RFA Wave Premier Unofficial Crest

RFA Wave Premier

RFA Wave Premier


Previous name:                   Empire Marston

Official Number:                  181515

Class:                                  WAVE CLASS  Freighting  Oiler (unmodified)

Pennant No:                         X 65 / A129

Laid down:                           6 June 1945 
Builder:                                 Furness Shipbuilding Co.
Launched:                            27 June 1946
Into Service:                         December 1946
Out of service:                      9 June 1959
Fate:                                     Broken 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 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 TIDE CLASS oilers.



19 June 1946 Mr Harold Ringshaw RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

CEO Harold Ringshaw

Chief Engineer Harold Ringshaw RFA

27 June 1946 launched by Furness Shipbuilding Co Ltd, Haverton Hill as Yard Nr: 38 EMPIRE MARSTON for the MoT

1 July 1946 arrived at Hartlepool

22 July 1946 alongside Old Harbour, Hartlepool - albeit that the ship was not officially renamed until December 1946 the local press were reporting on her as the WAVE PREMIER

21 August 1946 Captain Thomas H Card RFA appointed as Master

2 September 1946 berthed at Old Harbour, Hartlepool

2 November 1946 sailed Hartlepool

6 December 1946 completed for the Admiralty and renamed WAVE PREMIER

10 December 1946 sailed Hartlepool for Trinidad

24 January 1947 at Sheerness

1 March 1947 at Plymouth

2 March 1947 sailed Devonport for Trinidad

10 April 1947 sailed Trinidad

19 April 1947 sailed Trinidad for the UK

5 June 1947 arrived at Abadan from Portland

7 June 1947 sailed Abadan for Aden

16 June 1947 at 16°13N 54°29E Donkeyman John Callaghan discharged dead - heart attack

20 June 1947 sailed Aden for Abadan

3 July 1947 while on passage from Aden to LEFO passed Gibraltar this day

9 July 1947 arrived at Sheerness

14 August 1947 sailed Curacao

30 August 1947 sailed Glasgow

6 September 1947 sailed Gibraltar for Abadan

12 September 1947 sailed Port Said southbound through the Suez Canal

16 September 1947 sailed Aden for Abadan

22 September 1947 berthed at Abadan

23 September 1947 sailed Abadan

3 October 1947 sailed Abadan for Aden

9 October 1947 sailed Aden for the UK

24 October 1947 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

30 October 1947 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

30 January 1948 arrived at Curaçao from London

3 February 1948 sailed Curaçao for LEFO

27 March 1948 arrived Port Said from Stanlow

15 April 1948 sailed Abadan for Suez

14 May 1948 passed Gibraltar sailing east bound

19 May 1948 arrived at Port Said

31 May 1948 sailed from Abadan for the UK

2 August 1948 sailed Shat-El-Arab

20 January 1949 Mr David L Walls  RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

31 January 1949 in dry dock at Rosyth

15 February 1949 - sailed Rosyth and took part in Artic weather operational training north east of Iceland with units of the 3rd Aircraft Carrier Squadron of the Home Fleet - Operation Rusty

19 February 1949 delivered mail to HMS St KITTS for them and other RN ships in the Operation

20 February 1949 RAS'ed HMS VENGEANCE and other RN units in Operation Rusty



4 March 1949 sailed from Operation Rusty for Rosyth

13 March 1949 Captain Herbert A Shacklock RFA appointed as Master

Captain Herbert A Shacklock

Captain Herbert A Shacklock RFA


30 March 1949 passed Aden

27 May 1949 passed Aden

17 August 1949 arrived at Trincomalee, Ceylon

24 September 1949 sailed Abadan for Colombo, Ceylon

13 November 1949 arrived at Sydney, Australia from Abadan to discharge

24 January 1950 sailed Sydney, Australia to Abadan

24 May 1950 Captain Frank C Holt RFA appointed as Master

Captain Frank Holt

Captain Frank C Holt RFA

28 May 1950 on passage from Devonport passed Gibraltar this day

4 June 1950 sailed from Suez for Abadan

20 June 1950 sailed Abadan for LEFO

31 July 1950 visited Auckland, New Zealand

16 October 1950 anchored in the Inchon approaches with HMAS BATAAN alongside being refuelled

22 October 1950 anchored in the Inchon approaches with HMAS BATAAN alongside being refuelled

14 November 1950 anchored in the Inchon approaches with HMAS BATAAN alongside being refuelled

1951 - 1952 supported Allied ships in the Korean War with 18 other RFA's and received the Battle Honour 'Korea 1950 - 1952'

