Fort Charlotte in the Indian Ocean


Previous name:                       Buffalo Park
Subsequent name:

Official Number:                    175375    

Class:                                     CANADIAN FORT CLASS Stores Ship

Pennant No:                           B587 / A236

Laid down:                             6 November 1943
Builder:                                   North Van, North Vancouver, Canada
Launched:                              12 February 1944
Into Service:                           11 June 1948

Out of service:                        1967 Laid up
Fate:                                        Broken up


Items of historic interest involving this ship: -


Background Data:  After the outbreak of WW2, the first cargo vessels built in Canada for the War Effort were the “North Sands” type, the hulls of which conformed to original British working drawings supplied by the North Sands Shipyard of J.L. Thompson & Sons at Sunderland. Following experience gained from these ships, improved versions with a more economic operation were introduced. These were the ”Victory” and “Canadian” types. The “Victory” type was an oil burner and two water tube boilers were substituted for the original 3 Scotch boilers. Because of the then concerns about oil fuel supplies, the “Canadian” type had coal bunkers and alternate oil fuel capacity installed, but with a reversion to the original three Scotch boilers of the “North Sands” type. In 1943, when the shipping situation in the Pacific was becoming acute, the British Government ordered that a number of the ships of the Canadian building programme  be completed as Stores Issuing Ships whose intended task would be to follow and victual naval units as part of the British Pacific Fleet Train. In all, sixteen ships were completed as Stores Issuing Ships as follows: three as Ammunition Carriers, two as Air Stores Issuing Ships, two as Naval Stores Issuing Ships and nine as refrigerated Victualling Stores Issuing Ships. All were managed by commercial companies with vast experience of Far Eastern waters as Mercantile Fleet Auxiliaries with Merchant Navy Crews and a detachment  of Stores Staff from the Victualling Division of the Admiralty under a Commander. On the refrigerated ships, the refrigerated space was in the tween decks and amounted to 111,480 cubic feet in twenty five chambers. The lower holds were used for non-perishable items of stores, clothing, etc. After WW2, eight of these ships became RFA’s. They were only armed during WW2.


12 February 1944 launched as a “Victory” type by North Vancouver Shiprepairers Ltd, North Vancouver as Yard Nr: 139 named BUFFALO PARK for the Canadian Government  (Park Steamship Co, Montreal, Managers)

27 March 1944 registered at Montreal, Canada as ss Buffalo Park. Call sign VDYZ

6 April 1944 delivered by builders

23 April 1944 sailed Victoria, British Columbia independently to Los Angeles arriving 27 April 1944

28 April 1944 sailed Los Angeles independently to Cristobal

10 May 1944 sailed Cristobal independently to Curacao arriving on 13 May 1944

14 May 1944 sailed Curacao independently to Trinidad arriving the next day

20 May 1944 sailed Trinidad in convoy TJ 33 arriving Cape Town 17 June 1944

10 June 1944 at 23.50S 16.08W investigated by aircraft from USS SOLOMONS (CVE67) - identified

22 June 1944 sailed Cape Town independently to Port Elizabeth arriving two days later

1 July 1944 sailed Port Elizabeth independently to Durban arriving 3 July 1944

20 July 1944 sailed Durban independently to Cape Town arriving 23 July 1944

26 July 1944 sailed Cape Town independently to Port Harcourt arriving 4 August 1944

8 August 1944 sailed Port Harcourt independently to Takoradi arrived 11 August 1944

16 August 1944 sailed Takoradi independently to Trinidad arrived 30 August 1944

31 August 1944 sailed Trinidad independently to Cristobal arriving 4 September 1944

7 September 1944 sailed Balboa independently to Los Angeles arriving 16 September 1944

25 September 1944 sailed Los Angeles independently to Vancouver arriving 30 September 1944

21 October 1944 sailed Vancouver independently to Balboa arriving 5 November 1944

6 November 1944 sailed Cristobal independently to New York arriving 14 November 1944

21 November 1944 sailed in convoy HX321 from Halifax to Southend loaded with metal and wood

6 January 1945 sailed in convoy TBC30 to Milford Haven arriving on 9 January 1945

24 January 1945 sailed Milford Haven independently to Cardiff arriving the next day

10 February 1945 sailed Cardiff via Barry Roads to join convoy ON284 from Liverpool to Philadelphia arriving 1 March 1945

