RFA War Sepoy

 

Official Number:                      142773


Class:                                      WAR CLASS Freighting Tanker - 5 cargo tanks

Pennant No:                            Y7.322 / X83

Laid down:
Builder:                                    William Gray & Company, Hartlepool
Launched:                               5 December 1918
Into Service:                            1921
Out of service:                        19 July 1940 
Fate:                                        Scuttled

 

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.

 

5 December 1918 launched

13 December 1918 the Whitby Gazette reported ...

Press Report War Sepoy launch December 1918

6 February 1919 completed and placed under initial management of Hunting & Sons Ltd, London

20 April 1919 berthed at Singapore from Suez

23 July 1919 Fireman Thomas McGill appeared before the Marine Magistrates' Court, Hong Kong charged with desertion on or about 12 July 1919. He pleaded Guilty. He was sentenced to four weeks hard labour and was fined two days pay

15 December 1919 sailed from Hong Kong with HMS TARNATULA

14 January 1920 was at Homg Kong

26 February 1920 at Nagasaki, Japan alongside HMS CAIRO to refuel her

HMS CAIRO 2

HMS CAIRO

8 March 1920 at Hong Kong with HMS TARANTULA alongside to be refuelled

HMS TARANTULA

HMS TARANTULA

24 July 1920 sailed Aden for Suez 

30 July 1920 arrived Suez from Aden

17 September 1920 arrived Suez from Abadan

18 September 1920 sailed Port Said for Constantinople

19 September 1920 at sea at 32.34N 31.13E Seaman Liu Khan discharged dead from heart failure. He had signed on at Hong Kong on 14 January 1920

8 October 1920 Fireman Ng Wan discharged dead. He died in 82nd General Hospital, Constantinople from malaria. He is buried in Haidar Pasha Cemetery, Gallipoli, Turkey

 

WAN_NG

Courtesy and © of The War Graves Photographic Project

 

1 November 1920 arrived at Port Said from Constantinople

7 November 1920 sailed from Suez for Singapore

12 November 1920 arrived at Aden

1 December 1920 in the Albert Dry Dock, Tanjong Pagar, Singapore

4 December 1920 to 1 January 1921 alongside the East Wharf, Singapore

1921 transferred to Admiralty ownership but remained under commercial management

22 February 1921 sailed from Victoria, British Columbia

26 March 1921 sailed Port Arthur for Devonport

15 April 1921 arrived Plymouth Sound from Port Arthur with a cargo of 7,000 tons of FFO for orders

April 1921 Captain Edmund C S Richardson RFA appointed as Master

16 April 1921 berthed at Sheerness from Plymouth

6 June 1921 arrived at Greenock from Port Arthur, Texas

2 July 1921 sailed Port Arthur for Devonport

5 July 1921 was at 24.34N 81.38W

July 1921 Mr George K McPherson RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

CEO G L McPherson

Chief Engineer Officer George K McPherson RFA

10 August 1921 arrived at Port Said when on passage from Rosyth to Abadan

16 August 1921 arrived at Aden

12 September 1921 arrived at Suez

17 September 1921 arrived Malta from the Persian Gulf while on passage to Devonport   

25 September 1921 berthed at Devonport from the Persian Gulf

29 September 1921 sailed from Devonport

5 October 1921 sailed Port Talbot

17 October 1921 arrived Port Said

18 October 1921 sailed Port Said

23 October 1921 arrived at Aden from Port Talbot

14 November 1921 sailed Port Said

18 November 1921 arrived at Malta

26 November 1921 was 200 miles south of Lands End

27 November 1921 berthed at Devonport from Abadan with 1 passenger. Captain James D O Ashworth RFA was the Master

Capt J D Ashworth

Captain James D O Ashworth RFA

 

 west morn news war sepoy

Press report from the Western Morning News of 17 December 1921

 

18 December 1921 Mr Frederick C Reynolds RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

CEO Frederick Reynolds

Chief Engineer Officer Frederick C Reynolds RFA

20 January 1922 sailed Plymouth

21 January 1922 in the Channel suffered defects resulting in her signalling for assistance. A tug was sailed from Devonport. She reached Plymouth Sound under her own steam but flying 'not under command' flags

