RFA Olna (1)


RFA Olna 1 in 1936

Official Number:                      146149

Class:                                    10,000t OL CLASS Tanker

Pennant No:                           X47

Laid down:                             14 June 1920
Builder:                                   Devonport Dockyard

Launched:                              21 June 1921
Into Service:                           10 October 1921
Out of service:                        18 May 1941
Fate:                                      Bombed and later scrapped


Items of historic interest involving this ship: -


Background Data: Of the six ships in this Class, two of them were built by HM Dockyards to keep the Dockyards busy after the end of WW1 in accordance with the Colwyn Committee‘s recommendations. Two other similar ships were built for Anglo Saxon Petroleum Co Ltd, London at the same time - MUREX at Portsmouth and NASSA at Devonport - and after producing these two well-built ships, the finances and materials appeared to be short and the two built for the RFA were supposedly built with odds and ends and auxiliaries taken from outmoded warships. With their cheap and second-hand fittings they had some heavy maintenance bills, which they paid for by spending most of their lives on charter. MUREX and NASSA were both broken up at Osaka in 1936


5 May 1920 the Cabinet Intelligence Report on Naval Matters for the week ending 1 May 1920 reported that -

Cainet report dated 5 May 1920 building of RFA Olna

14 June 1920 laid down

21 June 1921 launched by HM Dockyard, Devonport as Yard Nr 1 named  OLNA (1). Named after the Olna Firth in the Shetland Islands. The launch and naming ceremony was performed by Mrs Underhill wife of Rear Admiral Edward Underhill, Superintendent of the Dockyard.

26 July 1921 Mr Henry Baker DSO RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

CEO Henry Baker

Chief Engineer Officer Henry Baker DSO RFA

30 September 1921 at Devonport visited by Rear Admiral the Hon A D E H Boyle the Fourth Sea Lord and Chief of Supplies and Transport

10 October 1921 completed and placed under initial management of Davies & Newman Ltd, London

15 October 1921 completed preliminary sea trials

25 October 1921 sailed for Port Said

West Morn News 27 Oct 1921

Press Cutting from the Western Morning News of 27 October 1921

14 November 1921 sailed Suez for Rangoon

7 December 1921 at Rangoon

21 February 1922 sailed Suez for Abadan

23 May 1922 sailed Aden for Abadan

19 June 1922 was at Port Said this day when on passage to Devonport

1 July 1922 berthed at Devonport from Abadan

16 July 1922 sailed Devonport

10 March 1923 sailed Port Said for Abadan and Singapore

12 June 1923 at Swansea

16 June 1923 Captain Percival Skone-Rees RFA appointed as Master



Captain P Skone-Rees RFA


3 August 1923 arrived at Plymouth from Swansea later sailing the same day for Tampico

24 August 1923 reported that she had taken the British steamer G R Crow in tow at 25°N 93°W as she had her boilers out of order. The tow had to be abandoned when the hawser parted

22 September 1923 at Gibraltar

21 November 1923 the Admiralty Fuel and Stores Officer, Singapore advertised in the local newspapers -


21 11 1923 No debts Advert Singapore


8 January 1924 at Mary's Hospital, Hamburg Able Seaman Mathew Reville discharged dead with a fractured skull

9 January 1924 berthed at Devonport from Hamburg sailing later the same day for Tampico

6 February 1924 sailed Tampico for Antwerp

29 February 1924 passed the Lloyds Signal station on the Lizard sailing east

1 April 1924 arrived at Bermuda when on passage from Antwerp to Tampico

21 June 1924 arrived Tampico

21 July 1924 berthed at King George's Dock, Hull from Antwerp

7 August 1924 sailed Hull for New York

22 August 1924 arrived at New York

14 October 1924 sailed from Mexican port for Baltimore

24 January 1925 at New Orleans

25 February 1925 arrived at Southampton from New Orleans

26 March 1925 passed Key West

18 April 1925 sailed Southampton for Aruba

23 August 1925 Captain James D Ashworth RFA appointed as Master

Capt J D Ashworth

Captain James D Ashworth RFA

11 September 1925 arrived Port Said from Rosyth while on passage to Abadan

11 November 1925 arrived at the River Tyne from Grangemouth

4 December 1925 arrived Port Said from the River Tyne while on passage to Abadan

10 December 1925 passed Perim

10 June 1926 berthed at Grangemouth from Abadan with a cargo of crude oil

15 June 1926 sailed Grangemouth for Trinidad in ballast

27 July 1926 arrived at Glasgow from Trinidad

9 August 1926 sailed Devonport

17 August 1926 berthed at Malta from Devonport

10 September 1926 at 26º 24N 55º 52E Third Engineer Officer Walter Leslie Evans RFA discharged dead - natural causes - buried at sea

7 January 1927 sailed Abadan for Malta

6 February 1927 at Malta

26 February 1927 sailed Alexandria for Abadan

15 March 1927 sailed Abadan for Port Said

29 April 1927 sailed Abadan for Trincomali

26 May 1927 sailed Abadan

19 September 1927 sailed Colombo for Abadan

30 September 1927 at Abadan

2 October 1927 sailed Abadan for Portsmouth

7 October 1927 Captain Richard D Williams RFA appointed as Master

Captain Richard D Williams

Captain Richard D Williams RFA

31 October 1927 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

2 November 1927 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

8 November 1927 at Chatham

16 November 1927 sailed Sheerness for Curacao

4 December 1927 arrived at Curacao

31 August 1928 at Long Island Hospital, New York - Fireman Arthur Costa discharged dead after suffering with a fractured skull, a fractured right shoulder and fractured ribs

7 January 1929 berthed at Devonport from Pembroke Dock and Captain James D Ashworth RFA appointed as Master

12 July 1929 arrived on the Tees from New Orleans via Devonport

15 July 1929 arrived at Plymouth

22 July 1929 ss Vimeria with a cargo of gas oil hit an iceberg off the Grand Banks. Taken in tow by RFA OLNA (1) and towed towards Halifax -  a distance of over 700 miles in five days. The tow parted on three occasions. After repairs the Vimeria sailed for Rotterdam where she caught fire killing 15 of her crew

Vimeira 05

ss Vimeira

28 July 1929 arrived at Halifax NS towing the ss Vimeira

1 August 1929 the Admiralty announced that the ship was to be used for trials of a new type of rudder which had been designed by a Dr Oertz of Hamburg and it was believed would reduce resistance to the speed of the ship and to keep the vessel on a more straight course than was possible otherwise

