RFA Nimble



Previous name:                    Roslin Castle
Subsequent name:

Official Number:                   123015

Class:                                 Tender / Ferry

Pennant No:                         X76

Laid down:
Builder:                                Hawthorns, Leith
Launched:                            14 March 1906
Into Service:                         25 March 1908
Out of service:                      11 October 1948 sold commercially
Fate:                                   14 February 1949 Broken Up


Items of historic interest involving this ship: -


Background Data:  She was originally built as a sloop for her owners’ Firth of Forth ferry service. Did not become RFA manned until 1944 when she served on the River Medway Ferry Service, employed on service between Chatham - Sheerness - ships in the Medway area in connection with the assembly for Operation Overlord


14 March 1905 launched by Hawthorn & Co, Leith as Yard Nr: 110 named ROSLIN CASTLE for Galloway Saloon Steam Packet Co., Leith

May 1905 completed at a cost of £12,210

8 June 1906 when between the Bass Rock and North Berwick a passenger was seen to jump over the side. He was rescued by a boat lowered from the Roslin Castle

23 June 1906 sailed Leith and when off Seafield ran aground on a sand bank. Managed to get off returning to Leith docks

Nimble - Press report 1906

Press report from the Edinburgh Evening News of 23 June 1906

7 September 1906 the Sanitory Congress which was holding a meeting at the Queen's Hotel, Leith adjourned to the Roslin Castle for a cruise on the Forth from the West Pier, Leith at the invitation of the Corporation of Leith

25 March 1908 purchased by the Admiralty for £15,500 for service as a tender based at Sheerness and was renamed NIMBLE

22 January 1910 following a General Election the Sphere newspaper reported that -

 The Sphere press cutting 22 1 10

16 October 1914 arrived at Dover

1914 - 1917 on the Chatham - Sheerness ferry service

1917 - 1918 served on PoW exchange duties at Boston

21 February 1919 at Chatham alongside HMS BACCHANTE discharging kit bags and hammocks of active service ratings to depot

HMS Bacchante


14 July 1919 came alongside HMS EREBUS which was anchored off Sheerness Dockyard



8 December 1920 at Sheerness berthed alongside HMS YARMOUTH to take crew to Chatham with the warship being reduced to Nore reserve

1922 laid up at Chatham

13 May 1923 at the Great Nore alongside HMS REPULSE ferrying part of the crew into Sheerness

26 July 1924 used a VIP transport for the Kings Fleet Review at Spithead - the reviwed included RFA PETRONEL

1930 - 1941 ferry steamer based at Chatham Dockyard on river and harbour passenger service

21 April 1939 the Chatham News reported -

Press Cutting Chatham News 21 4 1939

17 December 1941 laid up at Chatham

2 April 1944 became RFA manned and renamed RFA NIMBLE. Acted as the Medway Ferry Service between Chatham and Sheerness

8 December 1947 placed on care and maintenance basis

11 October 1948 disposal arranged by the Director of Ships and Transport and was purchased by Lloyds Albert Yacht and Motor Packet Service, Southampton renamed NIMBLE

14 February 1949 arrived Boom for breaking up




Along with the ferry HARLEQUIN was supposed to have been replaced by the purpose-built MAGICIAN but the latter was turned over to the War Department on completion for use as an Army Hospital Ship and was not returned to the R.N. until 1945



Additional information

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