RFA War Sirdar
 
 War_Sirdar

 

Previous name:
Subsequent name:               Honan Maru

Official Number:                   144354

Class:                                     WAR CLASS Freighting Tanker

Pennant No:                           Y7.339

Laid down:
Builder:                                   Laings, Deptford Yard
Launched:                              6 December 1919
Into Service:                           February 1920
Out of service:                        28 February 1942
Fate:                                       Constructive total loss

 

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 seveny 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.

 

 

February 1920 completed for the Shipping Controller under the commercial management of Hunting & Sons Ltd, London

February 1920 Captain Archie Hadley as Master

Captain Archie Hadley

Captain Archie Hadley

13 February 1920 sailed Sunderland for Trinidad via Hull

26 March 1920 at Barbados alongside HMS RENOWN refuelling her - supplied 3,031 tons FFO

Renown1939

HMS RENOWN

3 April 1920 sailed Trinidad for London

17 May 1920 passed Sand Key, Florida sailing west

22 May 1920 sailed Sabine, Texas for Devonport

15 June 1920 sailed Tampico for Devonport

2 August 1920 sailed Puerto Mexico for Devonport

25 August 1920 arrived at Hull

2 September 1920 sailed the River Tyne for Tampico

23 October 1920 berthed at Devonport from Tampico

26 October 1920 sailed Devonport for Houston, Texas

16 December 1920 sailed Invergordon for Beaumont, Texas

1921 transferred to Admiralty ownership but remained under commercial management

3 January 1921 arrived Bermuda from Invergordon with damage to her rudder post and propeller

25 January 1921 berthed at Port Arthur from Bermuda

26 January 1921 sailed Port Arthur for Devonport

16 February 1921 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing east

17 February 1921 berthed at Portland from Beaumont

20 February 1921 sailed Portland for Beaumont

7 April 1921 berthed at Queenstown, Ireland from Port Arthur

29 April 1921 radioed she was 12 n.miles South East of the Rebecca Shoals lighthouse (off Key West, Florida)

2 May 1921 arrived at Port Arthur, Texas from Queenstown, Ireland

3 May 1921 sailed Port Arthur, Texas for Devonport

8 May 1921 radioed she was 50 n.miles east of Cape Canaveral

10 May 1921 radioed she was 87 n.miles east of Hatteras

28 May 1921 arrived at Plymouth from Port Arthur

24 June 1921 Mr C H Smith RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

1 July 1921 Captain George H Franklin RFA appointed as Master

24 July 1921 sailed London to New York

9 August 1921 arrived at New York with Captain George Harry Franklin RFA as Master. The ship had sailed from London with 34 crew

