RFA Wave Commander

 

 

Previous name:                          Empire Paladin
Subsequent name:

Official Number:                         169146

Class:                                       WAVE CLASS  Freighting Oiler (unmodified) 

Pennant No:                             X132 / A244

Laid down:                               1 April 1943
Builder:                                    Furness Shipbuilding Co, Haverton Hill
Launched:                                21 April 1944
Into Service:                             16 May 1948
Out of service:                          22 October 1958 
Fate:                                       Broken up by T.W.Ward Ltd at Inverkeithing

 

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 12000t Class being built were given sharper bows and sterns and turbine engines with water tube boilers. In all, 21 of this type were built and were offered to the Admiralty, who wanted faster tankers for the Pacific Fleet Train. The Admiralty took 20 of them ( the final vessel being completed commercially for Oil and Molasses Tankers Ltd, London as BEECHWOOD) and renamed them with the WAVEnomenclature. Performance varied considerably from ship to ship and they underwent various modifications in their rigs for RAS work. The 8 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 original TIDE CLASS oilers.

 

1 April 1944 launched by Furness Shipbuilding Co Ltd., Haverton Hill as Yard Nr 359 named EMPIRE PALADIN for the MoWT

23 August 1944 under commercial management of United Molasses Ltd, London.

30 August 1944 sailed Middlesborough in convoy FN 1464 to Methil arrived the next day

31 August 1944 sailed Methil in convoy EN429 to Loch Ewe arrived the next day

4 September 1944 arrived independently at the Clyde for engine repairs which were completed on 9 September 1944

12 September 1944 sailed the Clyde joining convoy UC37 to New York arriving 23 September 1944

29 September 1944 sailed New York in convoy CU41 to Liverpool arriving 9 October 1944

13 October 1944 underwent repairs which were completed on 17 October 1944

21 October 1944 sailed Liverpool in convoy UC42A to New York arriving on 1 November 1944

7 November 1944 sailed New York in convoy CU46 to Liverpool arriving on 18 November 1944

20 November 1944 further repairs undertaken which were completed on 26 November 1944

26 November 1944 sailed Liverpool in convoy UC46B to New York arriving 7 December 1944. Convoy Commodore (Commander A M Cohan USNR) on board

9 December 1944 sailed New York in convoy CU50 to Swansea arriving 20 December 1944 along with RFA WAVE MONARCH

21 December 1944 sailed Swansea independently to Barry arriving the next day

24 December 1944 sailed Barry independently to Milford Haven arriving the same day

25 December 1944 sailed Milford Haven and joined convoy UC50A to New York arriving 4 January 1945 EMPIRE PALADIN (later RFA WAVE COMMANDER) was in the same convoy

4 January 1945 underwent repairs at New York which were completed on 10 January 1945

18 January 1945 sailed New York in convoy CU55 to the Clyde arriving 28 January 1945 along with EMPIRE SALISBURY(later RFA WAVE MASTER)

4 February 1945 in for repairs on the Clyde which were completed on 16 February 1945

2 March 1945 sailed the Clyde joining convoy UV55B to New York arriving 12 March 1945

15 March 1945 sailed New York in convoy CU62 to Gravesend arriving 27 March 1945

27 March 1945 underwent repairs which were completed on 29 March 1945

3 April 1945 underwent further repairs which were completed on 21 April 1945

23 April 1945 sailed Liverpool in Convoy UC 65A and arrived at Philadelphia on 5 May 1945 along with EMPIRE MARS (later RFA WAVE DUKE) and EMPIRE SALISBURY (later RFA WAVE MASTER)

10 May 1945 sailed New York in convoy CU69 to the Downs arriving on 20 May 1945 along with EMPIRE MARS (later RFA WAVE  DUKE)

24 May 1945 sailed Southend joining convoy UC69 to New York arriving on 3 June 1945

5 June 1945 sailed New York independently arriving at Glasgow on 15 June 1945

18 June 1945 sailed the Clyde independently arriving at New York on 27 June 1945

4 July 1945 sailed New York independently arriving the Downs 15 July 1945

13 July 1945 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing eastwards

16 July 1945 sailed the Downs independently arriving at Antwerp the same day

19 July 1945 sailed Antwerp independently to Falmouth arriving on 21 July 1945

July to September 1945 underwent engine repairs at Falmouth

25 September 1945 sailed Falmouth to Philadelphia arriving on 14 October 1945

14 October 1945 sailed Philadelphia to New York arriving the next day

16 October 1945 sailed New York to Oran arriving 28 October 1945 passing Gibraltar on 25 October 1945

1 November 1945 sailed Bizerta to Port Said arriving 5 November 1945 and transited the Suez Canal and arriving at Aden on 9 November 1945

9 November 1945 sailed Aden to Abadan arriving 14 November 1945

19 November 1945 sailed Abadan to Trincomalee arriving 26 November 1945

29 November 1945 sailed Trincomalee to Abadan arriving 6 December 1945

9 December 1945 sailed Abadan to Colombo arriving on 17 December 1945

12 July 1946 sailed Abadan for LEFO

20 July 1946 while on passage from Abadan sailed Aden this day

21 July 1946 at sea Engine Room Serang Ismail Moorar discharged dead - stroke

14 October 1946 from Falmouth sailed Suez this day for Abadan

23 October 1946 arrived at Abadan this day

December 1946 purchased by the Admiralty but remained under commercial management

12 May 1947 Captain Frederick L Finch RFA appointed as Master and Mr W McKee RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

30 May 1947 renamed Wave Commander but remained under commercial management

8 September 1947 berthed at Fremantle, Western Australia

21 October 1947 sailed Sydney, NSW, Australia for Abadan

16 May 1948 taken under RFA Management and manned as an RFA

24 July 1948 while on passage off Norfolk to the Persian Gulf an explosion occured in the engine room and an emergency call resulted in the Wells, Norfolk lifeboat being launched and brought the Third Engineer John Scott - ashore he being badly burned 

