RFA Salvictor



Previous name:
Subsequent name: 

Official Number:                     169408                                                                       

Class:                                   KING SALVOR Class Ocean Salvage Ship

Pennant No:                          W190 / B443 / A500

Laid down:                            27 June 1943
Builder:                                 Simons, Renfrew 
Launched:                             10 March 1944 
Into Service:                          31 March 1944
Out of service:
Fate:                                     Broken Up


Items of historic interest involving this ship: -



Background Data: There were originally 13 ships in this Admiralty-designed Class, 12 of which saw service as RFA’s. The final unit in the Class was completed as a Submarine Rescue Vessel under the White Ensign. All were basically similar and were used as Ocean Salvage Ships. They had a complement of 72 and during wartime were armed with 4 x 20 mm AA guns


11 March 1944 Launched by Wm Simons & Co Ltd, Renfrew as Yard Nr 765 named SALVICTOR

31 March 1944 completed

12 May 1944 based at Plymouth for Operation Neptune

 From June 1944 following the Normandy invasion was allocated to Rouen and the River Seine approaches where with sv Salvage Chieftain they dealt with 162 shipping casualties.

24 June 1944 off the Normandy Beach-head SS Derry Cunahy was mined and broke in half with heavy loss of Army life. The foremost half was kept afloat by Salvictor

derrycunihy 01

SS Derry Cunahy

1 September 1944 sailed Seine Bay in convoy FTC 85 to Southend arriving the next day

August 1945 Lieutenant Commander William J Harvey RNR in command

10 August 1945 at Milne Bay with HMAS MARYBOROUGH alongside for repairs

HMAS Maryborough


13 August 1945 with RFA SALVESTOR towed AFD 18 to Manus in the Admiralty Islands

19 August 1945 along with RFA SALVESTOR arrived at Manus in the Admiralty Islands

30 August 1945 sailed Manus, Admiralty Islands. RFA SALVESTOR, RFA RAPIDOL, RFA GREEN RANGER and RFA BACCHUS (2) all sailed the same day

24 March 1946 involved with RFA King Salvor, RFA Prince Salvor and another salvage vessel in the salvage of a US Liberty ship 'Josiah Nelson Cushing' for which the crews of the salvage ships received salvage money. The salvage of this vessel was completed by 16 May 1946

31 December 1946 sailed Singapore in company with RFA Salvage Duke for Portsmouth

5 February 1947 arrived at Malta from Singapore sailing again on 8 February 1947 for Portsmouth

19 February 1946 berthed at Portsmouth

19 September 1948 at Malta Seaman Thomas Jenkins Sharples was arrested by Police after he had climbed down the Upper Barracca lift girders in the middle of the night

28 December 1948 at Malta a seaman from the crew appeared before the Magistrates' Court charged with stealing property from the ships store. The case was committed for trial

17 March 1949 sailed Malta for Gibraltar

28 July 1949 as a result of their consideration of a report made by the Flag Officer, Malta their Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty  expressed their satisfaction for the valuable services rendered during the course of difficult and complicated salvage operations during the raising of AFD No. 8 at Malta by - Chief Officer W H Menzies RFA, Diver S J S Smith, Diver G Sorley, Diver G Greeman, Diver J Cresdee, Diver P F McSweeney, Diver C A Rayner, Diver Attendant J A Ball, Diver Attendant J Agius, Diver Attendant J Magri, Diver Attendant J Farrugia, Chargeman E Camilleri and Chargeman S Saliba

3 May 1950 divers from Salvictor used to assess the block ships at Dover Harbour prior to salvage

4 June 1950 sailed Dover

11 August 1950 berthed at Portsmouth

22 August 1950 sailed Portsmouth for Scapa Flow. Captain J Boves was the ships Master

23 August 1950 at Scapa Flow to examine the condition of the battleship HMS Royal Oak which had been sunk in October 1939

31 August 1950 the Scotsman newspaper reported ...

Scotsman Press Report 31.8.50 Salvictor

21 February 1951 sailed Portsmouth in company of RFA SWIN

July 1951 attempted the salvage of the sunken submarine HMS AFFRAY in the Hurd Deep. The submarine had dived on the evening of 16 April with 75 men aboard and failed to surface the following morning as expected. The wreck was located on 14 June using underwater camera equipment fitted in the salvage ship HMS RECLAIM (ex-SALVERDANT)

1 September 1951 the Portsmouth Evening News reported ...

Salvictor Press report 1 9 51

1 April 1952 sent to Singapore from the UK to work with HMS BARFOIL in the salvage of Admiralty Floating Dock 9 which had been sunk during the Second World War. The AFD had been towed to Singapore from the UK in 1928. Salvage actually started on 22 October 1952. The first part of the Dock was raised on 27 November 1952. Described at the time as one of the biggest and toughest salvage jobs ever undertaken anywhere in the world

Salvitor IWN A32400 1952

RFA Salvictor raising the first part of AFD 9 at Singapore
© IWM A32400

SALVITOR at SIngapore

12 September 1953 berthed at Malta

1 August 1956 at a Courts Martial at Chatham Naval Baracks Lieutenant Commander Norman Richard Wood RN of HMS Pembroke was found guilty of being found drunk on RFA Salvictor. Sentenced to be severely reprimanded and to be dismissed his ship.

14 August 1956 sailed Devonport for Operation Grapple - the British H-bomb test at Christmas Island in the Pacific Ocean - as one of 16 other RFA’s taking part 

24 September 1956 rescued a man and two women from a capsized outboard motor boat as the ship approached Long Beach, California

25 September 1956 docked at Long Beach,  California - Seaman John Henry Shilton deserted.

30 September 1956 Seaman John Henry Shilton arrested by the US Police when he ran out of money and surrendered to them at a Police Station at Eugene, Oregon

October 1956 to June 1957 at Christmas Island during  Operation Grapple




26 November 1956 sailed from Christmas Island to Malden Island

29 November 1956 anchored off Malden Island

16 December 1956 sailed Malden Island to Christmas Island

18 December 1956 arrived at Christmas Island and berthed alongside RFA WAVE PRINCE to refuel

28 December 1956 at Christmas Island with RFA FORT BEAUHARNOIS secured astern 

5 March 1957 at Christmas Island berthed alongside RFA WAVE RULER (1) to refuel and then sailed to Suva, Fiji

14 March 1957 arrived at Suva, Fiji

15 March 1957 sailed Suva, Fiji to Auckland, New Zealand

19 March 1957 berthed at Auckland, New Zealand

20 March 1957 entered dry dock at Auckland, New Zealand

28 March 1957 the dry dock was flooded up and Salvictor was floated out

12 May 1966 Salvictor was being towed from Pembroke Dock to Plymouth unmanned by PAS Tug Sea Giant and in heavy weather when 5 miles off the Manacle Rocks near the Lizard Point the tow parted. A crew from HMS Murray went on board. Later it was possible to get a fresh tow from the  Sea Giant and both vessels continued their passage to Plymouth.

12 June 1970 purchased for scrap by T.W. Ward Ltd

19 June 1970 broken up at Britton Ferry.



  1. Served in the British Pacific Fleet - hence the B pennant number

Additional information

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