RFA Ennerdale (1)

RFA Ennerdale





Official Number:                      169196

Class:                                     1st DALE CLASS Freighting Tanker

Pennant No:                            X 73 / A173

Laid down:
Builder:                                   Swan Hunter, Low Walker Yard
Launched:                               27 January 1941
Into Service:                           11 July 1941
Out of service:                        March 1958

Fate:                                        Broken up


Items of historic interest involving this ship: -


Background Data:  Originally there were to have been nineteen ships in this Class. The first 6 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


27 January 1941 launched by Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson, Wallsend as Yard Nr: 1656 named ENNERDALE (1) for the MoWT

2 February 1941 Mr George T Beed RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

CEO George T Beed

Chief Engineer Officer George T Beed RFA

23 June 1941 Captain Sidney T Dunster RFA appointed as Master



Captain Sidney T Dunster RFA 

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

9 August 1941 sailed the Clyde in convoy WS8C for Scapa Flow arriving the next day - Operation Leapfrog - with landing ships KARANJA, ROYAL SCOTSMAN, ULSTER MONARCH, BACHAQUERO, MISOA, QUEEN EMMA, and PRINCE CHARLES , steamers NARKUNDA, WINCHESTER CASTLE, BATORY, ORMONDE, CLAN MACDONALD, MACHARDA, SUFFOLK, DUNEDIN STAR, SILVERTEAK, and POTARO, escorted by destroyers BULLDOG, INTREPID, ECHO, CHARLESTOWN, CASTLETON, WHITEHALL, WINCHELSEA, and WITCH along with RFA‘s DEWDALE (1). This convoy was the force for the intended seizure of the Azores  - the Operation was cancelled.

12 August 1941 allocated to Operation Pilgrim along with RFA DEWDALE (1)

15 August 1941 Operation Pilgrim cancelled sailed Scapa Flow to the Clyde arriving 17 August 1941

October 1941 with Force Q to the South Africa Station

23 October 1941 declared to be not suitable for use as a mobile oiler

18 January 1942 Fireman Robert Henry McDonough discharged dead. He is buried in Freetown (King Tom) Cemetery, Sierra Leone in Plot 4 Row F Grave 6



Courtesy and © of The War Graves Photographic Project


21 February 1942 sailed Freetown in convoy SL101 to the Clyde arriving on the 15 March 1942

13 May 1942 at Greenock

22 October 1942 sailed the Clyde in convoy KMS1G for service during Operation Torch - the Allied Landings in French North Africa. Other RFA’s involved were RFA’s ABBEYDALE, BROWN RANGER, DEWDALE (1), DERWENTDALE, DINGLEDALE, NASPRITE and VISCOL.  Also SOBO which was carrying troops. She was awarded the North Africa 1942 Battle Honour - to Algiers arriving 8 November 1942

8 November 1942 arrived Algiers beach head and suffered defects in her Landing Craft handling gear. Was damaged during an air attack but suffered no casualties

21 November 1942 sailed Algiers in convoy MKS2 to Gibraltar with "RFA" British Lady arriving 24 November 1942 and then joined convoy MKS2A to the Clyde arriving 7 December 1942

28 December 1942 arrived Liverpool for repairs and further conversion work as an LSG

1942 was awarded the English Channel 1942 Battle Honour

13 March 1943 Captain A Edwards DSC RFA appointed as Master

16 March 1943 repairs and conversion completed. Was now fitted 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 fore hold 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.

16 March 1943 sailed Liverpool independently to the Clyde arriving the next day

26 March 1943 sailed the Clyde in convoy OS45 as Escort Oiler along with RFA Fortol which later joined the convoy from St Vincent, Cape Verde Islands after RFA Ennerdale (1) collision on 5 April 1943 (see below)

5 April 1943 was in collision with the New Zealand Shiping Company  liner ss RIMUTAKA and diverted to Gibraltar


Rimutaka 12



26 April 1943 arrived Walvis Bay.

29 April 1943 sailed Walvis Bay in convoy NC10 to Capetown arriving on 3 May 1943

5 May 1943 sailed Captetown independently to Aden arriving 22 May 1943

23 May 1943 sailed Aden independently to Suez arriving 28 May 1943

28 May 1943 in transit Suez Canal

30 May 1943 sailed Port Said independently to Alexandria arriving the next day

3 July 1943 sailed Alexandria in convoy MWS36 for Operation Husky - the British element of the invasion of Sicily. Other RFA’s involved were RFA’s CEDARDALE, DERWENTDALE (1), NASPRITE and PEARLEAF (1). She was awarded the Sicily 1943 Battle Honour.  

