RFA Dewdale (1)

RFA Dewdale 1
RFA Dewdale

Subsequent name:    

Official Number:                       168186                                                                       

Class:                                    1st DALE CLASS Freighting Tanker

Pennant No:                           X51 / A151

Laid down:                             29 December 1939
Builder:                                  Cammell Laird, Birkenhead
Launched:                              17 February 1941

Into Service:                           14 June 1941
Out of service:                         6 May 1959
Fate:                                       Broken up


Items of historic interest involving this ship: -


Background Data:  Originally there were to have been nineteen ships in this Class. The first six were purchased off the stocks for the British Tanker Co Ltd whilst building at the instigation of the then Director of Stores, Sir William Gick, who was concerned at the age of the RFA Fleet and ships that were approaching the end of their economic lives. A further two ships were purchased from Anglo Saxon Petroleum Co Ltd for evaluation purposes. At the outbreak of WW2, a further eleven ships were acquired from the MoWT war programme although one of these, to have been named EPPINGDALE, which had been registered in London as EMPIRE GOLD on 21/02/43 and intended for transfer to the Admiralty for manning and management as an RFA and despite five Officers being appointed to her, the intended transfer was cancelled the following day and she thus never entered RFA service. Three of this Class were converted into LSG’s and were then reconverted back into tankers at the end of the War



17 February 1941 launched by Cammell Laird Ltd, Birkenhead as Yard Nr: 1054 named DEWDALE (1) for the MoWT and originally intended for management by Eagle Oil Transport Co Ltd, London. 

5 March 1941 Mr Mortimer J Lawrence RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

CEO M J Lawrence

Chief Engineer Officer Mortimer J Lawrence RFA

28 April 1941 Captain Robert Grimer RFA appointed as Master

14 June 1941 completed and acquired by the Admiralty. Operated as a tanker with limited LSG capability carrying 15 LCMs with accommodation for 150 military personnel.

16 June 1941 sailed Liverpool

17 June 1941 arrived at Inverary

16 July 1941 arrived the Clyde and between this date 13 September 1941 was in various ports in the N W Scotland area

8 August 1941 allocated to Exercise Leapfrog for Operation Pilgrim - the proposed action against the Canary Islands - along with RFA‘s ENNERDALE(1) and DENBYDALE

9 August 1941 sailed the Clyde in convoy WS8C to Scapa Flow along with RFA ENNERDALE and 17 other ships escorted by eight destroyers arriving the next day

12 August 1941 allocated to Operation Pilgrim

15 August 1941 Operation Pilgrim cancelled  - sailed Scapa Flow to the Clyde arriving 17 August 1941

23 August 1941 at Greenock

11 September 1941 at Greenock

13 September 1941 sailed the Clyde in convoy OS6 to Freetown arriving 3 October 1941

October 1941 served with Force Q to the South Africa Station

23 October 1941 declared as not being suitable for use as a mobile oiler

26 January 1942 sailed Freetown in convoy SL99 for Gibraltar arriving 8 February 1942

22 February 1942 sailed Gibraltar in convoy HG79 for the Clyde arriving 7 March 1942

12 March 1942 at Tail of Bank

22 October 1942 sailed the Clyde in convoy KMS 1G with RFA DERWENTDALE for Algiers arriving 8 November 1942 for service during Operation Torch - the Allied Landings in French North Africa. Other RFA‘s involved were RFA’s  ABBEYDALE, BROWN RANGER, DERWENTDALE (1), DINGLEDALE,  ENNERDALE (1), NASPRITE and VISCOL. She was awarded the North Africa 1942-43 Battle Honour.

During Operation Torch her landing craft were used in the first assault waves during the North African landing

9 November 1942 arrived Bougie, Algeria to provide fuelling support to the Fleet

12 November 1942 bombed at Algiers together with the Dutch troopship  MARNIX VAN SIN ALDEGONDE. Between 1000 and 1100hrs attacked by 30 German aircraft and shot down two Ju 88. At 1240hrs attacked by 6 German torpedo bombers. Two were shot down one being claimed by RFA DEWDALE. Reported in official reports that Dewdale's gunnery efficiency saved the ship. (See LG 23 March 1949 page 1520). 1655hrs attacked again by torpedo bombers without being hit. The only damage caused was to the Polish destroyer BLYSKAWICA. Sailed during the night.

