RFA Ships lost or damaged through warfare

 

Ships of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary have served with distinction in all theatres of naval warfare in which the Royal Navy has been involved from the Services creation at the start of the 20th century to the present day. This involvement has not been without its losses both in ships and their crews.
 
Listed below are the RFA and NAV ships which have been lost or damaged or where members of the crew have been killed or injured

 

 

 

1915

 

RFA Caribbean

On 27 September 1915 RFA Caribbean, an accomodation ship, foundered off Cape Wrath while on passage from Liverpool to Scapa Flow. Fifteen members of the crew were killed.

 

1916

 

RFA Innistrahull

RFA Innistrahull a water carrier, was lost in 1916 - details currently not available.

 

RFA Aspenleaf

On 30 December 1916 RFA Aspenleaf, a tanker, was mined and damaged in the English Channel off the Owers Light Vessel. The mine had been laid by the German submarine UC16. The vessel was towed to port and repaired. There were no fatalities.


1917


RFA Palmleaf

On 4 February 1917 RFA Palmleaf, a tanker, was torpedoed and sunk in the North Atlantic 230 miles W of Fastnet by the German submarine U54. There were no fatalities. The Master and Chief Engineer were taken prisoner.


RFA Thrush

On 11 April 1917 RFA Thrush, a salvage ship, foundered in the St. George’s Channel off Larne, County Antrim, Northern Ireland. Eight members of the crew were killed.


RFA Limeleaf

On 19 April 1917 RFA Limeleaf, a tanker, was torpedoed and damaged in the English Channel 10 miles east of the Owers Light Vessel by the German Submarine UB40. Seven of the crew were killed.  The ship was towed to port and repaired.


RFA Ashleaf

On 29 May 1917 RFA Ashleaf, a tanker, was torpedoed and sunk in the North Atlantic 150 miles W of Bishops Rock at 48.40N, 09.30W by the German submarine U88. There were no fatalities

 

RFA Dockleaf

On 3 June 1917 RFA Dockleaf, a tanker, was mined and damaged off Genoa, Italy.  The mine having been laid by German submarine UC35. There were no fatalities.


RFA Oakleaf (1)

On 25 July 1917 RFA Oakleaf (1), a tanker, was torpedoed and sunk 64 miles NW¼W from the Butt of Lewis by the German submarine UC41. There were no fatalities.

 

RFA Appleleaf (1)

On 10 November 1917 RFA Appleleaf (1), a tanker, was mined in the North Sea. She was towed to port. There were no fatalities.

 

RFA Elmleaf

On 24 December 1917 RFA Elmleaf, a tanker, was torpedoed and damaged while 27 miles WSW of Cape Wrath, by German submarine U91. She was towed to port. There were no fatalities.


1918


RFA Creosol

On 7 February 1918 RFA Creosol, a tanker, was torpedoed and sunk in the North Sea by the German Submarine UC17 and now lies 5 miles ENE of Seaham Harbour. Two of the crew were killed.

 

RFA Birchleaf

On 23 February 1918 RFA Birchleaf, a tanker, was torpedoed and damaged off Orkney, Scotland by the German Submarine U91. Three of the crew were killed. The ship was saved.


RFA Vitol

On 7 March 1918 RFA Vitol, a tanker, struck a mine laid by a German submarine U110 and sank in the Irish Sea 50 miles west of Aberystwyth, Wales. Four of the crew were killed.

 

RFA British Star

On 26 March 1918 RFA British Star, a tanker, was torpedoed and damaged in the North Sea 1.5 nautical miles east of the River Tyne by the German submarine UB78. There were no fatalities.


RFA Hungerford

On 16 April 1918 RFA Hungerford, a store ship, was torpedoed and sunk in the English Channel 9 miles SSE of the Owers Light ship by the German Submarine UC75. Eight of the crew were killed.

 

RFA Sprucol

On 10 July 1918 RFA Sprucol, a tanker, was torpedoed and damaged in the North Sea by the German submarine UB110 but reached port. There were no fatalities.


RFA Delphinula

On 24 August 1918 RFA Delphinula, a tanker, was torpedoed and damaged while in the Cerigo Strait, Greece by German submarine U63 but made port. There were no fatalities.

 

RFA Industry

On 18 October 1918 RFA Industry, a store ship, was torpedoed and sunk near the Strangford Light Bouy, Irish Sea by German submarine UB 94. Twenty of the crew were killed.


1919


RFA Hughli

On 26 April 1919 RFA Hughli, a salvage ship, exploded and sank off the Belgian Coast. Nineteen of the crew were killed.


1939


RFA Birchol (1)

On 29 November 1939 RFA Birchol (1), a tanker, was stranded and wrecked off the Hebrides, Western Scotland. There were no fatalities.

