RFA Salviking

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Previous name:
Subsequent name:                                                                          

Class:                                      KING SALVOR Class Ocean Salvage Ship


Pennant No:

Laid down:                              27 January 1942

Builder:                                    William Simons & Co., Renfrew
Launched:                               22 December 1942

Into Service:                            27 January 1943

Out of service:                        14 February 1944
Fate:                                         Sunk in the Indian Ocean south west of Ceylon


Items of historic interest involving this ship: -


Background Data:  There were originally 13 ships in this Admiralty-designed Class, 12 of which saw service as RFA’s. The final unit in the Class was completed as a Submarine Rescue Vessel under the White Ensign. All were basically similar and were used as Ocean Salvage Ships. They had a complement of 72 and during wartime were armed with 4 x 20 mm AA guns.


22 December 1942 launched by Wm Simons & Co Ltd, Renfrew as Yard Nr 755 named SALVIKING

27 January 1943 completed and placed under management of Risdon Beazeley Ltd, Southampton

 6 February 1943 sailed the Clyde in convoy KMS9G to Gibraltar arriving 20 February 1943

21 February 1943 sailed Gibraltar in convoy RS1Y to Freetown arriving 1 March 1943

7 March 1943 sailed Freetown in convoy ST58 to Lagos arriving 11 March 1943

24 April 1943 sailed Cape Town in convoy CD15 to Durban arriving 28 April 1943

1 May 1943 sailed Durban in convoy DN34C until the convoy dispersed

24 July 1943 sailed Colombo in convoy JC15 to Trincomalee arriving 26 July 1943

12 February 1944 Sailed Colombo to assist the destroyer HMS PALADIN which had been damaged during the sinking of the Japanese submarine I - 27 and was beached on an island in Addu Atoll in the Maldives

14 February 1944 While on passage from Colombo to Addu Atoll she was hit by 3 torpedoes, one of which was a dud, fired by U-168 in the Indian Ocean and sank in position 03.30N  76.30E some 270 miles SW of Colombo with the loss of 27 of her crew of 55..There were 28 survivors who were rescued by a converted Indian trawler together with a dog and a monkey. While most records indicate this vessel was an RN ship. In addition to the DEMS gunners the ship also had six Royal Naval Divers under an RN Warrant Officer who had joined just prior to sailing from Colombo but the rest of the crew were merchant seamn, who had signed articles.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission Roll of Honour only lists fourteen crew members of the Salviking. Two are shown as Royal Navy all the rest are shown as Merchant Navy.  The Merchant Navy crew - in total 12 - are remembered on the Tower Hill memorial. One RN crew member is remembered on the Portsmouth Naval memorial and one other on the Chatham Naval memorial.



Those remembered on the Tower Hill Memorial




She was in Colombo in February 1944 to remove the wreck of the destroyer  HMS TENEDOS

which had been bombed and sunk by Japanese carrier-borne aircraft during a raid on 05/04/42

Additional information

Copyright © 2008 – 2018 Christopher J White

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