RFA-Brutus

CITYOFDURBAN1921 

Previous name:                                     City of Durban
Subsequent name:                                City of Gloucester  

Official Number:                                     167644                                             

Class:                                                     Special Service Freighter - Q-ship

Pennant No:                                            X96 / F114

Laid down:                             
Builder:                                                  Earle's,  Hull
Launched:                                             30 September 1920   
Into Service:                                           January 1940
Out of service:                                       1 April 1942
Fate:                                                        Broken up

 

Items of historic interest involving this ship: -

 

Background Data:  In 1939 Winston Churchill gave authority for a number of merchantmen to be requisitioned for service as Q-ships, although for security purposes they were referred to as Special Service Freighters. A fleet of 9 small mainly coal-burning vessels were acquired, 6 for deep-sea work and 3 for coastal work. All were commissioned as HM ships under their original names but were given RFA cover names and on entering harbour and while in harbour they wore the Blue Ensign, behaved as RFA’s and adopted the RFA commercial practices. None of them was really suitable for their intended roles and met with a complete lack of success. Their Q-ship service officially ended on 2 March 1941

 

 

30 September 1920 launched by Earle’s Shipbuilding & Engineering Co Ltd, Hull as yard Nr: 627 named CITY OF DURBAN for Ellerman Lines Ltd (Hall Line, Managers) London

March 1921 completed

2 January 1922 the Hull Daily Mail reported ...

Hull Daily Mail 2 1 1922

1 February 1922 sailed Gravesend

2 March 1922 berthed at Simonstown

21 June 1922 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard steaming west bound

22 February 1924 alongside on the main wharf at Singapore

22 October 1924 sailed Colombo

21 October 1926 arrived Aden

18 July 1927 sailed Middlesborough

17 May 1928 sailed Liverpool for Calcutta

15 September 1928 arrived New York from Calcutta

6 March 1929 arrived at Avonmouth

7 March 1929 before Bristol Magistrates' Court the ship's Chief Steward Samuel Nelson pleaded Guilty to avoiding customs duty on wine, spirits, cigarettes and cigars when the ship docked at Avonmouth . He was fined £43/5/8d or 3 months imprisonment

28 April 1930 loss her propeller while on passage from New York at 2N 46E radioed seeking towage assistance.

29 April 1930 Government tug Nguvu from Kilindini sailed to provide assistance. British ship City of Dunkirk also making her way to the scene.

10 May 1930 arrived in tow at Kilindini but due to heavy monsoon could not enter port. At anchor and no longer considered in danger.

