RFA War Brahmin

 

 

Official Number:                      144353 
Class:                                     WAR CLASS Freighting Tanker
Pennant No:                            Y7.338 / X 91 / A 288
Laid down:
Builder:                                    Lithgows Ltd, Port Glasgow
Launched:                               28 November 1919
Into service:                             February 1920
Out of service:                         1959
Fate:                                        Broken up

 

Items of historic interest involving this ship: -

Background Data:

 

To combat the alarming losses of British merchant ships during WW1, the New Ministries and Secretaries Act was passed in December 1916, which provided for the appointment of a Shipping Controller with very wide powers “to take such steps as he thinks best for providing and maintaining an efficient supply of shipping”. On 20 December 1916, the first meeting of the Merchant Shipbuilding Advisory Committee took place where it was decided that an extensive shipbuilding programme should be started, the ships to be of a simple design and as far as possible to be of a standard type as regards hulls and engines. These new vessels for the Government were given a standard nomenclature, the prefix to their names being WAR. Eight hundred and twenty one vessels were ordered from U.K. yards and abroad and four hundred and sixteen were completed to Government order, two hundred and seventy nine were sold and transferred to private owners before completion and the remainder were cancelled. Of the four hundred and sixteen completed to Government order, fifteen were transferred to Admiralty service as oilers. They were all modified versions of the A and B Class standard dry cargo ships, known as the Z Class. All had two large dry cargo holds, six of them had five cargo tanks and the remaining nine had seven cargo tanks, specially designed for the carriage of heavy fuel oil. Most of them were initially under commercial management

 

28 November 1919 launched by Lithgows Ltd, Port Glasgow as Yard Nr: 720 named WAR BRAHMIN for the Shipping Controller

February 1920 completed at a cost of £208,275 and placed under initial management of C.T. Bowring & Co Ltd, Liverpool. She was built with patent davits, the only one of her Class so fitted. Her name is derived from the Indian word and refers to the highest caste in the Indian caste system

5 February 1920 sailed the Clyde on builders trials

6 February 1920 sailed the Clyde for Trinidad

1 March 1920 sailed Trinidad for the UK

18 March 1920 arrived at Plymouth from Trinidad

29 May 1920 arrived at New Orleans from Port Victoria

4 June 1920 sailed Port Eads for London

12 July 1920 sailed London for Trinidad

17 August 1920 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing east arriving later at Plymouth

19 August 1920 berthed at Sheerness from Devonport

24 August 1920 sailed Sheerness for Houston, Texas

13 September 1920 arrived at Galveston from Port Victoria

21 October 1920 sailed Hull for Abadan

18 November 1920 arrived at Abadan from Hull

9 December 1920 arrived at Suez from Abadan

21 January 1921 arrived at Suez from Abadan

3 May 1921 arrived at Portland from Port Said

12 May 1921 sailed Southampton for Port Arthur

14 May 1921 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing west

2 June 1921 arrived Port Arthur, Texas from Southampton

7 June 1921 sailed Port Arthur, Texas for the River Clyde

31 August 1921 arrived at Plymouth from Abadan

4 September 1921 sailed Plymouth for Trinidad

18 September 1921 arrived at Trinidad from Plymouth

10 October 1921 berthed on HMS VALIANT at Devonport from Trinidad to discharge cargo by pipe line into the new tank depot which had been built on the Cornish side of the River Tamar

Press Report 21 Nov 21 War Brahmin

Press report of 21 November 1921 in the Western Morning News

 

4 November 1921 sailed Plymouth for Port Arthur, Texas

22 November 1921 radioed to the US Shipping Board that she was at 25.47N 79.43W

23 November 1921 radioed to the US Shipping Board that she was at 24.36N 83.15W

29 November 1921 sailed Port Arthur, Texas for France 

15 December 1921 800 nmiles west of Valentia

19 December 1921 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing east for Portland

20 December 1921 arrived at Portland fromPort Arthur, Texas

24 December 1921 sailed Portland for Port Arthur, Texas

1921 transferred to Admiralty management and manning as an RFA

16 January 1922 arrived at Port Arthur, Texas from Portland

30 January 1922 at sea at 39.06N 61.30W Able Seaman John Hennessey discharged dead - washed overboard and drowned

13 February 1922 arrived at the Clyde from Portland, Maine, USA. During the crossing of the Atlantic eleven of the crew were injured through very rough weather including the Chief Officer who suffered a broken collar bone