2 January 1951 Mr John E Kennedy  RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

17 January 1951 berthed at Wallsend Slipway, River Tyne for refit or repair

22 January 1951 Captain J M Humphrey OBE DSC RFA appointed as Master

22 February 1951 sailed Wallsend on Tyne to Port Said arriving on 3 March 1951

4 March 1951 transitted the Suez Canal reaching Suez on 5 March 1951

5 March 1951 sailed Suez to Abadan arriving 14 March 1951

17 March 1951 sailed Abadan having loaded to Singapore arriving on 28 March 1951

31 March 1951 sailed Singapore having loaded victualling supplies to Sasebo, Japan arriving on 31 March 1951

17 April 1951 having discharged cargo at Sasebo arrived back at Singapore

20 April 1951 fitted with Bofors guns on the forward and stern platforms at Singapore

1 May 1951 anchored at Sasebo Bay, Japan

9 May 1951 took onboard Royal New Zealand Navy Gunnery Officer, a New Zealand GI Petty Officer and gunner crews

10 May 1951 sailed for Korean Waters and anchored 15 miles off Inchon near the island of Techong To.

11 May 1951 replenished alongside HMNZS HARWEA and HMS CEYLON

HMS Ceylon


12 May 1951 in the Yellow Sea RASed  USS's Agerholm and Perkins, HMCS HURON and HMAS BATAAN.

13 May 1951 returned to the anchorage off Inchon and refuelled alongside HMNZS Harwea, HMNS Van Galen plus HMS's CEYLON and CONCORD.

14 May 1951 back in the Yellow Sea RASing various Allied ships together with HMS GLORY. While RASing with HMS GLORY a seaman from the aircraft carrier fell over the side. He was picked up by helicopter and returned onboard

15 May 1951 returned to the previous anchorage and refuelled two ships alongside

17 May 1951 back to the Yellow Sea for RAS'es with Allied ships

18 May 1951 at the anchorage off Inchon with alonside replenishment of HMS KENYA

19 May 1951 still at anchor and alongside replenishment of two RN destroyers 

20 May 1951 sailed for the Yellow Sea RAS area

21 May 1951 RASed with RN and Allied ships then sailed to Sasebo to anchor and replenish alongside HMS CEYLON, HMS BLACK SWAN, HMS ALACRITY  and other Allied ships

22 May 1951 at anchor at Sasebo Bay

23 May 1951 alongside at Sasebo to refill her tanks and to load victualling stores for RN and Allied ships.

24 May 1951 at anchor at Sasebo Bay until 26 May 1951

27 May 1951 RASing RN and Allied ship before anchoring off Inchon on 28 May 1951

Between 28 May 1951 and 6 June 1951 sighted what was believed to be floating mines - fired on by the ships .303 rifles - they did not explode even if they were mines. During this period at anchor refuelled alongside HMS CEYLON (twice), HMS BLACK SWAN, HMS ALACRITYl and other Allied ships including HMNZS HAWEA. HMNZS HAWEA stayed alongside overnight of the 3 June 1951 and the ship's Writer - Jimmy Brady - put his collar on back to front and gave the impression he was the RFA Chaplain. This wore very thin when he commenced to tell risque funny stories

6 June 1951 sailed from the Inchon anchorage to RAS RN and USS and then returning to the Inchon anchorage and replenish HMNZS ROTOITI which stayed alongside over night

9 June 1951 HMS GLORY taken out of action in the Korean War due to water contamination in the aviation fuel supplied by the forward RAS rigs of Wave Premier - investigation found that the contamination was caused by corrosion inside the piping on the upper deck between the aviation fuel tank and the discharge point forward.

10 June 1951 at the Inchon anchorage refuelling ships alongside

11 June 1951 at sea RASing with RN and USS units returning to the Inchon anchorage on 13 June 1951

14 June 1951 at the Inchon anchorage refuelling HMNZS ROTOITI alongside

15 June 1951 at sea RASing with RNZ and USS units before sailing to the Sasebo Naval Base arriving at 1900hrs on 16 June 1951

19 June 1951 having load with cargo sailed from Sasebo Naval Base for the Yellow Sea eascorted and on a zig zag course to avoid any interference by submarines off the southern tip of Korea

20 June 1951 RASed with HMS BLACK SWAN off Clifford Island. Further RASing with RN and other Allied units on 22 and 23 June 1951 before returning to Sasebo, under escort, and arriving on 24 June 1951

26 June 1951 handed over to RFA WAVE CHIEF for RAS duties

28 June 1951 sailed Sasebo for Singapore arriving on 6 July 1951 entering the Dockayrd for refitting and a boiler clean.

13 July 1951 Fireman W J Stowells appeared before a Singapore Court charged with wilful neglect of duty on four occasions. Stowells pleaded guilty to absenting himself  - once in Singapore and on three occasion at Sasebo, Japan.  He was sentenced to 14 days imprisonment. 