14 March 1945 sailed Philadelphia independently to Cristobal arriving on 21 March 1945

25 March 1945 sailed Balboa independently to Vancouver arriving 6 April 1945

1945 - acquired by the MoWT and renamed Fort Charlotte under initial management of Ellerman and Bucknall Steamship Co Ltd, London then under Eastern and Australian Steamship Co, London

27 September 1945 arrived at Vancouver

3 October 1945 arrived at Los Angeles

5 November 1945 at Manila

10 November 1945 at Hong Kong

8 December 1945 at Yokohama with HMAS ARUNTA alongside receiving naval stores



2 January 1946 at Shanghai, China

12 January 1946 at Hong Kong

6 April 1946 at Colombo

18 April 1946 at Aden

26 April 1946 at Port Said

13 May 1946 at Alexandria

10 January 1947 at Malta

29 September 1947 arrived at Hobart, Tasmania

10 October 1947 transferred to the Admiralty

9 May 1948 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

7 June 1948 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

8 June 1948 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing west

9 June 1948 Captain Frank P Hennin OBE RFA appointed as Master

11 June 1948 transferred to RFA management at Gibraltar; converted into a NS/VSIS at Portsmouth Dockyard.

17 July 1948 at Barry South Wales. Mr Ronald C Putt RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

26 August 1948 at Barry, South Wales. Mr E D Fielder RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

5 December 1948 Fireman Nan Lung discharged dead. He died in the Royal Naval Hospital, Bighi, Malta from heart failure and is buried in Kalkara Royal Naval Cemetery, Malta



Image courtesy British War Graves

12 August 1949 sailed Singapore to Hong Kong with part of a 3 mile boom of 1,000 buoys that was constructed to provide Hong Kong  with a defence from illegal shipping entering their waters. 350+ of the buoys weight 13 tons each while a further 600 weighed 1½ tons each. They were joined by steel cable

18 August 1949 arrived at Hong Kong

7 October 1949 the Straits Times of Singapore reported -


Green Ranger 7 10 49 Straits Times

11 January 1950 Mr Henry S Edwards RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

6 June 1950 at sea Seacunny Mohomad Baba discharged dead - heart failure

25 June 1950  saw service during the Korean War along with 18 other RFA’s and arrived from the 27/07/53  U.K. loaded with the bulk of War Reserves and replacements for what had already been expended 3 months after the outbreak of the War

6 July 1950 at Okinawa restored HMS TRIUMPH

22 July 1950 at Sasebo, Japan supplied HMS TRIUMPH with 126 tons of stores

27 July 1950 Captain Donald B C Ralph OBE DSC* RFA appointed as Master

8 August 1951 at Sasebo with HMAS MURCHISON alongside receiving naval stores

7 March 1952 Mr A Morton RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

20 May 1952 Captain F G Edwards RFA appointed as Master

25 June 1952 Mr George G Stenhouse RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer


Chief Engineer Officer George G Stenhouse RFA

13 December 1952 alongside HMAS ANZAC and supplied with naval stores

28 and 29 November 1953 at Sasebo HMAS MURCHISON berthed alongside and was supplied with naval stores

7 October 1954 Mr A Morton RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

12 October 1954 sailed Hong Kong with RFA WAVE PREMIER and 16 other RN and RAN ships in Operation Satex based on Seeadler Harbour, Manus Island

1 April 1955 Captain Herbert W Flint RFA appointed as Master

25 March 1956 in the company of RFA WAVE MASTER and nine RN vessel sailed from Hong Kong for exercises

6 June 1956 Captain Flint taken serious ill and collapsed at sea with a burst appendix some 400 miles from Singapore in the Karimata Strait.  An RAF surgeon (Squadron Leader Agnes Bartels M.B., B.S., F.R.C.S., L.R.C.P., RAF) was sent by RAF Flying Boat to operate on him at sea. The Captain's life was saved. The Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail reported -

5 6 1956 FCHARLOTTE mediemgency


25 July 1956 Captain A R Wheeler RD RFA (Commander RNR) appointed as Master

31 October 1956 supported Operation Musketeer - the Suez Crisis - along with 34 other RFA’s.

4 July 1957 Mr Charles Scott DSC RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

20 September 1957 Captain S Thomas RFA appointed as Master

15 November 1957 berthed at Honk Kong with families of Royal Australian Naval seaman as passengers

24 February 1958 to 1March 1958 involved in fleet exercises with RFA's WAVE MASTER, GOLD RANGER, FORT SANDUSKY, HMS NEWCASTLE and 9 other RN ships

