Welcome to Historical RFA
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.
In June, 1918 the Admiralty made plans for an air ship to be built which would "be required to patrol the North Sea for six days without support, as far as 300 miles from a home base." It was to have a combat ceiling of 22,000ft, and was required to carry enough fuel for 65 hours at full speed of 70.6 mph. It was agreed that the air ship would be classed as "Admiralty A Class" and was to be designated as the R38.
The World War 2 naval action, which culminated in the Battle of the River Plate, had its makings with the sailing from Wilhelmshaven, Germany on the 21 August 1939 of the Panzerschiffe or pocket battle ship Admiral Graf Spee and her subsequent sinking of nine merchant ships in the South Atlantic and Indian Ocean between 30 September and the 7 December 1939.
On 1 September 1969 the Libyan Army staged a successful coup against the administration of King Idris – Idris 1 – the King of the sovereign state of the United Kingdom of Libya.
The King was in Turkey for medical treatment when the “Revolutionary Command Council” (RCC), which composed of some twelve young Army Officers under Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, took charge of the Country. In early December it was announced in London that Britain had agreed with the RCC to withdraw all British Forces from that country by 31 March 1970.
When the Korean War broke out in 1950 the 7,515 ton Hospital Ship RFA Maine (4) was at Kobe, Japan with units of the British Far East Fleet and she was immediately placed under the American Naval command. The US Forces initially had no hospital ships in theatre and consequently RFA Maine (4) played an especially valuable role.
This tale of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary relates to the history of an early RFA ship with a wooden hull and a set sails as well as a steam engine for propulsion. It details the effects of warfare in World War 1 and of many deaths and to make it a little more interesting finally a few bars of gold. The story also involves an Armed Merchant Cruiser – HMS Laurentic and a German Submarine U80
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.