RFA Tidesurge (1)



Reproduced with permission of the MOD

RFA Tidesurge


Previous name:                      Tiderange
Subsequent name:    

Official Number:                      187362                                                                       

Class:                                    Tide Class Fleet Replenishment Tanker

Pennant No:                            A98
Laid down:                              1 July 1953
Builder:                                   Laing, Deptford Yard
Launched:                               1 July 1954

Into Service:                            30 August 1955
Out of service:                         May 1976

Fate:                                      Broken up


Items of historic interest involving this ship: -


Background Data:   The four 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 four 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 found that in two of them their names were too similar so they were renamed in 1958.


1 July 1954 launched by Mrs F R Parham wife of Vice Admiral F R Parham CB, CBE, DSO, then Fourth Sea Lord and Chief of Supplies and Transport.

12 January 1955 Mr Ronald C Putt MID RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer



Chief Engineer Officer Ronald C Putt MID RFA

25 June 1955 berthed at North Eastern Marine, River Tyne

8 February 1956 Captain Henry F Colbourne RFA appointed as Master

26 March 1956 arrived Hebburn, River Tyne after builders trials

27 March 1956 at South Shields, River Tyne Shipping Office signed on a new crew

3 April 1956 sailed the River Tyne from the Admiralty Quay for Southampton arriving 5 April 1956

10 April 1956 sailed Southampton for Curacao arriving 22 April 1956

25 April 1956 sailed Curacao for Buenos Aires arriving 12 May 1956

12 May 1956 at Buenos Aires Fireman Charles Stanley Dack left the ship apparently to go swimming and did not return. He was discharged dead - presumed drowned and the date of his death was recorded as 13 May 1956

17 May 1956 sailed Montevideo for Punta Cardon, Venezuela arriving 31 May 1956

1 June 1956 sailed Punta Cardon, Venezuela for Thameshaven arriving 15 June 1956

21 June 1956 sailed Shellhaven for Curacao arriving 3 July 1956

4 July 1956 sailed Curacao for Old Kilpatrick OFJ arriving 19 July 1956

22 July 1956 sailed Old Kilpatrick OFJ for Hebburn on Tyne arriving 24 July 1956

28 July 1956 sailed Hebburn on Tyne to Devonport arriving the next day

1 September 1956 sailed Devonport to Malta arriving 8 September 1956

25 September 1956 sailed Malta for Toulon, France

October 1956 berthed at Toulon, France together with HMS EAGLE

2 October 1956 off Malta RASing with HMS EAGLE


TIDERACE AND TIDERANGE as Water Carriers 6 10 56

RFA Tiderange at Grand Harbour, Malta on 6 October 1956 on the buoys ahead of RFA Tiderace with RFA Retainer on RFA Tiderace's starboard quarter


31 October 1956 deployed on 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 TIDERACE

21 November 1956 off Port Said

1 December 1956 arrived at Malta

10 December 1956 sailed Malta for Port Said arriving 16 December 1956

22 December 1956 sailed Port Said for Malta arriving 26 December 1956

7 January 1957 sailed Malta for Trinidad arriving 21 January 1957

22 January 1957 sailed Trinidad for Devonport arriving 5 February 1957

8 February 1957 sailed Devonport for North Shields, River Tyne arriving 10 February 1957 for refit

2 March 1957 in refit at Smith's Dock, River Tyne

18 July 1957 at Plymouth

4 August 1957 sailed Curacao for Plymouth

16 September 1957 arrived at Old Kilpatrick Fuel Depot, River Clyde

1957 supported Operation Grapple - the British H-bomb test at Christmas Island in the Pacific Ocean - as one of 16 other RFA’s taking part.




