RFA Capable - early in her service with an open bridge





RFA Capable - later on in her service with the bridge enclosed

Subsequent name:

Official Number:                    

Class:                                                      NIMBLE Class Fleet Tug

Pennant No:                                             W 171 / A 508

Laid down:
Builder:                                                    Hall, Russell & Co, Aberdeen
Launched:                                                22 November 1945

Into Service:                           
Out of service:
Fate:                                                        18 July 1973 sold for breaking up


Items of historic interest involving this ship: -


Background Data:  There were 4 ships in this Class, 2 of which saw service as RFA’s. They were designed for ocean towing, salvage and harbour duties and were fitted with spring towing hooks but not with towing winches. Bollard pull was approximately 30 tons. Complement 42. Armed during wartime with 1 x 12 pdr AA and 2 x 20 mm AA guns


Career Data:


1945  ordered

22 November 1945 launched by Hall, Russell & Co, Aberdeen as Yard Nr 787 named HMS CAPABLE

18 May 1946 the Aberdeen Journal reported  -


Aberdeen Journa 18 May 1946


22 August 1946  completed acceptance trials at Portsmouth

2 January 1949 sailed Portsmouth for Cherbourg, France where RMS Queen Mary had grounded. The liner managed to free herself and did not require the assistance of tugs

3 June 1949 the Hampshire Telegraph reported that -


Hants Telegraph 3 6 49 Capable


21 January 1950 sailed Portsmouth to assist HMS/m ARTEMIS off St Catherines Point, Isle of Wight which had engine troubles

15 July 1950 the Portsmouth Evening News reported that -

Fort Rosalie CAPABLE 15 7 50

18 April 1951 deployed to assist in the search for HMS/m AFRAY which failed to surface in the Channel and subsequently was found sunk off the island of Alderney

15 August 1951 at Portsmouth assisted HMS RELENTLESS into No: 12 dry dock





16 July 1953 sailed Portsmouth for Cardiff

21 July 1953 arrived at Portsmouth from Cardiff with HMS TROUBRIDGE in tow

1 April 1958  transferred to the PAS at Portsmouth as CAPABLE

4 August 1960 with other tugs sailed with HMS VANGUARD in tow from Portsmouth - The Battleship ran aground at Point, Old Portsmouth

3 December 1960 moved RFA Eddyness from the Dockyard to the Gosport oil fuel jetty

12 December 1960 moved RFA Eddyfirth from the Dockyard to the Gosport oil fuel jetty

20 December 1960 alongside RFA OAKOL (2) to refuel - 107 tons of fuel received

22 December 1960 RFA WAVE MASTER sailed from Gosport oil fuel jetty with RFA Capable's assistance. RFA AGILE moved from II Basin to the North Wall at Portsmouth

20 May 1962 twenty two members of the crew refused to man the ship (out of a PAS crew of 28) being in dispute over a pay claim. HMS BELFAST could not sail from Portsmouth as a result.

August 1968  damaged the frigate HMS ARETHUSA in collision.

30 December 1969  in collision with RFA OLNA (3)

June 1971 on loan at Portland.

27 september 1971 transferred to Devonport.

6 October 1972 approval given to dispose of her and destoring began.

March 1973  on the Disposal List Devonport

26 April 1973 sailed Plymouth for the last time in tow of the tug  WARRIOR

18 July 1973  sold to Arnott Young for demolition at Dalmuir.

Additional information

Copyright © 2008 – 2018 Christopher J White

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