20 November 1942 suffered a direct bomb hit port side No 6 tank during an air attack at Bassin de Mustapha, Port d’Alger.  There were no RFA fatalities. There was one RN crew member however who was killed - Stoker 2nd Class Reginald William Larkins P/KX 148166. He is buried in La Reunion War Cemetery, Bejaia, Algeria


Courtesy and © of The War Graves Photographic Project

21 November 1942 sailed Gibraltar in convoy MKS1Y returning to Gibraltar two days later

13 December 1942 at Algiers DEMS Gunner Lance Sergeant Archibald Mortimer Bell discharged dead from an accident ashore. He is buried at Dely Ibrahim War Cemetery, Algiera in Grave 3. J. 10 (The CWGC Debt of Honour record shows Lance Sergeant Bell's name as Archibald MacIntyre Bell)

Bell AM

Courtesy and © of The War Graves Photographic Project

29 December 1942 further damaged by a mine at Algiers

16 January 1943 to 21 March 1943 under repair at Algiers

March 1943 again bombed and damaged at Algiers

23 March 1943 sailed Bone in convoy MKS10 arriving Liverpool for permanent repairs and for further conversion work as an LSG on 5 April 1943

11 May 1943 Captain Robert Grimer RFA and Chief Engineer Officer Mortimer J Lawrence RFA both awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC), Gunner George W Tribble 3251188 awarded the Distinguished Service Medal (DSM), Sergeant Archie McI Bell 2909212 was mentioned in despatches (postumously), 2nd Officer Leslie R Galloway RFA, Petty Officer Edward Ayton C/J 94299, Acting Seargeant William Maynard Ply 18397, Royal Marines, Cook William S Campbell RFA and Seaman Gerald R Joy RFA were eached mentioned in despatches - the awards and mentions were published in the Supplement of the London Gazette of this day page 2112

28 June 1943 repairs and conversion completed. Was now equipped with 4 gantry crane extensions which travelled the Main Deck on rails and lowered the 15 LCM(1)s carried over the side in a 30 minute period. These LCM’s were 48.5 feet in length and of 36 tons complete with military transport vehicles and were stowed on rollers in 3 rows on deck with minimum interference to the original tanker function of the vessels. Initially no accommodation was provided for the LCM crews but later conversions saw the forehold and nos 8 and 9 tanks fitted with tween decks and altered to accommodate 150 additional personnel and extra accommodation was built on the bridge and boat decks aft for the personnel engaged in handling the vehicles

4 September 1943 Captain Leslie J Mack DSO RFA appointed as Master

30 September 1943 sailed the Clyde in convoy UA2 to the Azores arriving 9 October 1943

25 October 1943 at Horta in the Azores to take part in Operation Alacrity - a secret plan to establish Allied bases in the Azores

5 November 1943 the Admiralty War Diary reports that DEWDALE and HMS BACHAQUERO (converted tanker into a LST) sailed this day from the Azores to the UK escorted by HMS's HAVELOCK, WARWICK, VOLUNTEER, GODETIA and BUTTERCUP



4 December 1943 sailed Loch Ewe in Convoy WN 513 arrived Methil on 6 December 1943

13 February 1944 sailed the Clyde in convoy OS68KM in company with RFA’s ECHODALE and ENNERDALE (1) to Gibraltar arriving 25 February 1944

25 February 1944 sailed Gibraltar in convoy KMS 42 along with RFA ECHODALE and HMS SALVAGE DUKE to Algiers arriving 27 February 1944

4 March 1944 sailed Bougie in convoy UGS33 to Augusta arriving 9 March 1944

13 March 1944 sailed Naples in convoy NV26 to Augusta arriving 14 March 1944

21 March 1944 sailed Malta GC in convoy GUS34 to Bougie arriving 23 March 1944

29 March 1944 sailed Bougie in convoy KMS45 in company with RFA ENNERDALE (1) to Augusta arriving 2 April 1944 whereas the Convoy continued on to Port Said, arriving there nn 6 April 1944

