T15f

 

The 'Q' Ship HMS Beauly in her disguise as RFA Looe
© William Tracy
(Photograph from the collection of the late Sub.Lt.(E) Leslie W W Tracy RNVR, who served as 3rd Engineer aboard HMS Beauly/RFA Looe 10th May to 24 August, & 10 October to 21 November, 1940)

 



Official Number:                     147919                                                                           

Class:                                      Special Service Freighter - Q ship

Pennant No:                            X63

Laid down:                             
Builder:                                   Ailsa Ship Building Company, Troon
Launched:                               2 May 1924
Into Service:                          
Out of service:                         2 March 1941
Fate:                                         Broken Up

 

Items of historic interest involving this ship: -

 

Background Data:  In 1939 Winston Churchill gave authority for a number of merchantmen to be requisitioned for service as Q-ships, although for security purposes they were referred to as Special Service Freighters. A fleet of 9 small mainly coal-burning vessels were acquired , 6 for deep-sea work and 3 for coastal work. All were commissioned as HM ships under their original names but were given RFA cover names and on entering harbour and while in harbour they wore the Blue Ensign, behaved as RFA’s and adopted the RFA commercial practices. None of them was really suitable for their intended roles and met with a complete lack of success. Their Q-ship service officially ended on 2 March 1941

 

 

2 May 1924 launched by Ailsa Shipbuilding Co Ltd, Troon as Yard Nr 386 named BEAULY for Wm Sloan & Co, Glasgow

August 1924 completed

19 September 1924 arrived at Avonmouth from Glasgow with a general cargo

30 November 1924 berthed at City Docks, Bristol from Glasgow

17 December 1924 arrived Avonmouth Docks from Glasgow via Belfast

20 December 1924 sailed Avonmouth Docks for Glagow

4 February 1925 sailed Bristol to Glasgow

26 June 1928 a 10 year old boy - Ivor Hancock - stowed away on board at Bristol. Discovered some 20 hours later when the ship was off Belfast

 

 Stowaway - 4-7-1928 Press Cutting west daily news

Press cutting from the Western Daily News of 4 July 1928

 

7 June 1929 arrived at Bristol City Docks from Glasgow

3 July 1929 arrived at Bristol City Docks from Glasgow

1 August 1929 berthed at Bristol City Docks from Glasgow discharging cargo

6 December 1929 at Bristol City Dock loading for Belfast and Glasgow

31 December 1929 sailed Bristol City Docks for Glasgow on the evening tide

9 January 1930 berthed at Bristol City Docks from Glasgow discharging cargo

20 January 1930 berthed at Bristol City Docks from Glasgow discharging cargo

1932 passenger accommodation removed

19 October 1933 while anchored at Barry Roads bound for Bristol reported by radio that she had been damaged by a French steamer Normand from Rouen. She reported the extent of her damage amounted to a twisted stem and loss of one anchor.

5 September 1939 requisitioned for Government service and it was originally intended to use her as an Army Stores Carrier

6 October 1939 transferred to the Admiralty for conversion into a Special Service Freighter by Chatham Dockyard

20 October 1939 commissioned as HMS BEAULY

6 November 1939 T/Lieutenant Commander Arthur J Anderson RNR appointed in command - appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (Military Division) on 11 December 1945

February 1940 conversion completed. Cover name RFA LOOE. Complement 69 under command of Commander Francis H. Ashton Royal Navy Armed with 4 x single 4-inch guns, 1 x 12 pdr gun, 2 x Lewis machine guns, 2 x single 21-inch torpedo tubes, 36 x depth charges and was fitted with Asdic

28 March 1940 arrived Spithead from Chatham and anchored off Beaulieu for work-up

7 April 1940 sailed Spithead on completion of work-up and commenced her first cruise via Plymouth and Holyhead then operated around the Home Coast

27 April 1940 towed RFA SCOTTISH AMERICAN to Loch Eribol after she had been torpedoed and damaged west of the Pentland Firth fully laden with oil

22 August 1940 Commander T I S Bell Royal Navy appointed as Commanding Officer

20 June 1941 as her presence in the SW Approaches did not attract any attacks from U-boats, she was withdrawn from her Special Service role and was transferred to MoWT control for resumption of commercial service

11 July 1941 sailed from Belfast Lough to Bristol in convoy BB46 arriving on 13 July 1941

26 July 1941 sailed from Belfast Lough to Bristol in convoy BB53 arriving on 28 July 1941

3 August 1941 sailed from Milford Haven to Holyhead in convoy MH 9

16 August 1941 sailed from Belfast Lough to Bristol in convoy BB62 arriving on 18 August 1941. During this convoy was attacked by German Aircraft and damaged (Source - Weekly Resume (No 51 page 2)

31 August 1941 sailed from Belfast Lough to Cardiff in convoy BB70 

2 September 1941 at Clyde Place Quay, Glasgow Able Seaman Samuel Nicholson discharged dead - drowned

21 September 1941 sailed from Belfast Lough to Bristol in convoy BB78 arriving on 23 September 1941

28 April 1942 Able Seaman Harry H G Farley Royal Navy, D/JX194893 the award of the Distinguished Service Medal for services during an air attack on 18 December 1941. Details published in the London Gazette of this day

12 May 1942 Captain John McGugan the award of a Commendation for services during an air attack on 18 December 1941 - details published in the London Gazette of this day

9 November 1943 Captain John McGugan the appointment to Membership of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) and Chief Officer Charles A MacKenzie the award of a Commendation for services during an air attack and for the destruction of an enemy aircraft - details published in the London Gazette of this day

9 January 1946 Chief Engineer Officer George Douglas the appointment to Membership of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the New Years Honours List 1946 - details published in the London Gazette of this day

1946 was returned to her owners as BEAULY

25 January 1946 arrived at Avonmouth from Belfast

22 February 1946 arrived at Avonmouth

10 April 1946 at Avonmouth

25 September 1946 arrived at Avonmouth

26 December 1946 at Avonmouth

8 August 1947 berthed at Bristol City docks from Belfast

21 August 1947 arrived at Avonmouth from Belfast

1955 owners restyled as Wm Sloan & Co Ltd, Glasgow

1956 converted from coal to oil burning.

June 1958 owners taken over by Coast Lines Ltd, Liverpool.

11 May 1959 arrived Willebroek, Belgium for breaking up

 

Additional information

Copyright © 2008 – 2017 Christopher J White

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