RFA Cautious



Previous name:                        HMRT Prudent
Subsequent name:                   Rivtow Lion

Official Number:                        182199

Class:                                      ASSURANCE Class Tug

Pennant No:                             W73 / A385

Laid down:                               11 March 1940
Builder:                                    Cochrane, Selby
Launched:                                6 August 1940
Into Service:                             1947
Out of service:                          1964
Fate:                                        Sunk as an artificial reef


Items of historic interest involving this ship: -


Background Data:


There were originally twenty one ships in this Class, seven of which saw service as RFA’s. Of 700 t standard displacement and 1350 t full load displacement, they had a complement of 31 and a bollard pull of 13½ tons. In wartime they were armed with 1 x 3“ gun, 1 x 20mm AA gun and 2 x .303 machine guns


6 August 1940 Launched by Cochrane & Sons Ltd, Selby as Yard Nr: 1218 named HMRT PRUDENT

19 November 1940 completed

30 November 1940 sailed Methil as a Rescue Tug in Convoy EN 34/1 to Oban arriving 4 December 1940

8 June 1941 sailed Liverpool as a Rescue Tug in Convoy OB 332 to Halifax arriving 23 June 1941

8 August 1941 sailed Greenock with HM Tug Restive to the new advance base at St. John's, Newfoundland - source Admiralty War Diary

14 April 1942 sailed as a rescue tug in Convoy HX 185 from Halifax to Liverpool arriving 27 April 1942

3 July 1942 sailed as a Rescue tug in Convoy OG 086 from Oban to Gibraltar arriving 14 July 1942

November 1942 towed Mv Adviser which had been torpedoed by German submarine U178 at 32.03S 33.53E into Durban, South Africa

2 April 1943 Lieutenant Tom Pickering RNR appointed in command

3 August 1943 provided salvage assistance and towage to ss Mangkalihat after the later had been torpedoed by the German submarine U198 at 25.06S 34.14E. The ship foundered the following day

1 September 1943 became tender to HMS Kongoni (Naval Base at Durban) - source Admiralty War Diary of 30 August 1943

17 September 1943 sailed Durban in convoy DK1 to Kilindini arriving 28 September 1943

9 November 1943 sailed Kilindini for Diego Suarez

12 November 1943 arrived at Diego Suarez

22 November 1943 while escorting MLs 831, 832, 381 and 846 sailed Diego Suarez for Seychelles

24 November 1943 arrived at the Seychelles

15 December 1943 took on tow French Destroyer Le Triomphant which had been escorting a convoy from Freemantle, Australia when she was hit by a cyclone and badly damaged. Arrived at Diego Suarez on 19 December 1943

22 March 1944 sailed Durban in convoy DKA16 to Aden arriving 12 April 1944

Prudent Football team 1944

HMRT Prudent's 1944 Football team
Supplied byAdrian Pickering with much thanks

20 April 1945 sailed with AFD 40 in tow escorted by HMS TULIP to Cochin

12 October 1945 alongside at Simontown Dockyard, South Africa

HMRTPrudent news clippings

Press Cutting concerning HMRT Prudent's AFD tow to Cochin
Supplied by Adrian Pickering with much thanks

11 December 1945 Lieutenant Tom Pickering RNR received a 'Mention in Despatches' for distinguished service during the War

1947 renamed CAUTIOUS and sailed under RFA terms and conditions

3 May 1947 Captain R G F Ladd appointed as Master

21 May 1947 Mr A West appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

22 September 1948 Captain Walter H A Medway appointed as Master

3 March 1950 Mr E Grant appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

3 October 1950 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

15 October 1950 sailed the River Tyne

17 October 1950 Captain F A J Barron appointed as Master

13 December 1950 sailed Chatham

28 December 1950 Mr R J E Dunford (Lieutenant (E) RN (retd)) appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

22 January 1951 the Portsmouth Evening News reported that ...

Press report Port Even News 22 1 1951

27 April 1951 sustained considerable damage at Gibraltar when RFA BEDENHAM blew up

2 March 1954 arrived from sea to No 1 Basin, Chatham Dockyard

27 November 1954 the Liberian-registered tanker WORLD CONCORDbroke in two in heavy weather 10 miles off the Smalls on the Pembrokeshire coast. Her crew of forty two were all rescued without any casualties. The after part was taken in tow by TURMOIL (q.v.)

30 November 1954 in the Irish Sea, in very heavy weather, took in tow the fore part of the Liberian tanker WORLD CONCORD and headed for Belfast.  The fore part went aground on the rocky shore of County Down, Northern Ireland after Cautious slipped her tow when things became dangerous. Turmoil was refused entry into Liverpool due to fuel leaks and headed for the Clyde

17 December 1954 The forepart of WORLD CONCORD was refloated and was initially towed to Belfast Lough then to Faslane for some preliminary examination and repair work

10 March 1955 Seaman John McKenzie discharged dead. Was found missing from the ship when it was berthed at Greenock. His body was found in the Clyde on 21 April 1955

21 February 1955 Captain J C Reid appointed as Master

8 January 1960 Captain H J Perrett appointed as Master

August 1964 laid up at Chatham and placed on the disposal list

13 October 1964 Purchased by M.R. Cliff Tugboat Co, Vancouver, was re-engined and renamed  RIVTOW LION

1972 purchased by Riv-Tow Marine Ltd, Vancouver name unchanged

1976 owners restyled as Riv-Tow Straits Ltd, Vancouver

1987 owners became Riv-Tow Industries Ltd, Vancouver name unchanged

2002 Acquired by the Nanaimo Dive Association

6 February 2005 sunk as an artificial reef off Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, Canada for recreational divers




1.  The image is of the ship as H.M.Tug Prudent before being taken over as an RFA.

Additional information

Copyright © 2008 – 2018 Christopher J White

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