18 September 1929 the Yorkshire Post newspaper reported on the towing of the ss Vimeira (see above) -


Press Report Yorkshire Post 18 9 29


30 October 1929 at Tampico, Florida, USA Captain William C Meikle RFA discharged dead suffering from Malaria

Capt W C Melike

Captain William C Meikle RFA 

13 November 1929 Captain Percival Skone Rees RFA appointed as Master

28 February 1930 anchored in Stokes Bay, Gosport

8 May 1930 arrived at Suez

17 May 1930 arrived at Gibraltar from Abadan with a cargo of oil for the Naval Base

28 July 1930 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

15 October 1930 Mr J S Harrison RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

10 November 1930 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

15 November 1930 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

20 January 1931 Mr Henry Baker DSO RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

27 April 1931 arrived Galveston, Texas from Falmouth

8 June 1931 at Montreal, Canada

26 September 1931 due at Montreal, Canada

24 October 1931 struck by s.s. Cairnross while at anchor in St. Lawrence River in thick fog having arrived loaded from Port Arthur. RFA Olna (1) damaged - proceeding to Montreal and arrived 25 October 1931 for survey

Cairnross 02

s.s. Cairnross

4 January 1932 in refit at Greenwell's Quay, Sunderland

10 April 1932 when on passage to Port Arthur, Texas reported she was 257 nmiles SSW of Vanentia

11 May 1932 arrived at Quebec, Canada

24 June 1932 sailed Port Arthur, Texas for Montreal, Canada

8 July 1932 sailed Montreal, Canada

26 August 1932 on passage to Port Arthur, Texas

17 September 1932 sailed Port Arthur, Texas for Montreal, Canada

4 January 1933 sailed Belfast

3 March 1933 Captain P Skone Rees RFA appointed as Master and Mr H Baker DSO RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

15 March 1933 in South Docks, Sunderland

30 March 1933 sailed Sunderland for Devonport

31 March 1933 passed St Catherines Point sailing west

18 April 1933 sailed Las Piedras for Trinidad

10 May 1933 off Caister

24 May 1933 reported she was 200 nmiles SSW of Land End

2 June 1933 on passage to Trinidad

27 June 1933 passed St. Abbs Head

2 July 1933 reported she was 10 nmiles NW of Cape Wrath

22 July 1933 sailed Aruba

9 August 1933 arrived at Old Kilpatrick Oil Fuel Depot

13 December 1933 arrived Avonmouth from Trinidad

19 December 1933 at Devonport

4 January 1934 by wireless reported she was 25 nmiles S.W. of Lands End while on passage to Aruba and Trinidad

28 January 1934 sailed Trinidad

8 February 1934 by wireless reported she was 1,300 nmiles S.W. Valentia

15 February 1934 arrived at Old Kilpatrick, River Clyde

17 February 1934 sailed the River Clyde

19 February 1934 arrived Manchester

16 March 1934 sailed Eastham for Aruba

28 April 1934 sailed Old Kilpatrick, River Clyde for Trinidad

20 May 1934 arrived at Manchester

22 May 1934 sailed Manchester for Aruba

29 June 1934 berthed at Old Kilpatrick

4 July 1934 berthed at Manchester

9 July 1934 sailed Manchester

31 August 1934 Mr Joseph S Harrison RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

23 December 1934 arrived Greenwell's Dock, Wearmouth from Sheerness in ballast

21 January 1935 sailed Plymouth

13 December 1935 arrived at Portishead from Trinidad

8 September 1936 at Manchester ship canal Greaser John Newby Power discharged dead by drowning - no evidence as to how he entered the water

20 October 1936 sailed Abadan for the UK

2 February 1937 sailed Plymouth for Abadan

7 October 1937 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

9 October 1937 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

26 October 1937 Captain I Evans RFA appointed as Master

7 November 1937 transferred to Admiralty management and manning as an RFA

16 November 1937 berthed at Gibraltar from Sheerness to discharge

3 May 1938 arrived Auckland, New Zealand

10 May 1938 sailed Auckland, New Zealand for Yokohama

27 July 1938 arrived Garden Island, Sydney, NSW, Australia  from Abadan to discharge

29 July 1938 sailed Garden Island, Sydney for Abadan to load

November 1938 undertook trials with bow protection gear - minesweeping paravane

16 November 1938 at Sunderland Fireman Lam Fatt discharged dead - natural causes

21 November 1938 the Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail newspaper reported -


Hartpool Nor Daily Mail Olna 1 21 11 38


25 January 1939 ran aground on Alphee Shoal near Batticaloa, Ceylon while on passage to Trincomalee towing a battle target and with a cargo of fuel oil. She managed to back off after some hours but had badly damaged her keel and had fouled her screw with the towing wire. She was towed, leaking, to the outer approaches of Trincomalee by the cruiser HMS MANCHESTER and a boom defence vessel of the BAR Class. Her cargo was taken to the oil depot in several trips by RFA SLAVOL after which she sailed for Bombay for extensive repairs and these took several months

3 May 1939 at Sunderland

16 May 1939 Mr William C Elliott RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

22 May 1939 at T W Greenwells, Sunderland under going repairs

11 June 1939 Captain Douglas N J Williams RFA (Lieutenant Commander RNR) appointed as Master

Douglas N Williams

Captain Douglas N J Williams RFA

3 September 1939 at Portsmouth on the outbreak of WW2

15 September 1939 berthed at Simonstown Dockyard

22 September 1939 sailed from Simonstown Dockyard

25 September 1939 whilst under the orders of the cruiser HMS AJAX she grounded but no damage was recorded

30 January 1940 sailed Mauritus to Port Victoria, Seychelles arriving 4 February 1940

6 February 1940 sailed Seychelles to Mauritius arriving 11 February 1940

19 April 1940 sailed Mauritius to Aden arriving 1 May 1940

2 May 1940 sailed Aden to Suez arriving 9 May 1940

18 May 1940 arrived Alexandria from Suez

20 July 1940 at Alexandria with HMAS VENDETTA alongside to refuel



29 July 1940 at Alexandria with HMAS VENDETTA alongside to refuel

3 August 1940 at Alexandria with HMAS VENDETTA alongside to refuel

13 August 1940 at Alexandria with HMAS VENDETTA alongside to refuel

29 October 1940 sailed Alexandria together with RFA BRAMBLELEAF (1) with the armed boarding vessels CHAKLA and FIONA, minesweeper FAREHAM, net layer PROTECTOR and escorted by anti-aircraft cruisers CALCUTTA and COVENTRY and destroyers VAMPIRE, VOYAGER, WATERHEN, WRYNECK



RFA Officers and some crew members - believed taken in Crete in 1941


1 November 1940 arrived Suda Bay, Crete protected by HMS's CALCUTTA and WRYNECK

2 November 1940 sailed Suda Bay, Crete for Piraeus, Greece protected by HMS's WRYNECK and FAREHAM

3 November 1940 at Piraeus, Greece the Ship's Cook Hing Yee discharged dead - he died from natural causes - heart attack

7 November 1940 at Suda Bay, Crete with HMAS SYDNEY alongside to refuel

13 November 1940 at Alexandria with HMAS VENDETTA alongside to refuel

17 November 1940 at Alexandria with HMAS VENDETTA alongside to refuel

22 December 1940 at Suda Bay, Crete with HMS GLOUCESTER alongside to refuel

12 January 1941 at Suda Bay, Crete with HMAS VENDETTA alongside to refuel

18 February 1941 at Suda Bay, Crete

26 March 1941 at Salamis Roads HMAS PERTH alongside to refuel

27 March 1941 at Salamis Bay with HMAS VENDETTA alongside to refuel

5 April 1941 at Piraeus, Greece HMAS PERTH alongside to refuel

18 May 1941 again at Suda Bay, Crete she was bombed by German aircraft and was set on fire. She was beached nearby but unfortunately burnt out. One of her Ratings was injured and he died from these injuries the following month


