Hebe 1962

Reproduced with permission of the MOD



RFA Hebe



Previous name:
Subsequent name:                Good Guardian, Guardian,  Wafa

Official Number:                    304252

Class:                                    HEBE CLASS Stores Freighter

Pennant No:                          A406

Laid down:                            18 April 1961
Builder:                                 Henry Robb, Leith
Launched:                             7 March 1962
Into Service:                          6 April 1962
Out of service:                       December 1978
Fate:                                     Returned to owners on cancellation of charter


Items of historic interest involving this ship: -


Background Data:   The proposed charter of the two Admiralty-designed vessels in this Class was announced in September 1960 and they were built specifically for Admiralty sea freighting duties. They were designed to carry the greater proportion of their bulk cargo of naval stores in specially designed containers by Chatham Dockyard which were known as chacons, thus setting a pattern of containerisation which was followed in ever-increasing steps in the commercial world. The two ships were built on tanker lines, with machinery spaces and superstructures aft, so leaving  three large holds and tween decks forward, with No 3 tween-deck having two refrigerated spaces and facilities for twelve refrigerated containers. They initially maintained a U.K. - Gibraltar - Malta - Aden - Singapore service and after the closure of the Suez Canal in 1967 they went via the Cape of Good Hope, with frequent calls at Simonstown. Neither of them had any replenishment at sea capability  and when completed they were bare-boat chartered from their commercial owners for a period of ninetween years.


7 March 1962 launched by Henry Robb Ltd, Leith as Yard Nr: 482 named HEBE for British India Steam Navigation Co Ltd, London. Named after the Goddess of Youth and Cup Bearer to the Gods and daughter of Juno. The Lady Sponsor was Mrs F.C.  Wilkins, wife of the Director of  Stores. She was the 1st  vessel to be built on the recently extended berth at the Victoria Shipyards and also the longest 

6 April 1962 completed

18 June 1962 bare-boat chartered by the Admiralty to replace RFA FORT BEAUHARNOIS

20 June 1962 Mr Ernest S R Bunker RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

22 October 1962 Captain Albert E Curtain OBE RD RFA (Commander RNR) appointed as Master

29 December 1962 at Chatham Dockyard tug TID 97 sunk in Basin 3 while berthing RFA HEBE. Three of the tugs crew, the Master, Leslie Savage, the mechanic George Osbourne and the stoker William Gell all drowned. The tug was raised by RFA SWIN on 4 January 1963

16 July 1963 Captain A S McWilliam RFA appointed as Master

CAptain a s McWilliam

Captain A S McWilliam RFA

15 January 1964 was ordered to Zanzibar along with the frigates HM ships OWEN and RHYL to evacuate British subjects

HMS Owen


17 January 1964 entered Zanzibar harbour and embarked 43 passengers and 2 tons of luggage 

18 January 1964 with HMS OWEN rescued 140 refugees from Zanzibar after a revolutionary coup there. Those rescued were landed at Mombasa and included 126 British subjects and their baggage

1 March 1964 again stood by to assist in the evacuation of British nationals during the revolution in Zanzibar

2 June 1964 at Chatham

16 June 1964 Captain G P MacDougall RFA appointed as Master

17 June 1964 at Chatham loaded Wessex HAS1 Helicopter No: XP127 for shipment to the Far East

30 November 1964 Mr Denis G P Wells RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

2 December 1964 at Plymouth

31 August 1965 Captain A L Paterson RFA appointed as Master

11 November 1965 Mr J A Swallow RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

13 May 1966 Captain Charles W P Sumner RFA appointed as Master

12 August 1966 Mr J Edge RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

14 November 1966 Captain J P Gould RFA appointed as Master

January 1967 Humanitarian aid - freighted Oxfam Relief Stores to Cochin to assist in famine relief 

21 January 1967 sailed Singapore on her first direct passage to the U.K. on the first voyage carrying three aircraft below decks - a Sea Vixen, a Gannet and a Wessex HU5 Helicopter No: XT457

