demobbed. I believe the ship then proceeded to Roseneath in Scotland (November 1946)."

Named HMS Pursuer in 1947. Became mercantile Empire Tern in 1956 when it was recalled to service being transferred into the MOD (Army) during the Suez crisis as a military transport ferry (having previously been cocooned in the River Clyde).  She was operated by the Atlantic Steam Navigation Company on behalf of the Ministry of Transport. She was later managed by the British India Steam Navigation Company from 1961 until 1968 (with a gross tonnage of 4254).  Scrapped 1969.

LST 3505 HMS Ravager L117/L3505 LST(3)

Built by Canadian Vickers. Launched on 23rd October 1944. Named HMS Ravager in 1947. Sold Italy 1961 and scrapped.

LST 3506 RHN Pinios -/L171 LST(3)

Built by Canadian Vickers. Launched on 2nd December 1944. Transferred on loan to Royal Hellenic Navy and named RHN Pinios in 1947 when it also acquired pennant L171. Sold Greece 1972 and scrapped.

LST 3507 Empire Gaelic, Rjev LST(3)

Hull built by Davie Shipbuilding, Lauzon and engined by C.P. Rail. Launched 28th October 1944. Commercial charter to Ministry of Transport  (but available for recall in emergency). In 1948 it was chartered by the Atlantic Steam Navigation Company for a transport ferry service and it was named Empire Gaelic. Opened the Preston-Belfast service in 1950. In operation until 1960.  Sold to Belgium 1960. Renamed Rjev in 1962. Scrapped Ghent.

LST 3508 HMS Searcher LST(3)

Hull built by Davie Shipbuilding, Lauzon and engined by C.P. Rail.  Launched 30th October 1944. Named HMS Searcher in 1947. Sold 1949. Scrapped Milford Haven 20th June 1949

LST 3509 Humphrey Gale LST(3)

Hull built by Davie Shipbuilding, Lauzon and engined by C.P. Rail. Launched 27th November 1944. Transferred on charter to the War Office  in 1946 when it was named Humphrey Gale.   Operated as a troop carrier, being managed for the War Department by the Atlantic Steam Navigation Company.  Sold Italy 1960. Scrapped Genoa 10th January 1961.

LST 3510 HMS Slinger, Empire Kittiwake L123/L3510 LST(3)

Hull built by Davie Shipbuilding, Lauzon and engined by C.P. Rail.  Launched 28th November 1944.  Named HMS Slinger in 1947. Became mercantile Empire Kittiwake in 1956 when it was recalled to service being transferred into the MOD(Army) during the Suez crisis as a military transport ferry (having previously been cocooned in the River Clyde).

She was operated by the Atlantic Steam Navigation Company  on behalf of the Ministry of Transport. She was later managed by the British India Steam Navigation Company from 1961 until 1969 (with a gross tonnage of 4258).

Vic Tucker says  "I served on the Empire Kittiwake far east station Singapore from Jan 1965 to August 1965, she was fitted with wood flight deck, and we carried helicopters, we were also armed with single Oerlikon fitted one forward bandstand and one fitted abaft the bridge p & s, I was  2nd Engineer Officer ."

Sold Singapore  1969 for scrapping

LST 3511 HMS Reggio L119/L3511 LST(3)

Hull built by Davie Shipbuilding, Lauzon and engined by C.P. Rail. . Launched 29th November 1944. Completed by Marine Industries.  Named HMS Reggio in 1947.

Brian Burgess did landing training in Egypt on Striker and Reggio during his National Service with the Green Howard's Regiment.

Sold T.W.Ward 1960 and scrapped Grays 12th August 1960.

LST 3512 Empire Celtic LST(3)

Hull built by Davie Shipbuilding, Lauzon and engined by C.P. Rail.  Launched 25th April 1945.  Commercial charter to Ministry of Transport  (but available for recall in emergency). In 1946 it was chartered by the Atlantic Steam Navigation Company for a transport ferry service and it was named Empire Celtic. In operation until 1960.  Sold Italy 1962 and scrapped in La Spezia.

LST 3513 HMS Salerno L121/L3513 LST(3)

Hull built by Davie Shipbuilding, Lauzon and engined by C.P. Rail.  Launched 26th April 1945. Named HMS Salerno in 1947.  Sold Italy 1961 for scrapping.

