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Reserve Fleet Anchorages

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Following the cessation of hostilities after World War II ended, the Royal Navy found itself with many redundant warships. The following have been identified as Reserve Fleet Anchorages, where these vessels were laid up, or stored, until their future could be determined.

The list is not intended to be definitive, and the coast of Scotland was probably home to other similar facilities.

Gare Loch

The Gare Loch became a temporary home to several well known battleships.

  • HMS Anson, towed to the loch in November 1949, where she remained until sold for scrap to Arnott Young & Co, Dalmuir. She left on her final journey on December 17, 1957.
  • HMS King George V, arrived under tow in July 1950, and left on the 20th of June 20, 1958 bound for Arnott Young & Co, Dalmuir.
  • HMS Duke of York, arrived under tow on November 6, 1951, and sold to Metal Industries, Faslane for scrap, departing February 18, 1958.

From 1951 to 1958 the three ships were moored in line in the loch.

Local memories also suggest that the aircraft carriers HMS Indefatigable and HMS Implacable, the cruisers HMS Lion and HMS Tiger and lesser warships also lay in the loch for some time.

  • HMS Vanguard
    Alrhough not requiring to be laid up in the loch, of note is HMS Vanguard, which was completed in 1946 and notable as Britain's last battleship. Sold to ship breaker Metal Industries in 1960, she arrived at their Faslane yard on August 9, which also the date of her fourteenth birthday. In command of Vanguard on her last voyage had been Lieutenant Commander William Frampton RN, an expert in towing. The journey began with incident, as Vanguard sheered across the dock at Portsmouth and grounded in mud, just short of striking the dock where hundreds of spectators had gathered. Portsmouth was closed for a period, while tugs refloated the battleship quickly, before losing the tide. The 600 mile tow to the Gare Loch took five and a half days at a speed of five knots, and was successfully completed without further incident.

Great Harbour, Greenock

In the 1950s, Great Harbour, Greenock, was used to moor several LST (Landing Ship Tank) while they awaited scrapping.

Earlier Anchorages

At the end of the 19th Century many warships were declared redundant as a result of new technologies.

The Holy Loch is known to have been home to several including:

  • The Third Class Battleship, Conqueror, sold for 16,800 to Castle Shipbreaking Company of London in April 1907.
  • The First Class Armoured Cruiser, Undaunted, sold for 14,400 to Harris Brothers of Bristol in April 1907.

The Kyles of Bute extend southwards in two arms from the mouth of Loch Riddon, with the western arm forming a narrow channel which separates the northern part of the Isle of Bute from the Cowal peninsula. Several ships were stored in the eastern arm, including:

  • The Collingwood, scrapped in 1907.
  • The First Class Battleship Sans Pareil, sold in April 1907 for 26,600 to TW Ward of Sheffield.

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