Reproduced with permission of the MOD


RFA Largs Bay


Lower image - Largs Bay in the mist deploying to Haiti





Subsequent name:                 ADFS Choules   HMAS Choules  

Official Number:                      9240756                                                       

Class:                                    BAY CLASS Landing Ship Dock (Auxiliary)

Pennant No:                           L3006   L100

Laid down:                             1 October 2001
Builder:                                  Swan Hunter, Wallsend on Tyne.
Launched:                              18 July 2003
Into Service:                           17 December 2006
Out of service:                        19 October 2011
Fate:                                       Sold to the Royal Australian Navy


Items of historic interest involving this ship: -


Background Data:


In April 2000 an Invitation to Tender was issued for the design and build of two Alternative Landing Ships Logistics to replace RFA’s SIR PERCIVALE and SIR GERAINT which were to enter service in 2004 and 2005. Options would be provided for up to a further three vessels to replace the remainder of the ageing LSL's. Three U.K. yards submitted bids - Appledore Shipbuilders Limited, BAE Systems and Swan Hunter (Tyneside) Ltd. On 26 October 2000 an official announcement was made that four new ships would be built in a £300 million deal and that subject to negotiation of satisfactory terms and conditions, Swan Hunter (Tyneside) Ltd would be selected as lead shipyard for the programme. Two ships would be built at Wallsend with the other two being built to the Swan Hunter design by BAE Systems Marine at Govan. The ships would be based on the very successful Dutch ROTTERDAM design, but enlarged to give greater payload carrying capacity


19 December 2000 ordered along with RFA LYME BAY

1 October 2001 construction began - being built in 15 x 12m sections

18 July 2003 floated out by Swan Hunter (Tyneside) Ltd, Wallsend as Yard Number 141

1 August 2003 named LARGS BAY by Lady Rosie West, wife of Admiral Sir Alan West, First Sea Lord. Named after Largs Bay on the Firth of Clyde in Ayrshire

RFA Largs Bay 6

Lady Rosie West breaks a bottle of wine against the ships bows during the naming ceremony

November 2004 while being built suffered an unexpected incident when two engines filled with sea water at Swan Hunters

June 2005 crankshaft damaged and required replacement during engine trials at the shipyard

Largs Bay 6

RFA Largs Bay while under construction


2 March 2006 to 11 March 2006 conducted builders’ sea trials

10 April 2006 sailed from the Tyne

20 April 2006 Captain (E) Edward M Quigley RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

25 April 2006 accepted by the RFA at Crombie. Hansard & the National Audit Office gave her cost as £117.5 million

18 May 2006 arrived Portland

9 June 2006 arrived Portsmouth

18 June 2006 Captain Peter Farmer RFA appointed as Commanding Officer

Captain Peter Farner

Captain Peter Farmer RFA

26 June 2006 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

31 July 2006 commenced FOST Work-up

5 August 2006 towed into Portland by the French tug ABEILLE LIBERTE after suffering a loss of propulsion off Portland Bill

24 August 2006 completed FOST training

25 August 2006 sailed Devonport and arrived Falmouth Bay to conduct a boat transfer

31 August 2006 alongside at Faslane

4 September 2006 sailed Faslane

29 September 2006 arrived at Falmouth for a Maintenance Period

1 October 2006 Captain (E) Edward M Quigley RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

27 October 2006 alongside at Falmouth

31 October 2006 completed her Maintenance Period

14 November 2006 at Milford Haven

15 November 2006 arrived at Falmouth Bay

16 November 2006 conducted Amphibious Ops in Mounts Bay

17 November 2006 arrived at Devonport

17 December 2006 service of Dedication was held at Portsmouth

24 December 2006 alongside at Portsmouth

2 January 2007 berthed at Portmouth Harbour

January 2007 with FOST

15 January 2007 anchored at Spithead

19 January 2007 anchored in Plymouth Sound

22 January 2007 conducted Merlin Helicopter operations in Falmouth Bay with HMS CORNWALL

6 February 2007 berthed at Devonport

17 February 2007 berthed at Marchwood Military Port

February 2007 with FOST

23 February 2007 in Plymouth Sound

3 March 2007 suffered an engine room fire whilst bound for Devonport and lost power and steering and was drifting five miles west of Eddystone Light. The MCA emergency towing vessel ANGLIAN PRINCESS stood by her

