RFA War Diwan

RFA War Diwan

 

 

WAR_DIWAN
 

Previous name:
Subsequent name:

Official Number:                      143379

Class:                                    WAR CLASS Freighting Tanker - 5 cargo tanks

Pennant No:                          Y7.333 / X86

Laid down:
Builder:                                  Lithgows, Port Glasgow
Launched:                             28 June 1919

Into Service:                          21 August 1919
Out of service:                       16 December 1944

Fate:                                    Mined and sunk

 

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. 821 vessels were ordered from U.K. yards and abroad and 416 were completed to Government order, 279 were sold and transferred to private owners before completion and the remainder were cancelled. Of the 416 completed to Government order, 15 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 2 large dry cargo holds, 6 of them had 5 cargo tanks and the remaining 9 had 7 cargo tanks, specially designed for the carriage of heavy fuel oil. Most of them were initially under commercial management.

 

 

21 August 1919 ran trials

22 August 1919  completed and placed under initial management of C.T. Bowring & Co Ltd,  Liverpool.

11 December 1919 arrived at Suez from Abadan

21 February 1920 Greaser Thomas McKenna discharged dead - drowned

19 June 1920 arrived at Gibraltar from Malta in ballast while on passage to Texas

1 September 1920 sailed Port Arthur, Texas for the UK

21 November 1920 sailed Greenock for Gulf of Mexico 

7 February 1921 berthed at Galveston, Texas from Queenstown

9 March 1921 arrived at Greenock from Galveston

17 March 1921 sailed Old Kilpatrick for Trinidad

25 April 1921 berthed at Devonport from Trinidad

28 April 1921 sailed Devonport for Trinidad

3 June 1921 berthed Devonport from Trinidad

31 August 1921 sailed Port Arthur, Texas for British Ports

23 December 1921 was at anchor at the Outer Bar at the Shatt-Al-Arab in the Persian Gulf. At about 7.20pm the ss British Holly (ex RFA Hollyleaf) made fast alongside the War Diwan on her starboard side to complete her loading. The wind increased and the tide turned ebb. The ships rolled together, a heavy strain was putting on the moorings and the starboard side after fairlead on the War Diwan was carried away. A verbal request by the RFA Captain to the Master of the British Holly to cast off was refused. A written request was made and at about 10.15pm the British Holly eventually cast off. The War Diwan, in addition to the damage above also suffered her hull plates to be started and sea water was admitted causing damage to her oil cargo.

1921 transferred to Admiralty management and manning as an RFA

 

 West Morn News war diwan 3 Jul 1922

Press Cutting Western Morning News 3 July 1922

 T P McGugan

Able Seaman Thomas P McGugan

 

31 August 1922 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

2 September 1922 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

5 September 1922 berthed at Devonport

6 April 1923 to 13 April 1923 berthed on the oil wharf, Keppel Harbour, Singapore

21 May 1923 to 24 May 1923 berthed on the oil wharf, Keppel Harbour, Singapore and then moved to the Main Wharf on 25 May 1923

24 June 1923 at 8.47N 76.11E Donkeyman George Saunders discharged dead from natural causes

3 July 1923 berthed at the oil wharf Singapore from Abadan to discharge. She sailed for Abadan on 8 July 1923

15 August 1923 arrived at Singapore from Abadan and berthed on the oil wharf, Keppel Harbour. 

21 August 1923 entered dry dock at Keppel Harbour, Singapore

28 August 1923 sailed Singapore for Abadan

28 September 1923 Captain John C Hawick RFA appointed as Master

 

HAWICK JOHN C

Captain John C Hawick RFA

 

17 November 1923 to 21 November 1923 berthed on the oil wharf, Keppel Harbour, Singapore

18 March 1924 at 19.20N 39.10E Sailor Ting Ah Tay discharged dead - having suffered from beri beri

19 May 1924 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

2 June 1924 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

25 June 1924 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

26 June 1924 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

21 August 1924 passing 26 miles south of Land End 

17 October 1924 Mr Frederick L Angus DSM RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

 

Frederick L Angus2

Chief Engineer Officer Frederick L Angus DSM RFA

 

7 March 1925 Captain Frederick W Rae RFA appointed as Master

17 May 1925 Mr J Atchison RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

10 March 1925 took on charge a Dent Marine Chronometer No 58905 which had been purchased by the Admiralty in September 1918. Off charge on 12 February 1931 at Bermuda

14 March 1925 took on charge a Dent Marine Chronometer No 58898 which had been purchased by the Admiralty in October 1918. Off charge on 23 April 1929 at Gibraltar.

