RFA Brown Ranger

RFA Brown Ranger



RFA Brown Ranger


Official Number:                     168092

Class:                                   RANGER CLASS Fleet Attendant Oiler

Pennant No:                          X 69 / B 509 / A169

Laid down:                            28 October 1939
Builder:                                 Harland & Wolff, Govan

Launched:                            12 December 1940
Into Service:                         10 April 1941

Out of service:                       November 1974

Fate:                                    Broken up in May 1975


Items of historic interest involving this ship: -


Background Data:   The 6 ships in this Class were designed in the mid -1930’s by Rowland Baker as replacements for the 2000t BELGOL CLASS and were the first Admiralty-designed tankers since the  1917 5000t FAST LEAF CLASS. As originally built, for camouflage purposes, they had canvas deckhouses, a dummy plate funnel forward, their foremast was on the starboard bow, the wheelhouse was offset to port, and in some cases their genuine funnel was cut low and was on the port quarter, fitted with a spark arrester. Originally armed with 1 x 4” LA, 1 x 12 pdr HA/LA and several Lewis guns, as the War progressed the armament fits altered and finally averaged 1 x 4” HA, 1 x 40mm Bofors and 4 x single 20mm Oerlikons. These vessels served extensively as Escort Tankers on the Russian Convoys, Norwegian coastal raids, Malta Convoys and with the British Pacific Fleet. Apart from GRAY RANGER which became a War Loss, the Class had exceptionally long Service lives and were finally replaced by the ROVER CLASS


28 August 1939 ordered

27 October 1939 laid down

1 November 1940 Mr Oscar Goodwin RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

12 December 1940 launched by Harland & Wolff Ltd, Govan as Yard Nr 1048G named BROWN RANGER

22 March 1941 Captain Donald B C Ralph RFA appointed as Master

11 April 1941 completed. Joined the Fleet Fuelling Service

21 July 1941 sailed Gibraltar escorted by the destroyer HMS BEVERLEY to refuel destroyers engaged in Operation Substance - a relief supply convoy from the Clyde to Malta

22 July 1941 refuelled 10 of the escorts from Convoy WS 9C

23 July 1941 returned to Gibraltar

30 July 1941 sailed Gibraltar escorted by HMS AVON VALE (Force S)

8 August 1941 to 10 August 1941 along with RFA’s DEWDALE (1), ENNERDALE (1) and DENBYDALE she was allocated for Exercise Leapfrog for Operation Pilgrim - the proposed action against  the Canary Islands

24 September 1941 to 30 September 1941 sailed Gibraltar under RN escort as Force S in Operation Halberd - to supply fuel to the escorts of  Convoy WS 11X - a supply convoy from the Clyde  to Malta - under escort of the corvette HMS FLEUR DE LYS.

16 November 1941 sailed Gibraltar as part of a convoy of 6 merchant ships escorted by five warships on  Operation Chieftain - a diversion for Operation Crusader in the eastern Mediterranean

18 November 1941 ships returned to Gibraltar after nightfall.

10 June 1942 undertook OAS trials

11 June 1942 sailed Gibraltar for Operation Harpoon under the escort of HMS's COLTSFOOT and GERANIUM

12 June 1942 to 16 June 1942 In Operation Harpoon as Force Y - to supply fuel to the escorts of Convoy WS 19Z  a supply convoy from the Clyde to Malta - escorted by the corvettes HMS COLTSFOOT and HMS GERANIUM


25 July 1942 sailed Algiers to Bone - joined convoy KMS 3G (a convoy from the Clyde to Bone) arriving on the next day

9 August 1942 sailed Gibraltar along with RFA DINGLEDALE for Operation Pedestal escorted by HMS's COLTSFOOT, GERANIUM, JONQUIL, and SPIRAEA supported by the tugs HMS's JAUNTY and SALVONIA

10 August 1942 to 15 August 1942 in Operation Pedestal - a supply convoy to Malta - as Force R (the main oiling group for the escorts to Convoy WS 21S) along with RFA DINGLEDALE under close escort of the corvettes HM ships COLTSFOOT, GERANIUM, JONQUIL and SPIRAEA. RFA ABBEYDALE was also in this Convoy