6 March 2007 arrived Delta Buoy in Plymouth Sound with the assistance of the harbour tugs ADEPT, CAREFUL and FORCEFUL. The MCA emergency towing vessel was released

11 March 2007 arrived at Falmouth from Plymouth under tow of the Italian salvage tug Cabo Magno for repairs. The tugs Remo, St Piran, Ankorva and Percuil assisted in her berthing

10 April 2007 arrived Falmouth for bunkers

11 April 2007 sailed Falmouth

12 April 2007 undertook sea trials

14 April 2007 arrived at Plymouth Sound

15 April 2007 Captain (X) Trevor Illes RFA appointed as Commanding Officer

18 April 2007 sailed Plymouth Sound for the Clyde

20 April 2007 arrived at the Clyde and engaged on 21 and 22 April 2007 in Exercise Neptune Warrior 071 along with RFA MOUNTS BAY

May 2007 participated in the CArina Deployment to the Baltic along with RFA MOUNTS BAY

3 June 2007 berthed at Marchwood Military Port

10 June 2007 sailed Marchwood Military Port

13 June 2007 berthed at Leith, Scotland

22 June 2007 berthed at Marchwood Military Port

26 June 2007 sailed Marchwood Military Port and arrived later the same day at Portland

3 July 2007 operating in Falmouth Bay

6 July 2007 entered No: 2 Dry Dock at Falmouth

27 July 2007 sailed Falmouth for Gurnsey

31 August 2007 arrived at Falmouth for bunkers

4 September 2007 at Gibraltar

19 September 2007 berthed on D buoy at Plymouth

23 September 2007 sailed Plymouth Sound for Exercise Grey Dawn

24 September 2007 off Browndown Training Camp, Spithead

29 September 2007 off Browndown Training Camp, Spithead

4 October 2007 berthed at Portsmouth

15 October 2007 Captain (E) Edward M Quigley RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

29 October 2007 berthed at Devonport

30 October 2007 in Plymouth Sound

4 November 2007 alongside at Devonport

9 to 11 November 2007 participated in amphibious exercises on Kenpack Sands, Lizard Peninsula along with Dutch warships Johan de Witte, Rotterdam and RFA's LYME BAY and MOUNTS BAY

December 2007 deployed on APT(N) duties

December 2007 seized 1.125 tons of cocaine worth £45 million during her first drugs counter drugs patrol.The ship encountered the Venezuela-registered boat carrying the illicit cargo about 390 miles north-east of Barbados

18 March 2008 at Curacao and Captain (X) Trevor Illes appinted as Commanding Officer

17 May 2008 together with RFA WAVE RULER (2) arrived at Willemstad

24 May 2008 involved in a collision while secured alongside at Curacoa. Holed forward on port side under the bridge. No injuries.

4 June 2008 anchored off Georgetown, Grand Cayman and entertained local Government members to lunch onboard

9 June 2008 berthed at Mayport

19 June 2008 arrived Falmouth Bay after passage from Florida having handed over APT (N) duties to RFA WAVE RULER (2)

20 June 2008 entered Falmouth Docks - County Wharf - for steel work repairs

9 July 2008 arrived at Portsmouth

18 July 2008 hosted the presentation of the Queens Colour by the Commodore in Chief the Earl of Wessex on Her Majesty’s behalf. at Portsmouth

25 July 2008 participated in 'Meet Your Navy' at Portsmouth

28 July 2008 sailed Portsmouth

1 to 27 August 2008 at Leith, Scotland supporting FOSNI during the Edinburgh Military Tattoo