22 March 1926 in North Atlantic rescued the crew of schooner Cecil Junior sailing from Newfoundland to Seville, Spain when the schooners rudder was smashed. Six of the crew of the War Diwan were subsequently awarded  the Sea Gallantry Medal for their actions

23 August 1926 Captain William C Meikle RFA appointed as Master

22 March 1927 HM the King awarded the Board of Trade Bronze Medal for Gallantry - the Sea Gallantry Medal - to the former 2nd Officer and five crew members of RFA War Diwan for their actions in saving life at sea. Details of those honoured are shown in the RFA Awards section. The schooner Cecil Junior of St. John's Newfoundland while on a voyage from Seville, Spain to Newfoundland encountered a succession of gales with heavy seas. It's rudder was carried away and the vessel began to leak. The schooners life boat was carried away. The RFA crew using their own boat, at great risk to themselves, saved the lives of the schooners crew. The Newfoundland Government presented the former 2nd Officer with a set of binocular glasses and £3 was paid to each of the five members of the crew

22 September 1927 Mr George C Dunning RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer 

 

G_C_Dunning_RFA

Chief Engineer Officer George C Dunning RFA

 

14 February 1928 Captain J Reid RFA appointed as Master

26 July 1928 Captain John Gow RFA appointed as Master

 

 John Gow

Captain John Gow RFA

 

30 July 1928 Mr Malcolm N Carlyle RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

11 August 1928 a stowaway was discovered onboard shortly after the ship sailed from Devonport -

 

 West Morn News war diwan 14 Aug 1928

Press Cutting from Western Morning News of 14 August 1928

 

2 October 1928 berthed at Avonmouth from Curacao

4 October 1928 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing east bound

13 September 1929 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

2 October 1929 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

9 December 1929 Mr Albert Nicholls appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

 

NICHOLLS ALBERT

Chief Engineer Officer Albert Nicholls RFA

 

24 May 1930 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

30 May 1930 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

28 May 1930 Captain Cecil R Rosen RFA appointed as Master

 

Cecil R Rosen

Captain Cecil R Rosen RFA

 

24 July 1930 at Abadan Chief Steward David Chalmers Anderson discharged dead from heat stroke

 

ANDERSON DAVID CHALMERS

Chief Steward David C Anderson RFA

 

13 March 1931 Mr Frederick C Pavitt RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

21 April 1931 Captain John P Tugwood DSC RD RFA (Commander RNR) appointed as Master

Captain TUGWOOD JOHN PERCIVAL

Captain John P Tugwood DSC RD RFA

28 December 1931 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

19 February 1932 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

9 May 1932 Mr G W Martin RFA appointed as Acting Chief Engineer Officer

1 June 1932 Mr Frederick C Pavitt RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

22 February 1933 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

26 February 1933 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

5 March 1933 Mr Percy E C Ogden RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

15 March 1933 Captain Stanley G Kent RFA appointed as Master

21 November 1933 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

25 November 1933 sailed from portsmouth Harbour

15 January 1934 Captain William B Browne RFA appointed as Master

17 January 1935 Mr Charles M Morgan RFA (Engineer Lieutenant Commander RNR) appointed as acting Chief Engineer Officer

29 July 1936 sailed Malta for Haifa

24 August 1936 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

27 August 1936 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

15 March 1937 in the River Tamar Fireman Wang Lang discharged dead - drowned

 Press Report 13.4.37 West Morn News W.Diwan

 

Press Report from Western Morning News 13 April 1937

 

1938 - 1939 in reserve at Devonport

17 August 1939 from Devonport she was towed to Falmouth for docking

12 September 1939 at 1650hrs at Scapa Flow alongside HMS HOOD refuelling her - cast off 13 September 1939 at 0625hrs

11 October 1939 at Scapa Flow alongside HMS MATABELE to refuel her

14 October 1939 at Scapa Flow alongside HMS MATABELE to refuel her

28 October 1939 at Sullom Voe, Shetlands alongside HMS MATABELE to refuel her

31 October 1939 at Scapa Flow alongside HMS's BEDOWIN and MATABELE to refuel them

17 November 1939 at Sullom Voe, Shetlands alongside HMS COVENTRY to refuel her - 425 tons of FFO supplied

26 November 1939 at Sullom Voe, Shetlands alongside HMS COVENTRY to refuel her

1 December 1939 at Sullom Voe, Shetlands alongside HMS COVENTRY to refuel her - 700 tons of FFO supplied

23 December 1939 at Sullom Voe, Shetlands alongside HMS COVENTRY to refuel her

27 December 1939 at Sullom Voe, Shetlands alongside HMS COVENTRY to refuel her

30 December 1939 at Sullom Voe, Shetlands alongside HMS NUBIAN and HMS Ilex to refuel them

1 January 1940 was in port at Sullom Voe with RN units when subjected to an air raid by German aircraft. The ship suffered no damage

