RFA Hungerford


Previous name:                        Lauterfels
Subsequent name: 

Official Number:                       136803                                                                         

Class:                                      Distilling Ship / Collier

Pennant No:                            Y4.24 / Y3.1687

Laid down:                             
Builder:                                   Weser Actien Gesellschaft 'Weser' Bremen
Launched:                               15 February 1913
Into Service:                            28 July 1915
Out of service:                         16 April 1918
Fate:                                      16 April 1918 torpedoed & sunk in the English Channel 


Items of historic interest involving this ship: -  


Background Data:  Some official lists, marked as  “Lists of RFA’s” show vessels which spent some time as RFA’s during the First World War. These records are extremely sketchy and some of these vessels were “Yard Craft”, partially or wholly Dockyard manned, partly by RNR or Reserve Fleet personnel. Some of the Depot Ships staffed by skilled civilian Dockyard workers were for a time White Ensign. The Director of Stores was understood to be concerned with their manning and operationally they remained under Admiralty control


15 February 1913 launched by Weser Actien Gesellschaft “Weser”, Bremen as Yard Nr: 192 named LAUTERFELS for Deutsche Dampschiffahrts-Gesellschaft Hansa, Bremen

27 March 1913 completed

5 November 1913 sailed Calcutta to New York

28 December 1913 sailed Boston to Calcutta

5 June 1914 arrived at Port Said from Hamburg while on passage to Karachi

August 1914 detained at Port Said by the British

22 January 1915 detention confirmed by the Prize Court at Alexandria  - allocated to the Admiralty. Renamed RFA Hungerford under management of Grahams & Co, London. 

28 July 1915 became an RFA distilling ship name unchanged. Management by Grahams & Co ceased

3 August 1915 Lieutenant Robert A Seabrook RNR appointed in command and Engineer Arthur John Trew RNR appointed as Chief Engineer Officer. Both officers had been in post prior to this date but were granted temporary commissions in the Royal Naval Reserve on the ship becoming an RFA



Capt Robert A Seabrook


Lieutenant Robert A Seabrook RNR


1 January 1916 pink list location shows her to be a Distilling Ship under the orders of the Vice Admiral, Eastern Mediterrean


22 February 1916 distilling Ship service ended


6 April 1916 Temporary Assistant Paymaster John Richard Ormerod RNR discharged dead. He is buried in Suez War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt (Grave Ref. C. 20) and had been appointed to the ship on 26 August 1915



Displayed with thanks to British War Graves


22 June 1917 became a collier Y3.1687 name unchanged

16 December 1917 attacked with 2 torpedoes from a submarine in the Mediterranean but the torpedoes missed their target

1918 management transferred to George Heyn & Sons Ltd, Belfast name unchanged

16 April 1918 torpedoed by German submarine UC75 (Oberleutnant zur See Walter Schmitz) in the English Channel 9 miles SSE from the Owers Light Vessel while on passage in ballast from Le Havre to New York via St Helen’s Roads and sunk.

RFA Hungerford sinking map

Greaser Percy Brown MMR, Fireman and Trimmer James Thomas Clark MMR, 2nd Officer John McClure Dale RFA, Fireman Hitchins MMR, Greaser Thomas Jenkins MMR, Leading Seaman Joseph Martin RNR, 3rd Engineer Officer Donald McVictor McFarlane MMR and Junior 2nd Engineer Officer Alfred James Rice RFA all were drowned. 2nd Officer Dale is buried in Haslar Naval Cemetery, Gosport, Leading Seaman Martin RNR is remembered with pride on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial. The others have no known grave but the sea and are remembered with pride on the Tower Hill Memorial



2nd Officer John Dale's grave in Haslar Royal Naval Cemetery incorrectly showing he was 3rd Officer



2nd Officer John Dale is also remembered with pride on the 1914 - 1918

memorial in Cairncastle Presbyterian Church, Northern Ireland


31 May 1918 the German submarine UC75 was sunk by being rammed by HMS Fairy at 53 57N 00 009E

Additional information

Copyright © 2008 – 2017 Christopher J White

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