2 April 1944 sailed Augusta in company with RFA ENNERDALE (1) in convoy VN31 to Naples arriving on 4 April 1944

12 April 1944 sailed Naples in convoy NV32 to Messina arriving the next day

1 May 1944 sailed Augusta in convoy AH40 to Taranto arriving the next day

20 July 1944 sailed Malta GC

31 July 1944 at Castellamere Bay in collision with USS Lyon (AP71) minor damage sustained

lyon2 08

USS Lyon (AP71)

12 August 1944 sailed Naples in convoy SM1A in Operation Dragoon - the Allied invasion of the south of France - carrying 14 Landing Craft, fuel oil, diesel and fresh water. Other RFA’s involved were RFA’s CELEROL, ENNERDALE (1) and  NASPRITE.

15 August 1944 arrived at her assigned beachhead and was near missed by a glider bomb

17 August 1944 off La Chretienne, France with USS Speed (AM 116) alongside to refuel - received 15,907 gallons of diesel oil

19 August 1944 Cape Drammont, France with USS Boyle (DD600) and USS Champlin (DD601) alongside to refuel

29 August 1944 at Augusta

11 June 1945 sailed Malta GC independently to Salonika arriving 14 January 1945

22 January 1945 sailed Salonika

28 February 1945 sailed Malta GC independently to Alexandria arriving 3 March 1945

3 March 1945 to 15 March 1945 undergoing repairs at Alexandria

13 May 1945 sailed Alexandria independently to Augusta arriving 16 May 1945

18 May 1945 sailed Augusta independently to Port Said arriving 22 May 1945

23 May 1945 sailed Suez independently to Aden arriving 28 May 1945

28 May 1945 sailed Aden independently to Bombay arriving 3 June 1945

3 June 1945 at Bombay under repair

11 August 1945 2nd Officer John Wilson Thompson RFA discharged dead. He drowned and is buried in Trincomalee War Cemetery in Plot I Row B Grave 5



Courtesy and © of The War Graves Photographic Project


15 August 1945 sailed Trincomalee independently to Madras arriving 17 August 1945

28 August 1945 sailed Trincomalee with HMS KEDAH, HMHS AMARAPOORA and 26 LCI (L)'s as part of Operation Tiderace - the occupaption of Singapore

25 September 1945 first RFA to enter Singapore after it's liberation.

2 October 1945 sailed Colombo independently to Bombay arriving 6 October 1945

4 October 1945 Captain George F Rutter RFA (Commander RNR) appointed as Master

Captain G F Rutter

Captain George F Rutter RFA

13 October 1945 sailed Bombay to Singapore

27 October 1945 sailed Singapore independently to Bombay arriving 7 November 1945

26 November 1945 sailed Bombay to Cochin

1 December 1945 sailed Cochin independently to Colombo arriving 3 December 1945

4 December 1945 sailed Colombo independently to Singapore arriving 9 December 1945

11 December 1945 sailed Singapore to Port Swettenham

17 December 1945 arrived at Singapore

7 January 1946 sailed Singapore to Cochin arriving 17 January 1946

21 January 1946 arrived Colombo and then to Bombaby arriving 1 February 1946

27 February 1946 sailed Bombay to Singapore arriving 10 March 1946

15 April 1946 arrived at Batavia from Singapore

27 April 1945 arrived at Singapore from Batavia

2 May 1946 sailed Singapore to Colombo arriving 12 May 1946

19 May 1946 sailed Colombo to Abadan

6 July 1946 berthed in Portsmouth Harbour from the Far East to have her four landing craft gantries removed. It was reported in the Hampshire Telegraph & Post and Naval Chronicle newspaper of the 12 July 1946 that the ships crew could deploy the gantries and unload 15 landing craft in 23 minutes.

