Reproduced with permission of the MOD

RFA Fort Duquesne



Previous name:                        Queensborough Park

Subsequent name:

Official Number:                       175614

Class:                                     CANADIAN FORT CLASS Stores Ship

Pennant No:                            X141 / B588 / A229

Laid down:
Builder:                                   West Coast Shipbuilding, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Launched:                               28 September 1944

Into Service:                           16 September 1947
Out of service:                         April 1967 - Laid up at Chatham

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 3 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, 16 ships were completed as Stores Issuing Ships as follows: 3 as Ammunition Carriers, 2 as Air Stores Issuing Ships, 2 as Naval Stores Issuing Ships and 9 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 25 chambers. The lower holds were used for non-perishable items of stores, clothing, etc. After WW2, 8 of these ships became RFA’s. They were only armed during WW2.



28 September 1944 launched as a “Victory” type by West Coast Shipbuilders, Vancouver as Yard Nr 147 named QUEENSBOROUGH PARK for the Canadian Government ( Park Steamship Co, Montreal, Managers)

25 November 1944 completed as a refrigerated VSIS; acquired by the MoWT, renamed FORT DUQUESNE and placed under initial management of George Nisbet & Co, Glasgow

3 January 1945 as Queensborough Park sailed in convoy HX330 from New York to Tyne with a general cargo and lumber.

25 February 1945 as Queensborough Park sailed in convoy ON287 from the Clyde to sail independently to Panama

22 February 1947 sailed Colombo with 12 passengers onboard who had boarded at that port

19 March 1947 passed Gibraltar when on passage from Trincomalee to Plymouth

24 March 1947 arrived at Plymouth Sound from Hong Kong and Colombo bringing 12 passengers and 16 Active Service Ratings. Captain A K Sanderson was the ship's Master

26 March 1947 the Daily Herald newspaper reported that -

FDuq D Herald 26 3 194726 mar 47 Daily Herald Fduq

28 March 1947 before Plymouth Magistrates' Court sailor Lo Seng pleaded guilty to attempting to evade customs duty on 107,600 cigarettes. He was fined £100 or three months imprisonment and ordered to pay £1,574 customs duty. He was not allowed time to pay

2 April 1947 before Plymouth Magistrates' Court sailor Yeung Hing charged with attempting to evade customs duty on 36,500 cigarettes. He was fined £100 and ordered to pay £533 14sh 9d customs duty. He was unable to pay and was sent to prison for 3 months

15 April 1947 having sailed Plymouth arrived Gravesend this day

1947 managers became Alfred Holt & Co, Liverpool

30 May 1947 the Hampshire Telegraph newspaper reported that -

30 May 47 Hants Tele FDuqu

30 July 1947 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing eastwards

27 August 1947 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

8 September 1947 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour and passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing westwards

10 September 1947 Mr Robert Blacklock RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

15 September 1947 acquired by the Admiralty under RFA management 

16 September 1947 took part in the Home Fleet Review on the Clyde along with RFA’s BLACK RANGER, PETROBUS and PRESTOL

6 October 1947 Captain Henry F Colbourne RFA appointed as Master

29 December 1947 Captain Leonard Elford RFA appointed as Master


Captain Leonard Elford

Captain Leonard Elford RFA 

25 September 1948 at Cannes Supernumerary Leonard Harold discharged dead from accidental drowning

5 September 1949 Mr Reginald R Darroch RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer


Chief Engineer Officer Reginald R Darroch RFA

9 to 15 September 1949 at Genoa as part of the Mediterranean Fleet's Second Summer cruise with RFA BLUE RANGER

20 to 28 September 1949 at Aranei Bay as part of the Mediterranean Fleet's Second Summer cruise in part with RFA BLUE RANGER and RFA ROWANOL

29 September to 4 October 1949 at Naples as part of the Mediterranean Fleet's Second Summer cruise

5 to 10 October 1949 at Bizerta as part of the Mediterranean Fleet's Second Summer cruise

12 October 1949 returned to Malta

23 December 1949 at Sliema Creek, Malta moored alongside HMS GRAVELINES

28 December 1949 at Lazzarreto Creek, Malta moored alongside HMS GRAVELINES

31 December 1949 at Lazzarreto Creek, Malta moored alongside HMS GRAVELINES

13 September 1950 sailed Malta for Golfe Juan, France with His Grace Mgr. Michael Gonzi, Metropolitan Archbishop of Malta accompanied by Father Michael Licari Chaplain to His Grace as passengers

November to December 1950 fitted with a small helicopter landing platform by Malta Dockyard in preparation for forthcoming helicopter trials

3 December 1950 sailed Malta on completion of above for Hebburn-on-Tyne

10 January 1951 sailed Hebburn for Portland

January 1951 trials on Fort Duquesne with operating helicopters from RFA's undertaken off Portland and Plymouth using Dragon Fly helicopters from RNAS Gosport and RNAS Culdrose. The trials were conducted with 705 Fleet Air Arm Squadron in the Channel using 2 Dragonfly HR1 helicopters. The worst possible weather was found and 180 successful landings and take-offs were achieved

Fort Duquesne

FDUQUESE with Helio landing on 1951

5 February 1951 berthed at Portsmouth

17 February 1951 conducted further helicopter trials with the destroyer HMS SAVAGE in the Portland / Plymouth areas while on passage from Portland to Gibraltar

July 1951 Captain S Thomas RFA appointed as Master

28 July 1951 sailed Malta to the Red Sea and adjoining areas supporting RN ships in the area with refrigerated food

20 October 1951 sailed Aden to Suez

21 April 1952 with RFA BLUE RANGER and RN units, the pipe band of the Highland Light Infantry and a RAF Guard of seventy sailed Malta to visit Athens for a memorial ceremony to members of the Commonwealth Forces who had been killed in Greece during the Second World War.

