Builder: William Gray & Co. Hartlepool, United Kingdom
Displacement: 7,850 GRT
length: 431 ft
Beam: 56 ft
Draught: 26 ft 9 in
Speed: 11 Knots
Crew complement: 450+
Cdr. D M McLean, RNR 9 Jul 1945
Cdr. Leslie Rodney Sharp, RD, RNR 1 Aug 1945
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No images of CUILLIN SOUND available - this is her sister ship HOLM SOUND at sea after completion. Photo: © IWM (FL 13933)
Her keel was laid down as Yard Number 1171, at William Gray & Co. Ltd, West Hartlepool. on January 7th 1944 for the Admiralty as an Airframe 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).
She was launched on November 2nd 1944, she was completed by William Gray & Co Ltd in January 1945 and moved up the coast to South Sheilds1 to be outfitted with specialist workshops and equipment for the support of American(?)2 airframe types Grumman Avenger, Voight Corsair, and Grumman Hellcat . Like her sitter ships of the 'Moray Firth' class CUILLIN SOUND carried two large twin engined lighters for ferrying airframes to and from the aircraft carriers or from shore bases.
commissioned as HMS CUILLIN SOUND on July 9th 1945, Commander D. M. McLean RD,
RNR in command. She was named for the deep channel which separates the islands
of Skye and Soay from Rum and Canna in the Inner Hebrides.
no record of her sailing from the UK. The July 1945 Navy List details 16
officers appointed to the ship.
In 1946 she was placed in the
Reserve Fleet at Harwich, as HQ ship of the Senior Officer. She was placed on
the disposal list in 1947 and sold to the Margareta Steamship Company, Limited,
of Greenock, (Clunies Shipping Co.), and converted early in 1948 into a cargo
ship and renamed JAMES CLUNIES. On April 21st 1949 she ran aground and was lost
on Punta Mogotes Spit, Argentina, on passage Bahia Blanca for Italy with grain.
The fore deck of the former HMS CUILLIN SOUND at Greenock in February 1948 while refitting as the S.S. JAMES CLUNIES. Photo courtesy Mr. Alan Graham
View aft from the fore deck of the former HMS CUILLIN SOUND at Greenock in February 1948 while refitting as the S.S. JAMES CLUNIES. Photo courtesy Mr. Alan Graham.
1.Moved to an un-named shipyard for outfitting, most of her crew joined her at South Shields.
2. 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:
Solway Firth = Engine*
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).
Last modified: 21 September 2018