Official Number: 334674
Class: Aviation Support / Training Ship
Pennant No: K08
Laid down: 9 August 1965
Builder: Henry Robb, Leith
Launched: 16 September 1966
Into Service: 15 December 1967
Out of service: Sold out of service February 1990
Fate: 7 May 1996 - arrived for breaking up at Alang, India.
Items of historic interest involving this ship: -
In the early 1960’s, the advent of destroyers and frigates designed to carry their own helicopter flights meant that there was a very great increase in the number of rotary wing aircrew required, as well as a need for maintenance personnel used to working at sea. It was not practical to give operational training to these new aircrew aboard existing aircraft carriers on a long term basis, as this would have disrupted their own programmes too severely. With an increasing number of small ships’ flights to be manned as existing frigates were modified to carry helicopters, it was apparent that a new solution was required. Accordingly in 1964, the Landing Ship LOFOTEN was converted into a temporary helicopter support ship by HM Dockyard Devonport, to act as a flight deck for the training of helicopter crews. Built in 1945 by Blyth Shipbuilding as LST (3) 3027, LOFOTEN became the stop gap measure until a new helicopter support ship could be acquired, funds for this having been earmarked in the 1964-65 Navy Estimates. As a result, an order was placed for a helicopter support ship capable of carrying 3 x Wessex or 4 x Wasp helicopters, together with the necessary spares and equipment for second line servicing, a flight deck with 2 landing spots and accommodation for up to 120 personnel over and above her normal complement. She was to be an RFA because manpower shortages would not allow a big enough crew for an RN ship of equivalent size. The ship was however to be jointly manned by RN and RFA personnel - an idea that was by no means popular at first. RFA ENGADINE became the first RFA vessel to bear the name, although 2 former RN ships with aviation connections had borne the name previously. After giving sterling service she was eventually replaced by the much larger RFA ARGUS
18 August 1964 ordered as AHT 01
14 September 1966 Mr J Brett RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer
15 September 1966 officially named by Mrs P.G. Sharpe, the wife of Rear Admiral Sharpe DSC, Flag Officer Sea Training but her launch was postponed for 24 hours due to 35 knot winds. Her name was derived from the Engadine Valley in Switzerland, hence the two Alpine Horns and edelweiss flowers on the ship’s crest. Her name literally means “ Garden of the Inn”
16 September 1966 launched by Henry Robb Ltd, Leith - Yard Nr 500 named ENGADINE
19 September 1966 was towed to Rosyth Dockyard for docking
October 1967 original planned completion date
1 October 1967 Captain Charles Stuart Bonshaw Irwin DSO DSC RD RFA (Lieutenant Commander RNR (ret)) appointed as Master
Captain Charles S B Irwin DSO DSC RD RFA
with thanks to Peter Harrison
14 December 1967 completed at a cost of £2,500,000 as her builder’s largest ship
15 December 1967 was accepted into service
18 December 1967 sailed from Leith
1969 was fitted with a small hanger on top of her main one to house 12 pilot less target aircraft drones for use as targets during Fleet Exercises
2 July 1969 carried out the initial Seaking helicopter landing trials
28 July 1969 Took part in the Western Fleet Reviewat Torbay along with RFA‘s LYNESS, OLMEDA and RESOURCE along with the aircraft carrier HMS EAGLE and 34 other warships of the Western Fleet
19 November 1970 to 11 December 1970 Humanitarian assistance - was part of Operation Burlap - the U.K. military relief operation to East Pakistan following extensive damage and flooding caused by a cyclone along with HM ships TRIUMPH. INTREPID, HYDRA and RFA’s SIR GALAHAD (1), RESOURCE, OLWEN (2) and STROMNESS.
25 May 1971 received a radio message requesting assistance from the B.P. tanker BRITISH SIGNAL (23015/61) in the South West Approaches and despatched one of her Sea King helicopters with her Doctor to treat the patient aboard after a small explosion had occurred and airlifted another patient and one deceased casualty to Truro
30 September 1971 Captain Barry H Rutterford RFA appointed as Master
Captain Barry H Rutterford RFA
1971 took members of 39 Regiment, Royal Engineers to land on Rockall in the North Atlantic by helicopter to prepare the rock to receive an automatic navigation light on it's top.
1 December 1971 Captain Barry H Rutterford RFA appointed as Master
June 1972 was involved in the landing and provision of the automatic navigation light on Rockall
8 January 1973 acted as the base for extended Lynx helicopter sea trials.
18 March 1973 Captain Barry H Rutterford RFA appointed as Master
25 November 1973 RN Helicopters operating from Engadine rescued nine members of the crew of a Cypriot registered ship Armas which had gone aground on rocks off Alderney, Channel Islands. One crew member was not saved.
February 1975 carried out Harrier VTOL landing trials on her flight deck
14 December 1975 Humanitarian aid - rescued 7 crew from the Cypriot-registered GEORGIOS B which sank off the Channel Islands after being abandoned by her crew following engine troubles
1976 deployed during the civil war in the Lebanon as part of the planning for the rescue of British subjects in that country.
