View Full Version : RN Shore Establishment: HMS Lochinvar

10-01-2010, 19:59
Has anyone a photo of the shore base HMS LOCHINVAR --the buildings when they were in use in the 60s and a photo of the shore base at Donibristle
HMS MERLIN later to be changed to HMS COCHRANE in 1960 (not the new base at Rosyth)?


11-01-2010, 18:42
I believe this is HMS Lochinvar c1974. Unable to help with Merlin


12-01-2010, 10:16
I believe this is HMS Lochinvar c1974. Unable to help with Merlin


Thanks Jim but I have that picture of the workshops and M/Sweepers berth, its the buildings of the living quarters/offices of the ships company LOCHINVAR that I am after. I did have one of MERLIN as then COCHRANE which only showed the main gate but I can`t find it among my papers.

16-01-2010, 21:15
I was stationed at Donibristle's "H.M.S. Lochinvar" in 1962 for a short period during a refit. We were bussed up there from the dockyard each evening.
It was a dire, remote, but well removed from normal Navy life, sort of place.
It used to be the accomodation for an old airfield station for the FAA, I believe.
You can find photos of it in Inverkiething Library Archives.
Probably in some FAA sites also, I would think.

17-01-2010, 18:09
Thanks mate, I will try getting in touch with the archives for pictures of COCHRANE ex MERLIN the wooden hut accomadations ,never much in the way of entertainment there, we generally went to Inverkeithing or Dunfermline for our nights out, any idea when they closed the place down completely,maybe when the new COCHRANE was built outside Rosyth Dockyard now that is no more, I believe the main building was taken over by a hotel group.


18-01-2010, 16:29
Hi Dave
Are these any good? Took them to-day from the Forth Road Bridge.

18-01-2010, 20:00
Now that is what I call service.


18-01-2010, 21:22
Good service, guys.

But still not one of Donibristle!

Dave, if you google at:
"Royal Naval Air Stations of the Fleet Air Arm archive 1939 - 1945", you will get info on the Donibristle site, but alas no photo.

19-01-2010, 11:11
Jim, thanks for taking time out to get those pictures,great shots of the old navy workshops,remember them well, don`t know if you live near here but if you do could you get one or two of the living quaters which is further up from the marina, I think someone said that it was all wired up and the gates closed ,don`t know if that is true or not, maybe it is no longer there as most old naval bases are these days but thanks again for these views,much appreciated, mate.


19-01-2010, 11:16
Done that Keblin but as you say-no photos- surely we have guys somewhere who were stationed there for a while who were handy with cameras and have shots of the main entrance and the old wooden huts with the coke fires in the middle of the room or the quarter deck sentry posted or even photos of the airfield.

20-01-2010, 14:22
Hi Dave
I do indeed live just outside Port Edgar and will see if I can find the buildings yyou mention and get you some photographs-may take a couple of days though.
I've posted a couple of pics showing ex-married quarters and bottom left the ex-Flotilla Club which is now a residential home.

20-01-2010, 23:54
Jim,much appreciated if you could manage getting photos of the crews living quarters at LOCHINVAR, I myself was in married quarters over the water at Rosyth in 60/61 at Mc Grigor Road, believe these are now civilian owned.
Still seeking ones of MERLIN at Donibristle searching thro` all the web sites and if lucky to get some will post them here.
Thanks again Jim.


21-01-2010, 16:42
Post #6...
Brings back memories, the building on the left hand side of picture no.3, is the brick built incinerator, spent many an hour on a cold day keeping warm shredding confidential waste.
Lived in William Black Place (MQ's) '70-'71, using google it is still there!!
Sorry, unable to provide any photos of Lochinvar that are relevent to thread.

24-01-2010, 18:52
Got some pics for you to-day- I 'm told it was the barracks area at Lochinvar.
As you can see from the photos it is Locked up-hope they are of some use.

24-01-2010, 19:10
Another great set of photos Jim. Hopefully, someone will be able to explain what buildings are in each photo.


24-01-2010, 19:25
Jim mate those pictures are great, I would have bought you a tot for going to the trouble of getting these, pictures 1:4: 7 was the ships company living quarters, the slops room(gear confiscated during officers rounds)was the small building nearest, the other ones with the rounded roof were used for storing fire fighting gear etc, can`t remember what the others were,memory lapse.

