RFA Fort Sandusky



Previous name:
Subsequent name:

Official Number:                    180649

Class:                                    CANADIAN FORT CLASS Stores Ship

Pennant No:                           B560 / A316 

Laid down:                             11 February 1944
Builder:                                   United Shipyards, Montreal, Canada

Launched:                              25 November 1944
Into Service:                           13 January 1949
Out of service:                        13 February 1972
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.



25 November 1944  launched as a “Canadian” type by United Shipyards Ltd, Montreal as Yard Nr: 44 named FORT SANDUSKY for the MoWT

1 August 1945 completed as an Ammunition Carrier and placed under initial management of Ellerman and Bucknall Steamship Co Ltd, London

6 August 1945 sailed Montreal

17 August 1945 arrived at Liverpool from Montreal

19 September 1945 sailed Liverpool for Far Eastern ports

30 September 1945 arrived at Port Said

11 October 1945 arrived at Bombay

1 February 1946 at the Outer Anchorage, Yokohama with HMAS ARUNTA alongside collecting Naval Stores

HMAS Arunta WW2


24 June 1946 Chief Engineer Officer John Chorlton Bagshaw, Ellerman and Bucknall Steamship Co Ltd, London, appointed as an Officer of the Most Excelent Order of the British Empire (Civil Division) and Chief Steward Benjamin J Smith awarded the British Empire Medal (Civil Division) in the Birthday Honours List 1946 - details published in the London Gazette of this day


Chief Engineer Officer John Chorlton Bagshaw OBE

26 July 1946 berthed at Brisbane, Queensland, Australia from Hong Kong

2 August 1946 arrived at Sydney, NSW, Australia from Brisbane

27 September 1946 sailed Sydney, NSW, Australia for Hong Kong

2 September 1947 and 3 September 1947 together with RFA FORT BEAUHARNOIS, RN and RAN ships together with US Navy Aircraft from Okinawa took part in Exercises Adgate Two and Three within an area 31°43N 127°34E and 29°26N 128°40E

3 February 1948 while on passage from Hong Kong to Devonport arrived at Gibraltar this day

1948 managers became W.H. Seager & Co Ltd, Cardiff

23 April 1948 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing west

25 December 1948 Mr C A Herbert RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

8 January 1949 Captain Murray W Westlake DSC RD RFA (Commander RNR) appointed as Master

Murray Westlake

Captain Murray W Westlake DSC RD RFA

13 January 1949 transferred to the Admiralty, under RFA management and was converted into an ASIS at Portsmouth Dockyard

1 March 1949 Captain William W Peddle RFA appointed as Master




Captain William W Peddle RFA


6 May 1949 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing east

22 May 1949 while on passage from Plymouth to Trincomalee passed Gibraltar this day

30 June 1949 arrived Mombassa from Plymouth while on passafe to Trincomalee

8 August 1949 at sea at 6°54N 78°43E Fireman Sk Esmail Abdoola discharged dead - natural causes

22 June 1950 sailed Malta for Plymouth

25 June 1950 to 27 July 1953 saw service during the Korean War for more than 18 months, along with 18 other RFA’s

28 August 1950 Captain Emil E Sigwart RFA (Temporary Lieutenant Commander RNR) appointed as Master


Captain E Sigwart

Captain Emil E Sigwart RFA


27 December 1950 arrived Sydney, NSW, Australia from Singapore

19 February 1951 sailed Sydney, NSW, Australia for Singapore

20 March 1951 arrived Fremantle, Australia from Melbourne

6 April 1951 in Gage Roads, Fremantle

28 August 1951 Captain Rowland K Hill OBE RFA appointed as Master

Captain Rowland Kelsey Hill OBE

Captain Rowland K Hill OBE RFA


FSandusky RAses Glory

RFA Fort Sandusky during the Korean War supplies 500lbs to HMS GLORY

1951 was involved in supporting Allied forces during the Korean War although she did not receive a battle honour

4 December 1951 berthed at Malta bringing 1,200 tons of ammunition from Milford Haven

9 June 1953 berthed on the Admiralty Quay, River Tyne

28 June 1953 Captain Cecil H Grainger MID RFA appointed as Master

29 June 1953 Mr Allan D Harris RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

23 July 1953 engaging crew at the South Shields Shipping Office

30 July 1953 sailed River Tyne for Rosyth

9 September 1953 arrived at Malta from the UK

14 May 1954 Captain William H G Hine RFA appointed Master

3 January 1955 Mr Philip E Bassadona RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

4 February 1955 Captain D A C Butler RFA appointed as Master

10 June 1955 sailed Singapore together with RFA GOLD RANGER and RFA FORT CHARLOTTE to take part with, RN, RAN and RNZN units in ANZAM Maritime Exercise (2) in the South China Sea

25 March 1956 sailed from Singapore together with RFA WAVE KNIGHT (1) to be involved with RN, RAN and RNZN units and aircraft from the RAAF and RNZAF in Exercise Monsoon in the South China Sea

24 April 1956 at Hospital in Singapore Seaman 1st class Ismail Yusoff Zagady discharged dead - natural causes

7 June 1956 berthed at Stranraer after a voyage from Singapore and Trincomalee with 12 passengers

1 August 1956 refit being accelerated (from a Top Secret signal from the Admiralty to C in C Mediterranean copied to C in C East Indies & FOME)