7 September 1957 arrived at Devonport

13 September 1957 along with RFA's TIDEREACH and OLNA (2) she assembled on the River Clyde with other units for the Home Fleet Exercises with the Depot Ship HMS MAIDSTONE as the Flagship

17 September 1957 Captain Frank A Shaw RD RFA (Lieutenant Commander RNR) appointed as Master

11 October 1957 sailed from Devonport

2 November 1957 sailed Curacao for Plymouth

30 November 1957 at North Shields, River Tyne

28 December 1957 at Smith's Dock, River Tyne together with RFA WAVE RULER (1)

7 June 1958 at South Shields, River Tyne

20 June 1958 arrived at Plymouth

28 June 1958 name changed to TIDESURGE

14 August 1958 RASed with HMS BERMUDA off Cyprus

18 August 1958 Mr G J Mathews RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

21 August 1958 RASed with HMS BERMUDA while on passage from Cyprus to Malta

16 October 1958 RASed with HMS BERMUDA while on passage from Malta to Famagusta Bay, Cyprus

27 October 1958 to 30 October 1958 off Malta involved in Exercise MEDASWEX 26 with RN and other Naval units together with RFA's FORT DUQUESNE and BLUE RANGER

12 November 1958 arrived at Aden

March 1959 during Exercise Dawn Breeze RASed with HMS GAMBIA

RFA Tidesurge HMS Gambia


19 March 1959 and 20 March 1959 RASed with HMS CENTAUR at 48 24.3N 9 29.5W

31 March 1959 at Newcastle on Tyne

4 May 1959 Captain Leslie G Rowling DSC RFA appointed as Master

5 September 1959 arrived at Singapore after taking part in Exercise 'Jet' with HMS CENTAUR and other RN and RAN units

20 June 1959 berthed at Malta

23 June 1959 off Malta RASed with HMS CENTAUR

27 June 1959 off Tobruk RASed with HMS CENTAUR

31 August 1959 together with HMS's CEYLON, SOLEBAY and HMAS ANZAC sailed Trincomalee for Singapore

5 October 1959 off Pulo Aur light jackstay transfer of mail to HMAS ANZAC

7 October 1959 while on passage to Hong Kong RASed with HMAS ANZAC

14 October 1959 when off the west coast of the Phillipines RASed with HMAS ANZAC

18 October 1959 off Okinawa, Japan RASed with HMAS ANZAC

21 October 1959 while on passage to Japan RASed with HMAS ANZAC prior to berthing at Yokosuka

2 November 1959 RASed with HMAS ANZAC

16 November 1959 off Hong Kong RASed with HMAS's ANZAC and TOBRUK

10 December 1959 along with RFA's WAVE PRINCE,  RELIANT (2), RETAINER and HMS's CENTAUR, SOLEBAY, LAGOS, FINNISTERRE, LLANDAFF and ALERT engaged in Queensland Centenary Celebrations

14 December 1959 off Fraser Island, Queensland, Australia RASed with HMS CENTAUR and HMS LAGOS

TSURGE 1 with CEntaur and Lagos

21 April 1960 sailed Malta for the UK

10 June 1960 on the River Tyne and Captain G O W Evans DSC RFA appointed as Master

28 July 1960 off Malta RASed with HMS CENTAUR and HMS DAINTY

26 October 1960 Mr G S Burnett RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

15 November 1960 at Plymouth

18 February 1961 supported HMS ARK ROYAL and HMS LONDONDERRY on a visit to New York - she sailed from New York on 20 February 1961

1961 her refit this year included the fitting of the first RFA Crew Bar. She represented the RFA at Rosyth Navy Days as an integral unit for the first time.