13 August 1921 sailed Philadelphia for the Persian Gulf

19 September 1921 berthed at London from Rosyth  

9 October 1921 sailed Philadelphia

10 November 1921 arrived at Plymouth from Port Arthur, Texas

19 December 1921 Mr Charles A Smith RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

 CEO Charles Smith

Chief Engineer Officer Charles A Smith RFA

Press Report 21 Nov 21 War Brahmin

Press Report of 21 November 1921 in the Western Morning News

6 February 1922 passed Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing east 

8 February 1922 berthed at Portland Harbour from Port Arthur

17 March 1922 berthed at Port Arthur

15 April 1922 sailed the Clyde to Texas ports

22 May 1922 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

24 May 1922 sailed Portsmouth HArbour

3 August 1922 arrived at Greenock from Trinidad

9 August 1922 sailed the Clyde to Texas ports

30 August 1922 arrived at Port Arthur, Texas from the Clyde

26 October 1922 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour from Port Arthur

11 December 1922 Mr Charles A Smith RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

13 December 1922 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

4 January 1923 sailed Trinidad for the Clyde

24 May 1923 arrived at Las Palmas

9 June 1923 sailed Curacao for LEFO

23 July 1923 sailed Tampico for Gibraltar

22 October 1923 arrived at Curacao from St Vincent

11 November 1923 sailed from Las Palmas for Tampico

1 December 1923 arrived at Tampico from Las Palmas

26 December 1923 sailed Tampico for Lisbon

16 January 1924 arrived at Lisbon from Tampico

10 February 1924 sailed Tampico for Southampton

4 March 1924 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing east

5 March 1924 berthed at Southampton from Tampico

24 March 1924 Captain William T Williams RFA appointed as Master

 Captain WILLIAMS WM THOMAS

Captain William T Williams RFA

9 May 1924 sailed from Tampico for Gibraltar

13 August 1924 sailed Tampico for Las Palmas

2 September 1924 arrived at Las Palmas from Tampico

23 September 1924 arrived at Curacao

25 September 1924 sailed Curacao for LEFO

27 October 1924 sailed from Plymouth for Abadan

25 January 1925 berthed at the oil wharf, Singapore from Abadan

29 January 1925 sailed Singapore to Abadan

7 March 1925 to 9 March 1925 berthed at the oil wharf, Singapore

28 August 1925 Mr John H Collings RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer until 12 November 1925

 CEO John COLLINGS

Chief Engineer Officer John H Collings RFA

22 October 1925 berthed at the oil wharf, SIngapore

2 December 1925 Captain John Gow RFA appointed as Master

 John Gow

Captain John Gow RFA

12 July 1926 at Singapore in collision with a tug

25 December 1926 sailed Curacao

12 February 1927 sailed Curacao

25 March 1927 radioed she was 27 nmiles SW of the Smalls

25 May 1927 sailed Curacao

20 July 1927 sailed Lisbon

6 August 1927 sailed Curacao

23 August 1927 sailed Las Palmas

6 September 1927 sailed Curacao

17 September 1927 radioed she was 1,200 miles WSW of Lands End

3 October 1927 sailed Ellesmere Port

20 October 1927 at Curacao

4 November 1927 radioed she was 900 miles off Lands End

9 November 1927  Mr George T Beed RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

CEO George T Beed

Chief Engineer Officer George T Beed RFA

15 November 1927 sailed Falmouth

16 December 1927 at Abadan

3 March 1928  towed with a broken propeller shaft from Montserrat to Bermuda by RFA SERBOL

27 April 1928 berthed at Curacao

9 May 1928 sailed Curacao

28 May 1928 Captain William B Browne RFA appointed as Master

31 May 1928 sailed Shell Haven

16 June 1928 passed St Kitts bound for Curacao

20 June 1928 sailed Curacao for LEFO

9 July 1928 arrived at Ardrossan

11 June 1929 berthed at Gibraltar from Genoa in ballast for orders

18 July 1929 arrived at Ardrossan from Curacao and Captain A D Davies RFA appointed as Master

19 July 1929 Mr Clifford N Ansell RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

22 July 1929 sailed from Ardrossan for St. Kitts & Nevis

29 August 1929 berthed at Purfleet

22 March 1930 berthed at the Oil Fuel Jetty, Avonmouth discharging her oil cargo having arrived from Curacao 

25 May 1930 arrived at Shell Haven from Curacao

27 July 1930 Mr W A Payne RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

6 October 1930 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

20 October 1930 at Portsmouth Carpenter Thomas Davies was disrated at sea on the grounds of incompetency to ordinary seaman. He was sentenced to twelve weeks imprisonment under the Merchant Shipping Act for neglet of duty. A similar sentence to run concurrently was passed on him for continued disobedience to orders

 War Sirdar press 1930

Press cutting from the Weston Morning News 21 October 1930

 