RFA Olna (1) - on fire
Image courtesy of David Brown son of 3rd Engineer Officer R B Brown RFA

1945 found as a wreck at Scarramanga after the War, fit only for scrap



RFA Olna (2)

HMS Olna in 1946 with war time armament
RFA Olna 2


Previous name:                      Hyalina, HMS Olna

Subsequent name:

Official Number:                      180853

Class:                                     Fleet Oiler

Pennant No:                           X116  /  B516 / A216

Laid down:
Builder:                                  Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson, Wallsend. 
Launched:                              28 December 1944
Into Service:                           27 April 1945
Out of service:                        November 1966 
Fate:                                     Scrapped


Items of historic interest involving this ship: -


Background Data:


In 1944, following the success of the American T-2 tankers, the Anglo Saxon Petroleum Co Ltd ordered 3 turbo-electric tankers of approximately 18000 tonnes from Tyneside builders. The first two of these were taken over by the Admiralty as the creation of the British Pacific Fleet Train had heralded the need for faster tankers to replace the older and slower vessels then in service. The problem was to find the capacity to build these ships. The position was unacceptable and to overcome it, compromises were reached and the two Shell tankers became stopgaps. The first of these, named HYALINA,was modified for Fleet Support Duties with the building of an OAS platform above her Upper Deck on the starboard side and the provision of state of the art OAS equipment. She commissioned as HMS OLNA,with a Naval Crew of 183 and was extensively armed with 1 x 4” gun aft, 4 x 40mm Bofors, 8 x 20mm Oerlikons on sponsors, Upper Deck stowage for depth charges on the port side, 60 lb of protective plating on the deck and side in the area of the petrol storage tanks, degaussing equipment and paravane gear. Initially it was not intended to retain her after the end of the War, but as she was so advanced, successful and much-needed, the Treasury approved her purchase in 1946. In the meantime her sister named HELICINA, which was to have been renamed HMS OLEANDER had not the War finished before her completion, was returned to her owners. HMS OLNA was converted to Merchant Ship status in 1946 and was transferred to the RFA. She was constantly used for fuelling-at-sea experiments and the ship itself and her RAS rigs underwent many modifications during her long career. The third ship in the series was not launched until 1948, also named HYALINA


28 December 1944 Launched by Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson Ltd at their Neptune Yard,  Wallsend as Yard Nr 1689 named HYALINA for the Anglo Saxon Petroleum Co Ltd, London. She was taken over by the Admiralty before completion and was modified for OAS duties.

27 April 1945 Commissioned as HMS OLNA for service with the British Pacific Fleet Train with a  Naval Crew numbering 183, commanded by a Lieutenant Commander RNR

May 1945 arrived Scapa Flow for RAS trials prior to deployment in the Pacific

29 June 1945 sailed Curacao for Balboa

2 July 1945 sailed Balboa to Eniwetok

26 July 1945 RASed with HMS KING GEORGE V abeam

31 July 1945 at 0900 hours TF 37 RV'ed with TU 112 which consisted of oilers HMS OLNA (later to become RFA OLNA (2)), RFA's WAVE GOVERNOR and WAVE KING and the MV CARELIA, stores supply ships MV GLENARTNEY and MV CORINDA, ammunition issuing ship MV ROBERT MAERSK, escort carriers HMS's CHASER, RULER and SPEAKER, the corvette converted to a radar and radio maintenance ship HMNZS ARBUTUS, escorted by destroyers NORMAN and NEPAL, sloops CRANE, PHEASANT, WOODCOCK and REDPOLE, frigates ODZANI and DERG and minesweeper HMAS PIRIE, in replenishment area, BRITISH TIZZY. At 1000 hours replenishment commenced. The weather in the area was less than ideal, with a heavy swell running caused by a succession of typhoons to the east of the area. However, because the British were now mastering replenishment at sea (RAS) the weather did not affect the operation as much as it would have done just a few weeks ago. HMS KING GEORGE V again refuelled by the abeam method and was able to take on fuel at 840 tons per hour. (KGV maximum fuel capacity 4100 tons, average capacity 3886 tons)

August 1945 Captain P L Williams RD RNR in command

8 August 1945 RAS'ed astern with HMAS BURNIE

11 August 1945 RAS'ed astern with HMAS's GERALDTON, NAPIER and IPSWICH

13 August 1945 as HMS OLNA and with RFA WAVE EMPEROR provided last RAS during War time to the British Pacific Fleet to HMS's RULER, PHESANT, FINDHORN, USK, BARLE and CRANE plus units of the Australian and US Navies

23 August 1945 report published on the manning, decommissioning and converting to RFA manning and transferring her to the Director of Stores

26 August 1945 at Leyte refuelled HMAS STUART

14 September 1945 at Subic Bay refuelled alongside HMAS's GOULBURN and PIRIE

3 October 1945 records show that a decision of Admiralty tanker requirements reviewed the future of OLNA (2) and her sister OLEANDER (which never entered service)

6 October 1945 at Subic Bay

14 October 1945 at the Yangtze River Mouth, China together with USS Cony

25 October 1945 sailed Subic Bay for Manus arriving 1 November 1945

8 November 1945 sailed Manus, Admiralty Islands for Morotai arriving 11 November 1945

13 November 1945 sailed Morotai to Singapore and area and then onto Colombo arriving 29 November 1945

15 December 1945 sailed Colombo to Abadan arriving 22 December 1945

25 December 1945 sailed Abadan to Port Said arriving 5 January 1946

5 January 1946 sailed Port Said, passed Gibraltar 22 January 1946 to the River Tyne arriving 28 January 1946

10 January 1946 Treasury approval obtained for her formal transfer to Admiralty ownership

28 January 1946 at Swan Hunter, Tyne for docking ,repairs and alteration to Merchant Ship status.

1 February 1946 Mr Mortimer J Lawrence DSC RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

CEO M J Lawrence

Chief Engineer Officer Mortimer J Lawrence DSC RFA

20 March 1946 transferred to the RFA with a crew of just 77, name now RFA OLNA

OLNA 2 just post war

© IWM (FL 16970)

1 April 1946 Captain Stanley G Kent OBE RFA appointed as Master

7 May 1946 ran trials off the River Tyne returning the next day

13 May 1946 caused damaged to The Commission Quay, River Tyne, North Shields while berthing.

14 May 1946 sailed the River Tyne, passed Gibraltar 18 May 1946, anchored at Suez 25 May 1946 to Abadan arriving 3 June 1946