11 August 1942 assisted in refuelling 26 British destroyers and the cruiser HMS CAIRO

16 August 1942 arrived at Gibraltar with HMS's JONQUIL, GERANIUM, COLTSFOOT, SPIRAEA, JAUNTY, and RFA DINGLEDALE

24 September 1942 Captain Emil E Sigwart RFA appointed as Master

 Captain E Sigwart

Captain Emil E Sigwart RFA


22 October 1942 to 17 November 1942 took part in Operation Torch - the Allied Landings in North Africa - and formed  Force R along with RFA DINGLEDALE. Was awarded the North Africa 1942 Battle Honour. Other RFA’s involved were ABBEYDALE, DERWENTDALE (1), DEWDALE (1), DINGLEDALE, ENNERDALE (1), NASPRITE and  VISCOL

30 October 1942 together with RFA DINGLEDALE sailed Gibraltar with HMS's BOADICEA, PENN, PANTHER, and LOOKOUT for oiling at sea exercises with HMS's FURIOUS, AURORA, CHARYBDIS, WESTCOTT, WISHART, COWDRAY, BRAMHAM, ACHATES, VANOC, VERITY, and O.R.P BLYSKAWICA

5 November 1942 sailed Gibraltar with an escort as Force R, the fuelling support for Force H comprising of HMS's COREOPSIS, LOCH OSKAIG, IMPERIALIST, ARCTIC RANGER, and ST NECTAN. They were accompanied by the 4th Trawler Group (CAVA, OTHELLO, JULIET, and STROMA), the 5th Trawler Group (HOY, INCHOLM, MULL, and RYSA), and M/Ls 307, 238, 273, 283, 295, 336, 338, and 444 (T.O.N. II 122).

15 November 1942 arrived at Gibraltar with HMS FURIOUS and escorting destroyers. HMS's COREOPSIS, ARCTIC RANGER, ST NECTAN, LOCH OSKAIG and together with RFA DINGLEDALE

21 November 1942 sailed Gibraltar with RFA DINGLEDALE escorted by HMS's VENOMOUS, WIVERN, VERITY, ENCHANTRESS, FLEETWOOD, COREOPSIS, JONQUIL, BRIXHAM, and POLRUAN to rendezvous with Convoy KMS3 and subsequently to sail with the convoy to Oran and Algiers

25 November 1942 sailed Algiers in convoy KMS 3G

26 November 1942 arrived in Bone in convoy KMS 3G

1 December 1942 sailed Bone to Algiers arriving 2 December 1942 under escort

5 February 1943 Mr H G May RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

14 April 1943 Captain Henry  F Colbourne RFA appointed as Master

13 June 1943 sailed Algiers

14 June 1943 arrived Gibraltar

18 June 1943 sailed Algiers in convoy KMS16 along with RFA’s ABBEYDALE and CELEROL arriving Malta 22 June 1943

10 August 1943 at Grand Harbour, Malta USS Benson moored alongside to refuel - supplied 22,134 gallons of FFO

12 September 1943 was disabled on the Clyde

30 September 1943 sailed Malta to Tripoli arriving on 2 October 1943

3 October 1943 sailed Tripoli to Malta arriving the next day

28 October 1943 sailed Malta to join Convoy MKS 29 (Alexandria - Gibraltar) which also contained  RFA PRESTOL for a while

3 November 1943 convoy MKS 29 arrived Gibraltar

12 November 1943 radioed FOIC Greenock "Engines almost disabled. Request tug immediately. Position No: 8 Channel buoy, Clyde" Tug Stormking despatched from Cambletown. On arrival found that the engines had been repaired and escorted tanker to the Clyde boom.

