RFA Empire Fred


Official Number:                      165260                                                                   

Class:                                    Miscellaneous Harbour Tug - FOREMOST Class

Pennant No:                           W157 / A372

Laid down:                              
Builder:                                  A Hall & Co, Aberdeen
Launched:                              11 September 1942
Into Service:                           31 October 1942
Out of service:                        April 1974
Fate:                                      Broken Up at Hendrik Ido Ambacht, Netherlands


Items of historic interest involving this ship: -


Background Data:   There were a number of vessels which fell into the category of Miscellaneous Harbour Tugs which all belonged to different Classes and which were based at various Naval Bases for general duties


11 September 1942 launched by Alexander Hall & Co Ltd, Aberdeen as Yard Nr 683 named EMPIRE FRED for the MoWT

31 October 1942 completed and placed under management of  Townsend Brothers Ferries Ltd, London

19 January 1943 transferred to the Admiralty and commissioned as a Rescue Tug to be based at Gibraltar - Admiralty War Diary of this day

23 March 1943 sailed Gibraltar in convoy TE19Y to Oran arriving the next day

2 April 1943 sailed Oran in convoy TE20 to Algiers arriving the next day

4 April 1943 sailed Algiers under escort to Gibraltar arriving 9 April 1943

9 April 1943 arrived at Gibraltar with HMRT Empire Ned towing ss Fort Babine

11 April 1943 sailed Gibraltar in convoy KMS12G to Oran arriving the next day

12 April 1943 sailed Algiers independently to Bone arriving 19 April 1943

20 July 1943 sailed Algiers

9 November 1943 Temporary Acting Lieutenant Archibald Craig RNR appointed to be an additional Member of the Military Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) for great courage and skill when in command he removed a blazing ship from a harbour entrance and so saved much shipping from danger of fire (London Gazette 36240) together with Able Seaman Harry Charles Haxell for courage and skill in securing a line to a hawser on a blazing ship in harbour to enable her to be towed out of the entrance was awarded a 'mention in despatches'

5 January 1944 moored at Birzerte, Tunisia with USS SC-690 out board of her

6 January 1944 got underway from Birzerte, Tunisia due to heavy weather

21 May 1944 at Birzerte, Tunisia assisted USS YMS-18 with engine defects to enter the La Percherie Docks

23 August 1944 at Birzerte, Tunisia towing USS Conasauga (AOG15) to Ferryville Harbour

10 October 1944 at Birzerte, Tunisia assisted in the berthing of USS Delta (AR9) with Empire Edward

20 April 1946 placed under the control of the Allied Military Government at Trieste, name unchanged

10 January 1950 Captain G Faulkner appointed as Master

1 December 1950 Mr J R Smith-Bowers appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

30 October 1954 sailed Trieste in tow of her sister ship EMPIRE NED to Malta arriving 2 November 1954

20 May 1955 sailed Malta in tow of RFA SAUCY for Londonderry arriving on 2 July 1955

21 August 1956 at the Gareloch together with RFA EMPIRE ZONA secured alongside HMS PUNCHER to assist her to sea. Returned when the warships steering engine broke down

L3036 HMS Puncher IWM


22 August 1956 at the Gareloch together with RFA EMPIRE ZONA secured alongside HMS PUNCHER to assist her to sea (again)

9 May 1958 Mr A Kavanagh appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

19 June 1959 Captain G Faulkner appointed as Master

2 January 1961 Mr C Crothers appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

27 November 1959 in collision with the Dutch aircraft carrier KAREL DOORMANin Lough Foyle and sustained  minor damage

1964 owners became the Secretary of State for Defence

10 January 1966 tug services at Londonderry were discontinued; moved to the Clyde Areas

Empire Fred at Greenock

EMPIRE FRED at Greenock in the 1970's in dry dock
kindly donated by Ships Nostalgia's 'Teaboy'

5 May 1970 towed to Chatham by RFA BUSTLER for use as an accommodation vessel

13 September 1973 disposal approved

2 October 1973 on the Disposal List at Chatham

February 1974 purchased for demolition by Arie Rijsdiyk, Boss en Zonen, Hendrik Ido Ambacht

1 March 1974 sailed Chatham for the breakers’ yard in tow of the tug ANTONIE JUNIOR 

Additional information

Copyright © 2008 – 2018 Christopher J White

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