March 1947 reconversion to a tanker completed at Portsmouth and resumed normal RFA duties. With her sisters RFA’s DERWENTDALE (1) and  ENNERDALE (1) they all retained the extra accommodation on the boat decks aft and at the request of the MoT they were kept on the Trinidad / UK run carrying oil for the Navy but with the extra accommodation utilized for the carriage of twelve passengers at a time until the deficiency of passenger berths was made up with new commercial tonnage

14 August 1947 while on passage from Abadan to Devonport passed Gibraltar this day

27 August 1947 Mr J B D Payne RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

27 October 1947 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on Flamborough Head sailing north

3 November 1947 berthed at Wallsend Slipway, River Tyne from Rosyth

21 January 1948 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing east

26 February 1948 at El Ballah Tindal Bagallee Bahadur discharged dead from leukaemia

10 May 1948 Captain Geoffrey B A Livesey RFA appointed as Master



Captain Geoffrey B A Livesey RFA
as a Cadet with P&O in about 1920

24 July 1948 arrived Sydney, NSW, Australia

23 August 1948 arrived at Bombay from Sydney, NSW, Australia

9 September 1948 sailed Abadan

26 October 1948 sailed Suez

21 December 1948 sailed Cardiff to Trinidad with 3 passengers

8 January 1949 sailed Trinidad for LEFO

3 March 1949 berthed at Palmers, Hebburn, River Tyne

12 May 1949 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing east

13 May 1949 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

17 May 1949 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

21 May 1949 sailed Gibraltar for Abadan

28 May 1949 arrived Port Said

10 July 1949 arrived Suez from Abadan

25 July 1949 while on passage from Abadan to Devonport passed Gibraltar this day

29 July 1949 Mr George Bray RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

2 August 1949 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing west

28 August 1949 while on passage from Trinidad passed Fayal this day

7 September 1949 sailed Old Kilpatrick Oil Fuel Depot, River Clyde for Trinidad in ballast

17 October 1949 berthed on the Oil Fuel Jetty at  Portsmouth Harbour

24 October 1949 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

25 November 1949 sailed the River Tyne for Abadan

28 January 1950 Captain R Grimer DSC RFA appointed as Master

31 January 1950 berthed at Old Kilpatrick, River Clyde to discharge after a voyage from Point a Pierre, Trinidad with 5 passengers

27 April 1950 Captain Walter L Holtam RFA appointed as Master

Captain W. L HOLTAM

Captain Walter L Holtam RFA

4 May 1950 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing west

29 June 1950 sailed Glasgow to Trinidad with 8 passengers

16 July 1950 sailed Trinidad for LEFO

1 August 1950 berthed at Old Kilpatrick, River Clyde to discharge after a voyage from Point-a-Pierre, Trinidad with 10 passengers

28 November 1950 berthed at Auckland, New Zealand

27 April 1951 berthed at Old Kilpatrick, River Clyde to discharge after a voyage from Point-a-Pierre, Trinidad with 14 passengers

7 June 1951 berthed at Sheerness to discharge after a voyage from Point-a-Pierre, Trinidad with 9 passengers

19 July 1951 Captain R Grimer DSC RFA appointed as Master

30 August 1951 berthed at Palmers, Hebburn on Tyne

11 October 1951 sailed from Hebburn on Tyne to Point-a-Pierre, Trinidad with 8 passengers

16 January 1952 arrived at Gibraltar

2 February 1952 arrived at Aden

7 February 1952 sailed Aden

24 March 1952 berthed at Swansea from Mena Al Ahmadi with 1 passenger

25 March 1952 Mr C Jeremiah RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

27 May 1952 berthed at Gibraltar from Trinidad

21 June 1952 Ships Writer William John Wilson discharged dead having drowned at Valetta, Malta. He is buried in Kalkara Royal Naval Cemetery, Malta



