RFA Derwentdale (1)




RFA Derwentdale 1



Subsequent name:                  Irvingdale 1

Official Number:                       168212                                                            

Class:                                     1st DALE CLASS Freighting Tanker

Pennant No:                            X 14 / A114

Laid down:                              14 November 1939
Builder:                                    Harland & Woolf (Belfast)
Launched:                               12 April 1941
Into Service:                            30 August 1941
Out of service:                         19 May 1959
Fate:                                      Sold commercially.


Items of historic interest involving this ship: -


Background Data:  Originally there were to have been 19 ships in this Class. The first six were purchased off the stocks fro 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.

12 April 1941 launched by Harland & Wolff Ltd, Belfast as Yard Nr: 1052 named DERWENTDALE (1) for the MoWT and originally intended for management by Eagle Oil Transport Co Ltd, London

27 May 1941 Mr Arthur L Barr RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer



Chief Engineer Officer Arthur L Barr RFA

14 August 1941 Captain John M Humphrey RFA appointed Master

Captain J M Humphrey OBE

Captain John M Humphrey RFA
early in his career at sea

30 August 1941 completed and acquired by the Admiralty. Operated as a tanker with limited LSG capability

2 September 1941 sailed Belfast Lough independently on her maiden voyage to Inverary arriving the next day

6 September 1941 sailed Inverary independently to Gourock Anchorage arriving the same day

19 September 1941 at Gourock Junior Engineer J Campbell while repairing a burner in the midships galley suffered burns to the face and arms .Discharged to Hospital at Greenock and detained. Rejoined the ship 20 September 1941

22 September 1941 sailed the Clyde in convoy ON19 until dispersed and then arriving at Halifax on 10 October 1941

11 October 1941 sailed Halifax independently to Port of Spain, Trinidad arriving on the 20 October 1941

24 October 1941 at Port of Spain, Trinidad while Able Seaman W McConnel was absent without leave he returned onboard with a head injury. He received the injury when he dived into shallow water - unfit to work. Fined 5/- for absence and forfeitted one days way and 14/2d for the cost of stitches to his wounded head

25 October 1941 at Port of Spain, Trinidad Junior Engineer J Russel discharged ashore with an appendicitis and Chief Steward J Fitzpatrick discharged ashore for hospital treatment for dysentary

26 October 1941 sailed Port of Spain, Trinidad independently to Simonstown, South AFrica

14 November 1941 rendezvoused with HMS CARNARVON CASTLE in position 29°50S, 8°30W at 1630GMT and proceeded for Simonstown

19 November 1941 arrived at Simonstown Dockyard, South Africa

25 November 1941 unbasined, swung for adjustment of compassed in False Bay and anchored in Simon's Bay

26 November 1941 escorted by HMS's HOXA and ROMEO departed from Simon's Bay at 1110 GMT for outer end of searched channel at Durban

7 December 1941 arrived Mombassa

8 December 1941 sailed Mombassa in convoy MA3/1 to Aden arriving 15 December 1941

16 December 1941 at Aden Pumpman J Williamson and Donkeyman P O'Neill were both knocked down in a road traffic accident and admitted to the RAF Hospital

18 December 1941 sailed Aden independently to Suez arriving 23 December 1941

24 December 1941 transitted the Suez Canal and berthed at Port Said - Abbas Quay on the same day

10 January 1942 sailed Port Said to Alexandria arriving the next day

11 January 1942 arrived at Alexandria carrying 15 LCM’s escorted by HMS Kelvin and HMS Kingston

12 January 1942 sailed Alexandria escorted by HMS Farndale, HMS Dulverton, HMS Eridge and HMS Malines. Attacked by German bombers on the 14 and 15 January 1942 - no damage. Arrived at Benghazi on 15th. Sailed from Benghazi to Port Said and was attacked again on 16 January 1942 - unsuccesfully. Arrived back at Alexandria on 18 January 1941

21 January 1942 at Alexandria 2nd Officer J Coull RFA injured an ankle. He was discharged to RFA Maine (3) for treatment. He was discharged from RFA Maine (3) on 28 January 1942 and returned onboard

27 February 1942 sailed Alexandria to Port Said for Suez canal transit on 1 March 1942

3 March 1942 sailed Suez

14 March 1942 sailed Suez independently to Aden arriving on 20 March 1942

20 March 1942 said Aden independently to Cochin arriving on the 29 March 1942

31 March 1942 sailed Cochin independently to Addu Atol arriving 3 April 1942

5 April 1942 sailed from Addu Atoll under escort of HMS EXPRESS

hms express1


11 April 1942 arrived at Mauritius still under the escort of HMS EXPRESS sailing the same day, still under the same escort to Durban