21 July 1951 having loaded cargo sailed Singapore passing west of Formosa anchored at Ebisoko, Sasebo on 28 July 1951. She then went alongside to discharge

23 July 1951 RASed with HMS CARDIGAN BAY

31 July 1951 sailed Sasebo to Singapore arriving 7 August 1951

7 August 1951 loaded with FFO

10 August 1951 moved berth to Pulau Bukum to load aviation gasoline and then sailed to Sasebo arriving on 17 August 1951

18 August 1951 took over replenishment at sea tasks from RFA WAVE CHIEF

22 August 1951 sailed Sasebo under the escort of HMNZS ROTOITI

24 August 1951 RASed with USS Kidd then sailed to her usual anchorage off Inchon

25 August 1951 at anchor off Inchon replenished alongside HMS St Brides Bay and HMCS CAYUGA

27 August 1951 sailed under the escort of USS Scittily to RAS with Allied ships returning to the usual anchorage by Techong To Island. HMAS ANZAC refuelled alongside receiving 358 tons of FFO

28 August 1951 HMS CEYLON came alongside for replenishment

HMS Ceylon MOD 45140251


30 August 1951 USS Weiss came alongside for replenishment

31 August 1951 sailed to RAS with RN and Allied ships before returning to the Inchon anchorage

1 September 1951 Allied ships came alongside 

3 September 1951 sailed to RAS with RN and Allied ships in the Yellow Sea

5 September 1951 RASed with the heavy cruiser HMS BELFAST and then on 6 September 1951 with HMS GLORY and other Allied ships before sailing to Kure, Japan to reload arriving on 8 September 1951

6 September 1951 escorted by HMS ST. BRIDES BAY, HMAS ANZAC and HMCS CAYUGA RAS'ed with HMS GLORY. Set sail for Sasebo under escort of HMAS ANZAC to load fresh water

11 September 1951 sailed Kure, Japan under escort and RASing with RN and Allied ships arriving at the Inchon anchorage on 13 September 1951

14 September 1951 HMS COSSACK came alongside for replenishment

15 September 1951 sailed for RASing various Allied ships before returning to the anchorage later that evening

17 September 1951 refueled while at anchor Allied war ships

18 September 1951 sailed to RAS with HMS COSSACK

20 September 1951 HMS St. BRIDES BAY came alongside to refuel. Later in the day sailed to closer Inchon to go along HMS BELFAST to refuel her while she was at anchor.

24 September 1951 RASed various RN and USS ships at sea

26 September 1951 while at sea refuelling HMS CHARITY without advising the tanker that her tanks were full closed the valve causing the hose to burst. The fuel sprayed into the galley which caught fire. A serious fire resulted with ammunition being thrown over board. The fire was quickly brought under control but the destroyer had to retire for repairs

30 September 1951 returned to the usual anchorage off Inchon then to sea to RAS various RN and USS war ships

1 October 1951 RAS'd at sea HMS Cossack and HMS COMUS

4 October 1951 ship inspected by Commander in Chief of the Far Eastern Fleet Vice Admiral the Hon. Sir Gary Russell and 2nd in Command, Rear Admiral A K Scott Moncrieff

6 October 1951 RAS'd HMS COMUS

7 October 1951 RAS'd with HMAS SYDNEY and other RN and US units during Korean War - fuel and mail


HMAS Sydney, RFA Wave Premier,  USS Nichols and HMS Alert

HMAS Sydney, RFA Wave Premier,  USS Nichols and HMS Alert

(out of copyright)

 WPremier Alert HMAS Sydney and USS Hanna

The same ships from a different angle

8 October 1951 returned to the Inchon ancorage

11 October 1951 RAS'd with various RN units

12 October 1951 HMS AMETHYST came alongside for fuel. RFA WAVE CHIEF came alongside for a pump over before taking over fuelling duties