1 May 1958 to 4 May 1958 in company with RFA's WAVE KNIGHT (1) and WAVE MASTER participated in Exercise Oceanlink - a major SEATO exercise - in the training areas north of Singapore which comprised an additional twenty one warships from Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, UK and the USA

2 October 1958 2nd Steward Ho Fatt discharged dead at Singapore having suffered heart failure

5 October 1958 Mr A Morton RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

17 December 1958 at Kwang Wah Hospital, Kowloon, Hong Kong Sailor Chung Chan discharged dead - natural causes

6 April 1959 off Singapore RASed with HMAS ANZAC

30 April 1959 while on passage from Manila to Hong Kong RASed with HMAS MELBOURNE

6 April 1960 and 7 April 1960 off Singapore engaged in RAS exercises together with RFA's RELIANT (2), RESURGENT, GOLD RANGER, OLNA (2) and HMAS's QUEENBOROUGH, ANZAC and TOBRUK

9 April 1960 Captain Albert E Curtain OBE RD RFA (Commander RNR (Retd)) appointed as Master

11 April 1960 off Singapore RASed with HMS's BELFAST and CAVALIER and HMAS's QUEENBOROUGH and VOYAGER

16 May 1960 off Singapore RASed with HMAS VOYAGER

19 May 1960 anchored in the Outer Roads, Singapore

4 March 1961 RASed with HMAS MELBOURNE

7 March 1961 RASed with HMAS MELBOURNE

4 April 1961 Mr E Burke RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

19 April 1961 together with RFA WAVE SOVEREIGN RASed with HMAS's MELBOURNE and QUEENBOROUGH

27 May 1961 RASed with HMAS QUEENBOROUGH

July 1961 saw service during Operation Vantage - the Kuwait Crisis - along with 12 other RFA’s

30 January 1962 together with RFA EDDYROCK supported ships of the Commonwealth being lead by HMS WOODBRIDGE HAVEN in Exercise Minijet - a seven day mine clearance exercise

7 April 1962 Captain Leslie J Mack DSO RFA appointed as Master

6 May 1962 Mr G Thompson RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

30 May 1962 at sea off Yokohama, Japan RAS'ed stores with HMAS PARRAMATTA

15 November 1962 with RFA's WAVE SOVEREIGN and WAVE RULER (1) and several RN, RAN and RNZN ships headed by HMS TIGER attended the Commonwealth Games, Perth, Western Australia

21 November 1962 berthed at Fremantle, Western Australia along with HMS/m ANCHORITE

1 December 1962 sailed from Fremantle with RFA WAVE SOVEREIGN and the RN, RAN and RNZN ships

27 April 1963 Mr C E Prentis RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

21 May 1963 at Sea at 13°51N 112°15E Seaman Knut Malvin Kjerstad discharged dead from extensive burns

18 October 1963 a strike at Singapore Naval Base resulted in Fort Charlotte being diverted to Hong Kong for repairs.

1964 Captain C N Rennels RFA appointed as Master

10 February 1964 following the loss of HMAS VOYAGER (D04) with 82 of her crew being killed the Chinese crew of Fort Charlotte collected £16.00 for the 'Voyager Fund'

9 March 1964 during exercise Jet Train II towed by HMAS YARRA

HMAS Yarra3


27 May 1964 at Subic Bay, Phillippines with RFA's TIDESPRING (1), WAVE SOVEREIGN, RELIANT (2) and FORT ROSALIE (1) arrived and together with HMAS SUPPLY formed Task Group 490.7. RFA TIDEFLOW which should have joined the Task Group remained at Singapore due to a mechanical breakdown

January 1965 to 11 August 1965 in support of naval units performing patrols off East Malaysia, Singapore and in the Malacca Straits during the Indonesian Confrontation, along with RFA’s  EDDYROCK, GOLD RANGER, TIDEREACH and WAVE SOVEREIGN.

29 April 1965 Captain Archibald Murchie RFA appointed as Master

3 May 1965 while on passage to Singapore RAS'ed with HMAS YARRA with naval stores

13 February 1966 Captain Archibald M M Telfer RFA appointed as Master

26 August 1966 Mr E S Brazier RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

18 November 1967 and 25 November 1967 offered for sale 'As lying' at H M Dockyard Singapore by the Ministry of Transport in the UK Times newspapers of these days.

January 1968 sold to Singapore ship breakers for $670,000 (reported in the Straits Times)

June 1968 broken up at Singapore



  1. Before RFA service was part of the British Pacific Fleet - hence the B pennant number


Additional information

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