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January 19, 2006

More painting instead of work ....

I have long wanted to attempt to do a painting of a photograph of this ship from my collection. The lead ship in the painting is the former HMS Loch Boisedale, renamed on being taken over for the SA Navy as HMSAS Good Hope. Her sister, which I have included in the picture, is the former HMS Loch Ard, renamed HMSAS Transvaal. A third ship, formerly HMS Loch Clee was also acquired and became HMSAS Natal. Three further ships, all ex-W-Class Destroyers were also acquired by the then growing SAN in the immediate Post War period as the SA Navy re-equipped to take on a defence role in the South Atlantic on behalf of, and in support of, the RN.

These were HMS Whelp (HMSAS Simon van der Stel), HMS Wessex (HMSAS Jan van Riebeeck) and HMS Wrangler, renamed as HMSAS Vrystaat. This last underwent a major refit and rebuild which completely altered her appearance and she spent a considerable part of her subsequent career as a "Training Ship" or as the official "Yacht" for the Governor General and later the State President. HMS Whelp had the distinction of having been the seagoing command of a certain Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh, Consort of HM the Queen.

My rendition of the frigates HMSAS Good Hope and HMSAS Transvaal at sea.

Post the adoption of the Republican constitution and the countries departure from the Commonwealth, all ships in the SA Navy dropped the "HM" part of their names and became simply "SAS". The SAN acquired the three "Loch Class" escort frigates towards the end of the second World War, and a former "Flower Class" corvette, the former HMS Rockrose. This last became the navy's Hydrographic survey vessel under the name HMSAS Protea.

Protea was the first to be scrapped, being replaced as survey ship by the Natal, who was herself replaced in the late 60's by a new Protea which is still in service. Gradually the older frigates disappeared, to be followed by the converted destroyers as the Type 12's came into service, their service lives extended slightly by the Wilson government's reneging in the Simonstown agreement when they seized the last of the Type 12's instead of delivering it as promised.

These old ships underwent considerable modernisation during their service and their final appearance was considerably different to their original looks and armament. The two ex-W's in particular were given a makeover which included a helideck and double hangar aft, an enclosed bridge and completely different mast and radar arrays. They were all good sturdy seakeepers, but the three former "Lochs" in particular were very sound ships and with their enhanced armament which gave them the Bofors and twin forward gun mounts, became quite formidable ships. Like the ex-W's they underwent several modernisations during their service lives which kept them as effective defenders of the Cape waters long after their sisters had vanished from the RN.

They had many roles, and served in many places, but I like this picture of them best.

Posted by The Gray Monk at January 19, 2006 10:59 PM

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