10, 11 and  12 July 1943 bombed off Sicily suffered sundry damage from near misses

12 July 1943 RASed HMS TETCOTT during Operation Husky





13 July 1943 Mr George T Beed RFA Chief Engineer Officer discharged dead having been killed by the bombing. He is buried in Syracuse War Cemetery, Sicily in plot III Row B grave 6


CEO George T Beed

Chief Engineer Officer George T Beed

CEO Beed Medals

Chief Engineer Officer George T Beed's medals



15 July 1943 arrived Tripoli

17 July 1943 sailed Tripoli in convoy MKS18 to Gibraltar arriving 23 July 1943

23 July 1943 sailed Gibraltar in convoy MKS18G which also contained RFA DEWDALE(1) which merged with convoy SL133MK containing  HMS ALLEGIANCE to Liverpool arriving on 5 August 1943 - in ballast

12 August 1943 sailed from Naples

17 August 1943 Captain Sidney Thomas Dunster RFA appointed as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) Civil Division for service during the North African Operations - published in the London Gazette of this day

28 August 1943 Mr Oscar Goodwin RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

21 December 1943 Lieutenant James William Whittall RCNVR awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) and Chief Engineer Officer George Templeton Beed RFA awarded a postumous Mention in Despatches for services during Operation Husky - the Allied landings in Sicily in July 1943 - published in the London Gazette of this day

11 January 1944 Captain Alfred Edwards RFA  and 2nd Officer Cyril Alexander RFA both awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC). Petty Officer Walter Crotty P/J 37257 and Bombadier Rapheal Leonard Gerrish 1687318 Royal Artillery both awarded the Distinguished Service Medal (DSM).  Chief Officer Cecil Horace Granger RFA, Chief Steward Clarence Patrick Healey RFA, Pumpman Stephen Dear RFA, Boatswain Frederick William Diggins RFA, 2nd Pumpman Albert Millar RFA, Carpenter Edwin Freear Richardson BEM RFA, Petty Officer WIlliam Ian Musgrove D/JX 190519, Lance Bombadier James Alexander Campbell D/ 34032 Royal Artillery for services during Operation Husky - the Allied landings in Sicily in July 1943 - published in the London Gazette of this day

13 February 1944 sailed the Clyde carrying 162 passengers in convoy OS68K which split RFA's ENNERDALE and DEWDALE to Gibraltar, RFA ECHODALE onwards to Aden, into KMS42G which arrived Gibraltar on 25 February 1944

4 March 1944 sailed Bougie in convoy UGS33 to Malta arriving 7 March 1944

15 March 1944 sailed Augusta escorted to Malta arriving 17 March 1944

21 March 1944 sailed Malta in convoy GUS34 which also contained RFA DEWDALE(1) to Bougie arriving on 23 March 1944

29 March 1944 sailed Bougie in convoy KMS45 which also contained RFA DEWDALE (1)  to Augusta arriving 2 April 1944

2 April 1944 sailed Augusta in convoy VN31 along with RFA DEWDALE(1) to Naples arriving 4 April 1944

11 April 1944 sailed Augusta to Malta arriving the next day

15 April 1944 sailed Malta to Bizerta arriving 17 April 1944

21 April 1944 sailed Bizerta in convoy KMS47 arriving at Augusta on 23 April 1944

24 April 1944 sailed Augusta in convoy VN35 to Messina arriving the same day

3 July 1944 sailed Taranto escorted to Malta arriving the next day

12 August 1944 sailed Naples in convoy SM1B on Operation Dragon - the Allied invasion  of southern France -carrying 14 Landing Craft, 4000 tons fuel oil, 1035 tons diesel  and 2500 tons fresh water.  The convoy comprised US HQ Ship USS BISCAYNE, RFA ENNERDALE (1), as a Landing Ship, US Tugs NARRAGANSETT and PINTO, British LST 13 (Converted for use as a Fighter Direction Tender, British Tanker EMPIRE FAY and 23 Landing Ships (Tank). Escort also included 5 Minesweepers, 4 US Navy Patrol Craft and a US Navy ATA. Other RFA’s involved were RFA’s CELEROL,  DEWDALE (1) and NASPRITE.