11 April 1942 while at sea for general inefficency and neglet of his duties Chief Steward Marcus Calder was disrated to Assistant Steward. He refused to work in that rate. He further refused to work in that rate and was logged on each occasion on 13 April 1942, 14 April 1942, 15 April 1942 and 16 April 1942

Chief Steward CALDER

Chief Steward Marcus Calder

17 April 1942 arrived at Durban escorted by HMS EXPRESS

18 April 1942 docked in the dry dock at Durban, South Africa

20 April 1942 undocked from the dry dock at Durban, South Africa

22 April 1942 at Durban Able Seaman J E Gladson returned on board drunk and disorderly. He smashed crockery and furniture in the PO's and Seamans Mess. He appeared before Durban Police Court and was found guilty of a charge of the wilfull destruction of property. He was fined £5 or one weeks imprisonment. He was left in gaol for two days and his fine was reduced to £3 18sh 7d. For the two days in gaol he received no pay

23 April 1942 at Durban Law Court Assistant Steward Marcus Calder appeared charged under the Merchant Shipping Act (see above) - he was found Guilty and was sentenced to one months imprisonment with hard labour suspended for 12 months on good behaviour

25 April 1942 sailed Durban, South Africa in Assault Convoy Y for service during Operation Ironclad- the landings at Diego Suarez, Madagascar - along with RFA EASEDALE arriving on 5 May 1942

2 May 1942 while refuelling a Royal Naval ship was struck on the starboard side by the warship and was holed by the steering flat

5 May 1942 arrived allocated beach head at Diego Suarez - for the invasion and capture of Madagascar

19 May 1942 sailed Diego Suarez independently to Bombay arriving 30 May 1942

19 June 1942 onboard HMS Dauntless a Naval Court tried Edward Warke, Assistant Steward for being absent without leave -

Naval Court RFA Derwentdale




18 July 1942 sailed Bombay, India independently to Cape Town, South Africa arriving on 16 August 1942

19 August 1942 sailed Cape Town, South Africa independently to Freetown arriving 3 September 1942

4 September 1942 sailed Freetown in Convoy SL121 arriving at the Clyde on 21 September 1942

8 October 1942 Mr William J Brown DSC RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

22 October 1942 sailed the Clyde in assault convoy KMS1G for service during OperationTorch the Allied Landings in French North Africa to Arzeu Z beach head Oran arriving on 8 November. Other RFA’s involved were RFA‘s ABBEYDALE, BROWN RANGER, DEWDALE (1), DINGLEDALE,  ENNERDALE (1), NASPRITE and VISCOL. She was awarded the North Africa 1942 Battle Honour.

16 December 1942 having been left ashore Royal Naval Able Seaman Thomas Cleary C/JX 227086 discharged dead. He is buried in Durban (Stellawood) Cemetery, South Africa in Block F Grave 296

26 December 1942 sailed Gibraltar in convoy MKS4 arriving the Clyde 6 January 1943

12 January 1943 sailed the Clyde independently to Liverpool

13 January 1943 arrived Liverpool for further conversion work into an LSG to be carried out

10 April 1943 sailed Liverpool independently arriving the Clyde the next day conversion completed and sailed Liverpool. Was now equipped with 4 gantry crane extensions which travelled the Main deck on rails and lowered the 15 LCM (1’s) carried over the side in a 30 minute period. These LCM’s were 48.5 feet in length and of 36 tons complete with military transport vehicles and were stowed on rollers in 3 rows on deck with minimum interference to the original tanker function of the vessel. Initially no accommodation was provided for the LCM crews but later conversions saw the forehold and Nos 8 and 9 tanks fitted with tween decks and altered to accommodate 150 additional personnel and extra accommodation was built on the bridge and boat decks aft for the personnel involved in handling the vehicles. 
22 June 1943 sailed from the Clyde in assault convoy KMS 18B for service during Operation Husky- the British element of the invasion of Sicily. Other RFA’s involved were RFA’s CEDARDALE, ENNERDALE (1), NASPRITE and PEARLEAF (1)

9 July 1943 transferred to convoy  KMF 18 for early unloading

10 July 1943 arrived Barkl West beach head. She was awarded the Sicily 1943 and Salerno 1943 Battle Honours. Sailed Sicily in Convoy MKF 18 and detached to Malta.