29 August 2008 arrived at Largs, Clyde for the Viking Festival

17 September 2008 at Portland Dorset

30 September 2008 alongside at Portsmouth

13 January 2009 Captain (X) Kim Watts RFA appointed as Commanding Officer

Capt Kim Watts

Captain (X) Kim Watts RFA

17 March 2009 Captain (X) Trevor Illes RFA appointed as Commanding Officer

5 June 2009 off Grand Cayman

6 June 2009 while visiting Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands the ship's crew played football against the Cayman Brac Football Club. The ship's team was beaten 6 - 2.

21 June 2009 involved with training with Jamaican Defence Force Coast Guard and Grand Caymen joint customs, Immigration and Police Units to intercept suspect vessels and carry out search and rescue exercises 20 miles north of Montego Bay, Jamaica.

4 July 2009 visited George Town, Grand Cayman for two days R & R

17 July 2009 alongside HMC Dockyard, Halifax, Nova Scotia

27 August 2009 alongside at Portland

26 October 2009 RASed with RFA Wave Ruler (2)

4 December 2009 alongside the Sea Mounting Centre at Marchwood Military Port

15 January 2010 berthed at Marchwood Military Port on return from Norway

3 February 2010 deployed from Marchwood Military Port with humanitarian aid for the island of Haiti which suffered two serious earthquakes - Operation Panlake

18 February 2010 arrived at Haiti with a cargo which contained 5,700 sheets of corrugated iron sheets, 40 vehicles and 15 containers of general stores of humanitarian aid

29 March 2010 berthed at Marchwood Military Port, Southampton Water on return from the Haiti deployment

31 March 2010 Captain (X) Trevor Illes RFA appointed as Commanding Officer

21 May 2010 at Portland

31 May 2010 berthed at Marchwood Military Port

21 June 2010 reported in the RFA Cascade Brief that RFA Largs Bay has been awarded the RFA Centenary Wedgwood Bowl for Humanitarian Aid and International Relations in recognition of the ships significant and notable contribution to Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief in Haiti

21 June 2010 also reported in the RFA Cascade Brief that Med Tech Bob Beckwith of RFA Largs Bay has been awarded the Honourable Company of Master Mariners Award for exceptional performance, his outstanding and sustained contribution during the ships recent deployment to Haiti

11 August 2010 at Plymouth Sound

27 August 2010 at Largs, Scotland

6 September 2010 Captain David J Buck RFA appointed as Commanding Officer

Captain David Buck

Captain David J Buck RFA

8 September 2010 at Portland, Dorset

28 September 2010 at Oslofjorden Norway

29 September 2010 to 1 October 2010 at Horten and Moss Bastoy, Norway

5 October 2010 alongside at County Wharf, Falmouth 

19 October 2010 announced by the Defence Secretary that she was to be withdrawn from service in April 2011 as part of the Strategic Defence and Security Review along with RFA’s  BAYLEAF (3) and FORT GEORGE

10 November 2010 on 'C' Buoy, Plymouth Sound

2 December 2010 entered Portland Harbour

6 April 2011 announced by the Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith that Largs Bay is to be purchased by the Royal Australian Navy and will enter the RAN service in 2012

21 April 2011 alongside at Falmouth

13 August 2011 the Australian Prime has announced to-day that on commissioning the ship will be renamed HMAS Choules after the last Great War veteran who died in May 2011 - Chief Petty Officer Claude Choules RAN



