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H.M.S. Alert in the Johore Strait

The 1st Alert was built at Dover and launched June 14th 1777. A Cutter of 183 tons she was armed with 10 guns. Alert was in action against the American 16 gun Brigantine "Lexington" off Ushant 19th September 1777 and captured her.  Alert was later captured by the French Frigate "Junon."

The 2nd Alert, a Brigantine/Sloop was also built at Dover, was launched 1st October 1779. She carried 14 guns. Alert was in action during the Battle of Saintes April 12th 1782.

The 3rd Alert, a Sloop of 365 tons, was built on the Thames and launched in October 1793. Alert was captured by the French Frigate "Unité" one year later.

The 4th Alert, started life as the 393 ton merchant ship "Oxford" and was bought by the Navy in 1804 and converted into a Sloop with 18 guns. In action with the American Frigate "Essex," Alert was captured on the 13th August 1812.

The 5th Alert, a 388 ton 18 gun Sloop built at Northfleet and launched 14th July 1813. She was sold in 1832.

The 6th Alert was a Brigantine of 358 tons built at Rotherhythe and launched 24th September 1833. She carried 10 guns.

The 7th Alert was built at Pembroke as a Screw/Sloop of 1,045 tons.  She was launched 20th May 1856. From 1875 to 1876 Alert was employed in Arctic Survey and awarded the Arctic Medal.  From 1879 to 1882, Alert was engaged on a "scientific voyage of discovery" around the world. In 1884, Alert was presented to the United States government for Arctic service. Alert was later used by the Canadian Coastguard Service as lighthouse supply vessel.

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The 7th Alert to bear the name held fast in ice at  81° 48' North - 1876 CGS Alert - Lighthouse Supply ship- 1893

The 8th Alert was also built as a Screw/Sloop of 960 tons at Sheerness and launched 28th December 1894. Alert was loaned to the Civil Authorities at Basra in the Persian Gulf and was sold there in 1926.

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Photographs used with the permission of Mr. Vic Walker of Brisbane, Australia

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Byth, Northumberland, 10th July 1945 -
Mrs Lily M. Southard and her daughter Frances launch H.M.S. Dundrum Bay
10th July 1945 - H.M.S. Dundrum Bay going down the slips

The 9th Alert, a Frigate, was laid down at Blyth in 1944 as the Loch Scamadale, renamed Dundrum Bay, she was launched 10th July 1945. On 1st October 1946, the Dundrum Bay was converted to a Despatch Vessel and renamed "Alert." On the 1st of November 1946 sailed for the Far East. H.M.S.Alert served all her service life in the Far East. Alert was sailed back to Britain during 1964 and placed on the Disposal List. On 31st October 1971, Alert was taken to the breakers yard in Inverkeithing.

My name is Frank Waterfield . Early in 1951 I was drafted to H.M.S Alert, a Despatch vessel. I boarded the M.V."Dilwara" a troopship in Southampton for passage to Singapore and we sailed May 2nd 1951. The voyage lasted 24 days. We called at Port Said, Egypt, Massawa, Eritrea, Aden, Yemen and Colombo in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) before arriving in Singapore.

The Alert was based in Singapore. Little did I know that this ship was to be my home for almost 3 years.The Alert was known as the C in C's "yacht" and there is no doubt, in addition to normal anti-bandit patrol duties we carried out around the coast of Malaya, we did get some plum assignments. Listed below are some of the places we visited (often more than once) during my 2 years and 8 months in Alert.

Malaysia - Penang, Malacca, Port Dickson, Port Swettenham, Trengganu, Mersing, Kuantan, Khota Baharu, Lumut, Pulau Tioman, Pulau Redang, Peherentian Islands.

Borneo - Labuan, Kuching, Jesselton (Kota Kinabalu), Brunei, Sibu, Tawau. Philippines - Sangley Point. Japan - Sasebo, Kure. Korea.

Hong Kong. Vietnam - Saigon. Thailand - Bangkok and, last but by no means least, Singapore.

This is a collection of photos taken during my time aboard the Alert. Some photos are mine and many (read most) were taken by P.O.(Tel) Keith Apthorp.

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Alert anchored off Pulau Redang, Malaya

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Driving skimmer off Malacca Coxswain of Admirals' barge
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Nobby Clarke - diver on oxygen Author - diver off oxygen


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Alert approaches the grounded Taikinshan to pass a line Newspaper article from Daily Express

While en route to Saigon with the C in C (F. E.S ) on January 18th 1952, Alert was diverted to assist the SS Taikinshan hard aground on Paracel Reef in the South China Sea. 64 crewmen were saved but 9 men were lost when the life boat, in which they attempted to abandon ship, overturned

To view more images of the Taikinshan shipwreck, click on image   taismall.gif (2884 bytes)

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Climbing back aboard from searching a junk My 21st birthday - at sea on patrol T.A.S.Landing Party

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Frank "Lofty" Waterfield

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Last update March 21, 2011