 


1940


RFA Scottish American

On 28 April 1940 RFA Scottish American, a tanker, was torpedoed and damaged in the North Atlantic west of the Pentland Firth by the German submarine U13 but made Loch Eribol under tow. Having discharged 8,200 tons of her cargo she was towed to the River Tyne for repair. There were no fatalities.


RFA Boardale

On 30 April 1940 RFA Boardale, a tanker, was grounded at Åsanfjord/Straumsjøen in Bø, Vesterålen, Norway, caught fire and sank on 2 May 1940. There were no fatalities.


RFA Broomdale

On 16 May 1940 RFA Broomdale, a tanker, was damaged as a result of enemy bombing. There were no fatalities.

 

RFA Oleander (2)

On 8 June 1940 RFA Oleander (2), a tanker, was damaged, beached and sunk in Harstad Bay, Norway. There were no fatalities.


RFA War Sepoy

On 19 July 1940 RFA War Sepoy, a tanker, was damaged by German aircraft in the English Channel off Dover. She was adjudged a constructive total loss. There were no fatalities.

 

RFA Celerol

On 18 August 1940 RFA Celerol, a tanker, was attacked by German aircraft off Portland, in the English Channel. There were no fatalities.

 

RFA Boxol

On 11 November 1940 RFA Boxol, a tanker, was at Grand Harbour, Malta during an air raid at night and in blackout. The Chief Engineer Officer was injured


1941


RFA Attendant

On 1 January 1941 RFA Attendant, a harbour tanker, was mined off Sheerness Dockyard, Kent. The ship made port. There were no fatalities.

 

RFA Olna (1)

On 18 May 1941 RFA Olna, a tanker, was bombed, set on fire and sunk at Crete. There were no fatalities.

 

RFA Cairndale

On 30 May 1941 RFA Cairndale, a tanker, was torpedoed and sank in the Eastern Atlantic 188 miles WSW of Gibraltar by the Italian Submarine Guglielmo Marconi. Four of the crew were killed.

 

RFA Maine (3)

On 6 September 1941 RFA Maine (3), a hospital ship, was bombed and damaged at Alexandria, Egypt. Four of the crew were killed.


RFA Petrella

On 12 September 1941 RFA Petrella, a tanker, was bombed and damaged at Suez, Egypt. One of the crew was killed.

 

RFA Darkdale

On 22 October 1941 RFA Darkdale, a tanker, was torpedoed and sunk while at anchor off Jamestown, St. Helena, South Atlantic Ocean by the German Submarine U68. Forty one of the crew were killed.


RFA War Nizam

On 11 November 1941 RFA War Nizam, a tanker, was damaged in an air attack in the North Sea off Aldeburgh.

 

RFA War Mehtar

On 20 November 1941 RFA War Mehtar, a tanker, was torpedoed and sunk by German E-Boat S104. There were no fatalities.

 

RFA Ebonol

On 19 December 1941 RFA Ebonol, a tanker, was scuttled to avoid capture at Hong Kong by the Japanese. The crew were taken as prisoners of war. One officer died in captivity while 26 ratings were posted as missing or as Prisoners of war.

 

1942

 

NAV Isleford

On 25 January 1942 NAV Isleford, an ammunition carrier, grounded and sank off Wick while on passage from from Lyness to Invergordon.  All of the crew of 15 were drowned

 

RFA Ruthenia

On 16 February 1942 RFA Ruthenia, a fuel hulk, was scuttled to avoid capture at Singapore. There were no fatalities. Subsequently raised and renamed Choran Maru by the Japanese

 

RFA War Sirdar

On 25 February 1942 RFA War Sirdar, a tanker, berthed alongside HMAS Hobart at Tanjong Priok was bombed and damaged. About 60 bombs dropped near both ships. One bomb struck RFA War Sirdar's deck entered a tank and exited through the bottom of the ship. There were no fatalities. Two ratings on HMAS Hobart were injured

 

RFA War Sirdar

On 1 March 1942 RFA War Sirdar, a tanker, was attacked and lost on a reef in the Straits of Sunda, North Western Batavia. There were no fatalities


RFA Francol

On 3 March 1942 RFA Francol, a tanker, was shelled and sunk by Japanese surface forces. Four of the crew were killed and a fifth died later as a prisoner of war.

 

RFA Slavol

On 26 March 1942 RFA Slavol, a tanker, was torpedoed and sunk off Sidi Barrani, Egypt by the German submarine U205. Thirty six of the crew were killed.


RFA Plumleaf (1)

On 4 April 1942 RFA Plumleaf (1), a tanker, was bombed and sunk in Malta. There were no fatalities.


RFA Montenol

On 21 May 1942 RFA Montenol, a tanker, was torpedoed and damaged in the Atlantic while part of convoy OS-28 by the German submarine U159. Four of the crew were killed. The ship was later sunk by gunfire from HMS Woodruff (K53).