24 February 1922 sailed from Plymouth for Port Arthur

1922 carried the first load of oil to the new Admiralty tanks at Singapore

11 April 1922 at 50.17N 15.00W Greaser Richard Davis discharged dead - natural causes

13 April 1922 arrived at the river Clyde from Port Arthur

28 April 1922 sailed Greenock for a Texan port

22 June 1922 berthed at Portmouth Harbour

27 June 1922 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

1 July 1922 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

1 August 1922 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

14 August 1922 arrived Port Said from Portsmouth Harbour when on passage to Abadan

29 September 1922 sailed Malta for Abadan

3 October 1922 arrived at Port Said from Malta when on passage to Abadan

21 October 1922 arrived at Abadan

2 December 1922 arrived at Port Said from Gibraltar

8 December 1922 passed Perim

31 December 1922 sailed Bombay

9 February 1923 sailed Hong Kong

1 April 1923 secured to No 3 buoy at Hong Kong

16 April 1923 sailed Borneo

11 May 1923 to 14 May 1923 alongside the oil wharf at Keppel Harbour, Singapore

21 May 1923 in dry dock at Keppel Harbour, Singapore

25 May 1923 sailed Singapore

11 June 1923 alongside the oil wharf at Keppel Harbour, Singapore

29 June 1923 alongside the oil wharf at Keppel Harbour, Singapore

7 July 1923 sailed from Tarukan

29 July 1923 sailed Balikpapan

8 August 1923 sailed Singapore

24 August 1923 alongside the main wharf at Keppel Harbour, Singapore

26 September 1923 berthed at Singapore from Tarakan to discharge

2 October 1923 at Rangoon

22 October 1923 alongside the oil wharf at Keppel Harbour, Singapore

6 November 1923 sailed Singapore

1 December 1923 sailed Singapore

8 December 1923 sailed Balikpapan

17 December 1923 alongside the oil wharf at Keppel Harbour, Singapore

18 December 1923 sailed Singapore

21 December 1923 alongside the East Wharf, Singapore

20 March 1924 alongside the oil wharf at Keppel Harbour, Singapore

24 April 1924 to 25 April 1924 alongside the oil wharf at Keppel Harbour, Singapore

5 June 1924 Captain George L Capsey RFA appointed as Master and Mr Albert Nicholls RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

NICHOLLS ALBERT

Chief Engineer Officer Albert Nicholls RFA

7 June 1924 at Honolulu alongside HMS REPULSE to refuel her

22 August 1924 sailed Abadan

30 August 1924 berthed at Singapore from Abadan

1 October 1924 sailed Singapore to Hong Kong

30 October 1924 sailed Abadan

31 January 1925 Bosun John Williamson discharged dead at 24.41N 42.24W - by accident he fell from the boat deck to the main deck and fractured his skull. He was buried at sea

25 August 1925 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing east bound

31 December 1925 arrived at King George Dock, Hull from Invergordon in ballast

10 January 1926 sailed Hull for New Orleans

5 March 1926 arrived at Plymouth from Tampico

9 March 1926 sailed Plymouth for Trinidad

21 April 1926 Mr Alexander D Scott RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

CEO Alexander D Scott

Chief Engineer Officer Alexander D Scott RFA

26 May 1926 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

28 July 1926 berthed at Gosport Oil Fuel Jetty, Portsmouth Harbour

3 August 1926 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

6 November 1926 the Dundee Courier reported -

W.Sepoy Dundee Couier press report 1926

7 November 1926 while on passage from Trinidad to Invergordon having reported steering engine damage anchored at Queenstown, Ireland this day

16 November 1926 anchored at Spithead.  Captain G St.L Capsey RFA appointed as Master

19 November 1926 berthed on the Gosport Oil Fuel Jetty

22 November 1926 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

14 December 1926 Chief Engineer Alexander D Scott RFA discharged dead - he drowned at sea. He is remembered in Glasgow Western Necropolis.

 

Scott-AD-1

 

Scott AD 2

 

 

28 December 1926 at Trinidad

1 January 1927 sailed from Trinidad

21 January 1927 Mr J Mackintosh RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

24 January 1927 at Invergordon

26 January 1927 sailed from Invergordon

17 February 1927 sailed Trinidad

5 March 1927 at Gibraltar

8 March 1927 sailed from Gibraltar

21 March 1927 at Trinidad

25 March 1927 sailed Trinidad

17 April 1927 at Portland Harbour

18 April 1927 at Sheerness

28 April 1927 passed Dover

11 May 1927 at Sierra Leone

30 May 1927 sailed Trinidad

2 August 1927 at Portland

16 August 1927 at Chatham

5 September 1927 at Antwerp

22 September 1927 sailed New York

12 October 1927 sailed from Port Arthur, Texas

8 November 1927 arrived at the River Wear

11 December 1927 at New Orleans

31 January 1928 berthed at Amsterdam

30 March 1928 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing east

11 April 1928 Mr Sidney J M Esson RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

ESSON SYDNEYJAMESMUNRO

Chief Engineer Officer Sidney J M Esson RFA

 

