RFA War Bharata

rfawarbharatampl3391

 
Subsequent name:              Wolf Rock

Official Number:                  144311

Class:

Pennant No:                        X89   
Laid down:
Builder:                                Palmers, Jarrow
Launched:                           24 November 1919
Into Service:                        20 March 1920

Out of service:                    1948

Fate:                                  Broken up

 

Items of historic interest involving this ship: -

 

Background Data: To combat the alarming losses of British merchant ships during WW1, the New Ministries and Secretaries Act was passed in December 1916, which provided for the appointment of a Shipping Controller with very wide powers “to take such steps as he thinks best for providing and maintaining an efficient supply of shipping”. On 20 December 1916, the first meeting of the Merchant Shipbuilding Advisory Committee took place where it was decided that an extensive shipbuilding programme should be started, the ships to be of a simple design and as far as possible to be of a standard type as regards hulls and engines. These new vessels for the Government were given a standard nomenclature, the prefix to their names being WAR. Eight hundred and twenty one vessels were ordered from U.K. yards and abroad and four hundred and sixteen were completed to Government order, two hundred and seventy nine were sold and transferred to private owners before completion and the remainder were cancelled. Of the four hundred and sixteen completed to Government order, fifteen were transferred to Admiralty service as oilers. They were all modified versions of the A and B Class standard dry cargo ships, known as the Z Class. All had two large dry cargo holds, six of them had five cargo tanks and the remaining nine had seven cargo tanks, specially designed for the carriage of heavy fuel oil. Most of them were initially under commercial management.

 

 

24 November 1919 launched at Palmers Shipbuilding & Iron Company Limited, Jarrow on Tyne. The vessel was named by Miss Vera M Malling of Newcastle

22 April 1920 berthed at Port Arthur Texas from Jarrow

2 May 1920 sailed Port Arthur, Texas

18 May 1920 called at Gibraltar while on passage from Sabine, Texas to Malta with cargo (2)

30 May 1920 arrived at Port Said while on passage from Port Arthur to Abadan (3)

3 July 1920 arrived at Suez from Abadan

25 August 1920 arrived Port Said

27 August 1920 sailed Port Said for Devonport

7 September 1920 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour from Abadan

9 September 1920 sailed Portsmouth Harbour

7 October 1920 while on passage between Aden to Basra passed HMS ARK ROYAL - reported in the warship's log book

 

HMS Ark Royal 1918

HMS ARK ROYAL

 

29 October 1920 arrived at Suez from Abadan

24 November 1920 sailed Glasgow for New York

28 December 1920 arrived at New York from Tuxpam, Mexico. Captain William Dermody, Master. The ship was under civil management of the British Tanker Company and chartered to the Anglo Mexican Petroleum Company

12 January 1921 arrived at Port Eads from Mexico

17 January 1921 sailed Mexico and reported in the New York Tribune of the following day

21 January 1921 berthed at Port Eads

28 January 1921 sailed Port Eads for Tuxpam

4 February 1921 arrived at Port Eads

8 February 1921 sailed Port Eads for Galveston

20 February 1921 sailed Port Eads for Tuxpam

2 March 1921 arrived Tampico from Baton Rouge

15 March 1921 sailed Puerto Mexico for Portsmouth

5 April 1921 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

8 April 1921 sailed Portsmouth Harbour

29 April 1921 arrived at Port Arthur, Texas from Portsmouth

30 April 1921 sailed Port Arthur for Glasgow

18 May 1921 arrived at Glasgow from Port Arthur, Texas

30 May 1921 sailed Glasgow for a Texan port

14 July 1921 arrived at Suez from Gibraltar

16 September 1921 sailed Port Said for Devonport

1 October 1921 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour from Abadan

17 December 1921 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour sailing later the same day

4 January 1922 arrived Port Said from Southampton when on passage to Abadan

24 January 1922 sailed Abadan for Gibraltar

8 February 1922 sailed Port Said for Gibraltar

16 March 1922 arrived at Abadan from Gibraltar

14 June 1922 sailed Port Said

15 June 1922 sailed Suez for Abadan

16 July 1922 sailed Port Said for Devonport

29 July 1922 at Devonport

7 August 1922 sailed Devonport for Abadan

17 August 1922 arrived at Port Said from Devonport

22 October 1922 arrived at Port Said

27 October 1922 passed Perim when on passage from Port Said to Abadan

26 November 1922 arrived at Suez from Abadan

27 November 1922 sailed  Port Said for Malta

6 December 1922 sailed Malta

17 December 1922 arrived at Port Said

24 December 1922 when on passage from Port Said to ABadan passed Perim

31 January 1923 sailed Gibraltar for Trinidad

16 February 1923 sailed Trinidad for Devonport

3 May 1923 arrived at Port Said from Devonport

9 May 1923 passed Perim when on passage to Abadan from Devonport

17 July 1923 at Singapore alongside HMS DIOMEDE to refuel her.  Then berthed on the oil wharf

 