14 August 1944 arrived at her assigned beach head

16 August 1944 at Catoctin with USS Plunkett (DD431) alongside to refuel


USS Plunkett

USS Plunkett (DD431)


19 August 1944 in the Gulf of St Tropez with USS Benson (DD421) and USS Niblack (DD424) both alongside to refuel

5 February 1945 sailed Malta independently to Naples arriving 7 February 1945

7 April 1945 sailed Naples independently to Augusta arriving 8 April 1945

9 April 1945 sailed Augusta independently to Alexandria arriving 13 April 1945

17 April 1945 sailed Alexandria independently to Port Said arriving the next day

18 April 1945 Suez Canal transit

19 April 1945 sailed Suez independently to Aden arriving 24 April 1945

24 April 1945 sailed Aden independently to Bombay arriving on 30 April 1945

13 June 1945 sailed Colombo

14 June 1945 Chief Officer Donovan John Shedlock Newton RFA and Chief Steward Clarence Patrick Healey RFA both mentioned in despatches in the Birthday Honours List and published in the London Gazette of this day

2 July 1945 sailed Cochin

14 August 1945 sailed Trincomalee independently to Madras arriving the next day

27 October 1945 sailed Bombay to Colombo arriving 2 November 1945

2 November 1945 sailed Colombo to Singapore arriving 8 November 1945

24 November 1945 sailed Singapore to Penang arriving 26 November 1945

3 December 1945 sailed Penang for Singapore and enroute was requested to collect 4 spare Landing Craft off the entrance to the Perak River and transport them to Singapore

5 December 1945 entered a mine field while on passage in the Malacca Strait between Penang and Port Swettenham. Suffered damage but made her way to Singapore for repairs. There were no injuries.

11 December 1945 on board HMS SUSSEX a Board of Enquiry was held on the direction of the Flag Officer, Malaya. The Commanding Officer of HMS SUSSEX was the President of the Board and he sat with two other Royal Naval Officers. The Board of Enquiry found that the Master of RFA ENNERDALE (1) was in no way to blame for his ship being routed through a mine field. The routing through the minefield was through a number of errors by Royal Naval Officers and not through neglet.

30 March 1946 at Singapore while in port was damaged by fire.

8 April 1946 sailed Singapore to Bombay

17 April 1946 sailed passing Aden arriving Port Said

4 May 1946 sailed Port Said to Gibraltar arriving 11 May 1946

16 May 1946 sailed Gibraltar to Devonport arriving 22 May 1946

May 1946 repairs finally completed at Devonport during which her gantry gear was removed and she was reconverted into a tanker. With her sisters RFA’s DERWENTDALE (1) and  DEWDALE (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 utilizing the extra accommodation for carrying 12 passengers at a time until the deficiency of passenger berths was made up by new commercial tonnage.

17 July 1946 Mr G A Calvert RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

31 October 1946 Captain Leonard Elford RFA appointed as Master

Captain Leonard Elford

Captain Leonard Elford RFA


30 December 1946 Mr Frederick O Brims RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer until 31 March 1947

31 January 1947 sailed Devonport to Trinidad 

1 February 1947 three miles south of Plymouth breakwater was in collision with mv Eemstroom - suffered no damage but returned to port with a defective fuel pump. The Eemstroom which had been on passage from Bristol to Amsterdam sustained considerable damage above the water line but continued

3 February 1947 sailed Plymouth

24 February 1947 sailed Trinidad to Invergordon arriving 15 March 1947

20 March 1947 sailed Invergordon to Falmouth passing the Lizard on 24 March 1947

18 April 1947 passed the Lloyds signal station on the Lizard sailing West

22 April 1947 while on passage from Falmouth to Abadan passed Gibraltar

5 May 1947 sailed Aden this day for Abadan

12 May 1947 sailed Abadan for Falmouth

3 July 1947 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

8 July 1947 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

21 July 1947 Mr Ciriaco G McFadzean RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

22 September 1947 Captain Alfred Edwards DSC RFA discharged dead. He is buried in Mary Tavy (St Mary) Churchyard to the east of the Church