22 April 1928 passed Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing west bound

28 January 1929 berthed at Purfleet from Curacao with one DBS passenger. Captain George St.L Capsey RFA was the Master

19 June 1929 Captain Charles H Noel RFA appointed as Master

 

Charles_Noel_3_-_1943

Captain Charles H Noel RFA

 

2 July 1929 berthed on Gosport Oil Fuel Jetty

14 October 1929 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

3 December 1929 arrived at Plymouth from Amsterdam

4 December 1929 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing west bound

2 May 1930 Mr C E Harland RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

4 May 1930 arrived at Manchester from Curacao

8 May 1930 sailed from Manchester for Chatham

25 May 1930 sailed Chatham

18 June 1930 berthed at Shell Haven

1 November 1930 sailed Curacao for LEFO

19 November 1930 berthed at Liverpool

21 November 1930 Captain Thomas Drever RFA appointed as Master

25 November 1930 sailed from Liverpool to St. Kitts

12 January 1931 at Colon, Republic of Panama

15 January 1931 at Curacao Chief Steward Archibald John Bowden Smith discharged dead from a heart attack

23 April 1931 arrived at Smith's Dock, River Tyne

14 June 1931 arrived at Plymouth from Liverpool

1 September 1931 sailed Plymouth

5 September 1931 passed Gibraltar while on passage to Abadan

13 December 1931 sailed Port Said

8 February 1932 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

13 February 1932 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

15 March 1932 Mr George C Dunning RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

 

G_C_Dunning_RFA

Chief Engineer Officer George C Dunning RFA

 

7 April 1932 sailed Plymouth

13 June 1932 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

16 June 1932 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

29 January 1933 sailed Gibraltar

21 April 1933 passed Gibraltar while on passage to Devonport

6 May 1933 Mr David E Morgan MIMarE, AMIME RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

CEO David E Morgan

Chief Engineer Officer David E Morgan MIMarE, AMIME RFA 

24 May 1933 Captain William H Green RFA appointed as Master

Captain WILLIAM HERBERT GREEN

Captain William H Green RFA

20 October 1933 arrived at Suez from Abadan

6 November 1933 sailed Port Said

5 December 1933 arrived at Suez from Abadan

15 December 1933 at Gibraltar

25 January 1934 berthed at Portland from Trinidad

26 January 1934 Mr Frederick C Reynolds RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

CEO Frederick Reynolds

Chief Engineer Officer Frederick C Reynolds RFA

19 March 1934 the ship signalled -

 Press Cutting 20-3-34 West Morn News - War Sepoy

Press Cutting from the Western Morning News 20 March 1934

 