12 May 1930 in tow of City of Dunkirk expected to arrive at Mombassa this day

11 June 1931 at 13.09N 43.10E Coal Trimmer Hoosein Fackeer discharged dead - drowned

1 July 1931 berthed at Dunkirk

6 August 1932 sailed Suez for Busreh

12 August 1932 at 14.30N 43.57E Fireman Ma'hd Essack Sk Abdoola discharged dead - drowned

15 November 1932 from Busreh arrived at Suez

30 November 1932 sailed Algiers for London

14 February 1933 arrived Table Bay from Philadelphia

20 February 1933 berthed at Port Natal

21 February 1933 sailed Port Natal for Beira

14 April 1933 sailed Calcutta for Baltimore

19 April 1933 arrived at Colombo from Calcutta

1 September 1924 sailed Aden

8 September 1934 arrived Mombasa

14 September 1934 sailed Dar-es-Salaam

25 October 1934 arrived Colombo, Ceylon

6 December 1934 arrived Suez

17 December 1934 arrived Gibraltar sailing the next day for Dunkirk

24 December 1934 berthed at London

12 April 1935 sailed Birkenhead

14 February 1936 arrived at Port Said from Liverpool

25 February 1936 at Port Said British Hospital Lascar Suleyman Sk Hassan discharged dead Lumbar Pneumonia

4 March 1936 sailed Karachi for Maulmain

17 April 1936 sailed Aden

27 April 1936 sailed Malta

1 May 1936 sailed Gibraltar

6 May 1936 berthed at London

20 May 1936 sailed Hamburg

9 June 1936 sailed the Clyde

10 June 1936 arrived at Birkenhead

25 June 1936 sailed Port Said

26 July 1936 sailed Calcutta

19 August 1936 sailed Port Said

13 September 1936 arrived Middlesborough

27 September 1936 arrived Antwerp

6 November 1936 sailed Bushire

25 November 1936 sailed Bushire

17 March 1937 arrived Calcutta

28 May 1937 sailed Karachi

9 June 1937 from Karachi arrived Suez

10 June 1937 sailed Port Said

30 June 1937 arrived St John

8 July 1937 from New York arrived at Philadelphia

22 July 1937 arrived at Montreal, Canada

10 August 1937 sailed New York for Table Bay

23 August 1937 sailed St Vincent

11 September 1937 sailed Table Bay

7 September 1939 sailed Liverpool independently to the Clyde arriving the next day

17 September 1939 requisitioned by the Admiralty for conversion into a Special Service Freighter by Devonport Dockyard

21 September 1939 commissioned as HMS CITY OF DURBAN then sailed the Clyde independently to Plymouth arriving on 23 September 1939

January 1940 conversion completed, cover name RFA BRUTUS. Complement 99 under the command of Commander Humfrey G. Hopper Royal Navy.  Armed with 8 (later increased to 9) x single 4-inch guns, 1 x 12 pdr gun, 4 x Lewis machine guns, 4 x single 21-inch torpedo tubes,  100 x depth charges and was fitted with Asdic

20 January 1940 sailed Devonport for the Solent Area for work-up, then ranged across the Atlantic to Bermuda, Halifax, Sierra Leone, back to Devonport, Gibraltar, Simonstown, Durban and Mauritius

25 September 1940 berthed at Simontown Dockyard for bunkers and repairs

4 October 1940 sailed from Simontown Dockyard

7 November 1940 berthed at Simonstown Dockyard

12 November 1940 sailed from Simonstown Dockyard

March 1941 hoisted the White Ensign for service as an Armed Merchant Cruiser with Pennant Number F 114

12 March 1941 400 miles SE of Madagascar with HMS LEANDER and HMAS CANBERRA searching for German commercial raiders and supply ships

27 March 1941 arrived at Durban after patrolling to the South of Madagascar for refit

1 April 1941 entered dry dock at Durban

5 April 1941 towed out of dry dock at Durban

23 April 1941 completed refit at Durban

26 April 1941 sailed Durban to Cape Town arriving on 30 April 1941

2 May 1941 sailed Cape Town for Freetown

5 August 1941 sailed Freetown as escort for convoy SL 83 with HMS CATHAY (another AMC) until 28 August 1941

17 September 1941 sailed Methil in convoy FS597 to Southend arriving 19 September 1941

20 September 1941 Seaman James Nelson RNR discharged dead. Buried in Tynemouth (Preston) Cemetery

29 September 1941 sailed Methil in convoy EN13 to Scapa Flow

1 January 1942 sailed Rosyth for work - Commanding Officer was Acting R G Hopper Royal Navy

10 January 1942 arrived at Scapa Flow as AMC escort for convoy EN93

14 January 1942 sailed Scapa Flow with HMS CAPE SABLE and HMS CALPE to take part in Operation EM - the operation was postponsed so all three ships returned to Scapa Flow the next day

17 January 1942 as an AMC was at Sullom Voe with HMS CAPE SABLE (RFA Cyprus) with the destroyer HMS CALPE as Operation EM had been postponed

29 January 1942 sailed Sullom Voe with HMS CAPE SABLE (RFA Cyprus) with the destroyer HMS CALPE for Operation EM - sighted by German aircraft on 30 January and 1 February - operation cancelled

