Previous name:
Subsequent name:   

Official Number:                      180850                                                                        

Class:                                    SPA CLASS Water Carrier

Pennant No:                           X122 / A257

Ordered:                                May 1944 at a contract price of £80,859

Laid down:                             7 October 1944
Builder:                                  Phillip & Son Ltd., Dartmouth
Launched:                              5 January 1946
Into Service:                          12 April 1946
Out of service:                       1977

Fate:                                     August 1977 arrived at Dalmuir for breaking up.


Items of historic interest involving this ship: -


Background Data:  There were six ships in this Class, all coal-fired and all built to an Admiralty design. Originally intended for service with the RFA, several of them were transferred to Dockyard Service later in their careers and came under what was then the Port Authority service which in turn became the Royal Maritime Auxiliary Service. Some of them were also employed by the Army at times, in bases where fresh water supplies were difficult to obtain. RFA SPABECK was for some years employed as a carrier of hydrogen peroxide fuel for experimental submarine engines, being specially converted for this task by Vickers Ltd and was based at Barrow, manned by RFA crews when not laid up between experiments.


7 October 1944 laid down

5 January 1946 launched by Philip & Son Ltd, Dartmouth as Yard Nr: 1128 named SPABURN by Mrs J A Brown wife of Mr J A Brown, Principal Technical Assistant, Naval Stores Department, Admiralty


 Spaburn launch

RFA Spaburn being launched at Dartmouth on 5 January 1946

12 April 1946 delivered at a cost of £80,859

4 July 1947 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing westward

4 September 1948 at Chatham alongside HMS JUTLAND supplying fresh water

29 May 1952 at Chatham alongside HMS CAMPANIA delivering fresh water

31 May 1952 at Chatham alongside HMS CAMPANIA delivering fresh water

6 June 1952 at Sheerness alongside HMS PLYMN, moored on No 6 Buoy and supplied 15 tons of fresh water

15 August 1953 brought forward from being in reserve at Malta. Captain Stephen J Pethurst RFA appointed as Master and Mr W Hynd RFA appointed as Acting Chief Engineer Officer. Nineteen crew were signed on from unemployed Maltese Seafarers - six able seaman, one bosun, one steward, one cook, an assistant steward, three fireman, two donkeyman greasers, two catering boys, a donkeyman and a pumpman.

Captain Stephen J Pethurst

Captain Stephen J Pethurst RFA
(image taken in 1920)

17 August 1953 sailed Malta with 500 tons of water for Greek islands devastated by earthquake damage

24 August 1956 at Malta berthed alongside HMS ANZIO

22 October 1956 returned to Grand Harbour, Malta

31 October 1956 supported Operation Musketeer- the Suez Crisis - along with 34 other RFA’s

21 December 1956 at Port Said berthed alongside HMS ANZIO

28 December 1956 entered Grand Harbour, Malta after covering with RN units the Anglo-French Forces withdrawl from Port Said.

1963 - 1971 at the Clyde

1971 in reserve

24 June 1977 sold to W.H.Arnott Young & Co Ltd for scrap

August 1977 arrived Dalmuir for demolition

Additional information

Copyright © 2008 – 2018 Christopher J White

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