11 July 1943 called at Malta sailed the next day

14 July 1943 arrived Tripoli

16 July 1943 sailed Tripoli

21 July 1943 arrived Algiers

31 July 1943 sailed Algiers and joined Convoy KMS 21 which also contained CAPE HOWE

3 September 1943 took part in Operation Avalanche - the invasion of Salerno, Italy damaged by bombing.

9 September 1943 Eight LCM(2)'s from Derwentdale were deployed to convey US troops in the 8th wave from USS Joseph T. Dickman (Captain R. J. Mauerman, USCG) to landings at Salerno, Italy

11 September 1943 at anchor in the Gulf of Salerno with USS Benson (DD421) alongside to refuel - 64,600 gallons of fuel oil supplied

USS Benson DD 421

USS Benson (DD421)

14 September 1943 departed Salerno under tow of HM tug Hengist to Malta

19 September 1943 arrived at Malta at 06:30 - was surveyed and found to have received bomb damage to the port side of the engine room. Underwater damage was to A - H straked of plating between Nos. 51 and 71 frames. Plating from Nos. 67 and 71 frames was badly set in from C to H strakes, slight buckling continued fown to the keel also bentween 51 to 61 frames. Major damage to the engine room, an intermediate deck which housed two generators and the ships workshop was badly set up causing the generators etc. to be town from their fastenings. The engine room, boiler room, port side of the cross bunkers and cofferdam were flooded. 2,000 tons of oil fuel was discharged from the after tanks

28 January 1944 Chief Steward Maurius Diniz discharged dead. He is buried in Capuccini Naval Cemetery, Malta


Image courtesy of British War Graves

20 August 1944 arrived Oban in convoy XK 18 from Gibraltar under tow of the tug HESPERIA

21 August 1944 sailed under tow of the tug HESPERIA from Oban

27 August 1944 arrived under tow of the tug HESPERIA at the Tyne

14 February 1945 arriving at Sunderland and re-engined from the engines from RFA DENBYDALE which was laid up at Gibraltar.

26 April 1945 Mr George Bray RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

CEO George Bray in 1918

Chief Engineer Officer George Bray RFA (image taken in 1918)

July 1945 at Sunderland for engine repairs

13 February 1946 Captain Leslie J Mack DSO RFA appointed as Master

15 February 1946 sailed Sunderland

21 February 1946 in collision with the Collier ss Raloo in the River Wear near the Corporation Quay, Sunderland. The collier sank with 1,570 tons of coal while on passage to Portsmouth. No lives were lost. Derwentdale suffered damage to her stern well above the waterline

Sunken Raloo

Sunderland Daily Echo & Shipping Gazette of 22 February 1946 image of the ss Raloo

22 February 1946 return to Sunderland

28 February 1946 sailed Swan Hunter, Sunderland for the River Tyne arriving the same day

4 May 1946 sailed the River Tyne for Abadan

1946 Gantry gear removed and reconverted into a tanker. With her 2 sisters RFA’s DEWDALE (1) and ENNERDALE (1) they all retained the extra accommodation on the boat decks aft and at the request of the MoT they were kept on the Trinidad /  UK run carrying oil for the Navy but with the extra accommodation utilized for carrying 12 passengers at a time until the deficiency of passenger berths was made up by new commercial tonnage

11 May 1946 at Gibraltar.

12 May 1946 sailed to Suez

31 May 1946 arrived at Abadan sailing the next day for Singapore arriving 17 June 1946

20 June 1946 sailed Singapore for Abadan arriving 7 July 1946

10 July 1946 sailed Abadan to Singapore

27 July 1946 sailed Singapore to Hong Kong

17 August 1946 at Hong Kong

5 September 1946 sailed Hong Kong for Singapore arriving 13 September 1946

13 September 1946 sailed Singapore to Colombo arriving 20 September 1946

21 September 1946 sailed Colombo to Bombay arriving 25 September 1946

28 September 1946 sailed Bombay to Abadan arriving 5 October 1946

October 1946 – Gyro compass equipment – which had been earlier removed from the ship and RFA's ABBEYDALE and OLIGARCH (2)  and was now set for fitting in RFA's CHERRYLEAF (1), PEARLEAF (1) and CEDARDALE

6 October 1946 sailed Abadan to Aden 

15 October 1946 sailed Aden. At Port Said 22 October 1946

26 October 1946 berthed at Malta

1 March 1947 sailed Abadan for LEFO

16 March 1947 sailed Port Said

23 March 1947 sailed Haifa for LEFO

9 April 1947 sailed Devonport for Cardiff

14 January 1948 berthed at Darwin to discharge

11 March 1948 arrived from Abadan at Kurraba Point, Sydney, Australia to discharge

5 June 1948 Captain Robert D Almond RFA appointed as Master. Remained in command until 18 February 1950 when he took command of RFA WAVE CONQUEROR