1 February 1942 arrived at Scapa Flow with HMS CAPE SABLE (AMC) and escorted by HMS CALPE

6 February 1942 at Scapa Flow reconditioning for return to commercial service

8 February 1942 sailed Scapa Flow with HMS CAPE SABLE for Rosyth in convoy WN42

9 February 1942 berthed at Rosyth for a boiler clean

1 April 1942 transferred to MoWT control by the Admiralty

28 June 1942 sailed the River Tyne to Middlesburgh arriving the same day

16 July 1942 sailed Middlesborough in convoy FN761 to Methil arriving the next day

21 July 1942 sailed Methil in convoy EN113 to Oban arriving 23 July 1942

1 August 1942 sailed Oban in convoy OS36 to Freetown and then independently to Cape Town arriving 3 September 1942

11 September 1942 sailed Cape Town independently to Port Elizabeth arriving on 13 September 1942

16 September 1942 sailed Port Elizabeth independently to East London arriving the next day

18 September 1942 sailed East London independently to Beira arriving 23 September 1942

29 September 1942 sailed Beira independently to Lourenco Marques arriving 1 October 1942

6 October 1942 sailed Lourenco Marques independently to Port Elizabeth arriving 9 October 1942

13 October 1942 sailed Port Elizabeth independently to Pernambuco arriving 31 October 1942

13 November 1942 sailed Pernambuco independently arriving St Thomas 25 November 1942

26 November 1942 sailed St Thomas independently

1 December 1942 sailed Guantanamo, Cuba in convoy GN24 to New York arriving 8 December 1942

19 December 1942 sailed New York in convoy SC114 to Liverpool arriving 8 January 1943

15 February 1943 sailed Liverpool in convoy UC1 and then independently to Walvis Bay arriving 20 March 1943

23 March 1943 sailed Walvis Bay in convoy NC8 to Cape Town arriving 27 March 1943

1 April 1943 sailed Cape Town in convoy CA17 which then dispersed arriving at Karachi on 24 April 1943

29 April 1943 sailed Karachi independently to Bombay arriving 1 May 1943

13 May 1943 sailed Bombay independently to Colombo arriving 17 May 1943

20 May 1943 sailed Colombo independently to Calcutta arriving 26 May 1943

15 June 1943 sailed Calcutta independently to Madras arriving 20 June 1943

4 July 1943 sailed Madras independently to Aden arriving 20 July 1943

23 July 1943 sailed Aden independently to Suez arriving 29 July 1943

30 July 1943 transit of Suez Canal

31 July 1943 sailed Port Said independently to Alexandria arriving the next day

3 August 1943 sailed Alexandria in convoy MKS21 to Gibraltar arriving on 14 August 1943

14 August 1943 sailed Gibraltar in convoy MKS21G to Loch Ewe arriving 25 August 1943

25 August 1943 sailed Loch Ewe in convoy WN471 to Methil arriving 27 August 1943

24 September 1943 sailed Methil in convoy EN 285 to Loch Ewe arriving 26 September 1943

2 October 1943 joined convoy KMS28G (Liverpool to Gibraltar) having sailed late from Loch Ewe and passing Gibraltar on 7 October 1943 onto Port Said arriving 19 October 1943

20 October 1943 transit of the Suez Canal

21 October 1943 sailed Suez independently to Aden arriving 26 October 1943

2 November 1943 sailed Aden in convoy AB19 to Bombay arriving 10 November 1943

19 November 1943 sailed Bombay in convoy BM75 to Colombo arriving 24 November 1943

24 November 1943 sailed Colombo independently to Trincomalee arriving 26 November 1943

5 December 1943 sailed Trincomalee in convoy JC28 to Calcutta arriving 13 December 1943

5 January 1944 sailed Calcutta independently arriving Vizag 8 January 1944

19 January 1944 sailed Colombo in convoy MB62 and the independently to Aden arriving 29 January 1944

30 January 1944 sailed Aden independently to Suez arriving 4 February 1944

9 February 1944 sailed Port Said in convoy MKS40 passing Gibraltar on 21 February 1944. r/v with convoy SL149 arriving at Liverpool 7 March 1944 