HMS Diomede 1938

HMS DIOMEDE

 

27 August 1923 at Singapore

19 October 1923 Donkeyman Patrick Heveran's actions in saving life in Hong Kong Harbour resulted in him being awarded the Royal Humane Societies Bronze Madal - see under RFA Awards

 Royal Humane Society’s Bronze Medal

 

20 October 1923 sailed Hong Kong for Borneo

November 1923 grounded at Sulu, afterwards refloated and sailed to Singapore arriving on the 4 November 1923

27 November 1923 to 1 December 1923 in dry dock at Singapore

10 December 1923 sailed Colombo, Ceylon for Abadan

December 1923 Captain Douglas M Culloden RFA as Master

Captain William Culloden

Captain Douglas M Culloden RFA

3 January 1924 at Zanzibar

13 January 1924 at 0645hrs at Zanzibar berthed alongside HMS HOOD to refuel her. Cast off from her at 1800hrs after transferring 2,637 tons of FFO

HMS Hood

HMS HOOD

17 January 1924 at Mombassa

29 January 1924 berthed at Abadan - sailed on 4 February 1924

14 February 1924 berthed at Trincomalee - sailed 16 February 1924

29 February 1924 at Abadan

19 March 1924 to 31 March 1924 at the Oil Wharf, SIngapore

2 April 1924 reported to Singapore she has seen a derelict junk dangerous to navigation at Lat 2° 29N  Long: 101° 27E

26 April 1924 at Suez

1 May 1924 arrived at  Aden sailed the same day

8 May 1924 berthed at Abadan sailed 13 May 1924

29 May 1924 the Western Morning News reported -

War Bharata Gallentry

5 June 1924 berthed at Hong Kong sailed 28 June 1924

6 July 1924 at Singapore

31 July 1924 at Abadan

8 August 1924 at sea Sailor Ah Chong discharged dead - apparently from beri beri

11 August 1924 arrived at Aden - sailed 13 August 1924

22 August 1924 arrived at Abadan - sailed 25 August 1924 

25 August 1924 at Abadan Hospital Fireman Man Fok discharged dead from natural causes

13 September 1924 berthed at Singapore - sailed on 19 September 1924

8 October 1924 at Abadan

24 October 1924 berthed at Singapore - sailed 26 October 1924

14 November 1924 at Abadan

23 November 1924 passed Perim

28 November 1924 at Suez and transit of the Suez Canal - Port Said the next day

3 December 1924 berthed at Malta

7 January 1925 at Malta 3rd Fireman Yon Cheong discharged dead from natural causes

27 March 1925 at Abadan

23 July 1925 at the General Hospital, Colombo, Ceylon 4th Engineer Officer William Taylor discharged dead from natural causes

31 July 1925 at Singapore

7 September 1925 at Singapore

2 October 1925 sailed Abadan

19 October 1925 alongside the oil wharf, Singapore to discharge

4 December 1925 in collision with the ss Kuala causing considerable damage, above the water line, to that vessel. The ss Kuala was alongside at the end of Kepple's Wharf and No 1 Wharf, Singapore with the War Bharata moving down the South Channel towards the west. When it was apparent a collision would occur both anchors were let go and the engines went full astern

Kuala

ss Kuala

23 November 1926 a member of the crew stopped by Police Superintendent Cockle, Inspector Swiney, Detective Inspector de Silva and two CID Officers at the junction of Tanjong Pagar and New Kepple Road and found in possession of a number of firearms and a quantity of ammunition.

