Reproduced with permission of the MOD


RFA Tideflow

Tideflow Rosyth

lower image kindly donated by Stan McCabe


Previous name:                      Tiderace

Official Number:                     186336                                                                  

Class:                                      TIDE CLASS Fleet Replenishment Tanker

Pennant No:                            A97

Laid down:                              30 August 1953
Builder:                                    L Thompson, North Sands

Launched:                               30 August 1954
Into Service:                            25 January 1956
Out of service:                         November 1975
Fate:                                         Broken up


Items of historic interest involving this ship: -


Background Data: The 4 ships in this Class were the first Admiralty-designed purpose-built Fleet replenishment tankers intended for enduring front-line support. They evolved from the valuable practical experience gained from HMS BULAWAYO, RFA OLNA(2) and from a number of the WAVE CLASS tankers. Their forward defensive armament fit was a gun platform designed to carry a 4-inch gun and it’s director. Single 20mm Oerlikon mounts were fitted to both bridge wings and twin 40mm Bofors, together with their directors, could be mounted to port and starboard of the funnel. Accommodation was also provided for DEMS Ratings, although in practice these guns were not mounted. All 4 vessels gave valuable world-wide service and were the pioneers of aspects of RFA life which later became standard. 3 of them were near Suez when the Suez Conflict broke out in 1956. One of them was short on fuel and was ordered back to Malta to replenish her tanks. Unfortunately the wrong one returned and it was discovered that in two of them their names were too similar so they were renamed in 1958.



30 August 1954 launched at Sunderland by Lady Elizabeth Davis wife of Vice Admiral W W Davis,CB, DSO and bar, then Vice Chief of the Naval Staff. Reported by the Sunderland Daily Echo & Shipping Gazette -

Sunderland Daily Echo 30 8 1954 Tiderace 1

11 September 1954 towed from the River Wear to the Tyne for the installation of her engines by the tugs Southsider, Tynesider and Joffre

16 October 1954 returned Sunderland in tow for completion

4 January 1955 Mr R N Foster RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

11 September 1955 Captain John M Humphrey OBE DSC MID RFA appointed as Master

Captain J M Humphrey OBE

Captain John M Humphrey OBE DSC MID RFA
early in his career at sea

22 March 1956 sailed Port Said

28 March 1956 passed Gibraltar sailing west bound

3 April 1956 at the Isle of Grain

6 April 1956 arrived the River Tyne berthing at Palmer's Hebburn

2 June 1956 sailed Malta for Istanbul

25 July 1956 arrived Malta from Augusta

27 July 1956 signal from C in C Mediterrean at the end of Convoy Exercise MEDASWEX sail for Cyprus

31 July 1956 at noon arrived off Cyprus to top up RFA BROWN RANGER

14 August 1956 arrived at Malta

1 September 1956 sailed Malta for Palermo

6 September 1956 involved in the supply of water to Malta from Sicily to help the islands lack of fresh water


TIDERACE AND TIDERANGE as Water Carriers 6 10 56

RFA Tiderace at Grand Harbour, Malta on 6 October 1956 on the buoys astern of RFA Tiderange with RFA Retainer on her starboard quarter


15 October 1956 arrived at Malta

16 October 1956 sailed from Malta to sea

18 October 1956 entered Grand Harbour Malta from sea

30 October 1956 deployed for Operation Musketeer - the Suez Crisis - in Task Force 325.8, the Logistics Group supporting the carriers - along with RFA’s FORT SANDUSKY, OLNA (2), RETAINER and TIDERANGE

18 December 1956 berthed at Palmers, Hebburn on Tyne together with RFA WAVE RULER (1)

16 January 1957 sailed the River Tyne on trials

5 February 1958 Captain Albert  E Curtain OBE RD RFA (Commander RNR (Rtd)) appointed as Master

23 February 1958 sailed Portland for Malta

16 April 1958 RASed with HMS BERMUDA while she was on passage from Gibraltar to Malta

25 April 1958 RASed with HMS BERMUDA off Sardinia

28 June 1958 renamed RFA TIDEFLOW at Malta in order to obviate confusion with her sister TIDERANGE

6 August 1958 berthed at Grand Harbour, Malta

26 September 1958 berthed at Grand Harbour, Malta

12 August 1958 wins 'Bulawayo Cup' for 1958 - presented to the ship by Admiral Sir Charles Lambe, C in C Mediterranean at Grand Harbour Malta

28 October 1958 RASed with HMS BERMUDA while on passage between Cyprus and Malta

13 November 1958 RASed with HMS BERMUDA astern and HMS SHEFFIELD to port while on passage to Toulon, France

21 November 1958 arrived at Malta from Toulon with HMS's SHEFFIELD, BERMUDA, SAINTES and ARMADA after taking part in an Exercise Medaswex 27 with ships of the Royal Canadian Navy and French Navy