LST 3514 HMS Smiter LST(3)

Hull built by Canadian Yarrow(Esquimalt) and engined by Dominion Engineering. Launched in 1944. Named HMS Smiter in 1947. Broke tow and wrecked off Lagos on 25th April 1949 - scrapped on site

LST 3515 HMS Stalker L126/L3515 LST(3)

Hull built by Canadian Yarrow(Esquimalt) and engined by Dominion Engineering.  Launched in 1945. Became a submarine support ship in 1958.

LST 3516 HMS Striker L128/L3516 LST(3)(A)

Hull built by Canadian Yarrow(Esquimalt) and engined by Dominion Engineering.  Launched 15/2/45 as LST 3516. Named HMS Striker in 1947. Converted from LST(3) to LST(A) to carry heavier tanks.  Arrived in Portsmouth 12/12/52 after service with the Amphibious Warfare Squadron. 15/6/53 Coronation Review at Spithead representing Portsmouth Home Command. In 1960 Striker was part of  the Amphibious Warfare Squadron East of Suez.

The ship also carried a unit of the 21st (?) Lancers equipped with tanks, armoured cars and lighter transport. They were supported by the Naval Beach Unit based ashore at Bahrain in HMS Jufair and the HQ ship HMS Meon.

Patrick Larking  says  " I served aboard Striker 61/62,having flown out to Mombasa, via Nairobi, to join her. She was based at that time in Mombasa and was engaged in the flood relief operations of that time. We worked the length of the Tana River and carried maize etc., to the flooded villages, also rescuing many homeless and taking some to Aden. We carried a Royal Marine Commando unit as well as 17/21st Lancers who used to join at Aden. The Marines had a pet dog named 'Boots' and the seaman's mess had their own mascot in the shape of a large and often bad tempered monkey named 'Sippers'. The Marines were led by Sgt. Fowler, who whilst in Gib, turned out noisily every morning at 5am.and ran up The Rock and around the base with his rucksack full of bricks... before returning just as noisily, to the mess, for breakfast! Our captain was Commander Petrie RN and it was a good ship's company. I was made acting Petty Officer during my time on Striker and left her in refit at Gibraltar, coming back to the UK on the very last troopship passage aboard the 'Oxfordshire' with the Royal Highland Fusiliers. I still have the daily orders issued at sea from that time. "

19/6/66 HMS Striker arrived at Portsmouth to pay off. 15/1/71 towed from Portsmouth to Valencia to be broken up.

LST 3517 HMS St. Nazaire, Empire Skua L125/L3517 LST(3)

Hull built by Canadian Yarrow(Esquimalt) and engined by Dominion Engineering. Launched in 1945. Named HMS St. Nazaire in 1947. Became mercantile Empire Skua in 1956 when it was recalled to service being transferred into the MOD(Army) during the Suez crisis as a military transport ferry (having previously been cocooned in the River Clyde).

She was operated by the Atlantic Steam Navigation Company  on behalf of the Ministry of Transport. She was later managed by the British India Steam Navigation Company from 1961 until 1968 (with a gross tonnage of 4260). Sold Italy 1967 and scrapped La Spezia 1968.

LST 3518 HMS Sulva L129/L3518 LST(3)

Built by Canadian Vickers. Launched on 6th April 1944. Named HMS Sulva in 1947. Sold 1960 and scrapped Grays.

LST 3519 Empire Baltic LST(3)

Built by Canadian Vickers Ltd, Montreal. Launched on 20th April 1945. Commercial charter to Ministry of Transport  (but available for recall in emergency).  Named Empire Baltic. In 1946 it was chartered by the Atlantic Steam Navigation Company for a transport ferry service (initially between Tilbury and Rotterdam) and it was in operation until 1962..  Sold Italy 1962 and scrapped La Spezia.

LST 3520 HMS Thruster, Empire Petrel ?/L3520 LST(3)

Built by Canadian Vickers Ltd, Montreal. Launched 1st May 1945. Named HMS Thruster in 1947. Became mercantile Empire Petrel in 1956 when it was recalled to service being transferred into the MOD(Army) during the Suez crisis as a military transport ferry (having previously been cocooned in the River Clyde).

She was operated by the Atlantic Steam Navigation Company  on behalf of the Ministry of Transport. She was later managed by the British India Steam Navigation Company from 1961 until 1968 (with a gross tonnage of 2336).

Vic Tucker says   "I transferred to Aden station on promotion to Chief Engineer Officer Aug 1965 to end Dec 1965 served in Empire Petrel - we rejoined Malta station Dec 1965."

Sold Singapore 1968 for scrapping.

LST 3521 LST(3)

Built by Canadian Vickers. Launched on 27th July 1945. Scuttled incomplete off Halifax February 1946.