2 February 1944 at Gourock alongside USS Lyon receiving 31,467 gallons of FFO

10 February 1944 sailed the Clyde to Belfast Lough

12 February 1944 sailed Belfast Lough to the Clyde

2 March 1944 at Loch Long moored alongside USS Barnett (ComTransDiv FIVE) to refuel her - supplied 162,200 gallons of FFO

15 March 1944 sailed the Clyde to Londonderry

17 March 1944 sailed Londonderry to Loch Ewe

20 March 1944 sailed Loch Ewe in convoy WN 559 to Scapa Flow arriving on 21 March 1944

30 March 1944 sailed Scapa Flow, along with RFA BLUE RANGER, for Operation Tungsten - an attack on the German TIRPITZ in her Norwegian lair in Kåfjord together with HMS's ROYALIST, SEARCHER, EMPEROR, PURSUER, FENCER, FURIOUS, JAMAICA, SHEFFIELD, VERULAM, VIRAGO, VIGILANT, SWIFT, and WAKEFUL

7 April 1944 arrived at Scapa Flow with RFA BLUE RANGER escorted by HMS's PIORUN, JAVELIN,  and ULYSSES

18 April 1944 sailed Scapa Flow to the Clyde arriving the next day

26 April 1944 at Loch Long alongside USS Dorothea L Dix (AP67) and refuelled her with 61,600 gallons of fuel oil and 6,552 gallons of diesel - in this ship's log Brown Ranger is described as an 'Oil Barge"


Page 3

The USS Dorothea L Dix (AP67) was a 11,800 ton transport ship


4 May 1944 sailed Loch Ewe in Convoy WN 578 (Loch Ewe - Methil)

6 May 1944 detached from Convoy WN 578 and arrived Scapa Flow

22 May 1944 at Loch Long alongside USS Thomas Jefferson (APA30) and refuelled her with 116,110 gallons of fuel oil and 6,000 gallons of diesel

28 May 1944 sailed Oban to the Clyde arriving the next day

24 October 1944 sailed the Clyde in convoy OS93KM - the convoy split at sea

2 November 1944 arrived in Gibraltar in convoy KMS 76G - sailed the same day to Port Said arriving on 12 November 1944

23 November 1944 sailed Port Said arriving Aden 1 December 1944

2 December 1944 sailed Aden to Abadan to load arriving on 9 December 1944

11 December 1944 sailed Abadan arriving Colombo 19 December 1944

28 December 1944 sailed Colombo to Freemantle, Australia arriving 14 January 1945

5 February 1945 sailed Freemantle to Sydney, NSW arriving 12 February 1945

24 February 1945 sailed Sydney, NSW to Manus, Papua, New Guinea arriving on 3 March 1945

28 March 1945  took part in Operation Iceberg One - the British Pacific Fleet’s operations against Okinawa - where she acted as a Water Carrier along with RFA’s ARNDALE,  BACCHUS (2), CEDARDALE, DINGLEDALE, WAVE KING and WAVE  MONARCH all of which formed Task Force 112 to support Task Force 57, the carrier task group. In spite of defects, the overworked and undermanned oilers with inexperienced crews supported the Task Group with 7 replenishment sorties.

29 March 1945 sailed Manus, Papua, New Guinea arriving Leyte 6 April 1945

13 May 1945 at Leyte Cabin Boy Foster William Gibbens discharged dead having accidentally drowned when run down by an LCM (US) while swimming from the ship

23 May 1945 sailed Leyte to Manus, Papua New Guinea arriving 29 May 1945

31 May 1945 reproted as being inport at Manus, Papua New Guinea together with RFA's ARNDALE, BACCHUS (2), CEDARDALE, FORT DUNVEGAN, GREEN RANGER, RAPIDOL, WAVE EMPEROR, WAVE KING and WAVE MONARCH

July 1945 in an attempt to remedy the shortage of OAS equipment within Task Force 57, along  with RFA BACCHUS (2) she was used as a carrier and issuing vessel for replacing lost and damaged hoses

5 July 1945 vat Seeadler Harbour, Admiralty Islands with HMAS BURNIE alongside for water and fuel 

12 July 1945 sailed Manus, Papua, New Guinea to Eniwetok, Marshall Islands arriving 1 August 1945


1 September 1945 sailed Eniwetok, Marshal Islands arriving Tokyo, Japan 11 September 1945

29 September 1945 sailed Tokyo, Japan to Shanghai, China arriving 5 October 1945

28 December 1945 sailed Shanghai, China

30 September 1945 Captain Emil E Sigwart RFA appointed as Master

13 May 1946 Mr J J Moore RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

19 December 1946 RASed with HMS VANGUARD while she was on passage from Gibraltar to Portsmouth at 50° 22N 1° 31W 

20 December 1946 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

30 December 1946 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

10 February 1947 RASed with HMS Vanguard off Freetown while the battleship was carrying HM the King and Queen with other members of the Royal Family to South Africa.

