RFA Earner
RFA Earner
This picture supplied by G.R.Stuart



Previous name:                       Earnest

Subsequent name:                  Nisos Rodos

Official Number:                      169327

Class:                                      ASSURANCE Class Tug

Pennant No:                            W143 / A209

Laid down:                              24 March 1943

Builder:                                    Cochrane, Selby
Launched:                               3 July 1943

Into Service:                            18 October 1943
Out of service:
Fate:                                       Broken Up


Items of historic interest involving this ship: -


Background Data:   There were originally 21 ships in this Class, 7 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


3 July 1943 launched by Cochrane &  Sons Ltd, Selby as Yard Nr 1270 named HMS EARNEST

September 1943 renamed HMS EARNER

2 November 1943 sailed Loch Ewe in convoy UR 96F to Reykjavik arriving on 5 November 1943

31 December 1943 sailed with HMS ELM to assist ss Empire Housman which had been torpedoed and lost motive power with the intention to tow her to Iceland

3 January 1944 SS Empire Housman, straggling from the Convoy ON-217, at 60°30N 24°35W was again torpedoed by 'U-744' and foundered two days later. One crew member (2nd Mate - Lance Bambrough) was lost. The master, 37 crew members and seven gunners were picked up by the armed trawler HMS ELM and rescue tug HMS EARNER and they were landed at Reykjavik

13 May 1944 sailed Reykjavik for the UK

7 June 1944 sailed the Clyde for Oban arriving on 9 June 1944

10 June 1944 sailed Oban with USS Donnell (DE56) in tow for Londonderry arriving the next day



USS Donnell (DE56)


4 October 1944 HMCS Chebogue while attacking a German submarine U1227 in the Atlantic was hit by one of the submarines torpedoes and damaged. Earner took the frigate in tow and safely delivered the ship to the Mumbles where she anchored. The frigate later dragged it's anchor and ran aground on the Mumbles Head but was refloated and repaired.


hmcs chebogue

HMCS Chebogue


2 November 1944 towed HMS Whittaker to Belfast after she had suffered structural damage due to the explosion of Hedge Hog bombs.

4 March 1945 sailed Loch Ewe in convoy UR 156 to Reykjavik arriving on 10 March 1945

August 1945 towed the fighter direction ship Palomares from Massawa to Aden after she had suffered fire damage

24 June 1946 berthed at Montrose from Chatham

25 June 1946 sailed Montrose with a tow

20 July 1946 sailed Montrose with tug Dexterous for Invergordon with a tow

14 August 1946 arrived the River Tyne from Rosyth

22 August 1946 sailed the River Tyne for Rosyth

24 September 1946 sailed Montrose for Scapa Flow with a tow

10 October 1946 while towing three MFV's from Peterhead to Dundee and in the Tay one mile east of the Abertay Lightship when MFV 1097 foundered. There was no crew onboard the MFV. A buoy was laid over the wreck

19 October 1946 arrived at the River Tay towing the former luxury yacht Atmah from Grangemouth

6 December 1946 sailed Montrose for Invergordon with a tow

22 January 1947 sailed Hartlepool with HMS SCARBOROUGH in tow


HMS Scarborough



10 May 1947 Captain Rowland I Magill appointed Master

3 November 1947 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing east with a tow

5 November 1947 arrived at Plymouth sailing later for Portsmouth for repairs

2 February 1948 Captain Reginald W D Gilbertson appointed as Master

19 March 1948 arrived at Rosyth from Falmouth together with RFA SAUCY

2 June 1948 Mr A Dobbie appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

15 July 1948 towed HMS LOYAL from Malta to the breakers yard at Milford Haven arriving on the 31 July 1948

10 September 1948 with RFA SAUCY sailed Plymouth with HMS ORION in tow to Scotland for trials

HMS Orion 85


27 October 1948 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing east towing a pontoon

29 January 1949 entered harbour at Londonderry

8 July 1949 arrived Plymouth with HMS ENARD BAY in tow from Cardiff

3 September 1949 sailed the River Tyne with HMS ALLINGTON CASTLE in tow


HMS Allington Castle



7 October 1949 sailed the River Tyne for Portland

19 May 1950 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing east

23 May 1950 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing east with a vessel in tow

10 October 1950 arrived at Portsmouth from Harwich with HMS NIZAM in tow

13 October 1950 sailed Plymouth with HMS LEAMINGTON in tow

14 October 1950 arrived at Portsmouth with HMS LEAMINGTON in tow

15 October 1950 sailed from Portsmouth with HMS LEAMINGTON in tow

21 March 1951 sailed Scapa Flow for Aberdeen with a boom defence ship in tow. Was forced to seek shelter in the Moray Firth due to bad weather

12 February 1952 sailed Aberdeen with HMS BARCLIFF in tow for Portsmouth

18 March 1954 arrived on the River Tyne towing HMS HIND to join the Reserve Fleet in Northumberland Dock after being dehumidified


HMS HIND Earner 1954



11 December 1955 at Rosyth Dockyard  Assistant Steward Joseph McGarry discharged dead - he died from natural causes

8 December 1959 attended the North Carr Light ship, off Fife Ness which had broken free from her moorings in very heavy weather. The light ship later managed to anchor. On 11 December 1959 the light ship was taken under tow by the Earner to Leith for repairs

North Carr Earner 1959

North Carr Light Ship

29 April 1960 Boilerman Edward McBride badly injured in an accident on board at Rosyth. He was taken to Dunfermline and West Fife Hospital and then afterwards to Bangour Hospital for plastic surgery

June 1963 laid up at Rosyth

December 1964 on the Disposal List at Rosyth

8 December 1964 advertised for sale 'as lying' at HM Dockyard, Rosyth in The Times of this day

RFA Earner for Sale

18 January 1965 purchased for £17,300 by Tsavliris (Salvage & Towage) Ltd, Piraeus and renamed NISOS RODOS, ON: 1751 on the Greek registry

1972    Broken up in Greece

Additional information

Copyright © 2008 – 2017 Christopher J White

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