RFA Freshbrook

Subsequent name:

Official Number:                     168273

Class:                                     FRESH CLASS Water Carrier

Pennant No:                           X107 / A213

Laid down:                             19 June 1941
Builder:                                   Lytham Shipbuilding, Lytham

Launched:                              5 November 1941
Into Service:                           17 April 1942

Out of service:                        2 January 1946 ceased to be classed as an RFA

Fate:                                       Broken up


Items of historic interest involving this ship: -


Background Data:  There were fouteen vessels in this Class, designed by H.M. Dockyard, Devonport to the order of the RFA. The design was based on that of the earlier BLOSSOMand FOUNTAIN CLASSES but with an additional salvage and fire-fighting capability. They were originally operated by the Director of Victualling and were maintained at RN bases in the U.K. and Mediterranean where they were employed principally in replenishing warships’ freshwater supplies and also, from time to time, in fire fighting and salvage work. A total of 236 tons of fresh water could be carried in six tanks. Most of them saw only limited service under the RFA ensign, manned by RFA crews working under Board of Trade (Home Trade) Agreements, before being transferred to the control of the Captains of the Dockyards on Yard Craft Agreements. In 1959 they were brought under the authority of the newly-formed Port Auxiliary Service which in turn became the Royal Maritime Auxiliary Service. Originally all coal-fired, four of the Class were converted to oil-burning in 1961


5 November 1941 launched by Lytham Shipbuilding & Engineering Co, Lytham as Yard Nr: 868 named FRESHBROOK for the Admiralty (Director of Stores)

12 March 1942 Mr W Leishman appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

14 March 1942 Captain E Owen appointed as Master

17 April 1942 completed at a cost of £29,330 and taken over by the RFA

24 April 1942 sailed Loch Ewe in convoy WN274 arriving at Methil on 26 April 1942

28 May 1942 sailed Loch Ewe in convoy UR26 under tow of tug Empire Larch to Reykjavik arriving on 2 June 1942


Tug Empire Larch after War time service and renamed Masterman

7 October 1942 Admiralty war diary for this day reports that when coming alongside vessel Drangley which was at anchor the Freshbrook damaged the vessel's starboard side 2 feet above the deck.

16 March 1943 Mr F Colyer appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

20 March 1943 at Hvaljordur, Iceland outboard of RFA BELGOL which was moored alongside of USS Vulcan. BELGOL refuelling the US warship and Freshbrook supplying her with fresh water

24 January 1944 Captain A Campbell appointed as Master

4 August 1944 at Reykjavik, Iceland Able Seaman William Munro came onboard drunk, entered the Chief Officer's cabin and threatened to assault him - logged

24 August 1944 at Reykjavik, Iceland moored alongside HMS TRONDIX for a boiler clean

7 September 1944 at Reykjavik, Iceland Able Seaman S Cronin insensibly drunk and unable to do his duty - logged 

17 September 1944 at Reykjavik, Iceland alongside USCGC Algonquin supplying fresh water


USCGC Algonquin

23 November 1944 Mr L G E Cross RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

13 February 1945 at Reykjavik, Iceland Able Seaman S Cronin for continous neglet of his duty, insobriety and incompedence - having been warned on various occasions to no avail - paid off

Between May 1945 and July 1945 signed on crew members from Iceland, Norway and the Faroe Islands

19 July 1945 at Greenock with Captain John M Maclean RFA as Master

13 November 1945 sailed Gourock to Milford Haven arriving 17 November 1945

20 November 1945 sailed Milford Haven to Falmouth arriving 22 November 1945

23 November 1945 off the Lizard while bound for Sheerness signalled she had engine trouble and required the immediate assistance of a tug to tow her into Falmouth

Freshbrook Press Cutting

Press Cutting from Western Morning News 23 November 1945

28 November 1945 sailed Falmouth to Portland arriving the next day

1 December 1945 sailed Portland to Sheerness arriving 3 December 1945

19 December 1945 at Chatham berthed alongside No 9 berth when she took a dangerous list to starboard. The port bilge keel apparently fouled some under water obstruction. The helm was put hard a port - ebbing tide and the ship was moored head to tide. Ship righted upon an even keel very rapidly and cleared the obstruction. Divers were requested to check the port side of the ship and to see what the obstruction was.

2 January 1946 ceased to be classed as an RFA and was taken over by the Director of Victualling

19 January 1946 at Chatham - paid off 

20 January 1949 at H.M. Dockyard, Sheerness alongside HMS CROSSBOW supplying fresh water

24 August 1951 at H.M. Dockyard, Sheerness alongside HMS MANXMAN supplying fresh water



10 January 1963 offered for sale in the Times of this day "as lying" at H.M. Dockyard, Chatham




March 1963 purchased by Park Stanton & Co Ltd, London name unchanged

21 October 1963 arrived in the New Waterway in tow of the British tug KESTREL for demolition by Dutch  breakers


Additional information

Copyright © 2008 – 2018 Christopher J White

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