26 December 1958 sailed from Grand Harbour, Malta

18 January 1959 Mr D G Edgar RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

20 February 1959 at Newcastle on Tyne

16 July 1959 at Buenos Aires Fireman Guisippi Grech discharged dead - natural causes

21 August 1959 at Falmouth

1 September 1959 at Plymouth

3 September 1959 involved in a collision with a sloop Pastime in Portland Harbour, Dorset

26 November 1959 Captain Henry O L'Estrange DSC RD RFA (Commander RNR) appointed as Master

1 December 1959 at Newcastle on Tyne

14 February 1960 berthed at Grand Harbour, Malta

22 March 1960 sailed Grand Harbour, Malta for Athens

11 May 1960 together with HMS's BELFAST, ALBION and three RN frigates arrived at Hong Kong

25 May 1960 Mr Ken Robinson RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

5 August 1960 together with HMS ALBION and RFA's WAVE MASTER, RETAINER, FORT DUNVEGAN and GOLD RANGER entered Telok Tekek

2 September 1960 while off Hong Kong RASed with HMS ALBION and HMAS VAMPIRE

10 September 1960 while off Sandarkan Harbour RASed with HMAS VAMPIRE and QUIBERON

3 October 1960 RASed with HMS SALISBURY and HMAS's VAMPIRE and QUIBERON

4 October 1960 RASed with HMS's ALBION and SALISBURY and HMAS's VAMPIRE and QUIBERON

6 October 1960 RASed with HMS ALBION

13 October 1960 berthed at Trincomalee harbour with HMAS VAMPIRE and QUIBERON moored alongside

11 December 1960 at 37.54N 08.16E Able Seaman Alfred Wood discharged dead - suffered a fractured skull

12 December 1960 the Aberdeen Evening Express reported (if slightly  inaccurately)  that -

TFlow press cutting 12 12 1960

28 December 1960 Captain T G Hill RFA appointed as Master

6 March 1961 in refit at Rosyth Dockyard. The ship was visited by the First Lord of the Admiralty (Lord Carrington) and the Fourth Sea Lord (Vice Admiral John Villiers OBE) 

1 June 1961 off the Isle of Wight RASed with HMS's HERMES and RHYL

9 June 1961 RASed with HMS HERMES

August 1961 visited Oslo and her Master was one of the guests at dinner in the Summer Palace which was hosted by King Olav V

5 December 1961 in collision with the frigate HMS FALMOUTH during anti-submarine warfare exercises in Lyme Bay off the Dorset coast but sustained only minor superficial damage although the frigate returned to Portland Harbour

3 January 1962 Mr G J Mathews RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

1962 Captain Sydney S F Dalgleish OBE RFA appointed as Master

March 1962 at Palmers Yard, Hebburn on Tyne in refit

31 May 1962 the Captain of HMS FALMOUTH (a Commander Royal Navy) and one other officer (a Lieutenant Royal Navy) appeared before a Court Martial at HMS Drake where it was alleged they had hazarded their ship which resulted in the collision (see above) - the Commander was found not guilty. The Lieutenant was found guilty and reprimanded however this was appealed and the conviction and the sentence were quashed

October 1962 berthed at Gibraltar on the south arm of the Dockyard

1 November 1962 berthed at Devonport

4 November 1962 Captain A R Wheeler RD RFA (Commander RNR) appointed as Master

14 December 1962 Mr Thomas L Morton RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

27 April 1963 Mr V J Cooney RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

9 September 1963 RAS'ed with HMS ALBION while on passage to Hong Kong

19 September 1963 was hit by HMS LOCH KILLISPORT during a RAS

29 September 1963 RAS'ed with HMS ALBION and HMS BARROSA off Labuan

13 December 1963 RAS'ed with HMNZS TARANAKI while on passage from Guam to Hong Kong

20 May 1964 RAS'ed with HMNZS TARANAKI while on passage from Nagaski to Subic Bay

27 May 1964 at Singapore following a mechanical breakdown. Unable to join with RFA's TIDESPRING (1), WAVE SOVEREIGN, RELIANT (2), FORT ROSALIE (1) and FORT CHARLOTTE and HMAS SUPPLY which formed Task Group 490.7 in Naval Exercises

16 June 1964 sailed Singapore with HMS DIDO and HMAS YARRA to take part in exercise Sword Cut III

24 June 1964 RAS'ed with HMAS YARRA prior to arrival at Subic Bay

HMAS Yarra3


7 August 1964 at the British Military Hospital, Hong Kong Donkeyman Greaser Ernest Bert Sheppard discharged dead - natural causes

8 September 1964 at Smith's Dock, North Shields for refit until 11 October 1964

25 September 1964 Captain George Robson RFA appointed as Master

14 December 1964 at Rosyth

10 February 1965 at Rosyth

April 1965 RASed with HMS TIGER off Narvik, Norway

28 July 1965 RASed with HMS TIGER (astern), HMS BERWICK (to Port) and HMS DIDO (to Starboard) in the Noth Sea off the River Tyne

2 September 1965 Mr H W Jackinson RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

19 October 1965 Captain Henry O L'Estrange DSC RD RFA (Commander RNR) appointed as Master

23 December 1965 landed 800 drums of aviation spriit (AVCAT) at Dar es Salaam for Zambia causing a diplomatic dispute with Tanzania