24 June 1977 to 29 June 1977 took part in the Silver Jubilee Fleet Review at Spithead with eight other RFA's and units of the Royal Navy and foreign navies. Carried members of the press from the South Railway Jetty, Portsmouth along the lines of ship being reviewed by HM the Queen
10 April 1978 sailed Portland to Hamburg, Germany
12 April 1978 berthed at Hamburg
17 April 1978 sailed Hamburg to Portland
19 April 1978 berthed at Portland
24 April 1978 embarked 4 Wessex Helicopters of 737 Squadron
28 April 1978 anchored in Plymouth Sound
1 May 1978 sailed Plymouth for Portland
22 May 1978 embarked Lynx Helicopters
9 June 1978 berthed at Falmouth
12 June 1978 sailed Falmouth for Portland
16 June 1978 berthed alongside at Portland to destore prior to refit
25 June 1978 sailed Portland for Royal Albert docks, London for refit
23 September 1981 HRH Prince Andrew pilot of a Sea King helicopter of 706 Squadron RNAS operating from Engadine rescused a seman from HMS/m Ocelot who had been washed overboard. The seaman was recovered to the Engadine.
8 December 1981 rescued 28 members of the crew from MV Melpol. Chief Officer and the Bosun awarded the Queen's Gallantry Medal, four others of the crew were awarded the Queen's Commendation for Brave Conduct
10 May 1982 Sailed Devonport for Operation Corporate, the Falklands Conflict - with 847 NAS “A” Flight comprising 4 x Wessex HU5 embarked. This was her first foray into the Southern Hemisphere
15 May 1982 arrived Gibraltar en route to the Falklands
25 May 1982 called at Ascension Island for 24 hours
3 June 1982 overflown by an Argentinian Boeing 707 1000 miles northeast of the Falklands
6 June 1982 entered the Total Exclusion Zone (TEZ) around the Falkland Islands
7 June 1982 operated in the TRALA around the Falkland Islands
9 June 1982 acted as a Wessex helicopter support and refuelling base in San Carlos Water
27 June 1982 arrived Port Stanley
7 July 1982 sailed for the U.K. via San Carlos Water to embark 825 NAS personnel and a damaged Seaking helicopter, having performed 450 deck fuellings and achieved 1606 deck landings
30 July 1982 arrived Devonport on completion of Operation Corporateduties
The ship was awarded the Falklands 1982 battle honour
22 July 1983 Chief Petty Officer (D) A Sadler discharged dead
1983 to 1984 during a refit in Gibraltar, her flight deck was widened and lengthened aft by 11.9m to permit 2 Seaking helicopter landing spots
29 August 1984 Her Falkland Islands 1982 Battle Honour was presented to her at sea off Portland by Mr K.J. Pritchard DGST (N)
September 1984 Captain John Roddis RFA was in command
March 1985 Captain Bruce A Seymour was in command
3 March 1987 Humanitarian aid - rescued the crew from the Danish coaster HORNESTRAND which had been abandoned by her crew about 34 miles off Portland Bill after fire had been detected in her cargo of dynamite
10 March 1988 Lieutenant Commander Anthony P G Davies Royal Navy and Sub-Lieutenant Richard A Cawthorne Royal Navy while flying from the ship off Portugal in a Westland Lynx HAS 3 serial ZX 243 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean and were both killed. Both bodies and the helicopter were recovered from the sea.
February 1989 commenced destoring at Portland
31 March 1989 after destoring, was laid up at Devonport
June 1989 placed on the Disposal List at Devonport
9 February 1990 towed to Falmouth after sale for £233,000 to Balanced Holdings Ltd (Dido Shipping Co SA (Managers) Piraeus. Name unchanged. Sported a blue funnel and a white bridge and was registered in St Vincent as a flag of convenience
18 February 1990 arrived Piraeus. Intended new service reported to be from Gulf ports to the west coast of India, Pakistan and Red Sea ports carrying 100 A1 non-perishable cargoes and oil cargoes of FP 60 degrees C and above. This new service never materialised and she was laid up
Engadine laid up at Piraeus
16 April 1996 sailed Piraeus after sale for demolition
7 May 1996 arrived Alang
23 September 1996 demolition begun by Gohilwad Shipbreaking Co.
Ships of the same name
Engadine. A seaplane carrier launched by Denny on the 23 September 1911. 1,676 tons, 316 x 41 feet, armed with 2 x 4 inch guns and 4 – 6 seaplanes. Requisitioned in 1914 to December 1919. The ship was lost when it struck a mine in December 1941 as the SS Corrigidor.
Battle Honours for this Vessel: JUTLAND 1916.
Engadine. An aircraft transport of 10,700 tons, 487 x 75 feet launched by Denny on the 26 May 1941. The ship was armed with 2 x 4 inch and 12 x 20mm guns, 40 aircraft. Transferred to the Ministry of War Transport on the 6 July 1945 and sold out of service in 1946 to commercial interests who renamed her Clan Buchanan. Broken up in Spain in November 1962.
Battle Honours for this Vessel: ATLANTIC 1943.