RFA Dinsdale

On 31 May 1942 RFA Dinsdale, a tanker, was torpedoed and sunk in the South Atlantic SSW of St. Paul’s Rocks by the Italian submarine Comandante Cappellini. Five of the crew were killed.

 

RFA Brambleleaf (1)

On 10 June 1942 RFA Brambleleaf (1) a tanker, was torpedoed and set on fire between Alexandria and Mersa Matruh, Egypt by the German submarine U559. The ship was towed to Alexandria and used as an oil hulk. She sank at her berth on 15 September, 1944. Seven of the crew were killed as a result of the attack.

 

RFA Aldersdale

On 7 July 1942 RFA Aldersdale, a tanker, was bombed and heavily damaged by German Ju88 aircraft in the Barents Sea north of the Kola Peninsula having dispersed from convoy PQ17. The ship was later hit by gun fire from German submarine U457 and even later she torpedoed the ship which sank in two halves. There were no fatalities.

 

RFA Bishopdale

On 5 August 1942 RFA Bishopdale, a tanker, was mined in an allied minefield when leaving the port of Noumea, Grande Terre, New Caledonia and was extensively damaged on her starboard side. The ship later made her way under her own power, under escort,  to Sydney, NSW, Australia for docking and repairs. There were no fatalities.


RFA Denbydale

On 20 September 1942 RFA Denbydale, a tanker, was badly damaged when an Italian submarine Sciré launched 3 manned torpedoes into Gibraltar Harbour. There were no fatalities.


RFA Gray Ranger

On 22 September 1942 RFA Gray Ranger, a tanker, was torpedoed while part of Convoy PQ14 west of Jan Mayen Island by the German submarine U435 and was later sunk by H.M. ships. Six of the crew were killed.

 

RFA Dewdale (1)

On 12 November 1942 and 20 November 1942 RFA Dewdale (1), a tanker, was bombed at Algiers and damaged on both dates. On the second date the ship received a direct hit, port side No 6 tank. There were no fatalites.

 

1943

 

RFA Belgol

On 24 May 1943 RFA Belgol, a tanker, was damaged in an air raid on Sunderland.

 

RFA Hickerol

On 13 June 1943 RFA Hickerol, a tanker, was damaged during an air raid at Plymouth

 

RFA Abbeydale

On 27 June 1943 RFA Abbeydale, a tanker, was torpedoed and damaged in the Mediterranean off the Algerian coast while part of convoy XTG-2 by the German Submarine U73. There were no fatalities.

 

RFA Oligarch (2)

On 30 June 1943 RFA Oligarch (2), a tanker, was torpedoed and damaged in the Mediterranean off the Libyan coast 40 miles northwest of Derna while part of convoy GTX-3 by the German Submarine U453. There were no fatalities.

 

RFA Ennerdale (1)

On 13 July 1943 RFA Ennerdale (1), a tanker, was bombed and suffered sundry damage off Sicily from near misses. One of the crew was killed.


1944

 

RFA Salviking

On 14 February 1944 RFA Salviking, an ocean salvage ship, was torpedoed and sunk by the German Submarine U168 in the Indian Ocean. Fourteen members of the crew were killed.

 

RFA Broomdale

On 14 April 1944 RFA Broomdale, a tanker, was damaged when the ammunition ship FORT STIKINE blew up in the harbour at Bombay, India.

 

RFA Broomdale

On 28 August 1944 RFA Broomdale, a tanker, was accidentally torpedoed by HMS/m Severn in Trincomalee Harbour, Ceylon causing serious damage to No 1 and 2 port tanks. One of the crew was killed.

 

RFA War Nizam

On 20 September 1944 RFA War Nizam, a tanker, was bombed and damaged off Southend in the Thames Estuary. One of the crew was killed.

 

RFA Bishopdale

On 15 December 1944 RFA Bishopdale, a tanker, was hit by a Japanese VAL suicide bomber and damaged at San Pedro Bay, Leyte Gulf, Philippines. Three of the crew were killed.

 

RFA War Diwan

On 16 December 1944 RFA War Diwan, a tanker, was mined and sank in the River Scheldt en route to Antwerp. Five of the crew were killed.

 

1945

 

RFA King Salvor

On 30 January 1945 RFA King Salvor, an Ocean Salvage ship, was mined and damaged at St. Louis de Rhone, France. There were no fatalities.


1982

 


RFA Sir Galahad

On 8 June 1982 RFA Sir Galahad, a LSL, was bombed and set on fire at Bluff Cove, East Falkland during the Falklands War. The ship was sunk on 25 June, 1982 as a war grave. Five of the crew and forty three service personnel were killed.


RFA Sir Tristram

On 8 June 1982 RFA Sir Tristram, a LSL, was bombed and damaged at Bluff Cove, East Falkland during the Falklands War. Two of the crew were killed.

Copyright © 2008 – 2017 Christopher J White

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