RFA Ennerdale arrived at Penang on the 26 November 1945 and was given sailing orders to depart on the 3 December; bound for Singapore. On the way down to Singapore Ennerdale was requested to rendezvous off the Perak River to collect some spare landing craft there for onward transport to the Naval Base at Singapore.

 

RFA Ennerdale arrived at Penang on the 26 November 1945 and was given sailing orders to depart on the 3 December; bound for Singapore. On the way down to Singapore Ennerdale was requested to rendezvous off the Perak River to collect some spare landing craft there for onward transport to the Naval Base at Singapore.

 

Ennerdale

RFA Ennerdale

The Master of RFA Ennerdale, Captain Leonard Elford RFA asked for sailing orders and routing instructions from the Naval Control Service Officer at Penang to enable the ship to proceed safely to the rendezvous off the Perak River, he was told that no sailing orders would be issued to the ship as he had already received sufficient instruction from other sources.

 

malaya_map

The seas round Malaya

 

Ennerdale sailed from Penang at 10:00 hrs on the 3rd December keeping close to the channel buoys off Penang and sailing toward ‘A’ buoy, where the ship had been ordered to pass through positions “TG” and “TH” and proceed toward position “TJ”. When the ship arrived at a position of 4° 9’N, 99° 53’E, they had been informed that the ship should then steer a course of 090 degrees to take then to the mouth of the Perak River.

The ship arrived at 4° 9’N, 99° 58’E at 05:00 hrs on the 4th December and proceeded to steer 090 degrees as instructed toward the rendezvous with minor changes in course until about 08:40 hrs when the engines were stopped, five minutes later there was an explosion from the port side forward near No 3 and 4 port wing tanks.

Ennerdale immediately took on a list to port as No: 4 wing tank, No: 3 centre tank and the forward pump room began to flood, the ship was steered toward the shore as the Captain prepared to ground her if the situation deteriorated, it was then realised that the ship had detonated a mine. Whilst this was taking place air pipes were connected to No: 3 tank and compressed air forced in, bunkers were transferred from No: 4 Centre tank to No: 4 Starboard wing tank and the starboard arms on both gantries were lowered along with the travelling cranes.

The engineering staff also attempted to pump No: 6 port tank out, unfortunately this was unsuccessful as the steam lines to both the after cargo pumps and forward pump had been damaged in the explosion. By 09:10 pumping was begun on the forward coffer dams and the port No:1 tank using the forward transfer pump, as well as No 2 and 6 port tanks with air pumps, within twenty minutes the ship was starting to come back to a list of around 9 degrees, but Ennerdale was now down by the bow.

With the immediate danger passing the Captain decided not to beach the ship and instead put the engines astern until they sighted Pulo Katak about a mile to the north, the order was then given to let go the port anchor, by this time it was around 09:55. The engineers had been working flat out and by lunch time had managed to repair the damaged steam lines so that No: 6 port tank could be emptied, pumping on this tank and No: 2 tank was stopped at 16:00 as the ship was now upright.

Adjustment was made to the cargo throughout the night and into the next day until the ship was stable again, at 15:00 on the 5 December with the ship in a stable condition the four landing craft that Ennerdale had planned to collect, were hoisted inboard on the starboard side and repairs to the immediate damage continued whilst the ship waited for minesweepers from Singapore to arrive.

 

British_Yard_Minesweeper

 

British Minesweeper

 

At around 09:00 on the 9 December Ennerdale got underway and sailed to Singapore while the Minesweepers swept the channel ahead of the ship, until they cleared the minefield and then she was escorted the rest of the way by HMS Salvigil, anchoring off Singapore that evening.

 

Salvigil

 

HMS Salvigil

RFA Ennerdale was repaired at Singapore and was out of service until the 30 March 1946.

Copyright © 2008 – 2017 Christopher J White

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