RFA Wave Baron

 

Previous name:                     Empire Flodden
Subsequent name:

Official Number:                    180885

Class:                                  WAVE CLASS  Replenishment Oiler (modified)

Pennant No:                          X137 / A242

Laid down:                            1 September 1944
Builder:                                 Furness Shipbuilding Company, Haverton Hill 
Launched:                             19 February 1946
Into Service:                          1 April 1946
Out of service:                       December 1969 - laid up
Fate:                                    1972 Sold for breaking up

 

Items of historic interest involving this ship: -

 

Background Data:  A need for fast tankers to bring oil into the country had been envisaged early in the Second World War, but by the time the material had been collected and the Yards had space to build them, the need had largely passed and the original design of diesel-engined ships was abandoned. Instead, the standard 12,000t Class being built were given sharper bows and sterns and turbine engines with water tube boilers. In all, twenty one of this type were built and were offered to the Admiralty, who wanted faster tankers for the Pacific Fleet Train. The Admiralty took twenty of them (the final vessel being completed commercially for Oil and Molasses Tankers Ltd, London as BEECHWOOD) and renamed them with the WAVE nomenclature. Performance varied considerably from ship to ship and they underwent various modifications in their rigs for RAS work. The eight best ones were finally given an extensive refit, with extra accommodation added to the Bridge Deck and extra turbo cargo pumps and derricks to make them more satisfactory for Fleet work. Initially expensive to run, they recouped some of their expensive repair bills by earning revenues from charter work after the Korean War. From this Class was evolved the TIDE CLASS oilers.

 

1 September 1944 laid down

19 February 1946 launched by Furness Shipbuilding Co Ltd, Haverton Hill as Yard Nr: 378 named EMPIRE FLODDEN for the MoWT

April 1946 completed as WAVE BARON and was placed under the initial management of Gow, Harrison & Co Ltd., Glasgow

10 July 1946 sailed the River Tees

11 July 1946 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on Flamborough Head sailing south

15 August 1947 sailed Abadan

21 August 1947 passed Aden

26 August 1947 sailed Port Said for LEFO

28 September 1947 arrived at Port Said from Falmouth

7 October 1947 berthed at Abadan

22 March 1948 Mr W E Burke RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

30 March 1948 Captain  Sidney T Dunster OBE RFA appointed as Master

 

Sidney_Dunster

Captain Sidney T Dunster RFA

 

1 April 1948 transferred to Admiralty management

12 July 1948 passed the Lloyds signal station on the Lizard sailing westwards

7 August 1948 passed the Lloyds signal station on the Lizard sailing westwards

20 August 1948 arrived at Trinidad from Devonport

23 August 1948 sailed from Trinidad

5 September 1948 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

9 September 1948 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

13 December 1948 passed the Lloyds signal station on the Lizard sailing westwards

7 January 1949 passed the Lloyds signal station on the Lizard sailing eastwards

11 April 1949 sailed Abadan for LEFO

17 April 1949 sailed Aden

13 May 1949 alongside at Palmers Yard, River Tyne

29 July 1949 sailed Abadan

12 August 1949 sailed Port Said for LEFO

23 August 1949 arrived at Abadan

29 August 1949 sailed Abadan

11 December 1949 Captain Frank A Shaw RFA appointed as Master

25 January 1950 Mr D F Gorrie RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

30 January 1950 passed the Lloyds signal station on the Lizard sailing westwards

8 February 1950 arrived at Port Said while on passage from Falmouth to Abadan

18 February 1950 sailed Suez for Abadan

27 February 1950 arrived at Abadan

16 July 1950 while at sea off Peel, Isle of Man 2nd Engineer Frank Hodgson RFA was severely scalded on the face, chest and abdomen, arms and legs - he was clearing a tube in the engine room when the accident happended. The ship put into Peel Bay and the Peel life-boat was launched with a doctor on board. After treatment the Officer was placed in a ship's life-boat, which was towed to the quayside by the life-boat. He was admitted to Noble's Hospital, Douglas and detained

17 July 1950 the Hartlepool Northern Dail Mail reported that -

WBaron 2nd ENG Scalded 

June 1951 - 27 July 1953  saw service during the Korean War along with 18 other RFA’s. 

20 September 1950 Captain Frederick L Finch RFA appointed as Master

5 January 1951 mail from the Cocos-Keeling Islands could not be picked up by the RMS Orion as usual and so was collected by the Wave Baron and posted in Colombo, Ceylon endorsed with  the cache 'per Wave Baron'. Such envelopes are collectors items.

