RFA Boardale




Official Number:                         165489

Class:                                       1st DALE CLASS Freighting Tanker

Pennant No:                              X 67

Laid down:
Builder:                                     Harland & Wolff, Govan
Launched:                                  22 April 1937

Into Service:                               7 June 1937
Out of service:                            30 April 1940
Fate:                                         Stranded at Narvik


Items of historic interest involving this ship: -


Background Data:  Originally there were to have been ninteen ships in this Class. The first six were purchased off the stocks from the British Tanker Co Ltd whilst building at the instigation of the then Director of Stores, Sir William Gick, who was concerned at the age of the RFA Fleet and ships that were approaching the end of their economic lives. A further two ships were purchased from Anglo Saxon Petroleum Co Ltd for evaluation purposes. At the outbreak of WW2, a further eleven ships were acquired from the MoWT war programme although one of these, to have been named EPPINGDALE, which had been registered in London as EMPIRE GOLD on 21/02/43 and intended for transfer to the Admiralty for manning and management as an RFA and despite five Officers being appointed to her, the intended transfer was cancelled the following day and she thus never entered RFA service. Three of this Class were converted into LSG’s and were then reconverted back into tankers at the end of the War.


10 April 1936 ordered by the British Tanker Company Ltd, London

22 April 1937 launched by Harland & Wolff Ltd, Govan as Yard Nr 971 G named  BOARDALE for the Admiralty


Boardale Launch


15 June 1937 Captain Leonard Elford RFA appointed as Master

Captain Leonard Elford

Captain Leonard Elford RFA


7 July 1937 completed

8 July 1937 commenced her maiden voyage from Glasgow - Port Said - Abadan

19 September 1937 arrived Plymouth from Abadan

21 September 1937 sailed Plymouth and passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing west bound for Glasgow

30 November 1937 arrived at Glasgow from Liverpool in ballast

31 March 1938 passed Gibraltar sailing west bound

5 April 1938 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

8 April 1938 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

3 June 1938 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

5 June 1938 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

9 June 1938 Mr Alexander B McIntyre RFA (Lieutenant Commander (E) RNR) appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

Alex Bain McIntyre photo

Chief Engineer Officer Alexander B McIntyre RFA

17 July 1938 passed Gibraltar sailing east bound

21 July 1938 arrived Malta from Glasgow, sailed the same day to Costanza

11 October 1938 sailed Malta

17 November 1938 passed Gibraltar sailing west bound

31 January 1939 arrived at Sydney, Australia from Abadan to discharge

4 February 1939 sailed Sydney, Australia  for Bahrein

5 February 1939 passed Gabo Island sailing west

14 April 1939 at Malta Donkeyman Greaser Thomas Toye discharged dead - drowned. He is buried in Kalkara Royal Naval Cemetery

24 May 1939 in collision with the British steamer GENERTON in Grand Harbour, Valletta, Malta


Photograph by Walter E. Frost

4 June 1939 at Abadan

16 September 1939 sailed Abadan

4 December 1939 sailed Malta for Haifa arrived on 8 December 1939

9 December 1939 sailed Haifa for Alexandria arrived 11 December 1939

22 February 1940 sailed Alexandria for Gibraltar - arrived 29 February 1940

1 March 1940 sailed Gibraltar in convoy HG21F for the Clyde arriving 9 March 1940 with a cargo of FFO

14 March 1940 undergoing repairs on the Clyde

10 April 1940 announced this day that Chief Engineer Officer Alexander B McIntyre RFA (Lieutenant Commander (E) RNR) awarded the Reserve Officers Decoration

14 April 1940 grounded in Ardrossan Harbour but was refloated

17 April 1940 sailed the Clyde independently for Scapa Flow arriving 21 April 1940

30 April 1940 while on passage from the Clyde to Narvik with a cargo of aviation spirit, and following a destroyer and another storeship, in thick fog she ran aground on a reef  in Assan Fjord owing to a navigational error and was abandoned without any casualties  The crew were rescued by the Polish destroyer Burza

1 May 1940 caught fire and sank in 67 metres of water. Her Master was stated to be roughly to blame for the loss




She was originally destined to be one of a Class of  what was to become 93 tankers over a 15 year period, the lead ship of this Class being launched at Newcastle as BRITISH FAME on 19 June 1936

Additional information

Copyright © 2008 – 2018 Christopher J White

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