Aircraft Engine Repair Ship
Pennant No. B327

Battle Honours




Builder: Redhead & Sons Ltd. South Shields, United Kingdom

Displacement: 6,924 tons

length: 431 ft

Beam: 56 ft

Draught: 26 ft 9 in

Speed: 11 Knots

Crew complement: 450+

Commanding Officers:

Captain W.T. Fitzgerald R.D. RNR 16.07.1945 -04.1946


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HMS MORAYY FIRTH pictured at South Shields in 1945. Photo: © IWM (FL 16404)


Early history

Originally laid down as the EMPIRE PITCAIRN for the Ministry of War Transport on February 13th 1944 at the Redhead & Sons Ltd. Shipyard, South Shields, England, Yard Number 542, she was launched on July 10th 1944. Subsequently  requisitioned by the Admiralty for conversion into an Aircraft Engine Repair Ship. She was one of five 'Moray Firth' class repair ships building in British yards (BEAULY FIRTH, CUILLIN SOUND, HOLM SOUND, MORAY FIRTH and SOLWAY FIRTH) that were planned as Aviation Repair Ships for deployment with the Fleet Train of the British Pacific Fleet (BPF).

HMS MORAY FIRTH was the only 'Moray Firth' class repair ship to be completed by a single shipbuilder, her sister ship BEAULY FIRTH, also built by Redhead & Sons Ltd., was completed by Palmers and Co. at Hebburn. She was outfitted with general, and specialist aircraft workshops and engine test bays; it is believed she was tasked with repairing British Rolls-Royce ‘Merlin’ engines.1.

She commissioned as HMS MORAY FIRTH on July 16th 1945, Captain William Thomas Fitzgerald R.D. RNR in command.

She was designed for Engines to be passed through the various workshops before being test run in one of the two, hangar like, athwartships test bays on the aft of the ship. When testing engines the ship had to move to a remote anchorage to run them up to full power; this was a very noisy job so it had to be done away from populated areas, also the force of the thrush generated by the test propellers coming out of the fully open test bay were sufficient to drive the ship in a circle around her anchor or to veer off course if attempted underway.


Allocated to the British Pacific Fleet

Although she was commissioned only two days before her sister ship HMS SOLWAY FIRTH, there is no record of her sailing from the UK. The July 1945 Navy List details 18 officers appointed to the ship.


In December 1947 she was purchased from the Admiralty by Stag Line Ltd. for £80,500 and converted to a dry cargo ship by Tvne Dock Engineering Co. Ltd., South Shields at a cost of £98,597 and renamed LINARIA. She entered service inApril 1948. November 1954 Sold to Chellew Navigation Co. Ltd., London (later renamed Esk Shipping Co Ltd for £230,000 and renamed ESKGLEN. Sold 1961 to Fortune Shipping Co. Ltd., Hong Kong and renamed MARINE FORTUNE, before being sold on to Herald Shipping Co. Ltd. (World Wide (Shipping) Ltd. managers) Hong Kong. Sold to Japanese shipbreakers and arrived at Yokosuka June 8th 1967 to be broken up.



The officers of H.M.S. MORAY FIRTH

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Various ship departments
In-line engine test rig Engine test rig control room Engineering workshop Blacksmith's shop
Carpenter's shop Electro-Chemical shop General workshop General workshop
Workshop, function not known Workshop, function not known Workshop, function not known Workshop, function not known
Workshop, function not known Workshop, function not known Workshop, function not known Engine repair shop
Engine repair shop Ship's galley Ship's laundry Officer's mess
Wardroom Dedication ceremony order of service Dedication ceremony order of service  

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These images are of HMS. MORAY FIRTH and are from the collection of David Nairn who served on the ship as a Sub-Lieut (A) R.N.V.R. (In the above officers' photo, Sub-Lieut David Nairn, is on the far right, middle row) The images are supplied by his daughter and son-in-law, Margaret Nairn and John Struthers. Further HMS Moray Firth images can be found at




1. Records are sketchy for the six Aviation Repair Ships built for the Fleet Air Arm, however there ware two distinct types  – Component repair, and Engine Repair. It is highly probable that these ships specialised in either British or American types. What evidence exists suggests the following assignments:


Deer Sound = Component*
Holm Sound = Component* -British airframes and component types
Cuillin Sound = Component
Beauly Firth = Engine*  -British in-line Engines
Moray Firth = Engine*

Solway Firth = Engine*


*See AFO 7521/45 —Complement Amendments (N/G.013545/45.—27 Dec. 1945.) which states:
H.M. Ships “Beauly Firth” , “Moray Firth” and “Solway Firth” as Aircraft Engine Repair Ships (Admiralty Letter N.15743/44 of 5 July, 1944).
H.M.S. “Deer Sound” as Aircraft Component Repair Ship (Admiralty Letter N .29837/43 of 7 March, 1944).
H.M.S. “Holm Sound” as Aircraft Component Repair Ship (Admiralty Letter N .32706/44 of 8 January 1945).


Primary information sources

Last modified: 11 May 2018