CPO Claude Choules RAN

It was further announced that her new pennant number will be L 100

19 October 2011 officially handed over to the RAN after her refit and upgrade at Falmouth and was temporarily renamed ADFS Choules until her arrival in Australia when she will formally be commissioned as HMAS Choules 




cap tally choules



ADFS Choules


21 October 2011 arrived at Plymouth - her Commandering Officer is Commander John Cowan CSC RAN

CMDR John Cowan

Commander John Cowan CSC Royal Australian Navy

19 November 2011 berthed at Cape Town

21 November 2011 sailed Cape Town 

6 December 2011 berthed at Fleet Base West, Australia - HMAS Stirling - overcast and raining




7 December 2011 Firmin Sword of Peace for 2010 awarded to RFA Largs Bay - the award was presented to the Commander in Chief Fleet at Portland

13 December 2011 commissioned as HMAS Coules at Fremantle

14 December 2011 sailed Fremantle for Sydney and Fleet Base East.

21 December 2011 berthed at Garden Island, Sydney, NSW - Fleet Base East

24 February 2012 anchored off Townsville, Queensland to provide amphibious training to the 3rd Australian Brigade

24 April 2012 entered the River Derwent and berthed at Macquarie Wharf,  Hobart, Tasmania

13 June 2012 sailed Sydney, NSW for Queensland for Exercise Hamel in the Shoalwater Bay Training Area. On 14 June 2012 suffered engine failure when a defect occured on one of the six transformers which form part of the ship's propulsion system. The propulsion power was reduced by 50%. The ship returned to Sydney, NSW for repairs.  

 Choules badge

 December 2012 Commander Ashley Papp RAN appointed as Commanding Officer

CMDR Ashley Papp Portrait

Commander Ashley Papp Royal Australian Navy


12 April 2013 returned to sea following repairs to her propulsion system

9 May 2013 while returning from exercises off Queensland to her home post of Sydney NSW involved in a search for two passengers lost at sea from the cruise ship Carnival Spirit off the NSW northern coast

1 June 2013 berthed at Townsville, Queensland to take part in Exercise Sea Lion off Cowley Beach commencing on 10 June 2013

28 June 2013 Exercise Sea Lion ended

30 July 2013 sailed Cairns to Manus

20 August 2013 at Manus Island with the Papua New Guinea Defence Force commemorating the 34th Anniversary of the Manus Provincial Government Day

22 September 2014 sailed Sydney for training at Jervis Bay

Black Hawk Helicopter landing on HMAS Choules

Australian Army Blackhawk helicopter from 6th Aviation Regiment landing on HMAS Choules flight deck in Jervis Bay
© Commonwealth of Australia

24 October 2013 crew members held a memorial service to remember Australians who were killed in Papua New Guinea during World War 2. Before hand crew members and staff from the Manus Secondary School provided maintenance to war graves in the school grounds and which previously had been the grounds of the military headquarters

3 November 2013 sailed Manus at the end of her deployment during Operation Landscape

10 November 2013 berthed at Garden Island, Sydney, NSW

January 2014 at Sydney, NSW the Commander Australian Fleet Rear Admiral Tim Barrett and Commodore Johnathan Mead presented the Spada Shield to the Commanding Officer HMAS Choules - Commander Ashley Papp for the surface force which has excelled in all aspects of operations, safety, reliability, warfare and unit level training

Choules Jan 2014 award 1

At the same the same time Rear Admiral Tim Barrett presented the Pakistan Shield to Petty Officer Physical Training Instructor Rhod Hunter who was responsible for ensuring the crew maintained high levels of fitness while deployed for seven months and showed great dedication towards organising sporting events between the ships crew and local Papua New Guinea sporting teams while the ship was deployed to Manus Island during Operation Landscape

Choules Jan 2014 award 2

10 February 2014 off Point Perpedicular a commemorative service was held with more than 200 survivors and relatives of the 82 souls who lost their lives when HMAS's VOYAGER II and MELBOURNE II collided off Jervis Bay on 10 February 1964

18 February 2014 off Sydney, NSW RAS'ed with HMAS SUCCESS


Royal Australian Navy photo

24 March 2014 off Halifax Bay and Cowley Beach Training Areas, North Queensland engaged in Exercise Sea Dawn until 16 April 2014

