RFA Succour

succur01 s 

Subsequent name:   

Official Number:                     167870                                                     

Class:                                   KIN CLASS Coastal Salvage Vessel

Pennant No:                           A505

Laid down:                             10 February 1943
Builder:                                  Smith's Dock, South Bank, Middlesborough
Launched:                              18 August 1943 
Into Service:                           3 March 1944
Out of service:                        6 September 1973
Fate:                                      Broken up


Items of historic interest involving this ship: -


Background Data:   Originally a class of eleven ships was planned but two were cancelled and of the remaining nine, seven saw brief service as RFA’s. They were re-rated as Mooring, Salvage and Boom Vessels in 1971. All were equipped with lifting horns and heavy rollers forward which enabled them to lift 200 tons dead-weight over the bows. In wartime they were armed with 2 x 20 mm AA guns and had a complement of thirty four


13 August 1942 ordered

10 February 1943 laid down

18 August 1943 launched by Smith’s Dock Co Ltd, South Bank, Middlesbrough as Yard Nr: 1120 named HMS SUCCOUR

3 March 1944 completed

9 June 1944 sailed Southend in convoy ETC 5 to Seine Bay arriving 11 June 1944

26 July 1944 sailed Seine Bay in convoy FTC48 towing HMT Star of Britain to Southend - souce Admiralty War Diary of this date on page 1211

18 August 1944 sailed Portland in convoy EPM39 to Seine Bay arriving  the same day. Acted as convoy escort together with HMS HARGOOD



September 1944 clearance ops from Caen-Ouistreham Canal, then to Le Havre and Rouen.

8 January 1945 sailed Southend in convoy TAM42 to Antwerp arriving the next day

January 1945 in Antwerp then Terneuzen

March 1945 arrived Terneuzen

23 March 1946 arrived at Hartlepool from the River Tyne

30 October 1946 sailed the River Tyne

1946 based at Rosyth

1 March 1948 Mr R C Wood appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

26 April 1948 Captain John Ivory appointed as Master

9 May 1948 arrived at Loch Alsh from Greenoch to be involved in the raising of the trials cruiser HMS EMERALD

July 1948 to September 1948 involved in trials at the Kyle of Lochalsh with HMS/m VARNE and STOIC

21 February 1950 Mr J S Clark appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

22 March 1951 weather bound in the Firth of Forth

31 October 1951 Mr E J Blythe appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

25 April 1952 Captain Roy Souter appointed as Master

April 1952 off the River Tyne working on the tanker British Officer which had been mined and sunk on 1 December 1940 ½ mile east of the North Pier Light at the river entrance

12 November 1952 with RFA UPLIFTER sent to the Hook of Holland to attempt to remove wreckage of Panamanian vessel Faustus which sank in a gale blocking the channel to Rotterdam.

6 August 1953 sailed Rosyth for Scapa arriving the next day to remove the high parts of the hired minesweeper Roedean which had been mined and sunk on 13 January 1915 off Longhope, Scapa.

20 September 1953 sailed Scapa to the Clyde.

24 September 1953 with 2 Bar class Boom Defence vessels and Admiralty's Lifting Craft LC 8, 10, 11, 23 and 24 was involved in the salvage of French Destroyer Maillé Brézé which had been sunk on 30 April 1940 by an internal explosion off Greenock on the River Clyde. The vessel was lifted and handed over to ship breakers on 15 September 1954. It is believed this was the largest tidal lift ever undertaken.

Maille Breze

FS Maillé Brézé

15 December 1953 during the above salvage work diverted to the Sound of Mull to search for and recover a crashed Shackleton aircraft

December 1953 returned to the Clyde to undergo a boiler clean

11 January 1954 to April 1954 returned to working on the French Destroyer Maillé Brézé.

15 January 1954 sailed to continue salvage work on the French Destroyer Maillé Brézé sunk on a sandbank off Greenock but had to return to harbour due to a severe gale which hit the area

11 February 1955 arrived at the River Tyne from Rosyth

5 March 1955 the Shields Daily News reported -


Shields Daily News 5 3 55 SUCCOUR


24 March 1955 was at Milford Haven when deployed to assist with the salvage of the Norwegian ship mv Venus which had grounded at Plymouth after dragging her anchor. The ship was pulled clear by local tugs and there was no need to salvage her further. 