14 March 1944 sailed Liverpool independently to the Clyde arriving the next day

31 March 1944 sailed the Clyde in convoy ON230 to New York arriving 16 April 1944

10 May 1944 sailed New York independently to Hampton Roads arriving the next day

13 May 1944 sailed Hampton Roads in convoy UGS42 to Port Said arriving on 8 June 1944

8 June 1944 transit Suez Canal

9 June 1944 sailed Suez independently to Aden arriving on 14 June 1944

16 June 1944 sailed Aden in convoy AB41 to Karachi arriving 23 June 1944

30 June 1944 sailed Karachi independently to Bombay arriving 2 July 1944

7 July 1944 sailed Bombay independently to Colombo arriving 11 July 1944

13 July 1944 sailed Colombo in convoy JC56 to Calcutta arriving on 21 July 1944

6 August 1944 sailed Calcutta independently to Adelaide arriving 31 August 1944

6 September 1944 sailed Adelaide independently to Port Pirie arriving the next day

13 September 1944 sailed Port Pirie

5 October 1944 sailed Lyttleton independently to Balboa arriving 2 November 1944 

2 November 1944 transit the Panama Canel

3 November 1944 sailed Cristobal independently to New York arriving 12 November 1944

14 November 1944 sailed New York in convoy HX320 to the Clyde arriving 30 November 1944

19 December 1944 Commander Humfrey Greenwood Hopper Royal Navy, the ship's Commanding Officer when commissioned as HMS CITY OF DURBAN awarded the Distinguished Service Order in the London Gazette of this day. He was also awarded the Belgian Order of Leopold and the Croix de Guerre

7 January 1945 sailed the Clyde in convoy OS103KM passing Gibraltar on 15 January 1945 to Alexandria arriving on 22 January 1945

23 January 1945 sailed Alexandria independently to Haifa arriving the next day

10 February 1945 sailed Haifa independently via the Suez Canal to Suez

13 February 1945 sailed Suez independently to Aden arriving 19 February 1945

21 February 1945 sailed Aden independently to Colombo arriving 5 March 1945

5 March 1945 sailed Colombo independently to Calcutta arriving 11 March 1945

26 March 1945 sailed Calcutta independently to Akyab arriving 29 March 1945

5 April 1945 sailed Akyab independently to Vizag arriving 7 April 1945

14 April 1945 sailed Vizag independently to Chittagong arriving 16 April 1945

23 April 1945 sailed Chittagong independently to Calcutta arriving 25 April 1945

5 May 1945 sailed Calcutta independently to Chittagong arriving the next day

13 May 1945 sailed Chittagong independently to Calcutta arriving 15 May 1945

22 May 1945 sailed Calcutta independently to Rangoon arriving 27 May 1945

6 June 1945 sailed Rangoon independently to Vizag arriving 10 June 1945

6 August 1945 sailed Vizag independently to Rangoon arriving 6 August 1945

22 August 1945 sailed Rangoon independently to Calcutta arriving 30 August 1945

2 September 1945 sailed Calcutta independently to Rangoon arriving on 6 September 1945

30 September 1945 sailed Rangoon independently to Calcutta arriving 4 October 1945

28 October 1945 sailed Calcutta independently to Singapore arriving 5 November 1945

9 December 1945 sailed Sourabaya independently to Bombay arriving 23 December 1945

28 March 1946 returned to her owners as CITY OF DURBAN

11 September 1946 at Port Said Fireman Magbul Aymed Mohar Ali discharged dead - natural causes

12 November 1946 sailed Port Said when on passage from Bombay to Liverpool

9 January 1947 passed Gibraltar while on passage from Liverpool to Bombay

20 May 1947 arrived Port Said while on passage from Liverpool to Dar es Salaam

28 April 1948 sailed Suez while on passage from Liverpool to Lindi

24 February 1949 in Port Said Hospital Greaser Dilawar Khan Abdool Sattar discharged dead - stab wound to the throat

13 July 1951 at Calcutta Deck Serang Fuckeer Ahmed discharged dead - natural causes

1952 name changed to City of Gloucester

7 August 1957 arrived at Briton Ferry to be broken up by T.W. Ward Ltd

 

Notes:

 

  1. RFA Brutus was a cover name for the 'Q' Ship HMS City of Durban. The name Brutus was used when the ship was in port so her true identity was not disclosed. She never sailed as an RFA
  2. The Official Number listed above is the bogus number issued so the true identity of the ship was untraceable. The City of Durbans genuine Official Number was 145892

 

Additional information

Copyright © 2008 – 2017 Christopher J White

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website, by continuing to use the site you agree to cookies being used. More info.