Captain Robert Almond

Captain Robert D Almond RFA

21 September 1948 berthed on the Admiralty Tier, Hebburn on Tyne

18 October 1948 the Shields Daily News reported that ...

Shields Daily News 18 10 1948

13 January 1949 passed Aden

17 January 1949 arrived at Suez

20 January 1949 sailed Port Said

7 April 1949 sailed Trinidad for LEFO

19 July 1949 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on Flamborough Head sailing north bound for Rosyth

29 July 1949 arrived the River Tyne from Rosyth

22 August 1949 berthed at Wallsend Slipway, River Tyne

16 October 1949 sailed Sunderland passing the Lloyds Signal Station sailing southbound

6 December 1949 berthed at Trinidad

7 December 1949 sailed Trinidad for LEFO

28 December 1949 Captain H M Sinclair RFA appointed as Master

28 February 1950 sailed Trinidad for LEFO

17 March 1950 Mr T R Purvis RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

1 May 1950 berthed at Old Kilpatrick, River Clyde after a voyage from Trinidad with 10 passangers

3 May 1950 sailed Old Kilpatrick for Tail of the Bank

27 May 1950 at sea at 14°55N 42°8E Deck Cassab Shaik Jainoo Ameen discharged dead - natural causes

2 October 1950 berthed at Old Kilpatrick Oil Fuel Depot. River Clyde from Abadan

10 November 1950 Captain Ernest C Rogers RFA appointed as Master

Captain Ernest C Rogers

Captain Ernest C Rogers RFA

1 May 1951 arrived at Port Said

3 November 1951 sailed Cardiff for Point a Pierre, Trinidad with 8 passengers

23 April 1952 a Lascar seaman crew member taken ashore at Swansea with suspected smallpox. A further case had been landed at Suez. The ship sailed 27 April 1952 for the Clyde to go into refit leaving the sick sailor in the Penrhys Isolation Hospital, Rhondda Valley.

16 June 1952 Captain John M Humphrey OBE DSC RFA appointed as Master

12 December 1952 arrived Malta from Port Said

28 December 1952 Mr D S Wood RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

11 January 1953 sailed Sunderland to Immingham

17 January 1953 was in collision with Panamanian vessel Rhea off the East Goodwin Light Vessel. Damage was reported as 'slight'

10 August 1953 arrived the River Tyne from Swansea and berthed at Wallsend Slipway

18 September 1953 Captain William R Parker RFA appointed as Master

10 October 1953 sailed Gibraltar

14 October 1953 arrived at Malta

15 October 1953 sailed Malta

20 October 1953 sailed Suez

8 November 1953 sailed Mena al Ahmadi

21 November 1953 arrived at Suez

29 November 1953 passed Gibraltar sailing west bound for Swansea

27 December 1953 sailed Suez

2 January 1954 arrive Aden

24 January 1954 arrive Suez

5 July 1954 sailed Curaçao

28 August 1954 Captain Raymond V Boodle RFA appointed as Master

 Raymond Boodle

Captain Raymond V Boodle RFA

29 August 1954 Mr A M Evans RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

27 December 1954 arrived from Barhein at Garden Island, Sydney, NSW to discharge

19 May 1955 in refit at Wallsend Slipway, River Tyne

13 October 1955 sailed Suez

14 December 1955 arrived Auckland, New Zealand

26 March 1956 Mr C D Reid RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

3 June 1957 Captain George W Webster RFA appointed as Master

Captain George W Webster

Captain George W Webster RFA

19 May 1958 Mr A B Tate RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

27 May 1958 Captain Walter L Holtam RFA appointed as Master

Captain W. L HOLTAM

Captain Walter L Holtam RFA

9 September 1958 sailed Bombay for Aden

14 December 1958 sailed Suez

19 May 1959 laid up at Rosyth

20 October 1959 offered for sale at Rosyth 'as lying' in the Times of this date

Derwentdale 1 for sale

December 1959 purchased for £65,000 by Atlantic Traders Ltd (Kenneth O. Irvine, Manager) St John’s, N.B. and was renamed IRVINGDALE 1 the following year

1960 sold to Atlantic Traders Ltd and renamed Irvingdale 1 - registered at Nassau