25 February 1967 Mr R E Davies RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

10 July 1967 berthed at Simonstown Dockyard, South Africa

24 August 1967 two 8 inch breach loading guns (1885 vintage) removed from Blankang Mati island, Singapore and loaded on Hebe for transportation to the UK for use as exhibits at the Royal Artillery Rotunda Museum, Woolwich (described in the Straits Times as 8.8 inch guns)

22 September 1967 Wessex HAS3 helicopter No: XP120 shipped from Chatham Dockyard to the Far East

14 March 1968 berthed at Simonstown Dockyard, South Africa

15 May 1968 Captain D J Boyden RFA appointed as Master

30 May 1968 Mr S P Awatt RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

16 July 1968 Wessex HU5 Helicopter No: XS479 shipped from Sembawang to RNAY Fleetlands

24 April 1970 at Chatham Dockyard to load Wessex HAS1 Helicopter No: XM919 delivered by road from RNAY Fleetlands, Fareham, Hampshire for delivery to the Aircraft Holding Unit, Sebawang

7 June 1970 at Mahe, Seychelles unloading stores and personel (clearance divers) embarked at Mauritius and which had arrived on that island from Singapore by Hercules. Sailed on completion for Gan with the Master and 15 Officers from RFA ENNERDALE (2) to embark on a flight to the UK

8 July 1970 at Gan

27 October 1970 berthed at Malta from Agrotini

2 March 1971 berthed at Simonstown Dockyard, South Africa

13 July 1971 berthed at Simonstown Dockyard, South Africa

21 September 1971 berthed at Simonstown Dockyard, South Africa

1 October 1971 P & O General Cargo Division, London were appointed her owners’ managers

14 December 1971 berthed at Simonstown Dockyard, South Africa 

28 February 1972 berthed at Simonstown Dockyard, South Africa

17 January 1973 owners became P & O Steam Navigation Co, London

23 September 1973 at Istanbul, Turkey

21 October 1973 in Royal Albert Dry Dock, London

6 February 1974 berthed at Simonstown Dockyard, South Africa

21 September 1974 berthed at Simonstown Dockyard, South Africa

4 November 1974 berthed at Simonstown Dockyard, South Africa

4 December 1974 at Chatham until 6 December 1974 when she sailed for Plymouth arriving the next day

8 December 1974 sailed for Gibraltar arriving on 11 December 1974 - berthed on the South Mole then to 41 berth

16 December 1974 sailed Gibraltar 1974 to Plymouth arriving on 19 December 1974 - sailed the same day to Chatham arriving the next day - along side until 26 January 1975

27 January 1975 sailed Chatham for the Far East 

28 January 1975 off the Channel Islands - the deck cargo had shifted.

3 February 1975 off Spanish Sahara - stopped between 0900hrs to 1200hrs for minor repairs

16 February 1975 anchored off Simonstown, South Africa - berthed at Simonstown until 19 February 1975 

19 February 1975 sailed Simonstown for Salalah arriving at 20:00hrs on 2 March 1975

2 March 1975 unloading at Salalah onto Mexifloats until 6 March 1975 

6 March 1975 sailed Salalah for Masirah arriving the next day

7 March 1975 at Masirah until 17 March 1975 when she sailed to Dubai arriving on 19 March 1975

20 March 1975 sailed Dubai for Singapore arriving on 31 March 1975 firstly anchored off and then made fast to a buoy in Sembawang Harbour

3 April 1975 moved to No 4 Basin, Singapore unloading - due to sail 7 April 1975 but this was delayed due to engine trouble

8 April 1975 sailed Singapore for Hong Kong arriving on 12 April 1975 to discharge

17 April 1975 sailed Hong Kong for Singapore.

20 April 1975 anchored off Mekong Delta RASed with HMS MERMAID awaited instructions from MOD to assist in evacuation of British subjects from Saigon. City fell to Communists - not required - sailed.