24-01-2010, 19:41
Living quarters were used by LOCHINVARS ships company and Mine Sweeper crews, we worked in the maintenance shops that Jim photographed first, my job while there was over in the dockyard repairing the ships of the Cod War, I later got married quarters over in Rosyth which meant me catching the MFV to take me back to LOCHINVAR each morning to pick the working gang to go back over to the dockyard,we worked together with the ERAs on the ships, good little number. As duty Chief I had to stay at the base doing a stint in the workshops and exercising the fire party at night plus doing night rounds.
The gear that was left loafing during rounds was put into the slop room and could only be retrieved by the ratings at a cost sometimes with a bar of pusser hard soap.

Big Al
25-01-2010, 21:10
Nice pictures of the MQs in Shore Road, I was in No 11 not to far to stagger from the Flot Club and all the lads with carry outs made sure we had some great parties.

Rob Hoole
03-04-2010, 21:17
Bit before the time required I know but here's a photo of the destroyer pens at HMS Lochinar during WW I:

05-04-2010, 23:00
Cracking photo this, Rob.

Thanks for sharing.

04-10-2010, 06:49
great draft for a year in about 67,i worked in the loop shed first then moved to the AH.AD.shed just myself and an oa great workdays no kpi,s.at weekends when all the locals went home we poor sods from down south spent all our time on the pi55,payweek into the ferry and blank weeks we were relegated to the lochinbar i had a ball apart from meeting a local girl who wanted to see the world with ME.:p

03-03-2012, 15:54
Got loads of photos from HMS Lochinvar inside the gates.

How can i upload them?

06-03-2012, 15:04
Got loads of photos from HMS Lochinvar inside the gates.

How can i upload them?

Welcome Chippy38, the following link will give you all the info needed to upload photos.

I for one would be glad of anything concerning Lochinvar.



12-03-2012, 16:44
The following are posted on behalf of Chippy38

Taken very recently and apparently due for demolishion in the near future.
Part 1:

12-03-2012, 16:49
Part 2: (Chippy38)

12-03-2012, 16:57
Part 3 (Chippy38)

12-03-2012, 19:26
The whole establishment will disappear in the near future to make way for the new Forth Bridge.

14-03-2012, 22:19
The site will remain largely intact as the bridge will come ashore upstream of the harbour area, plans show that the approaches will be built on piers in a similar manner to the existing bridge spanning the foreshore to the higher ground to the south.:)

15-03-2012, 11:44
thanks for photos great memories,remember waking up in the cells after a punch-on at the flot club,bad bad hangover and 9s for a fortnight ah happy days.

23-11-2012, 16:54
Before Hms Lochinvar became a RN base it was an infectious disease hospital.

29-11-2012, 16:52
This should bring back a few memories; for some.

Crown Copyright/MoD (1957).




When I first heard that I was to join H.M.S. Lochinvar, I made a few enquiries
regarding what happened at Port Edgar. My own recollections, from a view
across the Forth five years earlier, were of a miscellaneous collection of ships
and vessels of considerable antiquity, engaged in very secret activities somehow
connected with minesweeping. Few people were able to add to this, except
for the information that the ships now used were all coastal and inshore minesweepers.
It was not until I had been at Port Edgar for some time that I became
aware of all my responsibilities.


A.F.O. 3480/55 now gives the chief functions as:-

(a) The administration of trials and experimental organization for the
Captain, Underwater Countermeasures Weapons Establishment

(b) Naval Officer in Charge, Port Edgar Naval Base

(c) Operation of the Forth ferry pool

(d) N.S.C. allocated by the Flag Officer, Scotland

(e) Holding and preparation of naval-manned M.F.V.s in Scottish waters

(f) Administration of the Bomb and Mine Disposal Unit.

The resultant engineering responsibilities under these headings are briefly:-

(a) Occasional repair work to sweep gear; the modification and manufacture
of small items for sweep gear and equipment; installation of
new equipment and the removal of old, all in sweepers attached for
experimental purposes. Considerable patience and fortitude is required
to deal with the trials officer who asks at 1600 one day for a ' little '
job to be done by 0800 the following day for further trials.

(b) Lochinvar is the base ship for the two attached squadrons of minesweepers,
the 50th and 51st, consisting of four C.M.S.s, two I.M.S.s,
Type 1, five I.M.S.s, Type 2, and 2 ex-German 'E' boat tugs. These are
the ships which carry out the trials mentioned above. It is their endeavour
which makes the scientists' dream a working proposition. Another
tender to Lochinvar is H.M.S. Temeraire, the Upper Yardsmen's Training
Establishment, housed at Upper Butlaw Camp, and base commitments
are from time to time added to by work for the Fifth Fishery Protection
Squadron, the ships of which carry out self maintenance periods at Port
Edgar, and by other visiting ships.