14 October 1951 arrived at Sasebo harbour

17 October 1951 sailed for Singapore arriving on 24 October 1951 for a boiler clean and a SMP

9 November 1951 returned to Sasebo harbour freighting oil from Singapore. The ship returned to Singapore to reload with FFO

5 December 1951 back in Sasebo harbour.  

6 December 1951 RFA WAVE CHIEF alongside transfering stores. RFA WAVE PREMIER took over replenishment at sea operations off Korea

8 December 1951 sailed to the Inchon anchorage

9 December 1951 moved closer to Inchon and refuelled alongside USS Edmonds and HMS COMUS

12 December 1951 sailed south into the Yellow Sea and RASed HMAS SYDNEY and other RN and USS units

13 December 1951 at the Inchon anchorage and refuelled alongside HMS CEYLON and another Allied unit

14 December 1951 with heavy snow falling refuelling alongside was cancelled as the sea was too rough. The following day rough weather prevented refuelling ships yet again

15 December 1951 at Techong Do HMS COMUS refuelled alongside

20 December 1951 HMS MANCHESTER came alongside to refuel - further alongside replenishments with other RN, RNZN and Allied ships occured on the four days

29 December 1951 HMS BELFAST was alongside for replenishment and delivered mail.

3 January 1952 arrived at Sasebo to receive cargo from RFA BISHOPDALE

6 January 1952 sailed to the west coast of Korea and anchored off Inchon on 7 January 1952

Between 7 January 1952 and 12 January 1952 refuelled various RN and Allied units

8 January 1952 Able Seaman Arthur Walden discharged dead. He died on the Hospital Ship RFA Maine (4) from natural causes and is buried in Yokohama War Cemetery, Hodogaya Ward, Japan -  Post War Plot B, Row D, Grave 13


Able Seaman A Walden

Courtesy and © of The War Graves Photographic Project


14 January 1952 RAS'd the USS Rochester

15 January 1952 refueled alongside HMS COCKADE

21 January 1952 at Taechong Do refueled alongside HMS CONSTANCE

22 January 1952 RAS'ed HMAS SYDNEY off Korea and then sailed to Taechong - Do escorted by HMS CONSTANCE

29 January 1952 RFA BROWN RANGER came alongside at the Inchon anchorage to top up her tanks.

7 February 1952 arrived at Sasebo, Japan

8 February 1952 RFA WAVE BARON came alongside in preparation of taking over Korean Waters fueling duties

9 February 1952 in convoy with RFA WAVE BARON and under escort to rendevouz with the carrier group lead by HMS GLORY

11 February RAS'ed with HMS GLORY sailing afterwards to Sasebo

12 February 1952 completed her service in Korean Water

13 February 1952 sailed Sasebo to Kure to discharge aviation spirit

15 February 1952 sailed Kure for Singapore

23 February 1952 berthed at Singapore for the removal of her Bofors guns and some other repairs. During her service in the Korean War RAS'd at sea 128 ships and refuelled alongside 91 ships making a total of 219 ships.

26 February 1952 sailed Singapore for Kuwait where a cargo of 10,178 tons of crude oil was loaded for Dunkirk

30 March 1952 berthed at Dunkirk and discharged

5 April 1952 sailed Dunkirk to Falmouth arriving to anchor off the port the next day.

7 April 1952 berthed at Falmouth

10 April 1952 Captain Douglas S Norrington RD RFA (Commander RNR) appointed as Master

20 May 1952 in the London Gazette of this day on page 2788 Captain John Matthew Humphries OBE DSC RFA and Chief Engineer Officer John E Kennedy RFA were awarded a 'Mention in Dispatches'

15 September 1952 sailed Rosyth with RFA GOLD RANGER and UK, US, Canadian and New Zealand naval units to take part in Operation Mainbrace

18 September 1952 berthed at Rosyth

20 September 1952 sailed Rosyth to take part in Operation Mainbrace (2nd part)


RFA Wave Premier RAS's with HMS VANGUARD in the Moray Firth
© IWM - A32283

15 October 1952 in the Imperial Dry dock at Leith, Scotland

17 October 1952 sailed Leith to Rosyth

8 November 1952 Mr I M MacFarlane  RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

17 November 1952 sailed Rosyth for Exercise Autumn Bear off Iceland as TG47.2 with Fleet Tug HMS REWARD

20 November 1952 during Exercise Autumn Bear in Artic Waters RASed HMS VENUS abeam with 232 tons FFO and HMS VIRAGO astern with 238 tons FFO