7 June 1946 sailed Abadan to Colombo arriving 14 June 1946

15 June 1946 sailed Colombo to Singapore arriving 20 June 1946

7 July 1946 arrived at Bombay from Singapore

24 August 1946 sailed Bombay to Abadan

29 August 1946 ran aground in the Abadan River. Refloated 2 September 1946

4 September 1946 at Muscat having arrived from Abadan

7 September 1947 at Aden

10 September 1946 sailed Aden for Abadan arriving 16 September 1946

16 September 1946 sailed Abadan to Colombo arriving 25 September 1946

6 October 1946 at Port Darwin, NT, Australia

9 October 1946 sailed Port Darwin to Port Moresby

14 October 1946 sailed Port Moresby to Colombo arriving 25 October 1946

23 October 1946 at Sea Fireman Oosman Ismail discharged dead. Believed drowned by jumping over the side

26 October 1946 sailed Colombo to Abadan arriving 2 November 1946

14 November 1946 sailed Abadan passing Aden on 21 November 1946 for Suez

23 November 1946 developed leak in port main condener

25 November 1946 at Port Said sailing on 30 November 1946 to Abadan arriving 9 December 1946

10 December 1946 sailed Abadan to Colombo arriving 17 December 1946

18 December 1946 sailed Colombo to Singapore arriving 23 December 1946

17 March 1947 passed Lloyd's Signal Station on Flamborough Head sailing south

27 May 1947 in refit by Barclay, Currie & Co at Stobcross Quay on the River Clyde

9 June 1947 Captain H M Sinclair RFA appointed as Master

22 June 1947 Mr Harold M Pearson RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

11 August 1947 sailed Curacao for LEFO

21 August 1947 passed Lloyd's Signal Station on the Lizard sailing east

16 September 1947 passed Lloyd's Signal Station on the Lizard sailing east

21 November 1947 passed the Lloyd's Signal Station on Flamborough Head sailing south

6 March 1948 berthed at Saltend on the Humber with 15,000 tons of FFO from Abadan

27 May 1948 passed Gibraltar sailing westbound for Sheerness

4 June 1948 passed Lloyd's Signal Station on the Lizard sailing east

6 September 1948 Mr Alexander B McIntyre RD RFA (Commander (E) RNR (ret)) RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

Alex Bain McIntyre photo

Chief Engineer Officer Alexander B McIntyre RD RFA

15 September 1948 berthed at TIC Hebburn Quay, River Tyne

1 February 1949 arrived Abadan

24 March 1949 sailed Abadan for Bombay

16 April 1949 arrived Chowder Bay, Mosman, NSW, Australia from Abadan to discharge. Sailed the next day for Abadan

5 June 1949 sailed Sheerness for Falmouth

16 June 1949 while on passage from Falmouth to Abadan passed Ushant this day sailing south

3 July 1949 sailed Abadan

26 July 1949 berthed at Saltend, on the Humber from Abadan and Captain Thomas H Card OBE RFA appointed as Master

6 August 1949 arrived at Port Said

20 September 1949 passed Gibraltar sailing east

29 November 1949 arrived at Hebburn on Tyne from Sheerness

10 December 1949 berthed at North Eastern Marine, River Tyne in refit

16 March 1950 Mr David C Leathley RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

15 November 1950 arrived at Freemantle, Australia from Abadan

18 November 1950 sailed Freemantle, Australlia for Ceylon

2 January 1951 sailed Abadan for Aden

13 January 1951 sailed Aden for Abadan

1 February 1951 Mr William J Brown OBE DSC RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

6 February 1951 passed Gibraltar sailing west bound

20 April 1951 berthed at Swan Hunter, Wallsend, River Tyne for refit or repair

17 May 1951 sailed Abadan for Trincomalee, Ceylon

1 December 1951 sailed Bahrein for Trincomalee, Ceylon

18 December 1951 arrived Bahrein

21 December 1951 at sea at 26°35.30N 55°39.30E Fireman Mohamed Sab Hossien Mea discharged dead having suffered pneumonia and heart failure. Buried at sea.

1 January 1952 arrived at Singapore

30 January 1952 arrived Sydney, NSW, Australia from Singapore



RFA Olna (2) alongside at Sydney, NSW on 31 January 1952


5 February 1952 sailed Sydney, NSW, Australia for Bahrein

25 February 1952 arrived Bahrein

2 May 1952 arrived River Tyne and Captain Cyril F Cunningham RFA appointed as Master

Captain Cyril Frederick Cunningham

Captain Cyril F Cunningham RFA

September 1952 took part in Operation Mainbrace involving US and RN units in a major NATO naval exercise in the Northern North Sea and the Artic.

15 June 1953 took part in the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Fleet Review at Spithead along with 6 other RFA‘s.

21 July 1953 Mr H C A Brain RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

30 July 1953 in refit at Palmers Yard, Hebburn on Tyne together with RFA ARNDALE

5 September 1953 sailed River Tyne for Invergordon

September 1953 took part in Exercise Mariner

15 May 1954 involved in a collision with HMS BULWALK while RASing in the English Channel

HMS Bulwark R08


23 June 1954 Captain William W Peddle RFA appointed as Master



Captain William W Peddle RFA


5 August 1954 berthed this day at Palmers, Hebburn on Tyne for repairs or a refit

October 1954 took part in supporting the Home Fleet in Exercises 'Morning Mist' and 'Polar Mist'  (convoy exercises from Invergordon to Norway)

3 October 1954 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on Flamorough Head sailing southbound - signalled she was heading for the Isle of Grain

19 October 1954 berthed on the River Tyne at No: 2 Tier together with RFA WAVE MASTER

26 October 1954 berthed at the Admiralty Quay, Hebburn on Tyne

4 January 1955 alongside at Palmer's Yard, Hebburn on Tyne and Mr G J Mathews RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

27 February 1955 sailed Malta for Gibraltar

March 1955 RASed with HMS CENTAUR during Exercise Sea Lance

 Olna Centaur 26 3 1955 Sphere


14 June 1955 with British Royal Naval Squadron under Admiral Sir Michael Denny, Commander in Chief, Home Fleet made a week's official visit to Stockholm, Sweden

20 July 1955 sailed Tromso for Sheerness

29 July 1955 Captain Frank A Shaw RD RFA (Lieutenant Commander RNR (Ret) appointed as Master

1956 along with RFA FORT DUQUESNE, she starred in the film “Battle of the River Plate” with Peter Finch as Captain Langsdorff and Anthony Quale as Commodore Harewood and played the part of the German supply tanker ALTMARK

OLNA 2 Altmark Nazi Flag

RFA Olna (2) in the guise of the German supply ship Altmark


27 March 1956 in refit at Palmers, Hebburn on Tyne


Olan 2 March 1956


15 July 1956 at Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle on Tyne Seaman Harold Mossman English discharged dead - natural causes