(c) The Ferry Pool consists of ten 61.5 feet M.F.V.s, seven normally running
the service with the others refitting or in care and maintenance, and one
T.I.D. tug.

(d) At the moment this entails base maintenance and ' slipping ' of two
61.5 feet M.F.V.s and one T.R.V. from other establishments.

(e) There are four naval-manned M.F.V.s, two 75-ft vessels of 1952 design
held for the Home Fleet and two 45-ft vessels used by the Trials Section
and the Clearance Diving Unit.

(f) Maintenance and Servicing of B. and M.D.U. equipment, including
de-watering plant and steam generator.


The total that this adds up to, in actual ' nuts and bolts ', is:-

97 floating Diesel engines-ships and craft
26 miscellaneous I.C.E.s-ashore, static and mobile
2 large Cochrane boilers-base steam-heating
2 I.C.E. cranes
2 steam cranes
22 domestic and central heating boilers each with associated systems
3 portable welding generators
4 portable air compressors
1 slipway of 150 tons capacity.

The spare gear held to meet the repair and refitting of these commitments
consists of 2,500 ledger pages, and the total weight of spares is approximately
150 tons.

The complement allowed is:-
1 Commander
1 Eng. Lt. or Eng. Sub.-Lt.
2 C.E.R.A.s
12 E.R.A.s
1 Ch.M.(E)
2 P.O.M.(E)s
1 L.M.(E)s
11 M.(E)s

During my time in Lochinvar we have seen the steam trawlers, coal-burners
at that, pass into respectable retirement to be relieved by coastal minesweepers,
and we have now reached a stage of being almost completely I.C.E., the only
exception being the T.I.D. tug.

From being a pessimistic operator of the I.C.E., I have now grown quite fond of
these infernal machines. With the introduction of planned maintenance and with
increased familiarity with the engines, it can now be said that our defect log has
never been so low. Breakdown maintenance is without a doubt taking a back seat;
when it occurs, it is the result of bad weather or poor watchkeeping, and very
occasionally a result of inferior material or design.

The C.M.S.s and I.M.S.s have produced some worries from time to time and some
interesting problems. But with repair by replacement and adequate spares they
present little real difficulty.
This does not mean that the base staff has an easy time.
On the contrary, due to the effort expended on scheduled maintenance,
they are never able to catch up fully with the backlog of defects for the
base and hardly ever get either the time or opportunity to refit the machine tools.


It is quite normal for the base staff to carry out the 2,000-hour or major
inspection routines on the following engines:-

Mirrlees JVSS 12 and JV 8 in C.M.S.s
Paxman 12 YHA Series in 1.M.S.s
Gardner 8L3 in M.F.V.s
Lister 3 EPVMG in M.F.V.S.

Changing Foden generator sets is now becoming a familiar job and one
change was treated as an evolution in an I.M.S. Type1. The complete change
without any prior work was carried out in 24 hours, with the exception of load

The most interesting recent problem occurred in a C.M.S., H.M.S. Boulston,
which arrived at Port Edgar with a history of flexible driving plate failures on
the starboard main engine. These laminated plates are fitted between engine
and fluid coupling and coupling and gearbox to cope with movement resulting
from flexible engine mountings. After the third failure, which occurred soon
after the ship's arrival, the alignment was checked by Rosyth Dockyard but
revealed nothing of real interest.

Luckily a week later when renewing the water pump seals it was noticed that
the spider for the auxiliary gear drive was cracked. Further investigation meant
stripping the front of the engine and removing the torsional vibration damper.
This was too good an opportunity to miss as we were suspicious of the damper,
but had failed to get M.E.D. to investigate it. The damper was removed and a
careful check was made to see if it leaked oil. It did. We were now certain that
here was the cause of the flexible drive plate failures, and since fitting the
replace damper there has been no further indication of trouble.

I also recommend to anyone running Diesels to make a careful study of the
fuel pumps with a Hartridge fuel pump testing machine. All pumps received
from reconditioning should be carefully examined and tested, they are quite
liable to be defective or badly calibrated. The Hartridge machine is now saving
endless trouble by ironing out fuel pump defects which would not otherwise
have been discovered.

