Welcome to Historical RFA
The Loss of a Bread Roll and Egg on the Face
At the Silver Jubilee Fleet Review of July 1935 the massed lines of 157 Royal and Merchant Naval ships were drawn up in the Solent for the Sovereign – King George V – to receive the salute of his Navy and his Fleet. His Majesty’s Royal Yacht – the Victoria & Albert steamed along the lines of ships and the crews were called to attention to cheer the King and the Royal Family.
On 21 April 1951 the Naval Armaments Vessel Bedenham sailed from Bull Point Naval Armaments Depot, Plymouth loaded with approximately 790 tons of depth charges, ammunition and other ordnance for Gibraltar and Malta.
Gibraltarian John George Joyce joined the RFA in 1939 as a seaman serving on RFA’s Prestol, Viscol, Thermol and Mixol during the war years and after the war on other RFA’s. George came ashore from the Service in 1955 when he was the Bosun on RFA Eddybeach.
After his time at sea George joined the Victualling Yard in Gibraltar for a further 25 years retiring in 1970 when he was awarded the Imperial Service Medal.
For RFA Broomdale 1944 was a very bad year with explosions, torpedoes and expressions of displeasure!
On 14 April she had been moored alongside at Bombay when the s.s. Fort Stikine, an ammunition ship, exploded in the harbour and caused death and serious destruction over a wide area. Broomdale suffered damage.
On the 25 January 1942 in a blizzard the Naval Armaments Vessel Isleford ran aground in Wick Bay, Scotland and was lost. The entire crew of 14 plus one DEMS Gunner were all drowned.
NAV Isleford was one of the predecessors of the RFA’s Ammunition ships of the 1950’s to the 1980’s.
On Merchant Navy Day 4 September 2011 the Caithness Branch of the Merchant Navy Association unveiled a memorial to those lost on the Isleford and her crew after a service in the town's kirk.
The Allied naval bombardment of the Dardanelles forts in February 1915 had disclosed the fact that the Turks had concealed their batteries on the peninsula very cleverly, and that airplanes and seaplanes had their limitations as directors of gunfire. Apart from troubles with their engines, there was always the self-evident axiom that an observer moving rapidly through the air cannot spot as accurately as an observer sitting in the basket of a stationary balloon. The Naval Commanders at the Dardanelles sent out an urgent signal for observation balloons, urging that they should be dispatched from England at once, so as to arrive in time for the landing on the Gallipoli peninsula.