12 June 1947 Captain R I Barber RFA appointed as Master and Mr Alexander Ballantyne OBE RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

22 April 1948 Captain E E Laurence RFA appointed as Master

8 March 1949 Mr Henry S Edwards RFA  appointed as Chief Engineer Officer


Chief Engineer Officer Henry S Edwards RFA


August 1949 towed HMS LANDGUARD (ex US Coastguard Cutter Shoshone) from Trincomalee to Singapore.

3 November 1949 took part in Flotilla Exercise with various RN units off Hong Kong. RASed with HMS WHITESAND BAY

18 December 1949 Mr N T Davies RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

9 March 1950 Captain Alfred W Camamile DSC RFA appointed as Master

25 April 1950 berthed at Hong Kong. Also in port was RFA Maine (4)

25 June 1950 to 27 July 1953 saw service during the Korean War along with 18 other RFA’s and was awarded the  Korea 1950-52 Battle Honour

10 August 1950 at Sasebo, Japan with HMS MOUNTS BAY alongside being refuelled

12 November 1950 at Sasebo, Japan refuelled HMS MOUNTS BAY alongside

15 April 1951 to 25 April 1951 supported HMS CHARITY, RFA Salvalour and the seized tanker Yung Hao between Hong Kong and Singapore and RASed them three times

26 June 1951 Captain W R Holt OBE DSO RFA appointed as Master

7 August 1951 Mr A Thompson RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

8 September 1951 alongside USS Orleck (DD886) refuelling her with 1010 barrels of fuel oil

8 December 1951 RASed with HMAS SYDNEY and her destroyer screen HMS COMUS, HMCS SIOUX and HMAS TOBRUK off Korea

9 December 1951 RASed with USS Munro (DE422) off Korea then detached to Sasebo, Japan

3 January 1952 RASed with HMAS SYDNEY off Korea

19 August 1952  carried out Anti-submarine exercises with HMS Cardigan Bay, HMCS IROQUOIS, NOOTKA, HMNZ ROTOITI, Columbian frigate CAPITAN TONO, and US submarine USS CHAN

18 September 1952 Mr Harry F Duce DSC RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer


CEO Harry F Duce

Chief Engineer Officer Harry F Duce DSC RFA


23 September 1952 at Sasebo, Japan with HMAS ANZAC alongside being refuelled and receiving fresh water

13 April 1953 at Hong Kong Mess Boy Loo Cheng Ah discharged dead - natural causes

6 September 1953 Mr J G Simpson RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

3 August 1954 Captain Stanley S Maddock RFA appointed as Master


 Captain S S Madock

Captain Stanley S Maddock RFA

kindly donated by his daughter Mrs Gillian Pickard


17 December 1954 Mr D Meikle RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

13 April 1955 Captain Stanley S Maddock RFA discharged dead. He is buried in Haslar Naval Cemetery, Gosport, Hampshire.




16 August 1955 Captain Albert  V Barton RFA appointed as Master

1 September 1955 Mr I M Macfarlane RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

15 March 1956 Mr G C Arthur RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

31 October 1956 in Operation Musketeer - the Suez Crisis - along with 34 other  RFA’s

7 November 1956 at Suez - HMS PUNCHER attempted to berth alongside - failed

8 November 1956 at Suez - HMS PUNCHER berthed alongside

9 November 1956 at Suez HMS PUNCHER alipped from alongside and sailed to sea for passage to Malta

24 December 1956 entered Grand Harbour, Malta with RFA TIDEREACH, RFA WAVE VICTOR and RFA WAVE LIBERATOR after covering with RN units the Anglo-French Forces withdrawl from Port Said

15 November 1957 Captain Alfred M Uglow RFA appointed as Master 

12 January 1958 Captain B H Lawrence RFA appointed as Master

14 January 1958 Mr J S Aitken RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

1959 was working in waters around Cyprus during the emergency there along with RFA BLUE RANGER