Despite these items the most troublesome features are, as always, the domestic
issues-the hot water or heating systems of the barracks and base. The base
workshop system of heating is by gilled steam pipes at a height of 10 ft from
the ground level. The buildings are unlined and have slotted roof ventilators,
and the result is to heat the air in the roof which rapidly disperses through the
ventilators giving rise to an inrush of cold air at working level. As a ventilation
system it is first class.

However, we manage to keep most people happy and get a good job done
quickly, despite the cold and threats of closure upsetting our plans from time
to time.

09-05-2015, 17:55
I know it is a bit late but just came across this site.I was visiting the Lochinvar (Port Edgar) base today to try and get an idea where the South end of the new road bridge was going to end up.I was hoping to gain access to the old mess decks wardroom area but it is sealed of (safety hazard) but discovered here a load of great photos of the place.One photo I would like to have seen was the location of the Loch Inn bar.My interest stems from the fact I was there 1962 when they were building the first road bridge.After todays visit I see that the base sits effectively in the middle of the two.Will upload a couple of photos to give an idea.One shows the end of the wardroom area next to the supports of the bridge.The guardroom photo brings back memories of one particular incident whilst doing cell sentry one Saturday evening on a guy who unknown to anyone sneaked a razor blade into the cell and although I had been checking him suddenly let out a scream and peering through the sight hole I saw him holding his wrist with blood streaming out. All hell let loose Killick of the watch,officer of the watch. Managed to staunch the flow and Doc from South Queensferry patched him up.I wondered what ever happened to him looking at the guardroom today.

Ben Lyon

09-05-2015, 19:16
That same guy was aboard HMS Chailey (I M S) with me, he wanted to buy himself out as a few guys were doing at that time but his request was turned down so he turned to other means to get his `ticket` and ended up in cells where he slashed his wrist. Strangely enough I was detailed with another two to deliver him to Netley Southampton, where a team of specialists determin wether or not you are insane or just trying to work your ticket. Must say cutting ones wrist`s is a serious thing to be doing. Don`t know the outcome of what happened after that.

09-05-2015, 19:47
That same guy was aboard HMS Chailey (I M S) with me, he wanted to buy himself out as a few guys were doing at that time but his request was turned down so he turned to other means to get his `ticket` and ended up in cells where he slashed his wrist. Strangely enough I was detailed with another two to deliver him to Netley Southampton, where a team of specialists determin wether or not you are insane or just trying to work your ticket. Must say cutting ones wrist`s is a serious thing to be doing. Don`t know the outcome of what happened after that.

Thanks for that Pluto nice to fill in another part of the jigsaw.Must admit that we thought he was at the "hurry up" because the cuts he did make although producing plenty blood did not seem to go deep enough to cause any lasting damage. Ben Lyon

03-04-2016, 11:26
Gentlemen, thank you so much for the photographs which, though it wasn't me who requested them, have had a lot of pleasure remembering my six months spent at Lochinvar from September 1960 until March 1961 when I joined HMS Blake - a whole different story - at Fairfield's Shipbuilders at Greenoch.

I joined Lochinvar from Collingwood as an EM2 and spent a reasonably happy six months there as part of maintenance crew for the Sweepers. Yarnton, Soberton, Brinkley, Brailey Brenchley and Chailey to name a few. That was where I learned to strip down a fan motor and skim and undercut a commutator. I also discovered the wonderful Miranda Scotch (mutton) Pies.

Can people remember 'The Tonk' a somewhat dubious euphemistically called 'Dance Hall', just at the end of the road from Lochinvar just before going into South Queensferry and the bus to Dalmeny Station or Edinburgh?

Can people remember the MO who told you to strip whatever your ailment and tell you that you needed to wear 'Pussers Undies'

I was one of the recruited 'waiters' for the bridge builders Christmas party and made a few bob in tips after some advice about hiding the silver under pennies on the tray so patrons might look and say "Keep the change".:):p

26-08-2016, 16:50
Looking at your thread I was puzzled at the reference to Miranda Scotch pie? I wondered if you meant Milanda which was a bakery up here at that time!! About
the dance hall the building directly at the entrance to Lochinvar was the Flottilla Club if memory serves and the dances I remember were held at the local community hall in South Queensferry itself where the Bone'ss Beasties used to arrive with their fangs freshly sharpened on a Friday evening.I will upload a photo of the Flot club which might jog a memory.The place like everywhere else are now smart houses.The first is taken from above looking towards the 'ferry and bridge the second is the outside of the club and the third the interior. Ben Lyon