24 March 1934 berthed at Rosyth from Trinidad for boiler cleaning

17 May 1934 sailed Port Said

24 May 1934 while on passage to Devonport passed Gibraltar

30 May 1934 arrived at Plymouth from Abadan

2 June 1934 sailed Plymouth for Portsmouth

20 June 1934 Mr F Campbell RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

20 July 1934 Captain William H Green RFA appointed as Master

29 July 1934 sailed Gibraltar for Port Said

6 August 1934 arrived at Port Said from Devonport

21 August 1934 sailed Abadan

23 November 1934 arrived at Suez from Abadan and after transitting the Suez Canal sailed sailed Port Said for Malta

5 December 1934 arrived at Port Said from Malta

8 July 1935 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing east bound

22 August 1935 Captain Reginald C E Neyroud RFA appointed as Master

5 September 1935 sailed Chatham

29 September 1935 sailed Invergordon

25 November 1935 at Invergordon

29 November 1935 sailed Invergordon

2 January 1936 berthed at Gibraltar from Trinidad to discharge

5 January 1936 sailed Gibraltar

10 February 1936 arrived at Plymouth

14 February 1936 sailed Plymouth to Falmouth

19 February 1936 sailed Falmouth

12 March 1936 Mr W A Payne RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

25 March 1936 berthed at Gibraltar from Trinidad to discharge

6 May 1936 grounded when entering the River Tyne from Rosyth

16 July 1936 berthed at Port Victoria, Sheerness from Trinidad with 1 DBS. Captain William J Shipton RFA was the Master

Captain William J Shipton

Captain William J Shipton RFA

29 August 1936 at sea at 21.34N 47.51W Cook Bertram Green discharged dead having been washed overboard

24 October 1936 sailed Portland for Trinidad

15 December 1936 sailed Plymouth for Portland

9 February 1937 berthed at Swansea and transferred to Admiralty management and manning as an RFA 

18 March 1937 sailed Swansea

8 May 1937 arrived at Glasgow from Trinidad

20 May 1937 Captain John Mc Angus RFA appointed as Master

Capt John Mc Angus

Captain John Mc Angus RFA

3 June 1937 sailed Glasgow for Trinidad

3 July 1937 grounded at Sheikh Shaaib in the Persian Gulf. Refloated and proceeded to Colombo under her own steam and was repaired there by Messrs J. Walker & Sons

13 October 1937 berthed at Malta

7 December 1937 in collision with TWAKOW NO 1698 while entering Keppel Harbour, Singapore

8 December 1937 to 10 December 1937 alongside the oil wharf, Keppel Harbour, Singapore

11 January 1938 Mr Albert S Owen RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

 CEO Albert S Owen

Chief Engineer Officer Albert S Owen RFA

17 March 1938 berthed at Gibraltar from Port Said to discharge cargo

21 May 1938 sailed Plymouth for Cardiff

23 May 1938 Captain A MacDonald RFA appointed as Master

9 July 1938 Mr William H A Lawson RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

CEO William H A LAWSON

Chief Engineer Officer William H A Lawson RFA

 

22 September 1938 arrived at Grangemouth from Trinidad

26 September 1938 sailed Grangemouth for Harwich

17 November 1938 arrived at Plymouth from Trinidad

28 November 1938 sailed Plymouth for Trinidad

6 February 1939 suffered damage to the port side of her engine room whilst bunkering the cruiser HMS VINDICTIVE at Trinidad.

10 March 1939 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

1 April 1939 sailed Falmouth for Sheerness

3 April 1939 passed Dungeness

26 July 1939 Mr D L Walls RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

September 1939 became the Port oiler at Dover

6 September 1939 at Dover with the minelayer HMS PLOVER alongside being refuelled

HMS Plover

HMS PLOVER

16 September 1939 at Dover with the minelayer HMS PLOVER alongside being refuelled

1 November 1939 Captain Thomas G Bennett RFA (Lieutenant Commander RN (Retd)) appointed as Master

3 November 1939 Mr G A Calvert RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

21 January 1940 was damaged by the destroyer HMS WREN coming alongside

HMS WREN

HMS WREN

10 March 1940 Donkeyman William J Dickens discharged dead at Dover from natural causes.

19 July 1940 at Dover was bombed and hit in the engine room. The ship caught fire and was bady damaged. Salvage Officers report advised that the condition of the ship was such that repairs were not practical. Ship to be beached.

25 July 1940 further damaged during another air raid and burned out. She was hit amidships and broke in two, the deck forming a hinge between the fore and aft sections. She’d been loaded with drummed oil stocks from ashore as  the tanks there were deemed adequate for foreseen requirements. After she’d broken in two, the next few weeks were spent extricating the drummed oil from holds inclined at 45°. With the assistance of RFA CELEROL, which was brought from Sheerness for the purpose of extricating as much contaminated FFO as possible,  this was transferred to shore tanks where it was later treated with Teepol to settle out the water.

7 September 1940 scuttled with holds full of concrete blocking the western entrance at Dover Harbour. A second ship (non RFA) - the Minnie de Larrinaga was also scuttled. The blocking was to prevent the entry of submarines into the port. A further block ship - the 'Spanish Prince' was lying over the bows and forward section of the War Sepoy.

 

Dover_Harbour

Map of Dover Harbour used with permission of the Dover Harbour Board

 

2 May 1950 removal of these three ships by a salvage company engaged by the Dover Harbour Board commenced

27 August 1960 the Times newspaper reported ...

Press Report The Times 27 August 1960

July 1962 a ten year task of cutting up the RFA War Sepoy and the Minnie de Larrinaga and removing them was completed by the Dover Harbour Board.

26 April 1964 the western entrance of the Harbour was reopened

Additional information

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