Press Report 14 2 1922 War Brahmin

Press report of 14 February 1922 in the Western Morning News

18 April 1922 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing east

11 July 1922 sailed Devonport

5 October 1922 passed Gibraltar while on passage to Malta

9 October 1922 arrived at Malta from Devonport

20 October 1922 sailed Suez for Abadan

5 December 1922 arrived at Abadan

26 January 1923 sailed Port Arthur

30 April 1923 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

4 June 1923 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

8 July 1923 radioed she was 680 nmiles West of Valentia on passage to Devonport

7 August 1923 sailed Trinidad for the UK

23 August 1923 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing east

24 August 1923 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

27 August 1923 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

16 September 1923 sailed Trinidad for Devonport

1 October 1923 arrived at Trinidad

25 October 1923 Captain William J Yeomans RD RFA as Master

WIlliam J Yeomans

Captain William J Yeomans RD RFA

30 November 1923 arrived at Sierra Leone from Trinidad

8 December 1923 at Sierra Leone alongside HMS HOOD at 0900 - supplied 2,053 tons of FFO to the Battle Cruiser - cast off 2000 hrs

HMS Hood

HMS HOOD

10 December 1923 at Sierra Leone alongside HMS REPULSE to refuel her

11 December 1923 slightly damaged when in collision with  the cruisers HMS DANAE and HMS DELHI when fuelling the Special Service Squadron off Sierra Leone. Seven artisans from HMS HOOD transfered to repair the damage

12 December 1923 sailed to Trinidad to load cargo, then to Devonport for discharge and further repairs.

10 February 1924 at Devonport

11 February 1924 sailed Devonport for Gibraltar

16 February 1924 berthed at Gibraltar

18 February 1924 sailed Gibraltar

3 March 1924 berthed at Trinidad

6 March 1924 sailed Trinidad

31 March 1924 berthed at Simonstown Dockyard to discharge cargo into the new Navy Fuel Depot

3 April 1924 sailed Simonstown Dockyard

25 April 1924 berthed Trinidad

9 May 1924 radioed she was 450 nmiles S. W. of Valentia

11 May 1924 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing east

12 May 1924 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

15 May 1924 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

5 June 1924 berthed Port Arthur from Devonport

7 June 1924 sailed Port Arthur for Devonport

12 June 1924 at 30.04N 77.10W Fireman Charles Somerset Morris discharged dead - drowned

29 June 1924 passed Dover and berthed at Sheerness the same day

1 September 1924 Captain John Gow RFA appointed as Master and Mr W Maybray RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

 John Gow

Captain John Gow RFA

18 September 1924 passed Gibraltar

25 September 1924 at Port Said

27 September 1924 transit Suez Canal and arrived at Suez

9 October 1924 berthed at Abadan

12 October 1924 sailed Abadan

28 |October 1924 berthed at Singapore

31 October 1924 sailed Singapore

14 November 1924 in the Persian Gulf Fireman William Tubb discharged dead having committed suicide

19 November 1924 arrived Abadan

28 November 1924 berthed at Aden

30 November 1924 sailed Aden

8 December 1924 at Abadan

27 December 1924 at the oil wharf at Kepple Harbour, Singapore

23 January 1925 sailed Hong Kong

3 March 1925 arrived at Suez from Abadan

27 March 1925 Captain Frank J Delamotte RFA appointed as Master

10 July 1925 at the oil wharf at Kepple Harbour, Singapore

21 July 1925 in dry dock at Singapore

31 December 1925 sailed Glasgow for Bayton in ballast

9 June 1926 sailed Plymouth for Malta

9 February 1927 at the oil wharf at Kepple Harbour, Singapore

9 May 1927 while secure alongside in Singapore Harbour was struck by the ss Pinna (previously RFA Polshannon) a tanker under the ownership of Anglo Saxon Petroleum. Both vessels suffered slight damage

7 August 1927 arrived at the oil wharf Singapore from Abadan having sailed from that port on 19 July to partially discharge and sailed 8 August 1927 for Hong Kong

12 November 1927 arrived at Suez from Abadan

2 January 1928 Captain Donald R McCutchan RFA appointed as Master

 

Donald_R_McCutchan2

Captain Donald  R McCutchan RFA

 

1 March 1928 at 24.20N 36.11E Fireman's Boy Yuen Yung discharged dead - lost overboard

21 July 1928 Mr Harry M Scott RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

CEO Harry M Scott

Chief Engineer Officer Harry M Scott RFA

1 November 1928 at the oil wharf, Kepple Harbour, Singapore

1 January 1929 in dry dock No: 12 at Portsmouth Harbour

8 and 9 March 1929 berthed at the oil wharf, Kepple Harbour, SIngapore

23 August 1929 Mr James E Hawthorn RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

 

