For RFA Broomdale 1944 was a very bad year with explosions, torpedoes and expressions of displeasure!

RFA Broomdale

On 14 April she had been moored alongside at Bombay when the s.s. Fort Stikine, an ammunition ship, exploded in the harbour and caused death and serious destruction over a wide area. Broomdale suffered damage.

 

 

For RFA Broomdale 1944 was a very bad year with explosions, torpedoes and expressions of displeasure!

RFA Broomdale

RFA Broomdale post war


On 14 April she had been moored alongside at Bombay when the s.s. Fort Stikine, an ammunition ship, exploded in the harbour and caused death and serious destruction over a wide area. Broomdale suffered damage.

 

Fort Stikine Explosion

The result of the Fort Stikine explosion

Just over four months later on Monday 28 August she was fully loaded with oil and again moored alongside, but on this occasion in Trincomalee Harbour, Ceylon when the crew of H.M.S/m Severn [Lt. R. H. Bull, Royal Navy] of the 4th Submarine Flotilla was engaged in routine maintenance having recently arrived from the UK.

Repairs and the testing of No 8 torpedo tube, which was empty, required an ‘air shot’ to be fired. The A.B. directed to fire the ‘air shot’ for some unknown reason fired No 7 torpedo tube which was loaded with a Mk 8 war torpedo with a CCR pistol. The pistol had been set to explode on ‘contact only’. The torpedo ran straight and true at a depth of between 8 to 10 feet across the harbour and hit the Broomdale at around No’s 1 and 2 tanks.

There was no fire but Lascar Seaman Sk H.S. Ali died in the explosion. A considerable quantity of FFO flowed into the harbour from a hole of between 10 to 15 feet which had been punctured in the RFA’s side. The tanker went down by between 4 to 5 feet at the bow.

 

HMS Severn

H.M.S/m Severn

A board of enquiry was ordered by Vice Admiral Eastern Fleet and the Torpedo Officer received an official ‘expression of displeasure’ for not ensuring that either he or the Torpedo Gunner’s Mate had been present at the firing of the ‘air shot’.

 

Copyright © 2008 – 2017 Christopher J White

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