25 April 1940 Captain William H Green RFA appointed as Master

 

Captain WILLIAM HERBERT GREEN

Captain William H Green RFA

 

30 July 1940 Mr G A Calvert RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

13 February 1941 arrived Scapa Flow in convoy EN69/1

25 March 1941 at Scapa Flow alongside HMS PRINCE OF WALES refuelling her

5 May 1941 sailed Scapa Flow for Skaalefjord, Faroes escorted by the destroyer HMS BROCKLESBY and the anti-submarine trawler HMS HAMLET arriving the next day

28 June 1941 sailed the Faroe Islands with a commercial tanker QUENTIN ROOSEVELT under escort of HMIS JUMNA to Scapa Flow arriving on 30 June 1941

8 August 1941 undertook RAS trials at Scapa Flow with the cruiser HMS GALATEA using a  modified stirrup method with a metallic 5 inch hose

16 August 1941 Captain Frederick S Harvey RFA appointed as Master

8 September 1941 suffered damage caused by the British Railway Steamer HMS ST JULIEN

21 September 1941 Mr Wilfred C Shortland RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

25 September 1941 at Scapa Flow

14 November 1941 at Scapa Flow alongside HMS DUKE of  YORK refuelling her. RFA PETRONEL was supplying fresh water at the same time

18 November 1941 Mr Leonard T Tomlinson RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

7 March 1942 sailed Lyness in convoy EN55 to Oban arriving 10 March 1942

16 March 1942 Captain John H Jones RFA appointed as Master

 

 Capt John H Jones

Captain John H Jones RFA

 

31 August 1943 damaged by  the escort sloop HMS WILD GOOSE coming alongside

1944 Captain Stanley C Kernick RFA appointed as Master

24 February 1944 Mr G A Calvert RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

7 June 1944 sailed Lisahally (details from Naval Officer Londonderry's war diary)

12 June 1944 sailed Barry in convoy EBC10 to Falmouth arriving 13 June 1944

30 June 1944 sailed Barry in convoy EBC27 arriving Portsmouth 2 July 1944

14 July 1944 sailed Barry in convoy EBC41 to Devonport arriving the next day

20 July 1944 sailed Plymouth in convoy FAC31 to Milford Haven arriving the next day

26 July 1944 sailed Barry in convoy EBC53 to  Devonport arriving 27 July 1944

15 August 1944 sailed Barry in convoy EBC73 to Portsmouth arriving 17 August 1944

20 August 1944 sailed Portsmouth Harbour

21 August 1944 sailed the Solent in convoy FBC60 to Milford Haven arriving 22 August 1944 and onward to the Clyde

28 August 1944 sailed Barry in convoy EBC86 to Portsmouth arriving 30 August 1944

7 September 1944 sailed Southampton in convoy EPM57 arrived at Seine Bay the same day

3 October 1944 at Cherbourg, France with USS Maloy (DE791) alongside being refuelled - details from US ships War Diary

8 October 1944 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

10 October 1944 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

28 October 1944 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

31 October 1944 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

16 December 1944 while on passage from Southend to Antwerp in convoy TAM19 between buoy NF15 and buoy NF17 was  mined and split in two. Both parts grounded. Survivors were taken aboard the minesweeping sloop HMS FRANKLIN and  were landed at Ostend before returning to Tilbury 2 days later Donkeyman Albert Edward Cheeseman, Third Engineer Officer Richard Robert Eden Cox RFA, Sailor John Kenneth Kendall, Fireman George Weeks were all killed. They have no known grave and are all remembered with pride on the Tower Hill Memorial.

 

War_Diwan_memorial

The Tower Hill Memorial

In addition Able Seaman James Turner Hooper C/JX312708 was also killed and has no known grave, he is remembered with pride on the Chatham Royal Naval Memorial

 

War-Diwan

The bow section of RFA War Diwan

 

20 December 1944 declared unsalvagable and a total loss.

4 May 1952 the forward part of the wreck was refloated and was towed to Flushing for  breaking up

 

Additional information

Copyright © 2008 – 2014 Christopher J White