12 August 1948 in dock at Hull

18 August 1948 sailed Hull

15 November 1948 sailed Milford Haven for Falmouth

16 November 1948 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing east

27 November 1948 passed Gibraltar

30 November 1948 passed Malta while on passage to Abadan

3 December 1948 arrived at Port Said

13 December 1948 arrived at Abadan from Falmouth

12 March 1949 arrived at Suez from Abadan

14 March 1949 sailed Port Said for LEFO

23 March 1949 Mr J E Kennedy RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

25 March 1949 sailed Saltend, Hull

26 March 1949 returned to Saltend, Hull

28 March 1949 sailed Saltend, Hull again for Abadan

19 April 1949 sailed Abadan for LEFO

4 August 1949 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

9 August 1949 Captain Richard L Barber RD RFA (Commander RNR) appointed as Master

17 October 1949 Mr William G Downing RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

21 November 1949 berthed on the Gosport Oil Fuel Jetty

25 November 1949 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour returning to her berth later in the day

1 December 1949 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

4 July 1950 Able Seaman Morris Richard Ellis killed while saving the Bosun who had been overcome by fumes during tank cleaning. AB Ellis was postumously awarded the Albert Medal for Gallantry. See the RFA Honour section of this web site under RFA Gallantry for further details

 ME Albert MMEAlbert obverse

Able Seaman Morris Ellis's Albert Medal

Morris_Ellis_AM

AB Morris Ellis's grave in North Front Cemetery, Gibraltar

21 August 1950 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

24 August 1950 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

10 November 1950 while on passage from Abadan to Devonport passed Gibraltar this day

29 November 1950 Captain Sidney P Sice RFA appointed as Master

19 January 1951 Donkeyman Greaser Harold Prior RFA awarded the King's Commendation for Brave Conduct when he assisted in the saving of the life of the Bosun who had been overcome by fumes during tank cleaning. Details published in the London Gazette of this day on page 430. AFO 428/51 refers

23 January 1951 Able Seaman Morris Richard Ellis RFA posthumously awarded the Albert Medal (2nd Class) for saving the life of the Bosun at sea when he had been overcome by fumes during tank cleaning. Details published in the London Gazette of this day on page 431. AFO 427/51 refers

24 January 1951 sailed the River Tyne for Abadan

9 May 1951 arrived at Palmers Yard, Hebburn on Tyne from Rosyth

11 July 1951 Mr C G McFadgean RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

17 June 1952 entered Portsmouth Harbour

30 June 1952 Mr J A Ferguson RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

9 January 1953 the ship went aground off Cape Henry, Virginia, United States of America in heavy seas. On charter to a US oil company carrying 10,000 tons of fuel oil to Baltimore from Aruba

10 January 1953 pulled clear by two US Coast Guard cutters Cherokee and Raritan and a tug Brant - she suffered no damage

13 March 1953 Captain Arthur J D Gosney RFA appointed as Master

 Captain GOSNEY ARTHURJAMESDENZIL

Captain Arthur J D Gosney RFA

19 March 1953 berthed at Smith's Dock, River Tyne from Shellhaven

6 May 1953 sailed the River Tyne for Swansea to load

18 May 1953 berthed at Malta with 10,000 tons of FFO from Llandarcy Oil Refinary, Neath, South Wales

26 January 1954 at sea at 28.34N 49.27E Secunny Ismail Abdul discharged dead - drowned

22 May 1954 Mr J A Sanderson RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

13 July 1954 the ship was involved in a collision with the tanker British Unity in thick fog 30 miles east of Gibraltar. She suffered damage to her bow but made Gibraltar under escort of RFA Wave Duke. The Wave Commander was homeward bound from the Persian Gulf with a cargo of crude oil. Fire which broke out on the Wave Commander was put out later

13 July 1954 the Hartlepool Mail reported ...

W Commander Touch and fire

16 August 1954 arrived at Hebburn on Tyne from Gibraltar

22 October 1954 Captain Alfred M Uglow RFA appointed as Master

30 September 1955 Mr G Thompson RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

18 November 1955 Captain Hubert G Carkeet RFA appointed as Master

10th April 1956 an all night search for 3rd Officer William Russell-Smith RFA  who was believed to have fallen overboard from RFA Wave Commander 12 miles off Beachy Head, Sussex was called off on the 11th April 1956 without him being found. 3rd Officer William Russell-Smith was the grandson of Captain Edward J Smith who was lost when the RMS Titanic sank

8 October 1956 Captain Emil E Sigwart RFA (Temporary Lieutenant Commander RNR) appointed as Master

Captain E Sigwart

Captain Emil E Sigwart RFA

 

3 May 1957 at 25.53N 66.20W Seaman Esmail s/o Hussain discharged dead - apparent natural causes - buried at sea

16 October 1957 Captain  E E Lawrence RFA appointed as Master

16th September 1958 RFA Wave Commander used to receive 22,000 tons of oil from the tanker Melika, which sailed under the Liberian Flag and which was involved in an accident with the French registered tanker Fernand-Gilabert. The Melika was towed into Muscat by Royal Navy salvage crews.

22 October 1958 to Swansea, destored, laid up and handed over to MoT for disposal.

22 January 1959 offered for sale 'as lying' at Devonport in the Times of this day 

9 May 1959 arrived at Inverkeithing for breaking up by T.W.Ward Ltd.

August 1959 breaking up began.

Additional information

Copyright © 2008 – 2017 Christopher J White

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website, by continuing to use the site you agree to cookies being used. More info.