25 November 1926 a Chinese crew member was found guilty at a Court in Singapore on charges of being in possession of firearms and ammunition. He was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment, ten strokes of the cat and a fine of $100 or three months’ imprisonment by Mr E E Colman, the acting District Judge. The accused was arrested by the Harbour Board police in possession of seven automatic pistols and 600 rounds of ammunition

31 January 1927 sailed Port Said for Gibraltar

20 March 1927 passed Perim

24 April 1927 sailed Abadan for Singapore

8 July 1927 sailed Port Said for Malta

13 August 1927 passed Perim when on passage to Malta

1 October 1927 sailed Port Said for Malta

25 November 1927 sailed Abadan for Hong Kong

23 May 1928 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

7 July 1928 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

20 February 1929 berthed at Gibraltar from Port Said to discharge cargo

17 August 1929 sailed Devonport for Abadan

8 July 1930 Fireman Wang Chiong discharged dead. He died in the APOC Hospital at Abadan from malaria

24 November 1930 sailed Abadan for Devonport

8 December 1930 arrived at Suez while on passage to Devonport

18 December 1930 while on passage to Devonport passed Gibraltar this day

23 December 1930 at Devonport

22 April 1931 at Plymouth

17 August 1931 arrived at Rosyth from Plymouth

23 December 1931 at Devonport

July 1933 in reserve at Rosyth

25 April 1934 Mr J A Mackintosh RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

9 May 1934 Captain John H Jones RFA appointed as Master

 Capt John H Jones

Captain John H Jones RFA

26 July 1934 Captain Harry M Sinclair RFA appointed as Master

31 July 1934 arrived at Port Said from Malta

30 August 1934 arrived at Suez from Abadan

26 September 1934 arrived Port Said from Malta

3 December 1934 arrived at Portland

12 December 1934 sailed Portland to Abadan

21 March 1935 arrived at Suez from Abadan

4 April 1935 arrived at Port Said from Malta

9 May 1935 arrived at Suez from Abadan

8 July 1935 Captain Cecil R Rosen RFA appointed as Master and Mr Frederick E Langer RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

CEO Frederick LANGER

Chief Engineer Officer Frederick E Langer RFA

 

11 September 1935 two Chinese men were found on board as trespassers when the ship was moored against the west wall of the Royal Naval Dockyard, Hong Kong. Cheung Tai Lenng was fined $25 or one month's hard labour in default and Tam Kwan was fined $10 or 3 weeks' hard labour in default. Both defendants admitted trying to get to Singapore

1 August 1936 sailed Falmouth for Abadan arriving 28 August 1936

29 August 1936 sailed Abadan for Haifa arriving 15 September 1936

26 September 1936 sailed Haifa for Port Said arriving the next day

28 September 1936 sailed Port Said for Abadan arriving 12 October 1936

13 October 1936 sailed Abadan for Port Said arriving 27 October 1936

28 October 1936 sailed Port Said for Malta arriving 1 November 1936

3 November 1936 Mr J M Brown RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

4 November 1936 sailed Malta for Port Said arriving 8 November 1936

12 November 1936 sailed Port Said for Abadan arriving 27 November 1936

28 November 1936 sailed Abadan for Singapore arriving 16 December 1936

19 December 1936 sailed Singapore for Abadan arriving 4 January 1937

5 January 1937 sailed Abadan for Port Said arriving 20 January 1937 and then on to Malta arriving 24 January 1937

26 January 1937 sailed Malta for Port Said arriving 30 January 1937 and then onto Abadan arriving 13 February 1937

15 February 1937 sailed Abadan for Port Said arriving 1 March 1937 and then onto Gibraltar arriving 11 March 1937

12 March 1937 to 18 March 1937 engaged in Fleet Oiling

23 March 1937 sailed Gibraltar for Port Said arriving 31 March 1937 and then after transit of the Suez Canal to Abadan arriving 15 April 1937

16 April 1937 sailed Abadan to Aden arriving 26 April 1937

28 April 1937 sailed Aden to Abadan arriving 6 May 1937

9 May 1937 sailed Abadan to Port Said arriving 26 May 1937 and then sailed to Malta arriving 30 May 1937

1 June 1937 sailed Malta to Trinidad arriving 19 June 1937 berthing on Point a Pierre the next day

21 June 1937 sailed Trinidad to Sheerness arriving 9 July 1937

10 July 1937 sailed Sheerness for Sunderland arriving 12 July 1937

23 July 1937 sailed Sunderland for the Nore arriving the next day and then onto Chatham arriving 26 July 1937

29 July 1937 sailed Chatham to Dover the onto Port Said and after transiting the Suez Canal to Abadan arriving 24 August 1927