11 June 1966 in the Singapore Strait RASed with HMAS DERWENT

13 June 1966 off Undan Light refuelled HMAS CURLEW with fuel and fresh water

28 June 1966 off One Fathom Bank RASed with HMAS DERWENT

6 August 1966 off Labuan undertook practice RASing with HMAS PARRAMATTA which had recently come out of refit with a fresh crew

10 August 1966 Captain C G Butterworth RFA appointed as Master

3 November 1966 Humanitarian aid - assisted the P & O cargo ship KARMALA off Aden and transferred her Doctor to examine one of her crew suffering from suspected appendicitis The patient was sent ashore by launch for hospital treatment

29 December 1966 Mr G Thompson RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

31 January 1967 Captain Archibald Proudlock RFA appointed as Master

3 November 1967 one of fourteen RFA's involved in the withdrawl of British Forces from Aden

16 April 1968 Captain Nicholas B J Stapleton RD RFA appointed as Master

5367Stapleton Capt N B J

Captain Nicholas B J Stapleton RD RFA

3 June 1968 while on passage from Vung Tau to the Johore Shoal Buoy off Singapore RASed with HMAS's SYDNEY and ANZAC

19 June 1968 Mr D Meikle RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

31 July 1968 with RFA REGENT and RN, RAN and RNZN ships engaged in a 36 hour Exercise - "Bagpipes" - in the practice area off Singapore

1 August 1968 to 5 August 1968 with RFA REGENT and RN, RAN and RNZN ships engaged in an Exercise - "Slug Pie" - in the practice area off Singapore

15 September 1968 3rd Engineer Robert MacDonald Henderson RFA aged 33 years discharged dead. The remains of 3rd Engineer Henderson were landed at Darwin, Australia. He was subsequently buried at sea off Charles Point, Darwin, Australia at 12.15S 130.37½E on the 20 September 1968 with a service conducted by Rev. Gerald B Muston, a Chaplain of the Royal Australian Naval Reserve

8 November 1968 at Singapore

22 May 1969 at Liverpool

1 February 1970 at Liverpool

5 March 1970 berthed on the Gosport Oil Fuel Jetty with RFA GREEN ROVER outboard of her

15 April 1970 while part of the Beria Patrol was put on standby to assist if Apollo 13 space craft's landing site was changed to the Indian Ocean. RFA ENNERDALE (2) also put on similar standby.

7 June 1970 visited RAF Gan and after sinking of RFA ENNERDALE (2) on 1 June 1970 at Mahe, Seychelles acted as accomodation and survey base

10 June 1970 at Mahe, Seychelles took over as Radio Guard from HMS ANDROMEDA on her sailing

16 June 1970 at Mahe, Seychelles handed over the position of Radio Guard to RFA STROMNESS

October 1970 humanitarian aid - in a joint operation with a USN helicopter off South Vietnam she landed a badly injured sailor from the British cargo ship TREVAYLOR

8 November 1970 at Bahrein

June 1971 with HMS GURKHA visisted Jamestown, St. Helena

8 August 1971 at Sydney, NSW the Navigating Officer (Lieutenant Commander J O Morrice RAN) and the Captain designate (Captain V A Parker RAN) from HMAS SUPPLY visited the ship for sea experience on a Tide Class tanker. They disembarked at Jervis Bay on 11 August 1971

10 August 1971 to 14 August 1971 involved in Exercise Southern Clime One together with RFA's RELIANT (2) and OLNA (3) and various RN and RAN units 

31 October 1971 took part in the final steam past of the Far East Fleet in the Singapore Straits after the closure of the naval base there along with 7 other RFA’s

15 November 1971 in the Persian Gulf R/V with HMS MINERVA

11 January 1972 with HMS ARGONAUT visited Tristan da Cunha

March 1972 in refit at Elderslie Dock, Glasgow

29 August 1972 visited Tristan da Cunha

September 1972 visited Jamestown, St. Helena

November 1972 deployed  in Joint Maritime Course JMC166

4 to 5 July 1973 visited Pitcairn Island, Pacific delivering four bags of mail and 20 drums of fuel for Pitcairn Government stock. Delivered also two Royal Engineers to undertake surveying in preparation of Operation Pallium (landing/harbour/hill of difficulty improvements)

11 February 1974 with HMS HERMES, HMS MOHAWK, HNOMS Stavanger involved supporting a seach for the trawler Gaul over an area of 177,000 square miles off Northern Norway

15 February 1974 the search was called off without any trace of the trawler being found

June 1974 deployed  off Rosyth in Joint Maritime Course JMC742

8 July 1974 while engaged in replenishment with HMS ARK ROYAL and HMS WHITBY off Plymouth became the subject of attention of a Russian Spy Trawler and a Whisky Class Russian submarine

September 1975 deployed in Joint Maritime Course JMC752

November 1975 laid up at Devonport

8 January 1976 placed on the Disposal List

17 January 1976 offered for sale 'as lying' at Devonport Dockyard in The Times of this day


Tideflow for sale


4 May 1976 sailed Devonport in tow of Dutch tug AFON GOCH


Tug Afon Goch


10 May 1976 arrived at Bilbao, Spain for breaking up by Messrs Remasa at Santuru, Viscaya

Additional information

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