28 March 1955 sailed Plymouth for Milford Haven.

May 1955 at the Kyle of Lochalsh to recover mines from the minelayer Port Napier which had sunk in a gale on 27 November 1940 after catching fire and exploded. With the assistance of BDV Barglow 440 mines were recovered  up and until October 1955

14 December 1955 in Aberdeen Harbour broke adrift from her moorings, together with two trawlers, in a very strong gale. With the aid of two tugs re-berthed without any damage being caused

12 June 1956 involved in further salvage operations on the wreck of the ss Roedean at Long Hope, Scapa Flow until 22 June 1956 

22 June 1956 sailed Scapa for Kyle of Lochalsh for further work on the Port Napier recovering a further 86 mines and some 6,000 tons of scrap metal from the wreck.

3 September 1956  at Greenock until 20 October 1956 then back to the Kyle of Lochalsh before deploying to Devonport

12 November 1956 arrived Devonport to prepare for Operation Musketeer duties - the Suez Crisis - which  also involved 34 other RFA‘s

1 December 1956 arrived Port Said for Wreck Clearance Operations

16 January 1957 with RFA SEA SALVOR and RFA SALVEDA raised the 3,500 ton suction dredger Paul Solenté in Suez Harbour which was blocking the Suez Canal

23 January 1957 sailed Port Said on completion of Suez Canal Clearance duties

15 February 1957 returned to the UK (Sheerness)

March 1958 at Chatham under going a boiler clean

July 1959 at Chatham under going a boiler clean

September 1959 at Devonport

1960 to 1963 at Dover and Portland

Swin at Dover

RFA's Swin and Succour removing part of the World War II Block ships
(Harry Winters Collection)

5 February 1961 Jack Solan, Fireman killed while attempting to board RFA Succour at Dover when he fell into the Harbour. Three others who also fell into the Harbour were rescued

17 February 1961 arrived at Dungeness to salvage the Naval Tanker C632 (non RFA) which had run aground

14 October 1961 sailed Dover for Devonport

13 November 1961 at Rosyth in refit until 19 January 1962

27 January 1962 following post refit trials was operational again

27 April 1962 at Dover under going a self-boiler clean at Granville Dock until 11 May 1962

2 July 1963 Mr A King appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

14 October 1963 to 29 November 1963 at Rosyth underwent a limited refit

January 1964 attended on HMS/m TIPTOE grounded off Greenock and hauled her free.

March 1964 hired to the Liverpool and Glasgow Salvage Association for the salvage of the motor trawler Irvana which had grounded in Red Bay near Cushendun, Co. Antrim on 23 March 1964. The trawler was refloated the next day

22 June 1964 involved in a 10 day salvage exercise in Kames Bay, Bute with HMS BARRINGTON. the laid up submarine HMS/M SCOTSMAN was deliberately sunk in 50 feet of water and then raised. The submarine was then sent for scrap



17 August 1964 at Rosyth commenced full refit - completed due to labour problems on 5 March 1965

22 March 1965 operational again after her refit

November 1965, while on hire to Duncan Logan Ltd., damaged with her sternpost and frames fractured

6 December 1965 to 9 December 1965 at Rosyth being repaired

January 1966 a Board of Enquiry was convened following the damage

5 April 1966 to 27 May 1966 at Caledon's Yard at Dundee for underwater repairs following the damage

June 1966 at Greenock in Exercise Casino Royale

27 June 1966 at Rosyth

11 November 1966 towed the capsized car ferry mv Isle of Gigha into Greenock

9 December 1966 raised the tug Flying Dipper which had been sunk on 18 October 1966 when assisting the British Cargo liner Doric in Stephen's Basin. The tug was struck by one of the Doric's propellers, was holed and sank without loss of life 

15 January 1967 in collision with Boom Defence Vessel HMS BARRAGE on the Clyde and damaged her starboard horn



April 1968 laid up at Greenock

1972 transferred to the RMAS

January 1972 to April 1972 refiting at Rosyth

31 January 1972 removed from Lloyds Classification

February 1973 approval for disposal obtained

September 1973 sold for breaking up.

25 September 1973 handed over to W.H. Arnott Young & Co Ltd for demolition at Dalmuir





Was managed by Metal Industries Ltd during WW2

Additional information

Copyright © 2008 – 2018 Christopher J White

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