25 August 1937 sailed Abadan for Hong Hong arriving 18 September 1937

27 September 1937 sailed Hong Kong for Singapore arriving 3 November 1937

16 November 1937 sailed Singapore for Hong Kong arriving 24 November 1937

4 December 1937 sailed Hong Kong for Singapore arriving 12 December 1937

17 December 1937 sailed Singapore for Hong Kong arriving 25 December 1937

26 January 1938 sailed Hong Kong for Singapore arriving 2 February 1938

21 February 1938 sailed Singapore for Hong Kong arriving 2 March 1938

31 March 1938 sailed Hong Kong for Singapore arriving 7 April 1938

18 April 1938 sailed SIngapore for Hong Kong arriving 26 April 1938

3 June 1938 sailed Hong Kong for Singapore arriving 11 June 1938

17 June 1938 sailed Singapore to Hong Kong arriving 24 June 1938

20 September 1938 Captain Ernest V Blyth RFA appointed as Master and Mr E M Phillips RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

Captain Ernest V Blyth

Captain Ernest V Blyth RFA

6 October 1939 Mr William H A Lawson RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

CEO William H A LAWSON

Chief Engineer Officer William H A Lawson RFA

8 December 1939 sailed Gibraltar in convoy HG10 to Devonport - RFA WAR AFRIDI was in the same convoy. RFA THERMOL was nominated to sail in the same convoy but there are doubt as to whether she sailed

3 February 1940 at Greenock alongide HMS BERWICK refuelling her - supplied 1,788 tons of FFO

rn berwick

HMS BERWICK

20 February 1940 at Greenock alongide HMS DEVONSHIRE refuelling her

21 February 1940 at Greenock alongide HMS BERWICK refuelling her - supplied 2,350 tons of FFO

24 February 1940 refuelled HMS HOOD alongside at Greenock - cast off the next day

3 March 1940 Captain S Thomas RFA appointed as Master

8 March 1940 at Greenock working party from HMS WARSPITE on board

15 March 1940 arrived at Scapa Flow under escort of HMS MASHONA

16 March 1940 at Scapa Flow alongside HMS NORFOLK refuelling her

17 March 1940  and 18 March 1940 at Scapa Flow had HMS WARSPITE alongside refuelling her with 750 tons of FFO

HMS WARSPITE in 1937

HMS WARSPITE

31 March 1940 sailed under escort of HMS FEARLESS to Sullom Voe. On arrival she anchored and in a gale HMS HASTY came alongside RFA WAR BHARATA and the destroyer was damaged.

2 April 1940 after repairs to HMS HASTY and a replenisment WAR BHARATA sailed to Scapa Flow under the escort of HMS HASTY arriving on 3 April 1940

1 May 1940 Mr Leonard H Taylor RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

 

CEO Leonard H Taylor

Chief Engineer Officer Leonard H Taylor RFA

6 May 1940 sailed Invergordon to Scapa Flow under escort of HMS CODRINGTON

9 September 1940 sailed Methil in convoy OA212 which dispersed

29 September 1940 refuelling HMS HOOD alongside at Scapa Flow cast off the next day

October 1940 Captain Frank P Hennin RFA appointed as Master

18 October 1941 Captain Thomas C Robinson RFA (Lieutenant Commander RN (Rtd) appointed as Master

31 October 1941 sailed Milford Haven in convoy ON 032 to Iceland

5 November 1941 Mr T McGregor RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

1941 during her time at Sullom Voe, Shetlands some of the officers and crew attended divine service at the local kirk - on the ship leaving they presented the kirk with a lectern which displays a plaque saying 'Presented to the Sullom Church, from the Officers and Men of the RFA War Bharata, 1941'

Sullom kirk

Sullom Kirk

Sullom kirk lectern

Sullom Kirk Lectern

Sullom kirk inscription

Sullom Kirk Lectern inscription
the three above images © John McMeechan kindly donated to the RFHS with grateful thanks
 

15 February 1942 at Hvalfjordur, Iceland - USS Belknap alongside to be refuelled

 

War Bharata 1942

RFA War Bharata at Hvalfjordur, Iceland in 1942
© IWM
 

1 May 1942 at Hvalfjordur, Iceland - USS Wainright alongside to be refuelledsource this warships war diary

20 May 1942 at Hvalfjordur, Iceland - USS Badger (DD126) alongside to be refuelled

USSBadgerDD126

USS Badger (DD126)