17 April 2014 arrived at and later sailed the same day from Townsville

22 April 2014 arrived at Sydney, NSW

26 May 2014 arrived at Auckland, New Zealand

29 May 2014 sailed Auckland, New Zealand

3 June 2014 arrived at Sydney, NSW

13 October 2014 sailed Sydney, NSW for Operation Render Safe 2014 - to make safe explosive remnants of war in the South Pacific. The focus was in an area of Torokina in the south west of the island of Bougainville

15 October 2014 at Port Brisbane, Queensland

18 October 2014 berthed at Townsville, Queensland sailing the same day for Bougainville, Papua New Guinea

15 November 2014 at Brisbane, Queensland Commander Chris Allmann RAN appointed as Commanding Officer

Commander AULLMAN Choules

Commander Chris Allmann Royal Australian Navy

19 November 2014 at Brisbane, Queensland

11 December 2014 at Darwin, Northern Territory

19 December 2014 berthed at Sydney, NSW

4 January 2015 sailed Sydney, NSW

7 January 2015 anchored at Moreton Bay off Brisbane, Queensland

9 January 2015 sailed Moreton Bay, Queensland

16 January 2015 arrived at Darwin, Northern Territory

17 January 2015 sailed Darwin, Northern Territory

26 January 2015 Commander Ashley Papp RAN, the ships former Commanding Officer, awarded the Conspicuous Service Cross (CSC) in the Australia Day awards list