Image of CEO James HAWTHORN

Chief Engineer Officer James E Hawthorn RFA

 

28 February 1930 berthed at Gibraltar on arrival from Port Said

20 July 1930 sailed Abadan

25 August 1930 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

27 August 1930  Captain J Martin-Smith DSC RFA (Lieut- Commander RNR (Rtd)) appointed as Master

28 August 1930 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

10 September 1930 arrived at Port Said

20 September 1930 Mr R Blacklock RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

28 September 1930 arrived at Abadan

28 October 1930 arrived at Abadan

24 November 1930 sailed Port Said

3 December 1930 passed Gibraltar

8 December 1930 arrived at Plymouth Sound

5 March 1931 took on charge an E. Dent & Co Marine Chronometer No 57219 purchased by the Admiralty in April 1913. Previous been held on charge by HMS Emperor of India. Landed off charge on 7 January 1935 to HM Dockyard, Sheerness

31 March 1931 for Abadan passed Perim

11 April 1931 sailed Abadan for Malta

21 July 1931 at sea Carpenter Chong Pong discharged dead from self administered opium poisioning

28 August 1931 Mr George T Beed RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

CEO George T Beed

Chief Engineer Officer George T Beed RFA

 

1 October 1931 Captain Leonard Elford RFA appointed as Master

 

Captain Leonard Elford

Captain Leonard Elford RFA

 

10 November 1931 sailed Suez for Abadan

17 November 1931 passed Perim

30 December 1931 sailed Abadan for Singapore

24 January1932 sailed Abadan for Port Said

12 February 1932 sailed Port Said for Sheerness

25 February 1932 at sea Sailor Yit Ah Peng discharged dead having drowned

15 March 1932 at Chatham

12 April 1932 still at Chatham

26 November 1932 at Sea 11 miles east of Ras Marshas (Aden) Chief Steward C Y Sum discharged dead having been murdered by stabbing. Mess Room Boy Line Tone discharged dead - disappeared presumed drowned

11 December 1932 sailed Anadan for Singapore

8 January 1933 sailed Singapore for Abadan

30 January 1933 sailed Abadan for Sheerness

4 April 1933 Mr John Atchison RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

29 August 1933 sailed Hong Kong for Singapore

1 October 1933 sailed Abadan for Portsmouth

2 November 1933 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

10 November 1933 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

23 January 1934 sailed Plymouth for Abadan

4 February 1934 arrived at Port Said

18 April 1934 arrived at Malta under the tow of RFA WAR HINDOO - information from Lloyds Casualty reports

5 July 1934 Captain James Martin-Smith DSC RFA (Lieut. Commander RNR (Rtd)) appointed as Master

30 January 1935 arrived at Suez

15 February 1935 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

23 February 1935 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

29 March 1935 arrived at Abadan

13 May 1935 Captain Eric Parker RFA appointed as Master

 

Captain Eric Parker

Captain Eric Parker RFA

 

22 July 1935 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour from Abadan

27 July 1935 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

18 August 1935 sailed Swansea for Abadan

11 September 1935 arrived at Port Said

2 November 1935 arrived at Port Said

9 February 1936 arrived at Suez

7 December 1936 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard

9 December 1936 Mr Albert S Owen RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

 CEO Albert S Owen

Chief Engineer Officer Albert S Owen RFA

31 January 1937 arrived Swansea from Trinidad

4 February 1937 sailed Swansea for Trinidad

15 March 1937 arrived Swansea

2 May 1937 sailed Swansea for Trinidad

17 June 1937 arrived at Port Victoria, Kent

20 August 1937 sailed Falmouth for Chatham

28 September 1937 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing east

29 September 1937 anchored in Plymouth Sound from Trinidad

2 October 1937 sailed Plymouth

4 October 1937 berthed on the River Tyne

24 October 1937 sailed from the River Tyne

30 October 1937 sailed Sheerness for Bermuda

13 December 1937 berthed at Gibraltar from Trinidad to discharge cargo

18 March 1938 arrived at Gibraltar from Trinidad to discharge cargo

19 March 1938 at Gibraltar Bay Donkeyman Greaser Arthur John Richards discharged dead - presumed drowned

27 April 1938 arrived at Gibraltar from Trinidad to discharge cargo

11 June 1938 arrived at Port Victoria, Kent from Trinidad to discharge

12 July 1938 at H.M. Dockyard, Bermuda Donkeyman Greaser James Alexander Gow discharged dead having accidentally drowned. He is buried in the Royal Naval Cemetery, Bermuda