4 December 1930 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

6 February 1931 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

5 September 1931 arrived at Suez from Abadan

9 September 1931 Captain J Martin-Smith DSC RFA (Acting Lieut-Commander RNR (Retd)) appointed as Master

1 December 1931 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

1 January 1932 Mr R Watson RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

20 January 1932 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

15 June 1932 arrived at Port Said from Malta

1 December 1932 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

6 December 1932 in No 15 dry dock at Portsmouth

1 January 1933 Captain J Martin-Smith DSC RFA (Acting Lieut-Commander RNR (Retd)) appointed as Master

19 January 1933 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

18 July 1933 arrived at Port Said from Malta

3 February 1934 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

26 February 1934 Mr Frederick C Pavitt RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

12 March 1934 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

17 March 1934 sailed South Docks, Sunderland to New Orleans with a cargo of 6,000 tons of creosote

22 May 1934 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

28 May 1934 Captain Richard D Williams RD RFA (Commander RNR (Ret)) appointed as Master

Captain Richard D Williams

Captain Richard D Williams RD RFA

18 June 1934 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

14 August 1934 arrived at Port Said from Malta

16 October 1934 arrived at Port Said from Portland

28 December 1934 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

5 January 1935 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

16 April 1935 sailed Port Said for Abadan

6 June 1935 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

13 July 1935 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

26 July 1936 berthed at Sheerness

5 September 1936 arrived at Port Said

16 October 1936 the Perth Daily News reported ...

Press cutting War Sirdar 16 10 1936

The War Sirdar had berthed at Darwin this day

1 March 1937 berthed at Gibraltar from Abadan and Port Said to discharge cargo

27 July 1937 transferred to Admiralty management and manning as an RFA at Alexandria

25 April 1938 towed the boom gate vessel HMS SOUTHGATE from Singapore to Trincomalee

27 June 1938 berthed on the River Tyne at Wallsend from Sheerness

11 July 1938 Captain Ernest V Blyth RFA appointed as Master

14 July 1938 sailed the River Tyne to Chatham

20 September 1938 Captain Bertram Tunnard RFA appointed as Master and Mr D L Walls RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

 

Bertram_Tunnard

Captain Bernard Tunnard RFA

 

8 June 1939 Captain Benjamin N Beasley RFA appointed as Master

Captain Benjamin N Beasley

Captain Benjamin N Beasley RFA

 

25 July 1939 Captain Murray W Westlake RFA (Lieutenant Commander RNR) appointed as Master

28 July 1939 Mr William H A Lawson RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

CEO William H A LAWSON

Chief Engineer Officer William H A Lawson RFA

6 October 1939 Mr Evan M Phillips RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

 PHILLIPS EVANMAXWELL

Chief Engineer Officer Evan M Phillips RFA

2 March 1940 allocated as the China Station Fleet Oiler

12 October 1940 sailed Hong Kong towing HMS CRICKET (gunboat) - due to a typhoon both ships were recalled. They sailed again on 18 October and arrived at Singapore on the 24th of the month

19 January 1942 sailed Freemantle in convoy MS1 to Singapore arriving on 31 January 1942

24 February 1942 - Tanjong Priok, Netherlands East Indies HMAS PERTH alongside and refuelled. During refuelling subjected to air attack, no hits, no injuries

 

War Sirdar

 

25 February 1942 - Tanjong Priok, Netherlands East Indies, Stern view of WAR SIRDAR after being righted following damage by further Japanese bombing. Cargo transferred to RFA FRANCOL. She was unable to fuel HMAS HOBART (right foreground), Preventing that cruiser from taking part in the disastrous battle of the Java Sea - note the 4 inch gun aft.

 War Sirdar damage

Part of the report from the CO of HMAS Hobart
on the attack on RFA War Sirdar

27 February 1942 sailed in Convoy from Tanjong Priok in Batavia to Tjilatjap, along with RFA FRANCOL, the depot ship HMS ANKING filled with Australian troops, the minesweeper MMS 51 escorted by the Australian sloop HMAS YARRA and the Indian sloop HMIS Jumna

28 February 1942 stranded on the Jong Reef at Batavia 12.39 N 109.37 E. An attempt was made HMAS Wollongong (a minesweeper) to tow the WAR SIRDAR off the reef without success. The order was given to abandon ship. All hands landed safely on Jung Island.

1 March 1942 declared a total loss. All hands were taken off by a Dutch minesweeper

March 1942 salvaged by Japanese forces and renamed

28 March 1945 as a Japanese tanker US Submarine Bluegill (SS242) attacks her and she was beached at Cape Varella, Nha Trang on what was at the time French Indo China. 12 40N, 109 30E

29 March 1945 attacked again by USS Bluegill.

5 April 1945 crew from USS Bluegill landed and completed destruction of her with demolition charges and incendiaries.

 

 

Additional information

Copyright © 2008 – 2017 Christopher J White

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