27 June 1961 at Rosyth Donkeyman Greaser Henry Strahan discharged dead - natural causes - heart attack

23 November 1961 Captain James Jolly RFA appointed as Master

27 December 1961 sailed Mombasa with RFA RETAINER and RN units lead by HMS CENTAUR due to reported tension in the Middle East

28 January 1962 involved in South China Sea 200 miles south east of Saigon in the rescue of survivors from a Greek owned tanker Stanvac Sumatra with RN, US Naval ships and aircraft of the RAF. The Greek ship had split in half in bad weather in position 09.05N 109.55E. One survivor was saved by the Tidesurge

1 May 1962 while on passage to Manila RAS'ed with HMAS MELBOURNE

5 May 1962 RAS'ed with HMAS's PARRAMATTA and YARRA at Manila Bay

18 June 1962 during exercise Potluck RAS'ed HMAS PARRAMATTA

28 June 1962 RAS'ed astern with HMAS PARRAMATTA

1 July 1962 Mr G D J Garside RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

12 July 1962 Assistant Steward Norman Andrew Claxton logged as deserted. He appeared at the Ninth Magistrate's Court, Singapore on 13 July 1962 and pleaded guilty

7 August 1962 RAS'ed with HMAS PARRAMATTA off Singapore

18 February 1963 Mr V J Paflin RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

20 February 1963 Captain Alf Waters RFA appointed as Master

May 1963 supported the carrier HMS ARK ROYAL from the U.K. to the Far East along with RFA’s FORT DUQUESNEand RETAINER

18 August 1963 Yeoman Robert Arthur Fletcher RFA discharged dead. He died at the British Military Hospital, Singapore from meningitis. He is buried in Kranji Military Cemetery, Singapore in Plot 13, Row A Grave 22



Image courtesy of Tony Beck, with thanks


23 January 1964 RASed with HMS CENTAUR while enroute to Mombassa

13 March 1964 while on passage from Singapore to Subic Bay RAS'ed with HMAS YARRA

28 March 1964 Mr H W Jackinson RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

22 April 1964 sailed from Malta for Plymouth

22 June 1964 Captain William R Town RFA appointed as Master

1 December 1964 in the Sulu Sea RAS'ed with HMAS DERWENT

3 December 1964 together with RFA FORT DUNVEGAN RASed with HMS CENTAUR

20 December 1964 off Aden RAS'ed with HMS MOWHAWK

2 February 1965 refuelled HMAS GULL alongside

3 February 1965 off Tanjong Tohov RASed with HMAS DERWENT

8 February 1965 while berthed at Singapore Dockyard - berth No: 7 - with HMAS IBIS alongside being refuelled

12 February 1965 off One Fathom Bank RAS'ed with HMAS DUCHESS

22 February 1965 anchored off Cape Rachado with HMAS DUCHESS alongside refuelling

11 March 1965 together with RFA's WAVE SOVEREIGN and FORT ROSALIE (1) joined in the Singapore Exercise area with HM Ships ALAX, LINCOLN, ZEST, BARROSA, CAESAR, CARYSFORT and WHITY plus HMAS PARRAMATTA for exercises

16 March 1965 - RASed with HMAS DERWENT

17 May 1965 Mr T S W Humphrey RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

9 June 1965 Captain Basil V Dobbie RFA appointed as Master

18 January 1966 Mr E Burke RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

2 March 1966 at Singapore (see note 1)

6 March 1966 in the Malacca Strait refuelled HMAS GULL

2 May 1966 sailed RAF Gan for the Moozambique Channel - eta 9 May 1966

21 June 1966 at Plymouth (see note 1)

9 July 1966 Captain Donald G Averill RFA appointed as Master

 Cap Don Averill

Captain Donald G Averill RFA

25 August 1967 in the Indian Ocean RASed with USS Forrestal CVA 59 over a period of 8 hours. USS Forrestal had been severely damaged by fire and explosions on 29 July 1967 off Vietnam. On 11 August 1967 she sailed from Leyte Pier, Cubi Point Naval Air Station, Subic Bay, Philippines via the Indian and Atlantic Oceans to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, VA, USA for major repairs

14 December 1967 Captain Archibald M M Telfer RFA appointed as Master

23 January 1968 at Portland

16 March 1968 Mr E Burke RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

15 April 1968 RASed with HMAS SYDNEY off Singapore

31 October 1968 berthed at Simonstown Dockyard, South Africa

27 November 1968 at Falmouth

1 September 1969 was berthed at Mombasa

6 Setember 1969 sailed on Beira patrol

8 September 1969 RAS'ed with RFA Dewdale (2)

9 September 1969 RAS'ed with HMS YARMOUTH the HMS LYNX. Involved in exercises with Royal Naval boarding parties. First party was intercepted and locked in a rope store. The next boarding party released them and then had difficulties finding the RFA crew hiding among the pipes on the tank deck.

