RFA Reward
  HMS Reward when part of the Fishery Protection Squadron
Copyright of Aage Schjølberg acknowledged


Subsequent name:                   Englishman    

Official Number:                       305864                                             

Class:                                     BUSTLER Class Fleet Tug

Pennant No:                           W164 / B745 / A264

Laid down:                              6 April 1944

Builder:                                   Henry Robb, Leith

Launched:                              13 October 1944

Into Service:                           12 March 1945

Out of service:                         

Fate:                                      Sunk (see below) raised and broken Up


Items of historic interest involving this ship: -


Background Data:   At the outbreak of WW2 there was a need for modern Fleet Tugs to augment the existing numbers, and experience dictated use of a proven, pre-war design to be built in a commercial shipyard. The answer was provided by Henry Robb of Leith who built 8 ships of this Class for the Royal Navy , making them the first RN Fleet Tugs powered by 2 x 8 cylinder diesel engines. The tugs were ordered in pairs. Oil fuel capacity was 405 tons which gave a range of about 1700 miles. As completed, the Class was armed with 1 x 12 pdr AA gun, 1 x 2 pdr AA, 2  x 20 mm AA  and 4 x Lewis .303 machine guns and had a complement of 42. They were designed for ocean towing, salvage and rescue and had a 30 ton bollard pull but were not suitable for harbour work. Early in the War they were involved in trials of pressure-minesweeping methods, where a dumb barge was towed behind the tug with the aim of exploding mines intended for merchant ships and warships. Unfortunately the pressure wave created by the tug alone was sufficient to detonate the mines, so the trials were abandoned. Post-War, the Class was ripe for commercial charter and eventually 6 of the Class saw service as RFA’s


13 October 1944 launched by Henry Robb Ltd, Leith as Yard Nr 336 named HMS REWARD

12 March 1945 completed

4 May 1945 was part of Force 135 for Operation Nestegg - the Channel Islands Liberation - along  with her sister HMS CYCLONE

22 May 1945 sailed Liverpool in convoy OS130KM until it dispersed at 47°56N 08°39W on 24 May 1945 HMS GROWLER (which became RFA GROWLER) was in the same convoy

16 August 1945 Greaser John Barrett McGubbin, Naval Auxiliary Personnel discharged dead. He is buried in Grave 269, Boma Cemetery, Democratic Republic of Congo

5 July 1946 the Hampshire Telegraph reported -

Hants Tele 5 7 46 Reward

24 November 1946 involved in the rescue of the steamer Josiah P Cressey which had a flooded engine room - towed into Fishguard

4 December 1946 sailed Milford Haven for Devonport towing the after part of the mv Atheldutchess  which had gone ashore 20 August 1943


Athelduchess 05

Tanker Atheldutchess


20 March 1947 sailed Bombay with HMS MEDIATOR towing AFD35 to Malta. named as Operation Snow White. Arrived at Aden 3 April, Suez Bay on 14 April, Port Said on 29 April, Malta on 8 May

16 October 1947 sailed Portsmouth with HMS NELSON for Rosyth where the battleship went into reserve

27 May 1948 berthed at Dundee sailing on 2 June 1948

3 February 1949 berthed at Gibraltar

14 February 1949 sailed Gibraltar

22 March 1949 while on passage from Gibraltar to Chatham passed RFA Wave Commander north bound at 46 00N 7 15W

22 April 1949 at Chatham berthed in No 3 Basin

10 May 1949 at Invergordon

7 June 1949 at Wick

19 July 1950 berthed at Albert Dock, Hull then sailing on 25 July 1950 during the Home Fleet's Summer cruise

4 September 1950 sailed Chatham with units of the Home Fleet for Portland

15 September 1950 sailed Portland for Gibraltar

8 December 1950 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard with a tow sailing westward

15 January 1951 sailed to the Western Mediterranean to take part in the Home Fleet's Spring Cruise

11 July 1951 sailed Bermuda towing Admiralty Floating Dock No: 5 together with HM Tug Warden

14 October 1951 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing eastward

1952 laid up at Chatham then transferred to Pembroke Dock

15 June 1953 took part in the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Fleet Review at Spithead. along  with 6 other RFA’s