16 June 1959 berthed at Malta from off Cyprus

23 November 1959 met up with HMS Gambia off Malta and transferred to her the Band of the Royal Highland Regiment which she had brought from Cyprus for a memorial service on the island of Volos at the grave side of those 17 killed on HMS Devonshire in a turret explosion on the 26 July 1929 and who were buried on Volos over the next three days

11 December 1959 berthed at Malta

9 January 1960 sailed Malta for the West Indies

11 January 1960 Mr J G Simpson RFA as Chief Engineer Officer

23 January 1960 was under the orders of Flag Officer Royal Yachts

20 April 1960 Mr C D Reid RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

1 August 1960 arrived at Malta from Cyprus

November 1960 became Clyde Port Oiler under the control of Flag Officer Submarines

2 December 1960 at Tail of Bank with HMS EXMOUTH moored alongside

5 December 1960 berthed at Faslane - sailed later in the day

7 December 1960 at Faslane berthed alongside HMS ADAMANT - sailed at 16.00hrs

14 December 1960 Captain Alfred M Uglow RFA appointed as Master until 23 January 1961

17 April 1961 sailed Malta for Exercises with RN and other Allied ships together with RFA Wave Baron, RFA Tide Austral, RFA Sea Salvor and RFA Fort Duquesne

24 January 1962 Mr H W Jackinson RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

20 September 1962 sailed Malta

18 March 1963 Mr R W Cann RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

18 April 1963 Captain Archibald M M Telfer RFA appointed as Master

14 January 1964 Mr J G Simpson RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

28 June 1964 Captain J Gulesserian RFA appointed as Master

1 November 1965 Mr W B Jones RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

9 June 1966 Captain A W Stanley RFA appointed as Master

8 July 1966 arrived at Malta

20 June 1966 Mr P W Jacobs RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Office

24 August 1966 off Singapore engaged in RAS practice with HMAS DIAMANTINA

1 September 1966 engaged in exercises with HMS/m ANDREW and HMS VERULAM

4 September 1966 RASed with HMS DAMPIER


19 September 1966 when 60 nmiles SW of Pratas Reef RASed with HMAS DIAMANTINA followed by HMS DAMPIER

31 October 1966 RASed with HMS DAMPIER and HMAS DIAMANTINA

29 December 1966 Captain Henry Carr RFA appointed as Master until 23 November 1967


 CAptain Henry Carr

Captain Henry Carr RFA

kindly donated by his son Robert Carr


16 March 1967 Mr K O'Neill RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

2 August 1968 Captain G Bray MBE RFA appointed as Master

1973 presented with a Meritorious Unit Commendation by  the U.S. Navy’s Chief of Naval Personnel in recognition of her contribution to a joint US / UK oceanographic operation ( Task Group 81.3 ) in the North Atlantic

1974 her last major duty was supporting HM ships on Pitcairn Island Patrol during the French nuclear tests in that area

November 1974 was destored and laid up at Portsmouth

February 1975 placed on the Disposal List

8 February 1975 advertised for sale by the Department of Trade 'as lying' at HM Dockyard, Portsmouth in the Times newspaper of this day

April 1975 purchased by Manuel Hevia Gonzales, Gijon.

21 May 1975 sailed Devonport in tow of Spanish tug INIGO-LOPEZ-TAPIA for scrap

28 May 1975 arrived at Gijon, Spain for breaking up by Desguaces Hevi




1. After the North Africa Landings she became Port Oiler at Bone for a few weeks and escaped damage during numerous air raids. She then proceeded to Algiers for additional anti-aircraft guns to be fitted. This took several months and during this time she acted as Port Oiler there.

 2. After her Mediterranean service she proceeded to join the British Pacific Fleet and was at the Leyte operations being used as a Water Carrier.

 3. Took part in the re-occupation of Hong Kong and Shanghai and was then in Japan for some months before returning to the UK to accompany the battleship HMS VANGUARD on the Royal Tour to South Africa

4.  Was part of the British Pacific Fleet train - hence the B-pennant number


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