Image courtesy of British War Graves with thanks

10 July 1952 arrived Trinidad

24 September 1952 arrived Mena Al Ahmadi

9 July 1953 arrived at Singapore

5 October 1953 arrived at Chowder Bay, Mosman, NSW, Australia from Ras Tanura to discharge

27 December 1953 Captain Frank A Shaw RD RFA (Lieutenant Commander RNR) appointed as Master

31 December 1953 Mr J E Kennedy RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

2 September 1954 arrived Chowder Bay, Mosman, NSW, Australia from Bahrein to discharge

16 September 1954 sailed Garden Island, Sydney, NSW, Australia for Colombo

5 December 1954 Captain D A C Butler RFA appointed as Master

8 December 1954 Mr S Turner RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

12 February 1955 sailed Trinidad for the UK

30 March 1955 Captain William R Parker RFA appointed as Master

25 June 1955 berthed at Swan Hunters, Wallsend on Tyne together with RFA's WAVE KNIGHT (1) and TIDEREACH

11 July 1955 Captain S Thomas RFA appointed as Master

3 August 1955 sailed the River Tyne on trials

26 September 1955 arrived at Bahrein

10 October 1955 arrived at Suez

15 October 1955 arrived at Malta

10 November 1955 sailed from Bahrein

21 November 1955 arrived at Suez

1 December 1955 passed Gibraltar west bound

21 December 1955 arrived at Malta

23 December 1955 sailed Malta

28 December 1955 sailed Banias

6 January 1956 passed Gibraltar west bound

10 January 1956 at sea at 46°18N 08°31W General Servant Miguel Fernandes discharged dead - lost overboard presumed drowned

24 April 1956 sailed Malta

28 May 1956 sailed Port Said

26 August 1956 sailed Mombasa for Capetown

26 November 1956 at sea at 36°24N 2°20W Junior Engineer Officer Arthur Thomas Roberts discharged dead - disappeared at sea presumed drowned

30 December 1956 Mr R E Davies RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

14 January 1957 Captain Douglas N J Williams RD RFA (Commander RNR) appointed as Master


 Douglas N Williams

Captain Douglas N J Williams RD RFA


14 July 1957 arrived Trincomalee, Ceylon

26 July 1957 sailed Singapore for Colombo, Ceylon

24 October 1957 sailed Singapore for Trincomalee, Ceylon

4 December 1957 sailed Port Said

10 December 1957 arrived at Malta

23 December 1957 sailed Algiers

6 January 1958 Captain George F Rutter OBE RD RFA (Commander RNR Rtd) appointed as Master

12 March 1958 Captain Frank C Holt RFA appointed as Master


Captain Frank Holt

Captain Frank C Holt RFA

29 August 1958 Mr I M Macfarlane RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer 

6 May 1959 laid up at Portland for disposal.

20 October 1959 offered for sale 'as lying' at Porland Harbour in the Times of this date

DEWDALE 1 for Sale


Sold for scrap to Netransmar Cie. SA for £65,000

23 December 1959 arrived for breaking up at Antwerp by J.de Smedt.



RFA Dewdale (2)



Reproduced with permission of the MOD


RFA Dewdale 2



Previous name:                       Edenfield

Subsequent name:                  Edenfield,   World Field        

Official Number:                      305439                                                    

Class:                                     2nd DALE CLASS Mobile Bulk Tanker

Pennant No:                           A219
Laid down:
Builder:                                   Harland & Wollf, Belfast

Launched:                              5 March 1965

Into Service:                           14 August 1967
Out of service:                        September 1977
Fate:                                      Broken up


Items of historic interest involving this ship: -


Background Data:  On 13 July 1967, the MOD (N) announced that it had taken up from trade three large tankers on bareboat charter to the RFA for an initial period of seven years. The reasons for the charter of such large and, by naval standards, unconventional vessels was generally accepted as a combination of political failures and by the Admiralty’s continuing need to ensure Fleet logistics support east of Suez. The political failures related to the closure of the Suez Canal following the 1967 Arab / Israeli War and the foreseeable ending of the Aden base with its resultant loss of fuel storage facilities. They were originally classed as Mobile Bulk Tankers, but this was later amended to Mobile Reserve Tankers. Although not sister ships, these three vessels were all basic hull vessels with bridge, accommodation and machinery aft, and all three underwent limited modifications, being fitted with an astern fuelling rig and an abeam reception facility to receive rigs from Fleet Tankers. All three provided support on the Beira Patrol and were replenished 'On Station' by Support Tankers owing to their size which precluded them loading at naval installations


