Welcome to Historical RFA
The ‘Fresh’ class of water tank vessels were launched during World War 2 and during their early years 12 of the 14 ships in the class were manned by the RFA. These vessels would have been a familiar sight around the naval dockyards and anchorages, taking fresh water and boiler feed water to warships and auxiliaries.
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.
We have all heard of Ballistic Missile Submarines, Guided Missile Destroyers and Frigates, but how many of you have heard of a tanker with a ballistic unguided missile capability, not many I would wager.
In early 1987 RFA Olwen had two very special tubes fitted to her flight deck; each tube was around 30 feet long and 21 inches in diameter and gave the ship the appearance of an old Battleship with the tubes looking like main armament. One of the tubes had been mounted on a base plate that was cut into Olwen’s flight deck and the other was on a portable platform. The tubes were steered on two axes and had to be aligned to the ship’s centre line to operate effectively.
RFA Limol - a tragedy at Gibraltar
On 16 February 1936 at Gibraltar a local resident – Francisco Lopez Ramos – was picking grass in the side road which leads to the Jewish Cemetery when he found the body of a man hanging from a tree. He immediately called the Police and Sergeant Bacarese of the Gibraltar Police Force attended and arranged for the body to be removed to the Colonial Hospital.
The body was searched and papers found in the clothing identified the person as Sidney Hullah, an Able Seaman from RFA Limol, a harbour tanker then currently deployed at Gibraltar
An inquest touching upon the death of Sidney Hullah was held the next day before H M Coroner in Gibraltar Mr P G Russo. The ship’s Master, Captain Sidney Mitchell RFA gave evidence and advised the Court that AB Hullah had joined the ship in September 1935. He had last seen him on the 15 February. He was a quiet man who was popular with the other members of the crew. He was a married man with two children.
Chief Officer Frank C White RFA stated that after being called by the Gibraltar Police he attended the Colonial Hospital where he identified the deceased
Chief Officer Frank C White RFA
The Coroner recorded a verdict of ‘Suicide while of unsound mind’.
Able Seaman Hullah was later buried in the North Front Cemetery, Gibraltar and is recorded in our Roll of Honour for 1936.