Welcome to Historical RFA
During World War 1 discipline formally enforced against RFA Officers resulted in trials by Court Martial. Both RFA Officers and Rating charged with serious offences also faced the prospect of a Court Martial.
Between 29 May 1916 and 11 October 1919 44 Court Martial’s were convened where 39 RFA Officers (one twice) and 5 RFA ratings appeared as defendants.
RFA’s on Russian Convoys
In 1947 the Admiralty’s Naval Stores Department commenced to issue quarterly, the Department’s “Naval Stores Journal”. Members of the Departmental staff were encouraged to submit stories about their work and in 1948 Chief Officer Leslie Rowling DSC RFA wrote about the three RFA’s which had sailed on the Arctic Convoys PQ18 and QP14 in September 1942 – RFA Black Ranger, RFA Gray Ranger and RFA Oligarch. Although not part of the originally published article photographs have been added below to illustrate the story together with a list of the Merchant ships which sailed in Convoy PQ18).
RFA Black Ranger at Scapa Flow in 1942
Twenty two ships of the RFA fleet were deployed on Operation Corporate – these ships were: -
Robert Noel McKinstry was born on 25 December 1892 in Tandragee, County Armagh, Northern Ireland and graduated from Queens University, Belfast in 1914
On 23 Oct 1914 he was appointed a Temporary Surgeon Lieutenant in the Royal Navy until 1919 during which time he obtained a doctorate in public health.
Requisitioned Auxiliaries of World War 1
Regular visitors to the site will have noticed that not only do the RFA Historical Society research and publish vast amounts of material concerning the ships and the people of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary in order to preserve the facts for posterity but also that there are regular updates to the Requisitioned Ships’ Section.
On the outbreak of WW1 thousands of commercial ships were requisitioned for tasks which were sometimes extraordinarily different to the tasks these same ships had performed in peacetime.
Very large numbers of ship were needed to not only transport vital supplies of food, coal, oil, ammunition and other goods but also to serve in other roles to protect, interrogate or investigate ships which may or may not have been what they appeared to be. Thus something in the region of 3,000 ships were requisitioned for service as Collier Transports alone, nearly 300 ships as Oiler Transports, then many others to serve in such diverse roles as Store Carriers, Armed Merchant Cruisers, Armed Boarding Steamers, Auxiliary Minesweepers and other lesser but still important roles, which resulted in thousands of tons of shipping being lost but more tragically, thousands of lives of Merchant Seafarers too.