 CSC obv L

Conspicuous Service Cross


3 February 2015 arrived at Darwin, Northern Territory

6 February 2015 sailed Darwin, Northern Territory

10 February 2015 anchored off Townsville, North Queensland

16 February 2015 arrived at Sydney, NSW

22 March 2015 sailed Sydney, NSW

24 March 2015 at Jervis Bay

1 April 2015 anchored in the Naval waters off Darwin

5 April 2015 sailed from anchorage off Darwin

20 April 2015 berthed at Pasir Gudang, Malaysia

24 April 2015 sailed Pasir Gudang, Malaysia

2 May 2015 arrived at Darwin, Northern Territories, Australia

7 May 2015 in the Coral Sea off Townsville, Queensland

11 May 2015 berthed at Sydney, New South Wales

25 June 2015 sailed Sydney, New South Wales

26 June 2015 in the Coral Sea off Townsville, Queensland

27 June 2015 sailed Townsville, Queensland and anchored off Rattlesnake Island

5 July 2015 arrived at Darwin, Northern Territories, Australia

6 July 2015 sailed Darwin, Northern Territories, Australia

20 July 2015 sailed Darwin, Northern Territories, Australia

25 July 2015 berthed at Townsville, Queensland

26 July 2015 sailed Townsville, Queensland

30 July 2015 berthed at Sydney, NSW

2 August 2015 sailed Sydney, NSW

6 August 2015 berthed at Sydney, NSW

12 October 2015 sailed Sydney, NSW

19 October 2015 off Thursday Island

22 October 2015 anchored at Darwin, Northern Territories

23 October 2015 sailed from Darwin, Northern Territories

25 October 2015 arrived at Darwin, Northern Territories

30 October 2015 sailed from Darwin, Northern Territories

18 November 2015 anchored in the large ships anchorage at Darwin, Northern Territories

22 November 2015 sailed from Darwin, Northern Territories

2 December 2015 arrived at HMAS STIRLING at Garden Island, Perth, Western Australia

18 January 2016 sailed from HMAS STIRLING, Perth, Western Australia

23 February 2016 sailed Singapore

30 March 2016 anchored at Darwin, Northern Territories

2 April 2016 sailed Darwin, Northern Territories

11 April 2016 berthed at Garden Island, Sydney, NSW

25 November 2016 anchored off Townsville, Queensland

28 November 2016 sailed from off Townsville, Queensland

1 December 2016 berthed at Cairns, Queensland, Australia

6 December 2016 Commander Dave Graham RAN appointed as Commanding Officer

CMDR Dave Graham

Commander Dave Graham RAN

7 December 2016 sailed from Cairns, Queensland, Australia

13 December 2016 sailing to the southwest of Newcastle, NSW berthing later at Garden Island, Sydney, NSW

10 February 2017 berthed at Hobart, Tasmania as the Flagship for the 2017 Royal Hobart Regatta

13 February 2017 sailed from Hobart, Tasmania

15 February 2017 anchored at Jarvis Bay

18 February 2017 sailed from Jervis Bay

21 February 2017 berthed at Eden, New South Wales

22 February 2017 sailed from Eden, New South Wales

24 February 2017 berthed at Sydney, New South Wales

27 February 2017 sailed from Sydney, New South Wales

3 March 2017 arrived at Townsville

4 March 2017 sailed from Townsville and anchored off Innisfail

11 March 2017 underway from the anchorage

15 March 2017 berthed at Sydney, NSW

27 March 2017 sailed Sydney, NSW

29 March 2017 arrived at Brisbane, Queensland and sailed the same day

7 April 2017 anchored off Rockhampton, Queensland discharging relief stores and equipment to aid those affected by the effects of Tropical Cyclone Debbie

 Choules off Rockhampton

HMAS Choules anchored off Rockhampton, Queensland

10 April 2017 berthed at Sydney, NSW

24 April 2017 sailed Sydney, NSW

29 April 2017 arrived at Townsville, Queensland

30 April 2017 sailed from Townsville, Queensland

1 May 2017 became the focus for commemorative activities for the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea when she positioned herself in the waters of the conflict off Townsville, Queensland

images cms image Choules

Chaplain Ian Lindsay lead VIPs, guests and ship's company of HMAS Choules in the Naval Prayer at the commemoration for the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea.

13 May 2017 arrived at Townsville, Queensland

14 May 2017 sailed from Townsville, Queensland

18 May 2017 arrived at Sydney, NSW

29 June 2017 sailed Sydney, NSW

6 July 2017 arrived at Townsville, Queensland

7 July 2017 sailed Townsville, Queensland

27 July 2017 berthed at Sydney, NSW after Exercise Talisman Sabre 2017

30 September 2017 sailed Sydney, NSW to aid the Government of Vanuatu evacuate the residents of Ambae Island which was the subject of volcanic eruptions

5 October 2017 arrived at Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu

11 October 2017 sailed Vanuatu for Auckland, New Zealand

16 October 2017 sailed Auckland, New Zealand

18 October 2017 berthed at Napier, New Zealand

21 October 2017 sailed Picton, New Zealand for Exercise Southern Katipo with the Royal New Zealand Navy

25 October 2017 berthed at Sydney, NSW

6 November 2017 sailed from Sydney, NSW

17 November 2017 at Dili Anchorage, Timor-Leste

23 November 2017 arrived and berthed at Cairns

27 November 2017 sailed Cairns

28 November 2017 anchored off Townsville

3 December 2017 arrived at Brisbane

6 December 2017 sailed Brisbane

8 December 2017 berthed at Sydney, NSW

29 January 2018 sailed Sydney, NSW returning later the same day

5 February 2018 sailed Sydney, NSW

6 February 2018 arrived at Eden, NSW sailing again later the same day

8 February 2018 arrived at Sydney, NSW

12 February 2018 sailed Sydney, NSW returning again the same day

14 February 2018 sailed Sydney, NSW

1 March 2018 berthed at Cairns

5 March 2018 sailed from Cairns

9 March 2018 arrived at Bundaberg Anchorage sailing two hours later

15 March 2018 berthed at Sydney, NSW





Was originally intended to be named QUIBERON BAY to commemorate the British victory over the French on 23 June 1795 in the English Channel, but this was deemed to be not politically correct. There was also an ex-French ship which was used by Britain during WW2 which was renamed LARGS



Additional information

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