16 August 1956 berthed at Malta from Curacao and discharged 14,000 tons of FFO

31 October 1956 deployed on Operation Musketeer- the Suez Crisis - along with RFA’s FORT SANDUSKY, RETAINER, TIDERACE and TIDERANGE where she was in Task Force 325.8, the Logistics Group supporting the carriers

2 March 1957 in refit at Palmer's, Hebburn on Tyne

27 May 1957 whilst enroute from Malta to South America she passed the replica MAYFLOWER which was making it's historic voyage from Plymouth, UK  to Plymouth, Mass, USA and exchanged flashing light signals with her

25 June 1957 sailed from Bermuda

6 August 1957 arrived at Curacao

19 August 1957 berthed at Old Kilpatrick Oil Fuel Depot, River Clyde

25 September 1957 Captain Alfred M Uglow RFA appointed as temporary Master until 4 October 1957

1957 to 1960 supported Operation Grapple - the British H-bomb test at Christmas Island in the Pacific Ocean - along with 16 other RFA’s




23 July 1957 Mr D C Leathley RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

12 September 1957 broke down in the Irish Sea. A tug from the Clyde and HMS APOLLO from Milford Haven sailed to provide assistance

13 September 1957 together with RFA's TIDEREACH and TIDERANGE (1) at the Clyde for NATO Exercise 'Strikeback'

28 October 1957 Captain Griffith O W Evans DSC RFA appointed as Master

January 1958 supporting the Home Fleet during a visit to the West Indies

15 February 1958 RASed with HMS BERMUDA while on passage from Barbados to Grenada

22 April 1958 on the Tyne for a refit at Palmers, Hebburn together with RFA RESURGENT

12 July 1958 deployed for duties in support of Operation Grapple on Christmas Island with 1 tons 4cwt of cargo

October 1958 Fleet Train support to HMS ALBION and her deployment to the Far East

7 December 1958 Donkeyman Greaser John Stroughair discharged dead - apparent natural causes - heart failure - buried at sea

January 1959 supporting HMS ALBION during visit to Australia and New Zealand

23 January 1959 arrived Auckland, New Zealand

7 February 1959 to 11 February 1959 together with RFA RELIANT (2) and RN units visited Hobart, Tasmania

11 February 1959 off Tasmania exercise RASes with HMAS SWAN  abeam and astern and a light jackstay transfer

19 February 1959 together with RFA RELIANT (2) and RN units visited Sydney

24 February 1959 RASed with HMAS MELBOURNE

27 February 1959 off Jervis Bay RASed HMAS ANZAC

1 March 1959 sailed from Jervis Bay with RFA RELIANT (2), RN and RAN units

12 March 1959 RASed with HMAS MELBOURNE supplying 1,235 tons of FFO and also with HMAS VOYAGER

13 March 1959 RASed astern with HMS ALBION

20 March 1959 undertook a series of RAS's with HMAS VOYAGER and other RN & RAN watships

21 March 1959 while on passage to Singapore RASed with HMAS MELBOURNE

24 March 1959 RASed with HMAS VOYAGER supplying 297 tons of FFO

7 April 1959 RASed with HMAS VOYAGER twice

10 April 1959 at Singapore Dockyard berthed with HMAS ANZAC alongside

24 June 1959 Mr K Jones RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

13 July 1959 Captain Robert  H Venning RFA appointed as Master

24 October 1959 deployed for the second time for duties in support of Operation Grapple on Christmas Island with 88 tons 15.25 cwt of cargo

25 December 1959 RASed with HMAS QUICKMAtCH

1960 supporting units of the Far East Fleet

7 September 1960 Captain Franklin G Edwards RFA appointed as Master

April 1961 on the Tyne for a refit

8 May 1961 supporting Fishery Protection RN units off Iceland

1 June 1961 off SE Iceland transfered mail to HMS DUNCAN

2 June 1961 off SE Iceland RASed with HMS DUNCAN

June 1961 supporting RN Units on exercises in the North Sea

30 June 1961 sailed Gibraltar supporting HMS CENTAUR during the Kuwait crisis

5 July 1961 at Port Said

6 July 1961 transited through the Suez Canal with HMS Camperdown, HMS Saintes, HMS Messina, HMS Finisterre and the aircraft carrier HMS Centaur

August 1961 supported HM carriers CENTAUR and VICTORIOUS during Operation Vantage - the Kuwait Crisis - along with 12 other RFA’s

28 August 1961 sailed Mombassa for Aden RASed with HMS VICTORIOUS off Zanzibar to Bahrain to load.

29 August 1961 Captain Cyril Alexander DSC RFA appointed as Master

2 September 1961 sailed Singapore with RFA RELIANT (2)

2 September 1961 and 7 September 1961 RASed HMS Victorious

15 September 1961 arrived Singapore

5 October 1961 sailed Singapore for Exercise 'Fotex'

13 October 1961 sailed to Hong Kong arriving 17 October 1961

25 October 1961 sailed Hong Kong for Exercise Crosstie at Subic Bay

31 October 1961 RASed USS Ticonderoga

4 to 14 November 1961 at Singapore

16 November 1961 to Mombassa still supporting HMS Victorious

22 November 1961 to Aden

29 November 1961 RASed HMS Victorious

2 December 1961 Suez northbound

5 December 1961 RASed HMS Victorious

5 December 1961 arrived at Malta

12 December 1961 involved in exercise 'Royal Flush'

14 December 1961 RASed HMS Victorious

20 December 1961 at Southampton

1 January 1962 Mr A C Hawk RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

8 April 1962 supported HMS CENTAUR and other RN units during a courtesy visit to Istanbul

HMS Centaur Aircraft carrier


23 May 1962 Captain A Jackson OBE RFA appointed as Master

21 February 1963 RASed HMNZS Taranaki off Hong Kong

1 March 1963 rescued eight Indonesian fishermen in the Straits of Malacca whose boats engine had broken down and who had been without food and water for five days

8 March 1963 rendevous with RFA GOLD RANGER during Indonesia confrontation support

12 April 1963 at Singapore

23 April 1963 at Gan, Indian Ocean

27 April 1963 at Aden

1 May 1963 Mr I M MacFarlane RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

May 1963 Suez North bound

May 1963 at Malta docking then Mediterranean Fleet tanker

19 August 1963 RASed HMS Victorious off Malta

21 October 1963 Captain John Ditchburn RFA appointed as Master

2 January 1964 sailed Singapore with HMS Victorious

February 1964 at Mombassa

March 1964 involved in Exercise 'Jet' and then Suez Canal Northbound

April 1964 at Malta in the floating dock

18 June 1964 entered Devonport and berthed at Yonderberry Oil Fuel Jetty

1966 withdrawn from service and was laid up at Devonport.

