The History of Leith

January 7, 2011

M. V. “Lochee”

It was only two days after the outbreak of war that M.V. ” Lochee,”
owned by the Dundee, Perth, & London Shipping Company, Ltd.,
was requisitioned for Government service. Her special hold construction, suitable for both bulk and general cargo, made her a valuable carrier for cased petrol. Right up to the collapse of France she travelled safely between this country and Bordeaux with petrol, except for one stirring incident when she was sent to Norway to take part in the evacuation of our troops from that country. Subsequently, she again became a petrol carrier between Northern Ireland and North-Western ports, and it was while inward bound to Liverpool at the end of
December 1940 that she exploded an acoustic mine.
The explosion, which caught the ” Lochee ” on the port quarter, unseated all the auxiliary engines, smashed the steering gear and windlass, and blew the winches and cables overboard. The whole of the
stern was forced badly out of line. Mercifully, only three men were
injured ; the master, being thrown heavily to the deck, broke his
collar bone. The extensive repairs took many weeks, but the ” Lochee ”
returned again to her job as a petrol carrier between Britain and Gibraltar.
She was one of the great convoy which took part in the North African landing and remained in the vicinity carrying petrol along the coast.
The ” Lochee ” also enjoyed the distinction of being the first merchant ship into Algiers, accompanied by two destroyers.
Many times she was attacked both by bomb and torpedo, but escaped serious damage, only to be driven ashore in February 1944 by a fierce gale whilst at anchor in the Bay of Naples. Pounded heavily by big seas for the next two months, she was refloated in April, temporarily
repaired at Naples, and brought home for completion. She was
ready for the Normandy invasion and was again one of the great fleet
which assisted at the landing on a heavily defended enemy coast.

source-Leith Built Ships on War Service

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