22 November 1952 during Exercise Autumn Bear in Artic Waters RASed HMS AGINCOURT astern with 270 tons FFO and HMS DIAMOND astern with 240 tons FFO

23 November 1952 during Exercise Autumn Bear in Artic Waters RASed HMS SWIFTSURE astern with 374 tons FFO

24 November 1952 during Exercise Autumn Bear in Artic Waters RASed HMS SWIFTSURE abeam with 381 tons FFO, HMS AAISNE abeam with 250 tons FFO, HMS BAROSA abeam with 320 tons FFO, HMS CORUNNA abeam with 326 tons FFO, HMS VERULAM abeam with 270 tons FFO and HMS VENUS abeam with 276 tons FFO

25 November 1952 during Exercise Autumn Bear in Artic Waters RASed HMS EAGLE abeam, to port, with 950 tons FFO, HMS AGINCOURT abeam to starboard with 195 tons FFO and HMS VANGUARD abeam to starboard with 1,731 tons of FFO

26 November 1952 during Exercise Autumn Bear in Artic Waters RASed HMS VIRAGO abeam with 175 tons FFO

27 November 1952 during Exercise Autumn Bear in Artic Waters RASed HMS EAGLE abeam with 530 tons FFO and 130 tons Avgas and HMS VERULAM abeam with 180 tons FFO. Released from Exercise to proceed to Fawley to load for Malta

14 December 1952 arrived at Malta from Gibraltar

23 December 1952 Pumpman Albert Edward Akhurst discharged dead - died of natural causes - heart failure

8 March 1953 at Gibraltar Able Seaman James Greig discharged dead - drowned

25 April 1953 in the Outer Roads at Singapore

27 June 1953 arrived Sydney, NSW, Australia from Bahrein

11 July 1953 sailed Sydney, NSW, Australia for Colombo, Ceylon

4 November 1953 berthed at Heburn on Tyne from Swansea

24 November 1953 Captain R H Venning RFA appointed as Master

27 December 1953 Mr Frederick B Hobson RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

13 January 1954 sailed the River Tyne for Port Said

29 January 1954 sailed Suez

20 April 1954 anchored at Taechong Do with HMAS MURCHISON berthed alongside and refuelled with fuel and water

4 October 1954 to 10 October 1954 involved in naval exercises with RFA FORT CHARLOTTE and RN, RAN Naval vessels and RAAF planes off Manus Island


HMS Birmingham refuelling from RFA Wave Premier with HMS Comus refuelling to port
© Mike Day Collection

18 October 1954 moored at Seeadler Harbour, Manus Island

28 February 1955 Captain A R Wheeler RD RFA (Commander RNR) appointed as Master

11 April 1955 Mr Allan D Harris  RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

25 November 1955 sailed from Singapore for Bahrein

11 February 1956 at Port Said Chief Cook Wong Shui Leung discharged dead through misadventure due to asphyxiation

25 May 1956 Captain Franklin G Edwards RFA appointed as Master

14 July 1956 while under charter to Shell and flying the red ensign eight crew members from Hong Kong jumped ship in New York. Ships agents who had employed five security guards to prevent crew members going ashore were fined $8,000 for breach of US Immigration Act

16 July 1956 sailed New York

25 August 1956 sailed New York for Curacao

22 October 1956 sailed Buenos Aires for Curacao

31 October 1956 deployed for Operation Musketeer- the Suez Crisis - along with 34 other RFA’s

28 November 1956 sailed Malta

9 December 1956 passed Gibraltar sailing west bound for Trinidad

12 January 1957 sailed Malta for Curacao

24 February 1957 sailed Gibraltar for Curacao

30 April 1957 Mr G J Matthews RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

28 May 1957 at Wallsend Slipway, River Tyne in refit

6 August 1957 Captain Leslie G Rowling DSC RFA appointed as Master

1 December 1957 to 6 December 1957 with RN, US and Pakistan Navy units took part in Operation Crescent off Karachi, Pakistan

1 December 1957 RAS'ed with HMS GAMBIA

28 June 1958 Mr J S Morgan RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

5 January 1959 sailed Curacao for Rosyth

9 June 1959 laid up at Rosyth

14 August 1959 offered for sale in 'The Times' lying 'as is' at Rosyth

WGOV and WPREM for sale

8 June 1960 purchased for £63,000 by BISCO for scrap

11 June 1960 arrived at Inverkeithing for breaking up.

13 June 1960 demolition commenced

Additional information

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