3 November 1966 advertised for sale 'as lying' at Devonport by the Ministry of Transport in the Times of this day


Olna 2 for sale


6 January 1967 sailed Devonport in tow after sale to Spanish breakers for £125,000

19 January 1967 arrived Castellon, Spain for breaking up by L.E.Varela Davalillo.


Note: Was part of the British Pacific Fleet hence the 'B' Pennant number



RFA Olna (3)



Reproduced with permission of the MOD


RFA Olna 3





Previous name:
Subsequent name:                 Kos

Official Number:                     308070

Class:                                   OLYNTHUS (later OLWEN) CLASS  Large Fleet Tanker

Pennant No:                         A123

Laid down:                           2 July 1964
Builder:                                Hawthorn, Leslie at Hebburn
Launched:                            28 July 1965

Into Service:                         1 April 1966 
Out of service:                      24 September 2000 (Laid up at Portsmouth)
Fate:                                    Broken up


Items of historic interest involving this ship: -


Background Data:  The 1962 Defence Estimates included plans for “front line support ships” which would be capable of maintaining “fleet speed” a term which was later defined as sustained steaming at 20 knots. It was noted during the Kuwait Crisis in the summer of 1961 that the 4 oilers of the TIDE CLASS, together with OLNA (2) were the only RFA’s with this capability. Invitations to Tender were issued during 1962 and on the 4February 1963, it was officially announced that an order had been placed for 3 ships in what became known as the OLYNTHUS CLASS. Early official references to the Class suggest that up to 6 ships were planned. They were designed by the builders to meet specific requirements and this design built on the success of the IMPROVED TIDE CLASS and when they entered service they were the largest and fastest ships in the RFA Fleet. Capable of operating 3 x Sea King helicopters, they had full hangar facilities too. 2 of the Class were renamed in 1967 to obviate confusion with the names of HM ships. When built, the Class cost approx £10½m



4 February 1963 ordered as AO 16

2 July 1964 laid down

28 July 1965 launched by Hawthorn Leslie Shipbuilders Ltd, Hebburn as Yard Nr 756 named OLNA (3). The Lady Sponsor was Mrs Sydney Redmand, wife of the Deputy Under Secretary of State (Naval)

9 March 1965 Mr John R Warne RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

Comm Chief Eng John Raymond WARNE

Chief Engineer Officer John R Warne RFA

4 November 1965 her Ship’s Badge was officially presented to her

1 April 1966 completed a year after the original planned completion date

7 February 1966 Captain A R Wheeler RD RFA appointed as Master

19 June 1966 humanitarian aid - rescued 26 survivors from the Greek liberty ship ZANETA which had sunk after developing leaks in the Arabian Sea off the Kuria Muria Islands and landed them in Aden


Olan 3 sea rescue

Captain Ross Wheeler talking to Captain Demitros Rodokanakis the Master of the ss Zanata


7 November 1966 sailed the Firth of Forth to rendevouz with HMS Hermes and other RN units

14 March 1967 at Newcastle upon Tyne

May 1967 refuelled the British freighter CLAN MACTAGGART at sea after the  latter had suffered a go-slow by the bunkering firms in Aden

1 June 1967 Mr George S Burnett RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

21 August 1967 sailed Singapore for Albany, Western Australia

28 August 1967 the Olynthus Class was redesignated as the Olwen Class

4 September 1967 sailed Fremantle with RFA's OLEANDER (4) and RELIANT (2) together with HMS's HERMES and MINERVA

16 September 1967 off Durban, South Africa - RAS with HMS EAGLE

22 September 1967 at Gan, Maldives alongside RFA WAVE VICTOR - hulk - pumpover

28 September 1967 off Gan RASed with HMS EAGLE and RFA STROMNESS

11 October 1967 to 25 January 1968 was part of TF 318 - the Aden Task Forcecovering the final British military withdrawal from the area codenamed Operation Magisteralong with nine other RFA’s - and took part in the final Fleet Review along with five of the other RFA‘s involved

20 January 1968 sailed Singapore for exercises off Gan

24 January 1968 RASed with HMAS YARRA while the warship was on passge to GAN to join Exercise Partner

HMAS Yarra3


27 January 1968 RASed with HMAS YARRA during Exercise Partner

28 January 1968 RASed with HMAS YARRA during Exercise Partner

30 January 1968 RASed with HMAS YARRA during Exercise Partner

1 February 1968 RASed with HMAS YARRA during Exercise Partner

3 February 1968 off Gan RASed RFA TIDEREACH

4 February 1968 RASed with HMAS YARRA during Exercise Partner

18 February 1968 Captain P T Taylor RFA appointed as Master

5 March 1968 off the NSW Coast, Australia RASed with HMAS PARRAMATTA

7 March 1968 sailed Jervis Bay, Australia together with RFA STROMNESS and units of the RN and RAN Navies after Execises and made passage to Singapore

17 March 1968 RASed with HMAS STUART off the southern entrance to the Sunda Strait

2 April 1968 at Gibraltar to load

6 April 1968 berthed at Portsmouth to discharge and clean tanks

12 April 1968 berthed at Newcastle on Tyne for refit

30 April 1968 berthed at Smiths, River Tyne during her refit

30 August 1968 rendezvoued with HMNZS OTAGO and HMAS PARRAMATTA to carry out a Casex A17 with HMS/m ANDREW. Then RASed with HMAS PARRAMATTA

21 September 1968 RASed with HMAS PARRAMATTA in the Solomon Sea

14 October 1968 together with HMAS SUPPLY (previous RFA Tide Austral) took part in Operation Corals Sands off North Queensland, Australia together with units of the Royal Navy, the Royal Australian Navy, the Royal New Zealand Navy and a unit from the United States Navy

23 August 1969 to 25 August 1969 at Devonport Dockyard open to the public during Navy Days. 20,847 members of the public visited the ship

24 September 1969 during Operation Peacekeeper RASed with HMS EAGLE and RFA RESOURCE (2)

K 78138

K 78141

Operation Peacekeeper RASing with HMS EAGLE and RFA RESOURCE (2)

7 October 1969 stood by with HMS LEANDER and Barra Life Boat after HMS FOX was driven ashore on the Island of Mingay off the Isle of Skye

29 October 1969 berthed at the Gosport Oil Fuel Jetty

7 March 1970 berthed at the Gosport Oil Fuel Jetty

30 June 1970 the Daily Telegraph and the Brighton Evening Argus newspapers both reported that a Royal Air Force airsea rescue helicopter of 22 Squadron from RAF Thorney Island had airlifted an officer from the ship to the Royal Naval Hospital at Haslar after the officer had broken both legs as the result of a fall in the engine room

19 October 1970 berthed at Grand Harbour, Malta

26 October 1970 sailed from Grand Harbour, Malta

10 August 1971 to 14 August 1971 involved in Exercise Southern Clime One together with RFA's RELIANT (2) and TIDEFLOW and various RN and RAN units

20 August 1971 arrived Auckland, New Zealand

31 October 1971 took part in the final steam past of seventeen ships from the RN, RAN, RNZN and RFA in the Far East Fleet in the Singapore Straits after the closure of the naval base there which also included RFA‘s FORT SANDUSKY, GOLD RANGER, RELIANT (2), RESOURCE, STROMNESS, TIDEFLOW and TIDEPOOL. Immediately afterwards for three hectic days she participated in Operation Curtain call- a combined RN, RAN, RNZN and RFA Fleet Exercise off the coast of NW Malaysia