230608

The above cover was sold in Australia in 2006 for $1,900 (Aus)

 

13 May 1951 Captain Edmund H Butterworth RFA appointed as Master

 

Edmund_Butterworth

Captain Edmund H Butterworth RFA

 

4 July 1951 arrived the River Tyne for Swan Hunters Yard

7 August 1951 Mr G F Mathews RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

13 November 1951 berthed at Malta with a cargo of FFO for the tank farm from Curacao

14 November 1951 instead of discharging her FFO put to sea and RAS'ed HMS ILLUSTRIOUS 100 miles North West of Malta. The RAS took 8 hours  and the Wave Baron returned to Dolphin Wharf, Malta

1952 Awarded Battle Honour - Korea 1952

29 September 1952 berthed at Hebburn on Tyne from Gibraltar

1 April 1953 Captain Herbert  A Shacklock RFA appointed as Master

Captain Herbert A Shacklock

Captain Herbert A Shacklock RFA

20 May 1953 deployed in Naval Exercises with 38 other ships and 80 aircraft  in the English Channel. Some of the ships involved were HMS's BOXER, DUCHESS, the French ships FS's Montcalm and Gloire and the FreNch submarines Laubie and Sirene together with the Dutch warship HMNLS Soemba

8 August 1953 berthed at Palmers, Hebburn from Portsmouth

25 August 1953 sailed Palmers, Hebburn for Swansea

10 December 1953 RAS'ed with HMNZS BLACK PRINCE and HMS SHEFFIELD in the Pacific. Exchanged signals with the Royal Yacht Gothic. The signal to H.M. the Queen from Wave Baron said - "The Master and ship's company with humble felicitations wish you to know that their thoughts are with you on this most historic tour.". Her Majesty replied "Thank you for your kind loyal message. I appreciate very much the contribution you are making to my Commonwealth tour."

23 December 1953 arrived Chowder Bay, Mosman, NSW Australia to load

19 April 1954 berthed at Smiths, River Tyne from Rosyth

26 April 1954 Mr J Wilson RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

27 July 1954 was in refit at the Greenock Dockyard Company, Port Glasgow

31 August 1954 Fireman James Black discharged dead from a fractured skull. The ship was alongside at Point a Pierre, Trinidad.  He was buried in an unmarked grave in Paradise Cemetery, San Fernando, Trinidad

 

DSC04271

Paradise Cemetery, San Fernando - image taken by Jerome Lee, RFHAS member

 

15 September 1954 berthed at Rosyth from Trinidad. Police Officers boarded the ship from both the Fife Constabulary and the Admiralty Constabulary

 Press cutting 15-9-54 Aberdeen Even Press Wave Baron

Press report from the Aberdeen Evening Press of 15 September 1954

16 September 1954 Captain J Dines RD RFA (Commander RNR) appointed as Master

6 April 1956 Mr William J Brown OBE DSC RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

26 April 1956 Mr F Barclay RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

1957 - 1960 supported Operation Grapple- the British H-bomb tests at Christmas Island in the Pacific Ocean  - along with 16 other RFA’s

 

Port_London_Christmas_Island

 

16 October 1957 Captain G B A Livesay RFA appointed as Master

16 November 1957 deployed on Operation Grapple and carried 194 tons 4cwt of cargo to Christmas Island

13 September 1958 deployed in support of RN units off Iceland during 1st Cod War until 29 September 1958

10 October 1958 Mr P K Coles RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

20 November 1958 deployed in support of RN units off Iceland during 1st Cod War until 27 November 1958

1 January 1959 at Rosyth

20 January 1959 deployed in support of RN units off Iceland during 1st Cod War until 6 February 1959

11 February 1959 at Rosyth

9 March 1959 deployed in support of RN units off Iceland during 1st Cod War until the end of the month

31 March 1959 at Rosyth

25 April 1959 deployed in support of RN units off Iceland during 1st Cod War until the middle of May 1959

15 May 1959 at Leith Docks

24 June 1959 deployed in support of RN units off Iceland during 1st Cod War until 11 July 1959

22 July 1959 at Plymouth

27 July 1959 Mr Harry G May RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

1 November 1959 deployed in support of RN units off Iceland during 1st Cod War until 25 November 1959

22 December 1959 deployed in support of RN units off Iceland during 1st Cod War until 6 January 1960

18 January 1960 Captain Ronald V Warren DSC RFA appointed as Master

Capt Ronald V Warren DSC

Captain Ronald V Warren DSC RFA
kindly donated by Mrs Susan Henry

9 February 1960 deployed in support of RN units off Iceland during 1st Cod War until 22 February 1960

7 May 1960 Mr V J Cooney RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

7 July 1960 arrived at Grand Harbour, Malta from Gibraltar

16 July 1960 sailed Malta to sea for exercises

20 July 1960 sailed Malta to Messina

27 July 1960 arrived at Grand Harbour, Malta

29 July 1960 sailed Malta for Gibraltar

9 August 1960 sailed Malta

September 1960 engaged in Exercise Sword Thrust within the Arctic Circle with HMS's HERMES, ARK ROYAL, GAMBIA and four destroyeres

