Requisitioned Auxiliaries of World War 1
Regular visitors to the site will have noticed that not only do the RFA Historical Society research and publish vast amounts of material concerning the ships and the people of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary in order to preserve the facts for posterity but also that there are regular updates to the Requisitioned Ships’ Section.
On the outbreak of WW1 thousands of commercial ships were requisitioned for tasks which were sometimes extraordinarily different to the tasks these same ships had performed in peacetime.
Very large numbers of ship were needed to not only transport vital supplies of food, coal, oil, ammunition and other goods but also to serve in other roles to protect, interrogate or investigate ships which may or may not have been what they appeared to be. Thus something in the region of 3,000 ships were requisitioned for service as Collier Transports alone, nearly 300 ships as Oiler Transports, then many others to serve in such diverse roles as Store Carriers, Armed Merchant Cruisers, Armed Boarding Steamers, Auxiliary Minesweepers and other lesser but still important roles, which resulted in thousands of tons of shipping being lost but more tragically, thousands of lives of Merchant Seafarers too.