 

Gow_JA

Courtesy and © of The War Graves Photographic Project

 

11 August 1938 Mr Frederick C Pavitt RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

15 August 1938 Captain Thomas H Card RFA appointed as Master

24 October 1938 arrived on the River Tyne for berthing at Hebburn from Chatham

5 November 1938 sailed the River Tyne for Sheerness

26 May 1939 arrived at Port Victoria, Kent

2 June 1939 Captain Charles F Smith RFA appointed as Master

4 August 1939 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

7 August 1939 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

18 October 1939 at Kingston, Jamaica Donkeyman Greaser William Denley discharged dead - drowned

30 November 1939 at Bermuda berthed alongside HMS EMERALD and refuelled her with 648 tons of fuel oil

4 February 1940 sailed Bermuda to Trinidad arrived 9 February 1940

8 February 1940 met HMAS PERTH and ordered to fully load at Trinidad and then to patrol off Bonaire to refuel HM ships as necessary - source war diary HMAS PERTH

11 February 1940 sailed Trinidad to Curacao and then Kingston, Jamaica arriving 14 March 1940

8 April 1940 sailed Kingston to Trinidad arriving 13 April 1940

17 April 1940 sailed Trinidad to Bermuda arriving 23 April 1940

16 November 1940 orders received from C in C of America and West Indies Station this day to proceed via the Old Bahamas Channel to Florida Straits and patrol between 10 and 20 miles 270° from North Bimini Light, reading to fuel VAN KINSBERGEN, DIOMEDE and MALOJA. Keep good lookout for German ships ORINOCO, RHEIN, PHRYGIA and IDARWALD which sailed Tampico p.m. 15/11

3 December 1940 sailed Bermuda for the Florida Straits - source Admiralty War Diary of this day

28 June 1941 degaussing equipment fitted.

30 June 1941 sailed Trinidad to Bermuda arriving 9 July 1941

5 July 1941 reported as a Suspicious Ship and subjected a a QQQQ message - copied from the Admiralty War Diary of this day -

War Bra sus ship

22 July 1941 sailed Bermuda for Baltimore for dry docking and refit arriving 27 July 1941

20 August 1941 sailed Baltimore to Norfolk, Virginia

21 September 1941 Mr Wilfred C Shortland RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

1 January 1942 at Bermuda

17 January 1942 at Grassy Bay, Bermuda - moored alongside USS Savannah (CL42), USS Nashville (CL43) and refuelled her with 103,209 gallons of fuel oil 

17 March 1942 anchored at Grassy Bay, Bermuda - USS Wilson (DD847) and USS Lang (DD399) alongside to be refuelled

31 May 1942 at Murray's anchorage, Bermuda - USS Dallas (DD199) alongside to be refuelled

6 October 1942 to 8 October 1942 anchored at Grassy Bay, Bermuda

10 November 1942 in the AFD Bermuda in refit

12 April 1943 Captain Archibald Hobson DSC RFA appointed as Master

 Capt Archibald Hobson Photo

Captain Archibald Hobson DSC RFA

 

28 June 1943 at Bermuda alongside HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH refuelling her - 534 tons of FFO supplied

8 August 1943 at Bermuda moored alongside USS Enoree (AO69) received a pump over 14,269 barrels of US Navy Fuel Oil

21 August 1943 Mr J Cook RFA appointed Chief Engineer Officer

6 February 1944 moored alongside USS Winooski (AO38) which was anchored at Murrays Ancorage, Bermuda and received a pump over of 15,518 barrels of US Navy fuel oil

10 February 1944 at Murrays Ancorage, Bermuda moored alongside USS Merrimack (AO37) received a pump over of 15,052 gallons of US Navy fuel oil

27 February 1944 at Royal Bay Anchorage, Bermuda moored alongside USS Niobrara (AO72) received a pump over of 13,871 barrels of US Navy fuel oil

23 March 1944 at Murrays Ancorage, Bermuda moored alongside USS Mattaponi (AO41) received a pump over of US Navy Fuel oil