10 September 1969 anchored off Beira

12 September 1969 RAS'ed with HMS's GALATEA and YARMOUTH simultaniously. Plotting courses and speeds of ships approaching Beira for reporting to the Royal Navy

14 September 1969 RAS'ed with RFA TARBATNESS - fuel and stores

15 September 1969 RAS'ed with HMS AJAX and then a night RAS with HMS GALATEA

16 September 1969 RAs'ed with HMS LYNX. Anchored off Beira

19 September 1969 RAS'ed with HMS AJAX

22 September 1969 RAS'ed with HMS AJAX

23 September 1969 RAS'ed with HMS LYNX plus jackstay transfer of oil drums

25 September 1969 berthed at Durban

2 October 1969 sailed from Durban - a crew member Hogarth - jumped ship during the stay in Durban

6 October 1969 RAS'ed with HMS's ANDROMEDA and WHITBY. Anchored off Beira.

10 October 1969 weighed anchor. RAS'ed with HMS's WHITBY and then ANDROMEDA and returned to anchor off Beira

11 October 1969 Cadets onboard transferred to HMS ANDROMEDA until 13 October 1969 in exchange for RN Midshipmen

13 October 1969 RAS'ed with HMS WHITBY

14 October 1969 RAS'ed with RFA ENNERDALE (2)

15 October 1969 RAS'ed with RFA RESURGENT - stores and oil

16 October 1969 anchored with Beira

17 October 1969 on passage to Mombassa

20 October 1969 moored to buoys in Mombassa

24 October 1969 sailed from Mombassa

26 October 1969 RAs'ed with RFA DEWDALE (2)

27 October 1969 anchored off Beira

28 October 1969 RAs'ed with HMS WHITBY and HMS ANDROMEDA

31 October 1969 RAS'ed with RFA RESURGENT

1 November 1969 RAS'ed with HMS's JUNO, WHITBY, ZULU and ANDROMEDA (in that order)

4 November 1969 RAS'ed with RFA REGENT

6 November 1969 RAS'ed with HMS's JUNO and ZULU

9 November 1969 Army sergeant transferred by helicopter to be taken to hospital in Durban

11 November 1969 berthed at Durban

12 November 1969 sailed from Durban

17 November 1969 tank cleaning 

20 November 1969 crossed the Equator

21 November 1969 tank cleaning

22 November 1969 anchored off Freetown. The ship suffered a fire on the main switchboard resulting in the need of oil anchor lights until 20:30hrs

23 November 1969 moored to the oil jetty

24 November 1969 sailed from the oil jetty and anchored off shore. Sailed 21:00hrs

27 November 1969 RAS'ed with RFA TIDESPRING (1) of all ship's mogas. Thick fog

28 November 1969 emergency alarm during dinner. Crew went to stations. There had been a diesel overflow in the engine room

3 December 1969 berthed at Plymouth prior to sailing to the River Tyne for a refit at Palmer's, Hebburn

11 January 1970 between Malta and Crete involved in searching for two Soviet Seaman lost over the side from their Koltin Class Soviet warship when it was involved in a collision with HMS ARK ROYAL

March 1970 visited Jamestown, St. Helena

May 1970 visited Jamestown, St. Helena

8 June 1970 anchored in Irvine Bay, Scotland

9 June 1970 the Master and Officers entertained the Provost and members of the Town Council of Irvine on board

12 June 1970 sailed Irvine Bay

6 August 1970 sailed from Malta for Gibraltar

26 October 1970 sailed from Malta

14 November 1970 south of Crete with HMS ARK ROYAL and HMS EXMOUTH stood by HMS FIFE which had a fire in hergas turbine room