8 December 1960 Captain Basil V Dobbie RFA appointed as Master

10 January 1961 deployed in support of RN units off Iceland during 1st Cod War until 22 January 1961

24 January 1961 at Invergordon

17 April 1961 sailed Malta for exercises with RN and other Nato Allies together with RFA TIDE AUSTRAL, RFA BROWN RANGER, RFA SEA SALVOUR and RFA FORT DUQUESNE

5 June 1961 off Iceland RASed (stern) with HMS DUNCAN - 90 tons of FFO supplied

9 June 1961 off Iceland RASed with HMS DUNCAN

11 June 1961 off Iceland RASed with HMS DUNCAN - 50 tons of FFO supplied

15 June 1961 off Iceland Surgeon Lieutenant from HMS DUNCAN transferred to undertake surgery on the Ships Writer the ship RASed with HMS DUNCAN

19 June 1961 off Iceland RASed with HMS DUNCAN

30 August 1961 at Devonport

28 May 1962 sailed Malta with RFA FORT DUQUESNE and RFA FORT ROSALIE together with HMS BLAKE and other RN units to visit Barcelona

1 June 1962 to 7 June 1962 berthed at Barcelona

9 June 1962 to 13 June 1962 berthed at Palma, Majorca

14 June 1962 at Gibraltar where CID Officers from New Scotland Yard boarded to take passage to HMS BELFAST which was in the Atlantic returning home from Trinidad to investigate allegations of drug smuggling on the cruiser. Some $3,000,000 worth of heroin and opium had been discovered onboard after the ship had sailed from Honolulu in May 1962

4 September 1962 at Bermuda Deck Storekeeper Donald William Williamson discharged dead - having suffered a fractured skull in a fall. An inquest was held touching on the death of Mr Williamson but was unable to reach a decision as to the cause of death. He was buried at St. Paul's Church, Paget, Bermuda

WaveBaron BDA 1

WaveBaron BDA 2

WaveBaron BDA 6

Above three images kindly taken, donated & © Martin Buckley

16 October 1962 Captain David P Kindersley RFA appointed as Master

24 January 1963 Captain Alistair C Gibson RFA appointed as Master

1 February 1963 Mr J B Jackson RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

30 October 1963 sailed Malta for exercises

12 November 1963 sailed Malta for the UK

20 January 1964 Commodore (E) J A MacPherson RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

24 June 1964 sailed Malta for Argostoli

17 November 1964 in the Indian Ocean off Karachi RAS'ed HMS MOWHAWK

31 December 1964 Captain E D J Evans RFA appointed as Master

20 January 1965 Captain Charles E C Phipps RFA appointed as Master

19 May 1965 sailed Malta for Abadan

20 October 1965 Mr L Cochrane RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

1 February 1966 sailed Malta for the UK

12 April 1966 Mr K O'Neill RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

21 April 1966 at Chatham Dockyard

5 May 1966 at Greenock

9 August 1966 berthed at Simonstown Dockyard, South Africa

5 October 1966 Captain Archibald Murchie RFA appointed as Master

15 December 1966 Mr D G P Wells RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

28 January 1967 Captain David P Kindersley RFA appointed as Master

10 June 1967 along with RFA LYNESS RAS'ed with HMS VICTORIOUS

27 to 31 January 1968 supported HM ships in abortive search for the missing Israeli submarine Dakar

25 March 1968 Captain R J Lockwood RFA appointed as Master

19 April 1968 Mr V J Cooney RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

10 January 1969 berthed at Simonstown Dockyard, South Africa

15 August 1969 berthed at Simonstown Dockyard, South Africa

28 October 1969 arrived at Devonport for the last time

December 1969 destored and laid up Devonport

5 February 1972 placed on disposal list and offered for sale 'as lying' at Devonport Dockyard in the Times of this day

March 1972 purchased for £ 6,500 by N.V. Intershitra, a Dutch Trading House then again resold.

23 April 1972 arrived at Bilbao in tow for breaking up by Revalorizacion de Materials SA

 

 

Notes:

 

The Israeli submarine DAKAR was originally HMS TOTEM and was one of 3 “T” Class acquired by Israel. The others were HMS TRUNCHEON which was handed over to the Israeli Navy at Gosport on 9 January 1968 renamed DOLPHIN and HMS TURPIN renamed LEVIATHAN in 1965..They underwent a major refit and DAKAR commissioned into the Israeli Navy on 10 November 1967. She was on her way from the U.K. to Haifa when she was lost on 26 January 1968.. Although a full-scale “Subsmash” routine was carried out, no trace of the DAKAR or her crew of 69 was found, until February 1969 when a distress buoy from the lost submarine was found by an  Arab on the beach about 4 miles north of Khan Yunis in the Gaza Strip. The wreck of the submarine was found on 28 May 1999 at a depth of 2,950 metres. The conning tower was salvaged in October 2000 and underwent a process of preservation before being placed near the harbour that was her last intended destination. The conning tower was dedicated at the Israel Naval Museum in Haifa on 31 May 2003

Additional information

Copyright © 2008 – 2017 Christopher J White

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