22 April 1975 berthed alongside at Singapore to load.

28 April 1975 sailed for Gan.

4 May 1975 arrived and anchored in Gan lagoon. Twice during this voyage had to anchor due to engine defects being repaired

8 May 1975 sailed Gan for Diego Garcia arrived next day.

9 May 1975 sailed Diego Garcia for Mauritius arriving Port Louis, Mauritius 12 May 1975

13 May 1975 sailed Port Louis, Mauritius for Simonstown, South Africa.

16 May 1975 stopped twice for engine repairs

1975 Hebe in Indian Ocean mechanical problem

RFA Hebe in the Indian Ocean with mechanical problems
Courtesy of RFA Nostalgia & 2nd Officer Mike Burley RFA

17 May 1975 stopped once for engine repairs

18 May 1975 stopped three times for engine repairs

20 May 1975 arrived Simonstown, South Africa

21 May 1975 at Simonstown, South Africa loading bunkers, fresh water and more engine repairs

22 May 1975 sailed Simonstown, South Africa for Marchwood

24 May 1975 stopped for one hour for engine repairs - and again on 2 June 1975

11 June 1975 berthed at Chatham - visit to Marchwood cancelled

20 June 1975 at Chatham

7 August 1975 at London

11 September 1975 at Chatham

25 October 1975 at Singapore

5 February 1976 at Gibraltar

24 August 1976 Captain Shane Redmond RFA appointed as Master


Captain Shane Redmond RFA

8 February 1977 Captain Michael Corner RFA appointed as Master

April 1978 sailed from Hong Kong for the last time

30 November 1978 severly damaged by arson at Gibraltar. Donkeyman Greaser Leslie Mason discharged dead - he died from asphyxia from the inhalation of toxic fumes and from burns

December 1978 was declared a constructive total loss. Her charter was cancelled and she was returned to her owners

8 June 1979 purchased by Good Luck Navegante SA (Good Faith Shipping Co SA, Managers), Piraeus

13 June 1979 now renamed GOOD GUARDIAN, she sailed from Gibraltar in tow of GOOD HERALD for repairs in Greece

20 June 1979 arrived Piraeus for repairs

1981 purchased by Poseidon Shipping Co SA (Seafarer Navigation Co SA, Managers), Piraeus and her name was abbreviated to GUARDIAN

January 1983 sailed Houston bound for Alexandria but ...

24 February 1983 arrived at Casablanca and was laid up, reportedly under arrest

1987 purchased by Moroccan-flag interests and renamed WAFA

16 September 1987 arrived Famagusta, Cyprus for breaking up.



Ships of the same name



Hebe. A 5th rate of 1,063 bm and 38 guns captured from the French in September 1782 by HMS Rainbow off Ile de Bas.  Renamed “Blonde” on the 24 December 1805.  Broken up in June 1811.

Battle Honours for this Vessel: ST LUCIA, EGYPT 1801.



Hebe. 5th Rate of 658 bm and 32 guns built and launched by Deptford Dockyard on the 31 December 1804.  Sold out of service on the 28 April 1813.


Hebe. A 5th rate of 46 guns and 1,078 bm, launched by Woolwich Dockyard.  152 x 40 feet armed with 16 x 32 pdr carronade, 28 x 18 pdr, 2 x 9 pdr.  Became a receiving ship in 1839 and then a hulk in 1861.  Broken up at Chatham in March 1873.


Hebe. A torpedo gunboat of 810 tons built by Sheerness Dockyard and launched on the 15 June 1892.  230 x 27 feet armed with 2 x 4.7 inch, 4 x 3 pdr and 3 torpedo tubes.  The ship was undocked on the 15 June 1892, became a minesweeper in 1909 and a depot ship in 1910.  Sold to Ward, Preston on the 22 October 1919.


Hebe. A minesweeper of 835 tons by Devonport Dockyard, launched on the 28 October 1936, 230 x 33.5 feet, armed with 2 x 4 inch guns.  Sunk on the 22 November 1943, when she struck a mine off Bari.

Battle Honours for this Vessel: DUNKIRK 1940, ARCTIC 1941-42, MALTA CONVOYS 1942, SICILY 1943.


Additional information

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