Welcome to Historical RFA
A Tide Class Tanker
by Jim Rae
by kind permission of the artist
On the 8 June 1982 at the height of the Falklands conflict, RFA Sir Galahad was at anchor in Port Pleasant, about 3 cables from RFA Sir Tristram and about a mile from Fitzroy, preparing to disembark elements of the Welsh Guards. At about 17:15 Z, five Skyhawk jets of the Argentinean Air Force commenced an attack on the two LSL’s at anchor.
In 1918 British Naval Forces were sent to the Baltic to keep the sea lanes open to the newly independent states of Estonia, Latvia and the Free City of Danzig enabling them to secure their freedom. Danzig had been created on 10 January 1920 in accordance with the 1919 Treaty of Versailles.
To support the Royal Navy, Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships were deployed and these included the 2,000 ton Belgol class tanker RFA Prestol.
Deserters and Absconders
Crew records show that between the period 27 May 1916 and 1 January 1920 while subject to Naval Discipline 148 crew members (both Officers and Ratings) were registered as having deserted. A further 16 were shown as being absentees without leave while 6 were just noted as having ‘failed to return to their ship’.
The ships with the worst record were RFA Fortol and RFA Petroleum both having recorded 19 crew members as having deserted.
A few records show that when arrested the deserter faced imprisonment. Deserter James Sutton, a Stoker from RFA Servitor was sentenced to 42 days hard labour when he was arrested on 27 April 1917. Others are noted as being sent to Naval Detention Quarters (DQ’s).
The British Campaign in the Baltic 1918-19 was a part of the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War. The intervention played a key role in enabling the establishment of the independent states of Estonia and Latvia but failed to secure the control of Petrograd by Russian White forces, one of the main goals of the campaign