16 November 1947 passed the Lloyds signal station on the Lizard sailing West

10 December 1947 Mr Wilfred C Shortland RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

15 December 1947 Captain A Spencer RFA appointed as Master

12 February 1948 sailed Trinidad for LEFO

7 August 1948 berthed at King George Dock, Killingholme

12 August 1948 sailed King George Dock, Killingholme for Abadan

2 January 1949 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

7 January 1949 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

11 January 1949 passed the Lloyds signal station on the Lizard sailing west

19 February 1949 floated out of dry dock at Glasgow

1 April 1949 sailed Suez

15 August 1949 sailed Abadan for LEFO

21 July 1949 sailed Glasgow for Abadan

18 September 1949 sailed Port Said

3 October 1949 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour. Captain Donovan J S Newton MID RFA appointed as Master

11 October 1949 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

30 March 1950 passed the Lloyds signal station on the Lizard sailing East

29 August 1950 in the Persian Gulf Carpenter Ebrahim Abdoola discharged dead from heat stroke

17 September 1950 while enroute from Abadan to Rosyth with a cargo of FFO and Diesel and some 60 miles off Malta  Quartermaster Sheik Hoosein Baba died through apparent natural causes. The ship diverted to Malta.  He is buried in Kalkara Royal Naval Cemetery, Malta



Image courtesy of British War Graves

18 September 1950 sailed Grand Harbour, Malta for Rosyth

29 September 1950 Mr John H Dawe RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

CEO John H Dawe

Chief Engineer Officer John H Dawe RFA

13 October 1950 berthed at Immingham Dock

18 October 1950 sailed Immingham Dock to Trinidad with 8 passengers

6 November 1950 sailed Trinidad for LEFO

18 September 1951 at Barry Lascar Seaman Hassan Ali discharged dead - apparent natural causes - collapsed

3 February 1952 2nd Engineer Officer Alfred Hugh Griffiths RFA discharged dead - he died at Dartmouth & Kingsmere Hospital, Dartmouth, Devon from natural causes

19 March 1952 Mr John A MacPherson RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

20 March 1952 berthed at Old Kilpatrick, River Clyde after a voyage from Trinidad with 11 passengers

26 September 1952 Captain Ernest C Rogers RFA appointed as Master

Captain Ernest C Rogers

Captain Ernest C Rogers RFA

6 January 1953 sailed Colombo for Fao

14 April 1953 sailed Suez

9 October 1953 berthed at Singapore

26 October 1953  sailed Bombay

25 November 1953 Captain James H Chant RFA appointed as Master

28 November 1953 sailed Gibraltar for Swansea

3 December 1953 Mr R Blacklock RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

19 January 1954 Mr R B Turner RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

19 July 1954 passed the Lloyds Signal Station at Dover sailing west bound

22 August 1954 sailed Aden for Bahrein

29 September 1954 arrived at Melbourne, Victoria, Australia from Bahrein

4 October 1954 sailed Melbourne, Victoria to Colombo, Ceylon

4 November 1954 Captain Douglas S Norrington RD RFA (Commander RNR) appointed as Master

27 February 1955 Mr D S Wood RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

25 August 1955 Captain S T Dunster OBE RFA appointed as Master

19 February 1956 Mr B C Jeremiah RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

20 February 1956 Captain Allistoun MacQuire-Samson RFA appointed as Master

28 May 1956 Mr J McJ Lumsden RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

30 June 1956 Captain George S Perry RFA appointed as Master

 G S Perry

Captain George S Perry RFA

8 October 1956 at Falmouth Pumpman Amir Husain discharged dead - natural causes

16 November 1956 Donkeyman Greaser Sk Oomer Sk Ahmed discharged dead - apparently natural causes - buried at sea

11 February 1958 sailed to a Panamanian vessel Areti with damaged steering in the Atlantic in high seas while on a voyage from the West Indies to Plymouth and relieved RAF Shackleton aircraft from St Mawgan, Cornwall.

13 February 1958 arrived Devonport for disposal

March 1958 laid up at Devonport

17 July 1958 offered for sale by the Department of Tranport in the Times newspaper 'as lying' at Devonport


Ennerdale 1 17 7 58 Times for sale


subsequent to which the ship was sold to British Iron & Steel Corporation

14 April 1959 arrived under the tow of the tug Welshman at Faslane in the Gareloch to be broken up by Shipbreaking Industries Ltd



RFA Ennerdale (2)


Reproduced with permission of the MOD

RFA Ennerdale 2



Previous name:                        Naess Scotsman

Subsequent name:

Official Number:                       305869

Class:                                     2nd DALE CLASS Mobile Bulk Tanker

Pennant No:                            A213

Laid down:
Builder:                                  Kieler Howaldt, Kiel 
Launched:                              31 August 1962
Into Service:                           1968