9 April 1944 the US Navy approached the Senior (British) Naval Officer at Bermuda asking for the use of RFA War Brahmin to train US Destroyers in the refuelling astern method and if possible refuelling alongside during the US Naval weekly exercises. While it was found to be impractical to train using the refuelling method. Permission was given to train in the refuelling astern method. Details from US Atlantic Fleet Shakedown Operational Training Command weekly progress report item 45 

15 April 1944 USS Meredith (DD726), USS Riley (DE579), USS Rowell (DE403), USS Jack W Wilke (DE800), and USS Johnson (DE 702) undergoing training in replenishment astern 

5 June 1945 under going repairs at Bermuda - completed 

20 June 1945 Captain Stanley M Woodward RFA appointed as Master

Captain Stanley WOODWARD

Captain Stanley M Woodward RFA

10 October 1945 arrived Bocas from Bermuda (details from the War Diary, US Operating Base, Trinidad - page 6)

16 October 1945 sailed Bocas to Kingston (details from the War Diary, US Operating Base, Trinidad - page 7)

24 October 1945 sailed Kingston to Bermuda

31 October 1945 at the Royal Naval Hospital, Bermuda Able Seaman Joseph Claudius Williams discharged dead - natural causes

24 November 1945 sailed Bermuda to Kingston arriving 29 November 1945

8 December 1945 arrived at Trinidad from Kingston

21 December 1945 sailed Trinidad to Bermuda arriving 30 December 1945

11 January 1946 sailed Bermuda to Portsmouth Harbour arriving 26 January 1946

12 February 1946 sailed Portsmouth Harbour to Liverpool arriving on 15 February 1946

13 February 1946 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing westwards

27 April 1946 Mr G P O Summers RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

3 May 1946 Mr William H A Lawson RFA appointed Chief Engineer Officer

CEO William H A LAWSON

Chief Engineer Officer William H A Lawson RFA

5 May 1946 at Liverpool reporting engine trouble

17 February 1947 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

6 March 1947 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour for Dover

7 March 1947 berthed at Dover to discharge cargo into the Admiralty Fuel Depot

2 April 1947 Captain Albert V Barton RFA appointed as Master

3 June 1947 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

8 June 1947 sailed Portsmouth Harbour for Malta

 Notts Even Post 7 June 1947

Press Cutting from Nottingham Evening Post of 7 July 1947

13 June 1947 berthed at Gibraltar

24 June 1947 berthed at Malta

21 July 1947 berthed at Malta from Augusta

13 September 1947 The Times of Malta ran a report of the ships movements -

Times of Malta 13 Sept 1947

30 October 1947 at Malta alongside the military transport Otranto and supplied fresh water. The transport would normally have been supplied with fresh water when homeward bound from the Middle East at Port Said, Egypt but due to an outbreak of cholera there  fresh water was now being supplied at Malta

13 December 1947 berthed at Malta

War Brahmin Malta 13 12 1947

15 March 1948 Captain Stanley M Woodward RFA appointed as Master

16 March 1948 3rd Officer Alec McKinnon RFA discharged dead.  He is buried in Kalkara Royal Naval Cemetery, Malta

Times of Malta 17 March 1948

Press Cutting from Times of Malta 17 March 1948

9 August 1948 Mr Albert P Cox RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

 CEO COX ALBERT PERCIVAL

Chief Engineer Officer Albert P Cox RFA

7 September 1949 laid up in reserve in the River Fal

18 May 1950 sailed for Devonport

10 March 1951 Mr C G McFadzean RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

15 March 1951 Captain E H Butterworth RFA appointed as Master

27 February 1953 sailed Immingham in tow after a long refit there to act as a water carrier between  Augusta and Malta and Casablanca and Gibraltar for some time after which she became a floating oil storage vessel at Gibraltar.

1958 was briefly renamed when she starred as the Italian OLTERRA which was the Depot Ship for Italian frogmen in the film “The Silent Enemy” starring Laurence Harvey  The scenes were shot at Gibraltar and depicted the frogmen’s wartime actions there during which RFA DENBYDALE was seriously damaged. Minor roles were also played by RFA’s  AMHERST and EDDYBEACH

1959 sold for scrap

5 February 1960 arrived La Spezi in tow of the Dutch tug RODE ZEE for breaking up

 

Notes:

 

1. The Naples-registered OLTERRA was interred at Algeciras by the neutral Spanish authorities during WW2.  The Italian 10th Flotilla secretly used the ship as  their base to attack shipping across the Bay at Gibraltar by the use of underwater chariots. The ship was finally blown up by Lt “Buster” Crabb RNVR and Leading Seaman Knowles RN.

Additional information

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