4 November 1971 RASed with HMAS SYDNEY while she was on passage from Sydney, NSW to Vung Tau, Vietnam

December 1971 visited Jamestown, St. Helena

13 May 1973 at 22°00N 59°35W engaged in a pumpover with RFA CHERRYLEAF (3). During the pumpover RFA CHEERYLEAF (3)'s port quarter came into contact with the starboard quarter of RFA OLNA (3) causing minor damage 

19 August 1973 deployed in support of RN units off Iceland during 2nd Cod War until 25 August 1973

1 September 1973 deployed in support of RN units off Iceland during 2nd Cod War until 6 September 1973

7 September 1973 at Rosyth

10 September 1973 deployed in support of RN units off Iceland during 2nd Cod War until 22 September 1973

15 September 1973 while conducting a VERTREP with Wessex HAS1 helicopter No: XM836 when the underslung load snagged - cable was cut

9 February 1974 at Cape Town, South Africa

1 April 1974 at Plymouth

15 July 1974 berthed at Grand Harbour, Malta from Gibraltar

10 July 1974 to 30 September 1974 stood by off Cyprus following a coup d’etat attempt and the subsequent Turkish invasion with a Task Force including the carrier HMS HERMES with 41 Commando Royal Marines and RFA’s GOLD ROVER, OLWEN (2) and REGENT

17 September 1974 along with RFA’s GREEN ROVER and STROMNESS sailed Portsmouth as part of Task Group 317.2 led by the helicopter cruiser HMS BLAKE

October 1974 while on passage to Malta RASed with HMS ARK ROYAL. A winch jammed, the FFO and AVCAT hoses parted

10 & 11 March 1975 Humanitarian aid - Operation Faldage - stood by off Kom Pong Som, Cambodia along  with the cruiser HMS BLAKE to evacuate British nationals

21 August 1975 at Portland

10 September 1975 berthed at Grand Harbour, Malta

12 September 1975 sailed Grand Harbour, Malta with RN and other Allied Units and RFA's BACCHUS (3), LYNESS, SIR GALAHAD (1) and SIR TRISTRAM taking part in 'Deep Express 75'

17 September 1975 anchored 1½ miles off the coast 8 miles from Antalya, Turkey

18 September 1975 involved with RAS's and anchoring off Turkish coast

22 September 1975 anchored naer Izmir in Saros Bay

29 September 1975 anchored off Izmir until 5 October 1975

7 October 1975 berthed in Grand Harbour Malta
8 October 1975 took onboard 12 RN crew for Pilotless Target Aircraft  (PTA) firing
10 October 1975 sailed Malta
13 October 1975 berthed alongside at Gibraltar
17 October 1975 in the North Atlantic for PTA firings with RAF Nimrod aircraft overhead and being observed by Russians
18 October 1975 still engaged with PTA firings with HMS NORFOLK firing Seaslug missiles. Anchored off Gibraltar in the evening
19 October 1975 berthed alongside in Gibraltar
27 October 1975 sailed Gibraltar
28 October 1975 to 30 October 1975 further PTA firings with HMS's HAMPSHIRE and DEVONSHIRE firing Seaslug missiles
31 October 1975 berthed alongside at Gibraltar
2 November 1975 sailed Gibraltar
5 November 1975 arrived at Portland tied to a buoy
7 November 1975 sailed Portland sailing North via the Irish Sea
9 November 1975 part of Task Group 140 miles North of Belfast in convoy heading North. Transfered cargo to RFA's OLMEDA and OLWEN
11 November 1975 detached from Task Group for passage to Invergordon
12 November 1975 alongside at Invergordon to load cargo
13 November 1975 sailed from Invergordon to rejoin Task Group
15 November 1975 as part of Blue Force in Exercise Ocean Safari. Attacked by aircraft, submarines and surface ships of Orange force. Exercise shadowed by Russians
3 December 1975 & 12 December 1975 Wessex HU5 Helicopter No: XS522 as part of RFA OLNA (3)'s flight - named Batmobile
5 December 1975 entered the River Tyne for refit
28 August 1976 at Portland
25 September 1976 along with RFA STROMNESS sailed Portsmouth as part of Task Group 317.4 led by the guided missile destroyer HMS ANTRIM
23 December 1976 at Rosyth
12 January 1977 still at Rosyth
9 March 1979 berthed at Grand Harbour Malta to assist British Forces withdraw from the Island

12 March 1979 a crew member Eric John Smith was seriously injured in a fall from near the City Gate into Lascaris Ditch, Valetta. The ship sailed Grand Harbour Malta

21 May 1979 Captain Barry H Rutterford RFA appointed as Master



Captain Barry H Rutterford RFA

7 June 1979 at Wallsend on Tyne

20 December 1979 at Rosyth

11 June 1980  berthed at Port Everglades, Florida while on passage from Devonport to Nassau, Bahamas

15 July 1980 at Rosyth

1980 was deployed to the Persian Gulf during the Iran-Iraq Conflict along with RFA’s FORT AUSTIN and OLMEDA

10 May 1982 sailed Devonport as part of the HMS BRISTOL Task Force for service during Operation Corporate- the Falklands Conflict - with 848 NAS “B” Flight embarked - 2 x Wessex HU5 helicopters. The ships were the Type 82 destroyer HMS BRISTOL, the Leander class frigates HMS’s ANDROMEDA, MINERVA and PENELOPE, the Type 21 frigates HMS’s ACTIVEand AVENGER while the Type 42 destroyer HMS CARDIFF joined from Gibraltar during the passage southwards

23 May 1982 entered the TEZ ( Total Exclusion Zone) around the Falkland Islands

28 May 1982 operated with the carriers in the TEZ

30 May 1982 RASed with HMS EXETER

5 June 1982 RASed with HMS BRISTOL

8 June 1982 RASed with HMS FEARLESS then entered San Carlos Water

HMS Fearless L10


9 June 1982 RASed with HMS EXETER

14 June 1982 in San Carlos Water refueled HMS FEARLESS alongside

21 June 1982 RASed with the Hospital Ship Uganda

26 June 1982 in San Carlos Water RFA ENGADINE alongside loading 18 tons of fuel

9 July 1982 RASed with HMS BRISTOL - supplied 413 tons of fuel

12 July 1982 RASed with HMS BRISTOL - supplied 251 tons of fuel

15 July 1982 RASed with HMS BRISTOL

20 July 1982 RASed with HMS BRISTOL

23 July 1982 RASed with HMS BRISTOL

26 July 1982 RASed with HMS BRISTOL

3 August 1982 RASed with HMS BRISTOL - supplied 428 tons of fuel

7 August 1982 RASed with HMS BRISTOL - supplied 248 tons of fuel

9 August 1982 RASed with HMS BRISTOL

21 August 1982 sailed Falkland Islands for Portsmouth with the carrier HMS INVINCIBLE

17 September 1982 arrived at Portsmouth and berthed on the Gosport Oil Fuel Jetty on completion of Operation Corporate duties during which she carried out 143 RAS’s

20 September 1983 at Gibraltar

10 October 1983 at Plymouth

21 March 1984 at Plymouth

4 April 1984 at Plymouth

11 January 1985 was presented with her Falkland Islands 1982 Battle Honour at Portsmouth by Rear Admiral J.C. Worsop CB, Flag Officer Portsmouth

March, 1985 involved with HMS Endurance in the major rescue of a services expedition to Brabant Island (an island off the Antartic Peninsula) at about 64.00S 63.30W and bringing those involved back to Port Stanley, Falkland Islands

28 July 1986 whilst alongside in Fort Lauderdale, Florida the ship celebrated 21 years since her launch, a party on board was attended by a number of guests.