13 August 1956 Captain T G Hill RD RFA (Lieutenant Commander RNR) appointed as Master

6 September 1956 Mr David L Walls RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

8 September 1956 C in C Mediterranean signalled the Admiralty requiring the ships cargo to be increased so that she could operate in a forward area, should the need arise, without the need to transfer stocks from RFA AMHERST. The signal required the cargo to be increased by

Rockets Flare A/C 3" to be increased by 200
Rockets H3 to be increased by 4,000
Cartridges 20mm Hispano to be increased by 300,000
Cartridges 20mm Oerlikon stocks of 1955 filling to be increased as much as possible
Cartridges 4.5" No. 14 primer to be increased by 1,000
Shell B.L. 6" SAP should be substituted for 20% of HE

10 September 1956 at Cairn Ryan, Scotland Seaman 1st Class Sk Ahmed Sk Yusuf discharged dead having suffered a stroke

31 October 1956 in support of Operation Musketeer - the Suez Crisis - and was part of Task Force 325.8 - the Logistics Group supporting the carriers - along with RFA’s OLNA (2),  RETAINER, TIDERACE and  TIDERANGE

28 October 1957 Captain Raymond V Boodle RFA appointed as Master


 Raymond Boodle

Captain Raymond V Boodle RFA


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

1958 towed HMEAS Bassingham from Aden to Mombassa - the tow broke twice in foul weather

23 June 1959 Captain Douglas S Norrington RD RFA (Commander RNR) appointed as Master

18 August 1959 Mr J A Ferguson RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

19 December 1959 RASed with HMS BELFAST and HMAS's QUICKMATCH and VENDETTA

7 January 1960 RASed with HMAS QUICKMATCH supplying 4" ammunition and seperately a heaving line transfer of mail with the same ship

15 April 1960 between Singapore and Hong Kong RASed with HMS CAVALIER

10 June 1960 Captain William R Town RFA appointed as Master

3 January 1961 Mr F A Essam RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

19 January 1961 Captain Ronald V Warren DSC RFA appointed as Master


Capt Ronald V Warren DSC

Captain Ronald V Warren DSC RFA

kindly donated by Mrs Susan Henry


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

30 October 1961 Mr J W Ritchie RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

6 December 1961 Engineroom Tindall Jasoodeen Hasson Mea discharged dead at 3°12S 56°41E with heart failure. Buried at sea

4 April 1962 Captain James H Chant RFA  appointed as Master

25 July 1962 arrived Malta from Gibraltar

22 September 1962 sailed Malta for Istanbul, Turkey

17 January 1963 sailed Malta to Taranto with RFA WAVE KNIGHT (1)

30 January 1963 Captain Nicholas B J Stapleton RD RFA appointed as Master


5367Stapleton Capt N B J

Captain Nicholas B J Stapleton RD RFA

24 April 1963 at Sea at 34º 38N 23º 43E 2nd Steward Gabriel Labiche discharged dead having been found to be missing from the ship - believed lost over the side

13 October 1963 C A Herbert RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

31 December 1964 Captain P T Taylor RFA appointed Master

21 January 1965 Mr J G Yuill RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

30 January 1965 in the Singapore Straits RAS'ed (A) with HMAS DERWENT

12 March 1965 in the Persian Gulf RAS'ed ammunition with HMS MOWHAWK

14 June 1966 Mr L Cochrane RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

6 October 1966 Captain O J Coulthard RFA appointed as Master

22 June 1967 Mr R C Veitch RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

10 September 1967 Captain J H McLoughlin RFA appointed as Master

11 October 1967 to 25 January 1968 was part of Task Force 318 - the Aden Task Force -which was formed to cover the final British military withdrawal from Aden code named Operation Magister, along with 9 other RFA’s and was engaged in the final Fleet Review along with 5 of the other RFA’s involved

2 May 1968 Mr R J D'Souza RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

16 August 1968 Captain John C Moffat RFA appointed as Master

6 December 1968 Captain Barry H Rutterford RFA appointed as Master


Barry Rutterford

Captain Barry H Rutterford RFA


10 November 1969 Mr Ronald C Putt MID RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

20 November 1969 sailed Devonport for Freetown arriving 1 December 1969

3 December 1969 sailed Freetown for Cape Town arriving 16 December 1969

20 December 1969 sailed Cape Town to Mombasa arriving 31 December 1969

7 January 1970 sailed Mombasa to RAF Gan arriving 11 January 1970

12 January 1970 sailed RAF Gan to Singapore arriving 20 January 1970

30 March 1970 arrived at RAF Gan

3 May 1970 arrived at RAF Gan

13 May 1970 at Singapore

7 July 1970 at Singapore

11 January 1971 at Portsmouth

1 September 1971 at Hong Kong

31 October 1971 took part in the final steam past in the Singapore Straits after the closure of the naval base there along with 6 other RFA’s

13 February 1972 arrived Rosyth to discharge, destore and await disposal

24 January 1973 sailed Rosyth in tow for Spanish breakers along with RFA FORT ROSALIE (1).

10 February 1973 arrived Castellon, Spain for breaking up  by Varela Davalillo


Notes: -


  1. Allocated a British Pacific Fleet Train Pennant number - hence the 'B' pennant number above


Additional information

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