29 May 1942 at Hvalfjordur, Iceland - USCGC Bibb alongside to be refuelled

9 June 1942 at Hvalfjordur, Iceland - USS Tuscaloosa (CA37) alongside to port to be refuelled - source this warships war diary

3 July 1942 at Hvalfjordur, Iceland - alongside USS Melville. Cast off and shifted berth alongside HMS KENT

7 July 1942 at Seidisfjord, Iceland - USS Rhind alongside to be refuelled. Also present was RFA OLIGARCH

16 July 1942 sailed in ballast in Convoy RU32 from Reykjavik to Leith

5 August 1942 Captain Leonard Elford RFA appointed as Master

 

Captain Leonard Elford

Captain Leonard Elford RFA

 

2 September 1942 sailed Methil in convoy EN132 arriving Scapa Flow the next day

26 September 1942 at Scapa Flow alongside HMS DUKE OF YORK refuelling her with 750 tons of FFO

5 January 1943 at Scapa Flow alongside HMS HOWE refuelling her

15 January 1943 Mr J G Glynn RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

23 March 1943 at Scapa Flow alongside HMS ANSON refuelling her, 889 tons of FFO supplied. RFA PETRONELL was alongside at the same time supplying water

19 April 1943 Captain William H Green RFA appointed as Master

Captain WILLIAM HERBERT GREEN

Captain William H Green RFA

26 July 1943 Mr Charles J Falconer RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

CEO Charles J Falconer

Chief Engineer Officer Charles J Falconer RFA

 

3 November 1943 Captain Frederick M Harvey RFA appointed as Master

 

FM_Harvey_-_Cherryleaf_1

Captain Frederick M Harvey RFA

 

11 December 1943 sailed Methil in convoy EN 318 arriving at Milford Haven on 13 December 1943

24 February 1944 Mr Robert Blacklock RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

17 April 1944 at Londonderry to unload

28 April 1944 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

30 April 1944 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

2 June 1944 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

10 July 1944 sailed Barry in convoy EBC37 arriving Portsmouth Harbour two days later

21 July 1944 sailed Barry in convoy EBC48 arriving Portsmouth Harbour two days later

25 July 1944 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

14 June 1945 at Barclay Curle, Govan for preparation for foreign service

6 July 1945 Mr T McGregor RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

August 1945 sailed Malta for Marseilles with fuel for HMS's WELFARE, SKIPJACK and other British Warships guarding a number of transport carrying Jewish passengers hoping to land at Palestine and if fact some landed at Marseilles having been prevented from sailing to Palestine

11 April 1946 at 13.14N 69.21E at sea Carpenter Shiek Eusoof Hossein discharged dead from heart failure

19 November 1946 refuelled HMS BERMUDA alongside in Yokohama

16 December 1946 refuelled HMAS SHROPSHIRE in Yokohama with 1.917 tons of FFO

1 January 1947 berthed at Yokohama. HMAS ARUNTA at once came alongside to be refuelled

7 January 1947 at Yokohama HMAS ARUNTA alongside being refuelled - she received 330 tons FFO

9 January 1947 at Yokohama HMS CONSTANCE alongside being refuelled

1 February 1947 at Yokohama HMAS ARUNTA alongside being refuelled 

2 February 1947 at Yokohama HMS COCKADE alongside being refuelled

5 February 1947 at Yokohama HMAS's ARUNTA and WARRAMUNGA alongside being refuelled

12 February 1947 at Yokohama HMS COSSACK alongside being refuelled

18 March 1947 at Sasebo HMAS ARUNTA alongside being refuelled

2 April 1947 on passage from Kure, Japan to Hong Kong. Held light communication with HMAS ARUNTA

9 April 1947 Mr R B Burgh RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

1947 supported the Royal Navy in the Palestine Patrol

23 September 1947 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

25 September 1947 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

26 September 1947 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

29 September 1947 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

3 October 1947 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

7 October 1947 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

1948 sold out of service to Verarno Steamship Company, London and name changed to Wolf Rock

15 May 1953 arrived Troon for breaking up

 

Notes: -

Source - (1) New York Tribune

              (2) Gibraltar Chronicle

  (3) The Times

Additional information

Copyright © 2008 – 2017 Christopher J White

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