1 September 1953 took part in the Home Fleet's Autumn Cruise from Invergordon including Operation Mariner

5 February 1954 sailed Portland together with othe RN units and RFA BLACK RANGER  for Spring Training

26 February 1954 to Tangier with HMS SUPERB and other RN units taking part in the Home Fleet's spring training 

23 to 29 June 1954 at Arendal at the end of the Home Fleet's summer cruise

14 November 1955 before Chichester Magistrates' Court two Royal Navy sailors from the ship pleaded Guilty to taking a vehicle without the consent of the owner. Each was fined £7 10sh and disqualified from driving for 12 months. The ship was berthed at Portsmouth

27 November 1955 sailed Portsmouth

29 November 1955 arrived at Plymouth with RFA WAVE MONARCH in tow from the Bay of Biscay where the tanker had suffered engine problems

16 June 1956 the Aberdeen Evening Express reported ...

Aberdeen Evening News HMS REWARD 15 6 56


11 July 1957 at Sunderland with HMS JAMAICA on a port visit

22 March 1960 arrived Malta in tow of tug AGILE for service with the Target Squadron

22 January 1962 sailed Malta for a refit at Chatham prior to going on charter

1 May 1962 chartered by the United Towing Company Ltd., Hull, and renamed ENGLISHMAN

2 June 1963 taken over by the RFA and renamed RFA REWARD

9 November 1963 Captain A W Jewers appointed as Master and Mr H J Reay appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

21 May 1964 while towing HMS CAVALIER from Chatham to Gibraltar for a refit - HMS CAVALIER was in collision with the Liberian tanker Burgan in position 50.13N 00.09W and received damage to her bow. The destroyer was towed to Portsmouth for temporary repairs then to Devonport for a 25 foot section to welded in place of the damage part

12 December 1964 in collision with the East German ship STRALSUND

9 May 1966 sailed Portsmouth with HMS/m AUROCHS in tow for Devonport

4 July 1966 sailed Devonport with RFA SALVICTOR in tow to Milford Haven to be laid up

9 May 1967 sailed Devonport with HMS FINISTERE in tow to the ship breakers yard

12 May 1967 arrived at Dalmuir with tow

1 June 1967 sailed Portsmouth with HMS LAGOS in tow for the ship breakers yard at Bo'ness

December 1967 Mr T J W Coulson appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

21 June 1968 Captain D Hazell appointed as Master 

11 July 1969 sailed Portsmouth with RFA Agile and Samsonia and HMS Victorious in tow to the breakers.

16 July 1969 arrived with HMS Victorious at the ship breakers yard at the Gare Loch with RFA Agile and Samsonia

1970 transferred to the PAS as REWARD

5 May 1970 arrived at Newport, Gwent towing HMS Troubridge to Messrs Cashmore, the ship breakers 

October 1972 placed in reserve

20 January 1975 arrived Chatham in tow for conversion into a Naval Patrol Ship

30 June 1975 sailed Chatham for Port Edgar after conversion

11 July 1975 commissioned at Port Edgar, Scotland as HMS Reward with Lieutenant Commander Angus Sandford Royal Navy in command

25 August 1975 provided a headquarters and support for Scotland and Northern Ireland Explosive Ordnance Demolition Team which checked the Phillips Petroleum Gas Rigs off Great Yarmouth for explosives allegedly planted by a terrorist group

10 August 1976 was involved in a collision in the Firth of Forth with a German container ship s.s. Plainsman in fog.  No fatalities or injuries. Reward sank.

29 August 1976 Wreck raised by the civilian floating crane BRUNEL, beached nearby and sold to Jas White & Co Ltd, St David’s Harbour for demolition.




HMS Reward (previously RFA Reward) being raised



  1. Was part of the British Pacific FLeet hence the B pennant number

Additional information

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