LST 3522 HMS Tracker L130/L3522 LST(3)

Hull built by Davie Shipbuilding, Lauzon and engined by C.P. Rail. Launched 9th June 1945. Named HMS Tracker in 1947.

Tracker was part of the fleet for the first British atom bomb test in October 1952. It took 2 months to get from Chatham to Fremantle. Ships in company were the Narvik and Zeebrugge, both LST's.

The bomb was aboard HMS Plym anchored in the lagoon and the explosion took place at 0900 local time. HMS Tracker was the hospital ship and was back up at the bomb site by 1600 the same day , needless to say there was no sign of  the Plym, she was vaporised!

As a 'cross channel ferry'. her top speed on trials on the Clyde was 11 knots.

Tracker became harbour accommodation ship in 1958 and then a net and boom carrier in 1964. Sold Italy 1970 and scrapped Valencia 1971.

LST 3523 HMS Trouncer, Empire Gull L133/L3523/L3513 LST(3)

Hull built by Davie Shipbuilding, Lauzon and engined by C.P. Rail.. Launched 9th July 1945.  Named HMS Trouncer in 1947. Became mercantile Empire Gull in 1956 when it was recalled to service being transferred into the MOD(Army) during the Suez crisis as a military transport ferry (having previously been cocooned in the River Clyde).  She was operated by the Atlantic Steam Navigation Company  on behalf of the Ministry of Transport. She was later managed by the British India Steam Navigation Company from 1961 until 1970 (with a gross tonnage of 4258).

In 1970 she was taken on as an RFA. After service in Mediterranean, operated the Marchwood - Antwerp and Liverpool - Belfast runs. Scrapped Santander 1980

LST 3524 HMS Trumpeter, Empire Fulmar L134/L3524 LST(3)

Hull built by Davie Shipbuilding, Lauzon and engined by C.P. Rail. Launched 25th July 1945. Named HMS Trumpeter in 1947. Became mercantile Empire Fulmar in 1956 when it was recalled to service being transferred into the MOD(Army) during the Suez crisis as a military transport ferry (having previously been cocooned in the River Clyde).
She was operated by the Atlantic Steam Navigation Company  on behalf of the Ministry of Transport. She was later managed by the British India Steam Navigation Company from 1961 until 1968 (with a gross tonnage of 4262). Sold Singapore for scrapping 1968.

LST 3525 HMS Walcheren, Empire Guillemot L135/L3525 LST(3)

Hull built by Davie Shipbuilding, Lauzon and engined by C.P. Rail. Launched 29th August 1945.  Named HMS Walcheren in 1947. Became mercantile Empire Guillemot in 1956 when it was recalled to service being transferred into the MOD(Army) during the Suez crisis as a military transport ferry (having previously been cocooned in the River Clyde).

She was operated by the Atlantic Steam Navigation Company  on behalf of the Ministry of Transport. She was later managed by the British India Steam Navigation Company from 1961 until 1968 (with a gross tonnage of 4253).

Sold Singapore for scrapping 1968.

LST 3526 M.I.L 462 LST(3)

Hull built by United Shipyards and engined by Dominion Engineering. Cancelled 1945. Completed as mercantile barge M.I.L 462.

LST 3527 M.I.L 464 LST(3)

Builder was United Shipyards and engined by Canadian Vickers. Cancelled 1945. Completed as mercantile barge M.I.L 464.

LST 3528 LST(3)

Builder was United Shipyards. Cancelled 1945 before completion.

LST 3529 LST(3)

Builder was United Shipyards. Cancelled 1945 before completion.

LST 3530 M.I.L 460 LST(3)

Builder was Marine Industries. Cancelled 1945. Completed as mercantile barge M.I.L 460.

LST 3531 M.I.L 461 LST(3)

Builder was Marine Industries. Cancelled 1945.Completed as mercantile barge M.I.L 461.

LST 3532 HMS Zeebrugge L120/L3532 LST(3)

Named HMS Zeebrugge in 1947.  Went to the Montebello Islands off the north west coast of Australia for the first British atom bomb test in October 1952. Became harbour accommodation ship in 1958. Sold Astland shipping 1974 and scrapped Gijon 1975.

LST 3533 LST(3)

Builder was Marine Industries. Cancelled 1945.

LST 3534 Empire Cedric LST(3)

Hull built by Canadian Yarrow(Esquimalt) and engined by Dominion Engineering.  Commercial charter to Ministry of Transport  (but available for recall in emergency).

In 1946 it was chartered by the Atlantic Steam Navigation Company for a transport ferry service and it was named Empire Cedric. In operation until 1959. Sold Belgium 1960 and scrapped Ghent.