November 1971 visited Jamestown, St. Helena

17 July 1972 entered KGV docks

October - December 1972 supported Operation Zealous- on standby off East Africa in case of the requirement to evacuate British nationals from Uganda - along with RFA’s TIDEPOOL and TIDEREACH

3 February 1974 berthed at Lyttleton, New Zealand

August 1974 to July 1975 served as the final Fleet Oiler on the Beira Patrol

22 January 1975 at Durban, South Africa

22 June 1975 berthed at Mombassa

2 October 1975 at Cape Town

October 1975 Captain David J Boydon RFA in command

December 1975 off loaded the remaining cargo from the hulked RFA WAVE RULER (1) at Gan

25 February 1976 to 4 April 1976 with the frigate HMS ESKIMO she was diverted to the South Atlantic in view of a possible Argentinian adventure against the Falkland Islands.

14 March 1976 to 19 March 1976 alongside at Rio de Janeiro

19 March 1976 sailed Rio de Janeiro (delayed by engine problems) for Montevideo arriving 22 March 1976

22 March 1976 alongside at Montevideo

25 March 1976  sailed Montevideo (again delayed by engine problems) for Salvador

27 March 1976 RASed with HMS ESKIMO

28 March 1976 Light Jackstay transfer with HMS ESKIMO 

29 March 1976 RASed with HMS ESKIMO

30 March 1976 RASed with HMS ESKIMO

31 March 1976 Exercise with Brazilian Navy off Salvador - RASed with Brazilian Destroyer 'Mato Grosso'

1 April 1976 berthed at Salvador until 4 April 1976 

4 April 1976 sailed 

5 April 1976 RASed with HMS ESKIMO 

8 April 1976 noon position 04° 22'S, 48° 23'W.  222 miles NE of the Amazon Estuary

11 April 1976 noon position 149 miles SE of PUERTO RICO

12 April 1976 RASed with HMS ESKIMO. Set sail for Portmouth

14 April 1976 broken down overnight. Noon position 570 miles SE of BERMUDA. 2,850 miles from PORTSMOUTH

16 April 1976 noon position 780 miles SW of the AZORES

18 April 1976 noon position 160 miles NW of the AZORES. 1,300 miles to PORTSMOUTH

20 April 1976 noon position 465 miles SW of LANDS END

21 April 1976 arrived at Plymouth until 29 April 1976

29 April 1976 sailed from Plymouth for Portsmouth arriving on 30 April 1976 berthing on the Gosport Oil Jetty. 

31 April 1976 out of service

1 May 1976 to 30 May 1976 destoring

23 June 1976 laid up at Portsmouth

19 April 1977 left under tow from Portsmouth for Valencia, Spain to be broken up by Aguilar y Peris SA



1. Locations kindly provided by Bosun George Collings RFA (Retired) from his Discharge Book




RFA Tidesurge (2)


TSurge 27 12 2016 

Subsequent name:  

Official Number:                                                                                             

Class:                                      Fast Fleet Tanker (MARS)

Pennant No:                            A138                      

Laid down:                              7 December 2015
Builder:                                    Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME), South Korea
Launched:                               5 March 2016

Into Service:                             Planned for 2016           
Out of service:                          


Items of historic interest involving this ship: -


Background Data: A class of four tankers at a total cost of £452 million - designed by BMT Defence Services, Bath

22 February 2012 ordered

July 2014 Yard Number 7046 IMO Nr: 9655559

7 December 2015 laid down. Captain (X) Shaun Jones OBE RFA assumed command

Shaun Jones


T Surge 3

5 March 2016 floated out from dry dock

7 March 2016 re-entered dry dock for further construction work to be undertaken

Tsurge2 back in dock8

Tide Surge May 2016

A Tide without the Surge?