1962 her owners were restyled as Brookco Ltd, Bahamas - name retained - still registered at Nassau

1966 sold for £75,000 to German breakers who resold her to Spanish breakers

23 July 1966 arrived El Ferrol, Spain in tow of Polish tug SWAROZYC to be broken up



RFA Derwentdale (2)



Reproduced with permission of the MOD


RFA Derwentdale 2



Previous name:                                        Halcyon Breeze
Subsequent name:                                   Alnadji

Official Number:                                        305968                           

Class:                                                      2nd DALE CLASS Mobile Bulk Tanker

Pennant No:                                            A221

Laid down:
Builder:                                                   Hitachi, Innoshima, Japan 
Launched:                                               8 January 1964
Into Service:                                            23 November 1967
Out of service:                                         1974
Fate:                                                      Broken up


Items of historic interest involving this ship: -


Background Data:  On 13 July 1967, the MOD (N) announced that it had taken up from trade three large tankers on bareboat charter to the RFA for an initial period of seven years. The reasons for the charter of such large and, by naval standards, unconventional vessels was generally accepted as a combination of political failures and by the Admiralty’s continuing need to ensure Fleet logistics support east of Suez. The political failures related to the closure of the Suez Canal following the 1967 Arab / Israeli War and the foreseeable ending of the Aden base with its resultant loss of fuel storage facilities. They were originally classed as Mobile Bulk Tankers, but this was later amended to Mobile Reserve Tankers. Although not sister ships, these three vessels were all basic hull vessels with bridge, accommodation and machinery aft, and all three underwent limited modifications, being fitted with an astern fuelling rig and an abeam reception facility to receive rigs from Fleet Tankers. All three provided support on the Beira Patrol and were replenished On Station by Support Tankers owing to their size which precluded them loading at naval installations



8 January 1964 launched by Hitachi Zosen, Inoshima as Yard Nr: 4009 named HALCYON BREEZE for Caribbean Tankers Ltd (Court Line (Ship Management) Ltd, Managers) London

April 1964 completed at a cost of £2,290,000. The lowest British tender for her construction was £500,000 higher!

23 May 1967 Captain Charles E C Phipps RFA appointed as Master

17 June 1967 chartered by the Admiralty

19 June 1967 became the first DALE to be formally accepted at 1200 hrs at Rotterdam and sailed to rendezvous with RFA ORANGELEAF (2) in the North Sea for a simulated RAS and a transfer of the Deputy Marine Superintendent by jackstay a mere eight hours later

20 June 1967 arrived on the Tyne for modifications by Swan Hunter (Dry Docks) Ltd, Wallsend

23 November 1967 sailed Tyneside on completion of modifications, renamed DERWENTDALE (2) and became the largest ever ship in the RFA

21 July 1968 Mr I M MacFarlane RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

9 August 1968 her Ship’s Badge was officially presented to her

17 June 1970 off Beira RAS'ed HMS TARTAR

29 September 1971 in the Indian Ocean RAS'ed with HMS MINERVA

January 1972 visited Jamestown, St. Helena with HMS SCYLLA and other RN units

April 1972 at Invergordon suffered oil leak while discharging cargo

Novermber 1972 - from Force 4 - Captain Herbert J C Wheatley RFA was in command. The ship was for a brief time involved in fleet support on the Mozchan. Scheduled to sail from the UK in January 1973 to the Persian Gulf calling at Mahe, Seychelles on the way 

Captain Herbert Wheatley

Captain Herbert J C Wheatley RFA

March 1973 - from Force 4 - Captain Herbert J C Wheatley RFA was in command. The ship had sailed from Bahrain for the UK. During the passage to the Persian Gulf the ship at called at Mahe, Seychelles after sailing from Cape Town

14 June 1974 in the Coral Sea after Exercise Kangaroo One engaged with HMAS SUPPLY in a seven hour pump over 

June 1974 discharged her final Admiralty cargo and was returned to her owners

16 August 1974 owners went into liquidation and the Official Receiver laid claim to the ship

7 October 1974 Court Line was compulsorily wound up

February 1975 purchased by Arabian Maritime Transport Co Ltd, Jeddah and renamed ALNAJDI

28 April 1982 sailed Singapore for Taiwanese breakers

9 May 1982 prior to this date, arrived at Kaohsiung for breaking up

9 June 1982 demolition begun by Gi Yuen Steel Enterprise Co Ltd.




Was one of 17 tankers employed in the Mozchan on Beira Patrol duties

Additional information

Copyright © 2008 – 2018 Christopher J White

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