LST 3535 LST(3)

Builder was Canadian Yarrow. Cancelled 1945 before completion.

LST 3536 LST(3)

Builder was Canadian Vickers. Cancelled 1945. Scrapped incomplete on slip.

LST 3537 M.I.L 463 LST(3)

Built by Canadian Vickers and launched on 11th July 1945. Completed as mercantile barge M.I.L 463.

LST 3538- LST 3571 LST(3)

Ordered in Canada but cancelled before laying down.

 

Notes/Questions:

A ? in the table above indicates information lacking - any information would be appreciated.

?/L3520 pennant entries indicate changes in pennant number - a ? indicates we do not know the initial pennant number. The subsequent entry (e.g. L3520) indicates a later pennant number.

The 3500 numbers were allocated to ships built in Canada.

Of 45 LST's planned in the 3000 range and 74 in the 3500 range, sixty-one were completed as LST(3)s, 32 in the LST 3000 range, and 29 in the LST 3500 range. Of the other 58, 3537 was completed as a barge, 3004, 3018, 3023, 3030, 3032 and 3039 were completed as mercantile, 3012 and 3013 were completed as headquarter ships, 3043 and 3044 were completed as command ships. The other 47 (3005, 3034, 3045, 3526-3531, 3533, 3535-3571) were cancelled.

The name "Empire" indicated to the whole world that the vessel was in the ownership of the Ministry of War Transport.

The "ic" name suffix (e.g. Empire Cedric) was a kind of official concession to the Atlantic Steam Navigation Company's own nomenclature. This in turn was a nostalgic return to the old former White Star Line ship names ending in "ic".

Seven vessels (3001, 3009, 3021, 3024, 3028, 3037 and 3509) were charted to the War Office in 1946. They were initially managed by the Atlantic Steam Navigation Company on behalf of the War Department. Management of five of them was   transferred to the British India Steam Navigation Company in 1961. (3028 became a mercantile in 1964 but I have yet to find out who managed the ship in the early sixties. 3509 was sold to Italy in 1960.)

The Atlantic Steam Navigation Company Ltd (ASN) played an important part in the lives of many UK LST's. On the one hand, its founder had the foresight to spot the potential uses of LST's in commercial shipping, and on the other hand it was responsible for managing many LST's on behalf of the British Government during the 1950s. Lt. Col Frank Bustard, the founder of ASN, had failed to secure vessels for his newly formed company before the war, mainly because of the Government backing for the Cunard White Star Line. The onset of war delayed his plans, but during the War, Bustard was present when LST's were first being tried out for discharging military vehicles over their bow ramps onto the sands of New Brighton and over the sloping quayside of Barrow Docks. Bustard spotted that there would be a commercial use for these craft after the War. After the War, Bustard was eventually successful in chartering three UK LST's, 3512, 3519 and 3534 in 1946. They were named Empire Baltic, Empire Cedric and Empire Celtic, perpetuating the names of White Star vessels (Bustard had previously been employed by White Star). The chartered vessels were adapted for their new role and on the 11th September 1946, the first ASN voyage took place when Empire Baltic sailed from Tilbury to Rotterdam with a cargo of 64 vehicles. Following the maiden voyage, the three LST's were used to ferry backwards and forwards thousands of vehicles for the Army from Tilbury to Hamburg. This service was later moved to Antwerp in 1955. In 1948 the original LST's were joined by LST 3041 and LST 3507 (Empire Doric and Empire Gaelic). ASN established a new service between the Antrim port of Lame (Northern Ireland) and Preston in Lancashire. The service started on 21st May 1948 and was used to ferry a variety of cargos including pre-fabricated houses, Pilkington glass and even circuses! The Roll-on/Roll-off service at Preston was the first of its kind in the world. In 1955 a further two LST's 3010 and 3026 were acquired (Empire Cymric and Empire Nordic).

Suez (1956) saw 12 vessels that were cocooned in the Clyde recalled (3042, 3524, 3006, 3038, 3525, 3523, 3510, 3520, 3015, 3033, 3517 and 3504). These were initially operated by the Atlantic Steam Navigation Company on behalf of the Ministry of Transport, and apart from 3015 (sold to Canadian interests), management was transferred to the British India Steam Navigation Company in 1961 (although 3033 was also managed in an interim period by European Ferries Ltd (Townsend Bros Ferries Ltd)).