Out of service:                        1 June 1970

Fate:                                      Wrecked and sunk


Items of historic interest involving this ship: -


Background Data:  On 13 July 1967, the MOD (N) announced that it had taken up from trade 3 large tankers on bareboat charter to the RFA for an initial period of 7 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 3 vessels were all basic hull vessels with bridge, accommodation and machinery aft, and all 3 underwent limited modifications, being fitted with an astern fuelling rig and an abeam reception facility to receive rigs from Fleet Tankers. All 3 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



30 August 1963 launched by Kieler Howaldtswerke AG, Kiel as Yard Nr 1132 named NAESS SCOTSMAN for Anglo-Norness Shipping Co Ltd (Naess Denholm & Co Ltd, Managers) London 

August 1964 completed



mv NAESS SCOTSMAN before her RFA service


July 1967 chartered by the Admiralty

October 1967 arrived on the Tyne for modifications by Vickers Ltd Shipbuilding Group, Hebburn

1 January 1968 Captain D deV Moulds RFA appointed as Master

February 1968 modifications completed

13 February 1968 Mr J Brett RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

11 February 1969 at HMS TERROR sports ground Ennerdale 'A' 6 a side Football team beat a team from HMAS DUCHESS 'C' 2 goals to 0. Ennerdale 'A' 6 a side Football team lost to a team from HMAS DUCHESS 'B' 3 goals to 0.

14 February 1969 her Ship’s Badge was officially presented to her

28 June 1969 sailed Cape Town for Tristan da Cunha

30 June 1969 was diverted to refuel the South African destroyer SAS SIMON VAN DER STEL en route to Gough Island in the South Atlantic to search for two missing South African meteorologists.

SAS Simon van der Stel

SAS SIMON VAN DER STEL at anchor off Gough Island

Embarked volunteers from Tristan Da Cunha to assist in the search and in hazardous weather conditions, the bodies of the two missing South African meteorologists were found within 2 hours

4 July 1969 RASed with SAS SIMON VAN DER STEL astern in the South Atlantic

15 July 1969 returned to Cape Town 

July 1969 the Ship’s Company were awarded the Wilkinson Sword of Peace for their valuable assistance above

16 January 1970 called at RAF Gan

6 March 1970 called at RAF Gan

14 April 1970 to 15 April 1970 was one of three RFA ships on Indian Ocean / South Atlantic standby in alternative splashdown positions for APOLLO XIII, the others being RFA’s TIDEFLOW and TARBATNESS

1 June 1970 whilst outbound from Port Victoria, Mahe in the Seychelles Islands to refuel the frigate HMS ANDROMEDA she struck an uncharted pinnacle of rock in position 04°30S 55°31E which opened up her starboard side and she heeled over very quickly and settled on the bottom with her stern section submerged and her bow in the air fortunately without any loss of life




16 June 1970 RFA STROMNESS arrived from Singapore with embarked salvage equipment and to act as a communications link and a base for the newly-created NLO (Mahe) 

18 June 1970 message was received from MoD (Navy) stating that it was impractical to salvage her and that her oil fuel tanks were to be ruptured so as to release her cargo whilst the SE Monsoon was favourable to carry the oil away from the islands

25 June 1970 an airborne method of delivering explosives was devised and her No 2 port wing tank was blown wide open

2 July 1970 by this date all port wing tanks had been ruptured and internal bulkheads had fractured thus allowing more oil to escape




17 July 1970 it was assessed that all FFO had been released from the wreck, all starboard wing and bunker tanks had been ruptured and the supply of mortar bombs and demolition charges had all been used up

19 July 1970 HMS/m CACHALOT arrived with the original intention of firing ten torpedoes into the wreck to disperse it more but this plan was later abandoned 

22 July 1970 after ten torpedoes had been transferred from HMS/m CACHALOT to RFA STROMNESS where the warheads were separated, these were subsequently placed on or near the wreck by helicopter and six of them successfully detonated

30 July 1970 RFA STROMNESS laid a new wreck buoy at the scene and sailed Mahe. The wreck now lies in 3 sections in 30 fathoms of water and is a popular diving attraction




1.  RFA Ennerdale (2) was one of the 17 tankers which were employed in the Mozchan on Beira Patrol duties

Additional information

Copyright © 2008 – 2018 Christopher J White

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