RFA Surf Pioneer


Previous name:                 Beskidy
Subsequent name: 

Official Number:                169231                                                                           
Class:                               SURF CLASS Freighting Tanker

Pennant No:                     A365

Laid down:                        4 July 1950
Builder:                            Bartram and Sons Ltd, South Dock,Sunderland
Launched:                        23 April 1951
Into Service:                     28 November 1951
Out of service:                  13 August 1960 - Laid up at Devenport
Fate:                               Broken up


Items of historic interest involving this ship: -


Background Data:  The two sister ships in this Class were originally ordered by Polish owners and both were jointly requisitioned by the Admiralty and the Foreign Office under the Defence Regulations and Enactments during the Korean War. They were initially used mainly for charter work, then carried Admiralty cargoes for a short while before being placed in reserve. There was to have been a third ship in this Class, to have been named SURF PILOT, which was also requisitioned by the Admiralty during the Korean War to prevent her being used by the Communists. She however commissioned instead as a tender to HMS TERROR at Singapore, before being laid up in very poor condition and she was never used by the RFA


May 1948 Ordered

23 April 1951 launched by Bartram and Sons Ltd, South Dock, Sunderland as Yard Nr: 333 named BESKIDY for Gdynia-America Shipping Lines Ltd, Gydnia, Poland which was subsequently dissolved and its fleet was handed over to the Polskie Linie Oceaniczne

14 July 51 requisitioned by the Admiralty and renamed SURF PIONEER

11 August 1951 Mr A J Daniel RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

25 September 1951 Captain Cecil H Grainger MID RFA appointed as Master

November 1951 ran trials

28 November 1951 completed and handed over to the Admiralty

18 December 1951 at Corporation Quay, Sunderland loading bunkers


S. Pioneer Press Cutting

Press report from the Sunderland Daily Echo of 19 January 1951

3 February 1953 Captain William F Curlett RFA appointed as Master

18 January 1954 Mr H G May RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

6 February 1954 one officer and five crew members in a ships boat in the Indian Ocean carried away by strong currents - rescued by Indian coastal ships 

13 February 1954 at Bombay in refit

23 July 1954 seven members of the crew jumped ship in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA

8 December 1954 Captain C M Rennels RFA appointed as Master

11 December 1954 Mr Harry G May RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

1 March 1956 Captain Frank C Holt RFA appointed as Master

  Captain Frank Holt

Captain Frank C Holt RFA

7 August 1956 Mr Charles H Gurr RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

17 September 1956 berthed at Malta with 10,000 tons of fresh water which had been loaded at Algiers

31 October 1956 supported Operation Musketeer - the Suez Crisis - along with 34 other RFA’s, during which she was used as a water carrier

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

28 May 1957 Captain Albert E Curtain OBE RD RFA (Commander RNR (Rtd)) appointed as Master

14 July 1958 Mr Harry G May RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

9 September 1958 Captain George W Webster RFA appointed as Master

Captain George W Webster

Captain George W Webster RFA

10 July 1959 Mr Charles H Gurr RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

21 July 1959 suffered engine break down while in the eastern Mediterranean. The tug naval HMS BRIGAND sailed from Malta to stand by her

26 December 1959 Captain R J Lockwood RFA appointed as Master

10 February 1960 sailed Malta to Abadan to load

14 March 1960 berthed at Malta to discharge

17 March 1960 sailed Malta for Port Said

13 August 1960 laid up at Devonport

18 November 1969 placed on the Disposal List

29 November 1969 advertised for sale 'as lying' at Devonport in The Times of this date by the Board of Trade

16 February 1970 sailed Devonport in tow for the breakers

28 February 1970 arrived Burriana for breaking up by Aguilar y Peris S.A.

March 1970 breaking up began




1.  Her and her sister always retained the Polish Eagle embossed on their funnels.

Additional information

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