1989 was awarded an inscribed plaque from the General Council of British  Shipping to commemorate her service on Armilla Patrolbetween November 1986 and 20 August 1988 when the “Accompanying Policy” was in force. Other recipients were RFA’s APPLELEAF (3), BRAMBLELEAF (3), DILIGENCE, ORANGELEAF (3) and  TIDESPRING

16 March 1989 Captain Anthony Pitt DSC RFA appointed as Commanding Officer

1 June 1989 humanitarian aid - assisted the blazing Greek tanker DRASTIRIOS 300 miles southeast of Fujairah

26 January 1990 berthed at Southampton and Captain Anthony Pitt DSC RFA appointed as Commanding Officer



Captain A F Pitt DSC RFA


30 July 1990 berthed at Invergordon

8 August 1990 decision taken to deploy her to the Gulf along with RFA’s FORT GRANGE and DILIGENCE following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait

17 August 1990 sailed Devonport for Operation Granby - the Gulf War - with 2 Sea King helicopters from 826 NAS “C” Flight embarked

24 August 1990 along with RFA FORT GRANGE she r/v off Gibraltar with HNLMS’s WITTE  DE WITH and PIETER FLORIS

9 September 1990 arrived Jebel Ali and within days proceeded to operate on the so-called “tanker  towline” supporting ships of the multi-national force, not just RN warships

22 October 1990 completed her 50th Gulf War RAS

December 1990 detached to Singapore for long overdue maintenance and returned to the Southern Gulf in mid-January 1990

February 1991 with the Task Group operating in the northern end of the Gulf she, along with RFA’s ARGUS and DILIGENCE, was brought forward to the vicinity of the D'horra Oilfield, outside the range of Silkworm missiles but within the radar clutter of the rigs

17 February 1991 in the vicinity of the D'horra Oilfield RASed with USS Princeton (CG59)

18 February 1991 following the mining of USS’s PRINCETON and TRIPOLI, the Americans were understandably unwilling to risk deploying their supply ships in the northern Gulf so OLNA (3) was offered to the USN and was gratefully accepted

11 April 1991 official Cease Fire comes into force

1991 was awarded the Kuwait 1991 Battle Honour along with 10 other RFA’s

1 June 1991 berthed at Portsmouth

23 August 1991 at Plymouth

15 October 1991 at Mayport

6 November 1991 to 13 November 1991 at Invergordon Oil Fuel Depot

24 May 1992 whilst operating off Scotland, she was left without power when a communications switchboard and generators caught fire. She was taken in tow by the tug ARCTIC NANOOK while the carrier HMS ARK ROYAL stood by. The fire was eventually contained by her crew


Artic Nanook



25 August 1992 berthed at Portsmouth

17 March 1993 at Rosyth

1 May 1993 at Rosyth

23 May 1993 at Portsmouth

29 June 1993 at Portland

20 August 1993 at Portland

20 September 1993 refuelled the Fishery Protection vessel HMS GUERNSEY off Portland, whilst serving as FOST tanker

OLNA 3 HMS Guernsey RAS

RFA Olna (3) RASing with HMS GUERNSEY

8 October 1993 at Portland

15 February 1994 Captain (E) Robert Settle RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

CEO Bob Settle

Captain (E) Robert Settle RFA

27 March 1994 at Portland, Dorset

12 August 1994 at Portsmouth and Captain Pat Thompson OBE RFA appointed as Commanding Officer

5 December 1994 at Soudha Bay, Crete

14 February 1995 at Trieste

14  & 15 March 1995 rescued three survivors and recovered five bodies, four crew from the Greek cargo ship m.v. PEELHUNTER which had sunk about 140 miles southeast of Catania the previous day with fifteen people on board. On the 15th she found more lifejackets and a further two bodies and directed the Portuguese frigate NRP VASCO DA GAMA to the scene to pick them up

27 March 1994 berthed at Portland

21 December 1994 at Soudha Bay, Crete

9 June 1995 Captain David Gerrard RFA appointed as Commanding Officer



Captain David Gerrard RFA


January 1997 sailed U.K. as part of Task Force 327.01 - the Ocean Wave 97 Deployment to the Far East led by the carrier HMS ILLUSTRIOUS - along with RFA’s DILIGENCE, FORT AUSTIN, FORT GEORGE, SIR GALAHAD (2), SIR GERAINT and SIR  PERCIVALE

5 February 1998 at Malaga, Spain

2 May 1998 to 28 August 1998 in refit on the Tyne

21 December 1998 at Portsmouth

1999 withdrawn from service as a defence economy measure and laid up at Gibraltar

11 November 1999 at Gibraltar and Captain Alan T Roach RFA appointed as Commanding Officer

Capt allan roach

Captain Alan T Roach RFA

2 December 1999 at Gibraltar

14 January 2000 Captain Trevor J Iles RFA appointed in command

Capt Trevor Iles

Captain Trevor J Iles RFA

27 January 2000 Captain (E) Edward M Quigley RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

11 April 2000 still at Gibraltar

May 2000 was reactivated to support the Fleet in place of  RFA FORT GEORGE which was engaged off Sierra Leone

June 2000 Captain James Murchie RFA was in command

19 June 2000 berthed at Loch Striven

July 2000 conducted extensive trials with the new Merlin helicopter when operating to the west  of the Outer Hebrides

31 July 2000 last operational RAS was with HMS COVENTRY

1 August 2000 at Plymouth

4 September 2000 Captain (E) Edward M Quigley RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

24 September 2000 laid up at Portsmouth for disposal

12 October 2000 handed over for disposal

February 2001 purchased by Eckhardt Organisation, Germany for scrap

9 March 2001 sailed Portsmouth in tow of the St Vincent & The Grenadines-registered tug ANGLIAN EARL for the breakers.

May 2001 reported that her and her sister ship RFA OLWEN (2) had been banned from Turkish yards owing to high asbestos content. Was diverted to Greece and renamed  KOS. Finally sailed via the Suez Canal for Indian breakers

20 June 2001 arrived Alang, India for breaking up





1.  Was one of the 17 tankers employed in the Mozchan on Beira Patrol duties

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