4 June 2016 launched


22 May 2017 moved berths 

Surge 3 22 5 2017

TSurg 2 ships bell 24 5 17


26 May 2017 sailed on builders trials from  DSME, Okpo, South Korea


TSurge sailed 27 5 17 builders trials 1

Sailing on Builders trials

DSME Sea Trial Area

DSME Sea Trials Area 


 1 June 2017 returned to DSME shipbuilders Yard after builders trials

Tsurge 1 6 17

Tsurge 1 6 2017 retn frm trials


TSurge stamp


2 July 2017 Captain (E) Nigel Sim RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer


Captain (E) Nigel Sim RFA

7 July 2017 Captain (X) Shaun Jones OBE RFA appointed as Commanding Officer

28 July 2017 sailed DSME Shipbuilders Yard for further trials

TSurge during sea trials

RFA TIDESURGE (2) during sea trials
© Phil Dovey

1 August 2017 anchored in Okpo anchorage

2 August 2017 sailed from Okpo anchorage

5 August 2017 berthed at DSME shipbuilders Yard

29 August 2017 the ship was officially named by her Lady Sponsor,  Mrs Joanna Woodcock wife of Vice Admiral Jonathan Woodcock OBE, the Second Sea Lord & Deputy Chief of Naval Staff accompanied, as well, by the British ambassador to South Korea Charles Hay


via RFANostalgia

tsurge naming

The Official Naming Party

22 September 2017 being moved within DSME Shipbuilders Yard


TSurge move 22 9 17

TSurge Move 2 on 22 9 17


November 2017 RFA TIDESURGE (2) and the Republic of South Korea frigate ROKS Dae-Gu formed a sistership bond at the DSME Shipbuilders Yard. Having been built side-by-side the respective crews of the two vessels had watched each other’s ships take shape over the past couple of years; the craft were even launched within two days of each other

rfa tidesurge and roks daegu sisterhood bond

The sisterhood ceremony took the shape of more than just signing a piece of paper, but a football match and a traditional Korean meal hosted by the officers of the Daegu.

The RFA crew were treated to a film on a history of the Korean Navy


The combined Football teams


15 November 2017 accepted off contract, Chief Officer Richard Davies RFA appointed as Commanding Officer

Chief Officer Richard Davies RFA

Chief Officer Richard Davies RFA


16 November 2017  AIS transmitted -


Tidesurge ais


24 November 2017 Captain Robert H Allan OBE RFA appointed as Commanding Officer

15 December 2017 sailed Okpo


TSurge approach Japan

RFA Tidesurge (2) approaching the US Naval Base at Sasebo
© binmei.jp and RFA Nostalgia acknowledged


19 December 2017 berthed at the US Naval Base, Sasebo, Japan

25 December 2017 sailed from the US Naval Base, Sasebo, Japan

5 February 2018 berthed at the US Naval Base at Pearl Harbour

TSurge arrive Pearl

RFA Tidesurge (2) off Pearl Harbour
© Wade Armstrong & RFA Nostalgia acknowledged

 TSurge at Pearl

RFA Tidesurge (2) alongside at Pearl Harbour
© Wade Armstrong & RFA Nostalgia acknowledged

3 March 2018 arrived at the Pacific anchorage at the entrance to the Panama Canal

7 March 2018 entered the Panama Canal for its transit


RFA Tidesurge (2) in the Miraflores Locks on the Panama Canal
© RFA Nostalgia acknowledged 
11 March 2018 arrived at St. John's Anchorage, Antiguia
TSurge off Antigua
RFA Tidesurge (2) at anchor off St John's, Antiguia
© RFA Nostalgia acknowledged
13 March 2018 Captain (X) Jonathan P Huxley RFA appointed as Commanding Officer
18 March 2018 sailed from St John's Anchorage, Antiguia

Additional information

Copyright © 2008 – 2018 Christopher J White

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