RFA Kingarth



Previous name:                        HMS Sledway

Subsequent name: 

Official Number:                       180986                                                                       

Class:                                      KIN Class Coastal Salvage Vessel

Pennant No:                            A232

Laid down:                              16 July 1943
Builder:                                    A Hall, Aberdeen
Launched:                               22 May 1944

Into Service:                            28 December 1944
Out of service:                         1986 
Fate:                                      Broken Up


Items of historic interest involving this ship: -


Background Data:   Originally a class of 11 ships was planned but two were cancelled and of the remaining nine, seven saw brief service as RFA’s. They were re-rated as Mooring, Salvage and Boom Vessels in 1971. All were equipped with lifting horns and heavy rollers forward which enabled them to lift 200 tons dead-weight over the bows. In wartime they were armed with 2 x 20 mm AA guns and had a complement of 34


13 August 1942 originally ordered from Smith's Dock Co Ltd., Middlesborough. The order was subsequently transferred to A Hall & Co Ltd on 21 January 1943

22 May 1944 launched by Alexander Hall & Co Ltd, Aberdeen as Yard Nr 696 named  HMS SLEDWAY

August 1944 renamed HMS KINGARTH. Named after a small historic town on the Isle of Bute

28 December 1944 completed and placed under Risdon Beazley Ltd., Southampton management

January 1945 arrived Ostend to assist in wreck clearance thence to Zeebrugge

February 1945 to April 1945 with other salvage vessels Flushing with her sister SWIN port clearance. 

June 1945 Red List shows her undergoing repairs at Flushing

14 August 1945 Boatswain Harry William Bentley awarded the British Empire Medal (Civil Division) for services during the clearance of Flushing - details published in the London Gazette of this day

1946 under RFA Conditions as KINGARTH

July 1946 at Rosyth undergoing repairs in preparation for transfer to Greek Government

October 1946 to July 1950 on charter to the Greek Government - name unchanged

July 1950 care and maintenance at Malta then to reserve after refit

March 1956 refitted at Malta for Operational Reserve but…

10 August 1956 by a secret signal of this day the Admiralty directed the C in C Mediterranean to bring forward the Kingarth from reserve with a Royal Navy crew

28 August 1956 - commissioned from the reserve fleet as HMS Kingarth - the crew being Naval party 1234. Lieutenant Commander Eric N Read Royal Navy appointed as Commanding Officer

September 1956 sailed Malta for Tripoli along with SALVESTOR and then returned to Malta

31 October 1956 sailed from Malta and involved in the Anglo French salvage operation after the Suez War under the direction of the United Nations - Operation Musketeer

6 November 156 arrived off Port Said

7 November 1956 to 30 November 1957 raised a 365 ton floating crane at Suez with HMS BARHILL and LC's 10 and 11.

1 December 1956 to 3 December 1956 raised a 350 ton tug named Barq

29 December 1956 with French Salvage Vessel LST 525 commenced salvage work on the Tug Hurcule (1,200 tons)


Tug Hurcule being raised at Suez by HMS Kingarth

21 January 1957 sailed Suez for Tobruk thence to Malta. The crew of RFA Sea Salvor transfered over while that ship went into refit

13 June 1957 in the London Gazette of this day Lieutenant Commander Eric Norman Read Royal Navy awarded the MBE for services on the KINGARTH

August 1957 with RFA Sea Salvor's refit being completed the crew transfered back and Kingarth returned to the reserve

1959 in refit in Malta

25 May 1961 arrived at Portsmouth in tow of RFA SAMSONIA and into reserve

May 1963 approval given for her conversion into a Mooring, Boom and Salvage Vessel

April 1964 while still in reserve was towed to Plymouth for a refit. While at Millbay Docks was damaged in a collision with a mooring bollard

16 May 1964 towed from Plymouth to Portsmouth by RFA WARDEN

Late 1965/early 1966 with LC8, LC10 and LC11 undertook a salvage exercise with the lifting of HMS/m TAPIER which was redundant and had been deliberately sunk in Loch Striven

10 June 1966 towed to St Andrew's Dock, Hull

13 June 1966 refit and conversion commenced

30 November 1967 accepted for service as MBSV at Loch Ewe with the Port Auxiliary Service. Cost of refit and conversion was £174,500

13 December 1967 manned on a D606 basis rather than as PAS

3 December 1968 to 30 December 1968 in refit

1969 incorporated into the 2nd Boom Defence Squadron at Greenock which was later renamed as the Clyde Mooring and Salvage Squadron

January to March 1971 in refit at Rosyth

1972 to RMAS name unchanged

Last quarter 1973 in refit at Rosyth

2 October 1980 Able Seaman Alexander Reid discharged dead while the ship was alongside at Loch Maddy Pier. The Police attended and investigated his death.

December 1985 paid off for disposal and was laid up on the Gareloch

18 September 1986 purchased by Mr Eddie Cairney who had a Yard at Bowling with the intention of using her to help clear the scrap from the whaling stations at Leith, South Georgia and was re-engined, but these plans never came to fruition

1993 broken up by her owner at Bowling


Additional information

Copyright © 2008 – 2018 Christopher J White

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website, by continuing to use the site you agree to cookies being used. More info.