 

HMS Lofoten (LST 3027)


 

The hull was built by Blyth Dry Dock & SB Co Ltd and it was engined by Walker Bros. Launched 26.1.45 and completed 24.10.45 as LST(3) 3027. In 1947 named HMS Lofoten.

Tony Weekes A/B RP3 served in HMS Lofoten in 1956, joined her and took her out of Reserve in Malta, worked up, visited Catania, finally took part in the Suez Landing in late 56. Tony wrote this more detailed account as follows:

I was in HMS Undine as an Ordinary Seaman when people were taken from everywhere to man the Landing Craft, even the DQ's in Malta, we turned up at Lofoten, started the engines and beached her, after which we threw out all the bunks in the vehicle deck, literally, on the upper deck was a Nissan hut which went over the side on our first sea trails. Some time was spent combing old Depots for wires and rope, shackles etc and 4 manual Army Bofors were installed, no power for those mountings. We had a shake down Cruise to Catania, it rolled like a pig before exercising with Buffaloes from an Army Regiment, in the end we didn't take them. Last of all we beached in Grand Harbour and took on 45 Marine Commando, vehicles and ammo laid end to end down the port and starboard passageways which we had to walk on, plus two side pontoons and LCA's. Landing was at 0400 or the start any way, first a shore bombardment, aerial attack, then we dropped our LCA's off the beach after which we went down to the Casino Palace Hotel down past De Lesseps Statue, we beached there at the park by the Hotel, at this time house to house fighting was in progress in front of us, in fact all around, ammo and vehicles were offloaded and this went on for about 48 hours. I did see one Hunter go in off the beach while others were strafing Canal Company House. You know the rest I guess, we did get one real fright when an Israeli jet came in at masthead height, literally down the Canal. Sometime after I went back to Undine at which time Lofoten was still in Port Said. I was the buoy jumper in Lofoten, never take anything not waterproof!! I guess that is it; in Undine we did Cyprus and Jordan, plus Israel, Lebanon etc.

Lofoten also participated in the Suez Assault 1956 war (Operation Musketeer)

She had 14 LCT's Buffalos to land on Port Said Beach in the Area Sierra Red. The first British LST to approach the Egyptian shores and had unloaded the 40 Commandos Royal Marines to attack the city. Left immediately the Port Said shore after dislodging her load.

In 1958 she was designated a Harbour Accommodation Ship. In 1964 she was converted to RN's first Helicopter Support Ship (her upper deck was stripped and reinforced to provided a miniature flight deck along with helicopter support facilities installed) and had parent ship letters LT. She could carry up to 6 Wessex helicopters. She provided fuelling facilities for helicopters operating in deep water well clear of the coast. She was a member of the Portland Squadron.

She was listed for disposal in 1968 but was retained and in 1988 was operating as a submarine refit support ship at Rosyth. For sale 1991.


The last LST to be built

 

LST-1179 Newport Class Tank Landing Ship:

Laid down, 13 February 1971 at National Steel and Shipbuilding Corp, San Diego, CA; Launched, 4 December 1971; Commissioned USS Bristol County (LST-1198), 5 August 1972; Decommissioned and Struck from the Naval Register, 29 July 1994; Transferred, cash sale, 16 August 1994 to Morocco.

Bristol County is the last ship of the twenty ship Newport tank landing ship class, which replaced the traditional bow door design LST. Two derrick arms support a thirty-ton, 112-foot bow ramp for the unloading of tanks and other vehicles ashore, additionally, amphibious vehicles can be launched from the tank deck via the ship's stern gate and the ship's flight deck can accommodate most Navy helicopter types.

 


LST-1179 passing Sidney Harbour Bridge 1974

 

Specifications:
Displacement: 5190 tons light, 8550 tons full load
Length 522ft 3in (ovl)
Beam 69ft 9½in (max)
Draught Max forward (fl) 13 feet 6in; Max aft (fl) 16ft 3in
Speed 20kts
Complement 14 Officers, 15 Cpo, 226 Enlisted
Troop Capacity 18 Officers, 21 SNCO, 268 Enlisted
Boats 2 36ft LCPL
Aircraft Flight Deck 1 spot
Armament (as built) 2 twin 3in/50 gun mounts
Armament (upgraded) 2 .25mm chain guns, 6 .50 cal machine guns, 1 20mm Phalanx (CIWS)
Propulsion 6 16-cylinder ALCO 351C diesel engines, 2 shafts, 3 engines per shaft
shaft horsepower 16,000, 2 controllable reversible propellers
twin rudders, one 800hp variable pitch bow thruster
Generators 3 ALCO 351C 12-cylinder Generator sets, 1200KW

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