5 March 1965 launched by Harland & Wolff Ltd, Belfast as Yard Nr: 1659 named EDENFIELD for Hunting (Eden) Tankers Ltd (Hunting & Sons Ltd, Managers) Newcastle

2 July 1965 completed

7 January 1967 in collision off Beachy Head with the East German SAALE and took off some of her crew. The Saale was beached on the Mother Bank two miles west of Ryde, Isle of Wight on fire



mv Saarl on fire after the collision


8 August 1967 Mr S P Awati RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

14 August 1967 chartered by the Admiralty and sailed to Birkenhead for modifications by Cammell Laird & Co

14 August 1967 Captain Alistair C Gibson RFA appointed as Master

20 September 1967 sailed Birkenhead on completion of conversion and renamed DEWDALE. Sailed to Trinidad to load before proceeding via Cape Town to take up her operational service in the Indian Ocean as the first DALE to do so

11 October 1967 to 25 January 1968 was part of Task Force 318 - the Aden Task Force formed to cover the final British military withdrawal from the area, codenamed Operation Magister,along with 9 other RFA’s

16 March 1968 Mr P W Scott RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

9 August 1968 her Ship’s Badge was officially presented to her

10 September 1968 Captain R W Wilkinson RFA appointed as Master

4 April 1969 off Java Head RASed with HMAS's DERWENT and DUCHESS


April 1970 visited Jamestown, St. Helena

14 June 1970 arrived at Mahe, Seychelles with 269 drums of oil dispersant for use after the sinking of RFA ENNERDALE (2) on 1 June 1970

18 June 1970 sailed Mahe, Seychelles 

20 March 1972 at Invergordon while discharging cargo it was found that about 30 tons of oil had escaped into the Cromarty Firth due to a valve being reportedly blocked with coral

30 May 1973 whilst serving on Beira Patrol duties she reported suffering a crankshaft seizure 50 miles south of Durban and was completely immobilised and was drifting. A commercial salvage tug which had sailed from Durban in the hope of lucrative employment arrived at her position early the next morning and was shortly afterwards joined by a second tug

31 May 1973 RFA BAYLEAF (2), which had been ordered to turn back on her passage from the Gulf to the U.K. via Simonstown arrived at DEWDALE’s position at 1600 Z

1 June 1973 RFA TARBATNESS, on passage from the Mozambique Channel to East London, arrived at the position at 0130 Z. She took DEWDALE in tow and 13 hours later they arrived at an anchorage off Durban where the tow was slipped. DEWDALE then underwent temporary repairs in Durban before proceeding to the U.K. at reduced speed escorted by RFA BLUE ROVER

22 August 1973 at Invergordon

12 November 1973 at Gibraltar moved from Gibraltar Bay to 48 berth in the Dockyard with the assistance of RFA CONFIDANT alongside RFA CHERRYLEAF (3) for a pumpover to CHERRYLEAF of 5,784 tons of FFO and 12,096 tons of Diesel

7 December 1973 at Cape Town 

July 1974 - from Force 4 - Captain Herbert J C Wheatley RFA was in command. Having completed a refit at Falmouth in late June 1974 sailed to Ras Tannura to load cargo

Captain Herbert Wheatley

Captain Herbert J C Wheatley RFA

June 1975 Captain David P Kindersley RFA in command

September 1977 withdrawn from RFA service and was returned to her owners’ subsidiary Field Tank Steamship Co Ltd and name reverted to EDENFIELD



mv Edenfield after her RFA Service


May 1978 purchased by Donath Shipping Co, Piraeus and renamed WORLD FIELD

24 June 1982 sailed Jeddah for Taiwanese breakers

6 August 1982 arrived Kaohsiung for demolition

12 August 1982 demolition begun by Nan Hor Stel Enterprise Co

20 October 1982 demolition completed




  1. Was one of the 17 tankers employed in the Mozchan on Beira Patrol duties


Additional information

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