The following article was published in the Marine Engineer Officers’ Magazine Issue No 148, Vol: XX,  March – April 1938. This Magazine was the Official Journal of the Marine Engineers’ Association Ltd



RFA War Bahadur with the visible effects of the damage she sustained
while crossing the Atlantic

“In January 1938 RFA War Bahadur sustained a battering by an Atlantic gale of a nature which surely few ships experience and survive. After several days of battling through a 100 mph hurricane and seas of really terrifying size, she reached Plymouth in safety, but only after the enormous volumes of water which had repeatedly crashed down upon her had swept away bridge and wireless room and smashed the lifeboats. Saloon and galley were flooded, and the only place of comparative safety was the engine room, in which the personnel of 33 had at one time to take temporary refuge until the worst of the hurricane had passed.

It was a matter of infinite pleasure to MEA Headquarters to be able to dispatch of Mr J Hutchinson, the Chief Engineer, on the arrival of the War Bahadur at Plymouth, a message of hearty congratulations on the survival of himself, his staff, and the ship’s personnel in general.

Only those with intimate knowledge of ships can appreciate the extreme good fortune of the engine department being spared such wreckage as was sustained by the upper structures, seeing that the safety of all aboard depended upon the security of the engine-room plant. It is good news indeed, and a fine tribute to the engine department staff, that they were eventually able to make port under their own power.”


The Magazine containing this article has been donated, with grateful thanks, to the RFA Historical Society by Mr Jim Williams whose grandfather Second Engineer James Wade-Thomas RFA was serving on RFA War Bahadur at the time related above. The image above comes from the RFA Historical Societies archives.


Copyright © 2008 – 2018 Christopher J White

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