23 to 26 September 1952 visited at Naples with HMS GLASGOW and other RN units during the Mediterranean Fleet's Summer cruise

1953 winner of the annual Bulawayo Cup for the most conspicuous efficiency in Fleet replenishment-at-sea in the Mediterranean area.

17 March 1953 Captain James Jolly RFA appointed as Master

30 June 1953 Mr D Cameron RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

16 April 1954 arrived at Grand Harbour Malta with HMS's EAGLE, FORTH, BARFLEUR and ROSEBUCK at the end of the Mediterrean Fleets Sping Cruise - all arrived one day later than planned

1954 winner of the annual Bulawayo Cup

15 October 1954 at Malta Donkeyman Salvatore Zahra discharged dead - heart failure - natural causes

31 March 1955 Captain Ernest C Rogers RFA appointed as Master

Captain Ernest C Rogers

Captain Ernest C Rogers RFA

2 June 1955 together with HMS SHEFFIELD and other RN ships visited Alexandria, Egypt on a good will visit

1956 along with RFA OLNA (2) who played the German supply tanker ALTMARK, she starred in the film “Battle of the River Plate” where she played the German supply ship TACOMA that harboured Captain Langsdorff (played by Peter Finch) and his Crew following the scuttling of the pocket battleship GRAF SPEE off Montevideo in December 1939

29 August 1956 Mr Henry S Edwards RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer


Chief Engineer Officer Henry S Edwards RFA

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

18 December 1956 at Port Said - HMS ANZIO berthed alongside for stores

1957 winner of the annual Bulawayo Cup

January 1957 involved with other RFAs in clearance work of the Suez Canal

11 November 1957 Captain William F Curlett RFA appointed as Master

24 February 1958 Mr J B D Payne RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

24 March 1958 arrived at Malta from the UK

1 April 1958 a fire was discovered onboard in a refrigerated cargo space. It was quickly brought under control by the Malta Dockyard Fire Brigade and the ship's company. Fire described in the Times of Malta on 2 April 1958 as 'minor'

27 October 1958 to 30 October 1958 off Malta involved in Exercise MEDASWEX26 together with RN units and RFA's BLUE RANGER and TIDESURGE

25 January 1959 at St Lukes Hospital, Malta Donkeyman Greaser Emmanuel Buttigieg discharged dead - natural causes

1959 winner of the annual Bulawayo Cup along with RFA FORT LANGLEY

5 May 1959 sailed Valencia for Malta

8 May 1959 berthed at Malta

May 1959 together with RFA WAVE PRINCE and HMS DEFENDER and other RN units together with Italian Navy Units involved in exercise off Augusta

9 June 1959 east of Gibraltar RASed with HMS CENTAUR

17 June 1959 berthed at Malta after taking part in exercise Sardex with units of the Royal Navy and RFA's FORT LANGLEY, WAVE VICTOR and WAVE SOVEREIGN

10 October 1959 with HMS BIRMINGHAM, HMS DAINTY, HMS DARING and HMS/m TALLY HO and RFA's FORT LANGLEY and RFA TIDE AUSTRAL sailed Malta to take part in Anglo-Spanish exercises in the Western Mediterranean



1960 winner of the annual Bulawayo Cup along with RFA TIDE AUSTRAL

11 March 1960 Mr F B Hobson RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

25 March 1960 Captain William R Parker RFA appointed as Master

22 June 1960 arrived at Malta from Palmas Bay, Sardinia

7 July 1960 sailed Malta for Athens

4 November 1960 arrived at Malta from Gibraltar

10 January 1961 off Malta RASed HMS BERMUDA with Naval Stores

4 April 1961 sailed Malta with HMS's HERMES and SUPRISE

17 April 1961 sailed Malta for Exercises with RN and other Allied ships together with RFA's WAVE BARON, TIDE AUSTRAL, SEA SALVOR and BROWN RANGER

1 June, 1962 berthed at Barcelona, Spain together with RFA FORT ROSALIE (1), RFA WAVE BARON and various RN units for an eight day visit

6 July 1962 together with HMS's HERMES and SCORPION and RFA TIDEREACH visited Beirut, Lebanon

25 October 1962 Mr L Cochrane RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

11 February 1963 Captain Douglas S Norrington OBE RD RFA appointed as Master

11 September 1964 Captain Sydney E Clench RFA appointed as Master

4 January 1965 Her Ship’s Badge was officially presented to her - see above

12 March 1965 while on passage from Hong Kong to Singapore RASed with HMS EAGLE

9 December 1965 together with RFA FORT LANGLEY berthed at Fremantle, Western Australia and secured to the North Wharf

11 December 1965 together with RFA FORT LANGLEY sailed from Fremantle to Carnarvon

July 1966 Captain Charles Eric C Phipps RFA appointed as Master

4 October 1966 commenced to take part in Exercise Millsail - an advanced weapon exercise - in the Subic training areas, together with RFA's TIDESPRING, RESURGENT and FORT ROSALIE together with various RN and RAN units

April 1967 placed in reserve at Chatham

29 June 1967 arrived in the Scheldte for breaking up  by Jos Boel et Fils at Tamise



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


Additional information

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