Neville P, Gilroy - Seaman 1A who died this day - RFA Black Rover 2003.
John, Stroughair - Donkeyman Greaser who died this day - RFA Olna (2) 1958.
Henry, Pawsey - Fireman who died this day - RFA Mollusc 1918.
RFA Wave Commander
Previous name: Empire Paladin
Official Number: 169146
Class: WAVE CLASS Freighting Oiler (unmodified)
Pennant No: X132 / A244
Laid down: 1 April 1943
Builder: Furness Shipbuilding Co, Haverton Hill
Launched: 21 April 1944
Into Service: 16 May 1948
Out of service: 22 October 1958
Fate: Broken up by T.W.Ward Ltd at Inverkeithing
Items of historic interest involving this ship: -
Background Data: A need for fast tankers to bring oil into the country had been envisaged early in the Second World War, but by the time the material had been collected and the Yards had space to build them, the need had largely passed and the original design of diesel-engined ships was abandoned. Instead, the standard 12000t Class being built were given sharper bows and sterns and turbine engines with water tube boilers. In all, 21 of this type were built and were offered to the Admiralty, who wanted faster tankers for the Pacific Fleet Train. The Admiralty took 20 of them ( the final vessel being completed commercially for Oil and Molasses Tankers Ltd, London as BEECHWOOD) and renamed them with the WAVE nomenclature. Performance varied considerably from ship to ship and they underwent various modifications in their rigs for RAS work. The 8 best ones were finally given an extensive refit, with extra accommodation added to the Bridge Deck and extra turbo cargo pumps and derricks to make them more satisfactory for Fleet work. Initially expensive to run, they recouped some of their expensive repair bills by earning revenues from charter work after the Korean War. From this Class was evolved the TIDE CLASS oilers.
1 April 1944 Launched by Furness Shipbuilding Co Ltd, Haverton Hill as Yard Nr 359 named EMPIRE PALADIN for the MoWT
23 August 1944 under commercial management of United Molasses Ltd, London.
30 August 1944 sailed Middlesborough in convoy FN 1464 to Methil arrived the next day
31 August 1944 sailed Methil in convoy EN429 to Loch Ewe arrived the next day
4 September 1944 arrived independently at the Clyde for engine repairs which were completed on 9 September 1944
12 September 1944 sailed the Clyde joining convoy UC37 to New York arriving 23 September 1944
29 September 1944 sailed New York in convoy CU41 to Liverpool arriving 9 October 1944
13 October 1944 underwent repairs which were completed on 17 October 1944
21 October 1944 sailed Liverpool in convoy UC42A to New York arriving on 1 November 1944
7 November 1944 sailed New York in convoy CU46 to Liverpool arriving on 18 November 1944
20 November 1944 further repairs undertaken which were completed on 26 November 1944
26 November 1944 sailed Liverpool in convoy UC46B to New York arriving 7 December 1944. Convoy Commodore (Commander A M Cohan USNR) on board
9 December 1944 sailed New York in convoy CU50 to Swansea arriving 20 December 1944 along with RFA WAVE MONARCH
21 December 1944 sailed Swansea independently to Barry arriving the next day
24 December 1944 sailed Barry independently to Milford Haven arriving the same day
25 December 1944 sailed Milford Haven and joined convoy UC50A to New York arriving 4 January 1945 EMPIRE PALADIN ( later RFA WAVE COMMANDER) was in the same convoy
4 January 1945 underwent repairs at New York which were completed on 10 January 1945
18 January 1945 sailed New York in convoy CU55 to the Clyde arriving 28 January 1945 along with EMPIRE SALISBURY ( later RFA WAVE MASTER)
4 February 1945 in for repairs on the Clyde which were completed on 16 February 1945
2 March 1945 sailed the Clyde joining convoy UV55B to New York arriving 12 March 1945
15 March 1945 sailed New York in convoy CU62 to Gravesend arriving 27 March 1945
27 March 1945 underwent repairs which were completed on 29 March 1945
3 April 1945 underwent further repairs which were completed on 21 April 1945
23 April1945 Sailed Liverpool in Convoy UC 65A and arrived at Philadelphia on 5 May 1945 along with EMPIRE MARS ( later RFA WAVE DUKE ) and EMPIRE SALISBURY (later RFA WAVE MASTER)
10 May 1945 sailed New York in convoy CU69 to the Downs arriving on 20 May 1945 along with EMPIRE MARS ( later RFA WAVE DUKE)
24 May 1945 sailed Southend joining convoy UC69 to New York arriving on 3 June 1945
5 June 1945 sailed New York independently arriving at Glasgow on 15 June 1945
18 June 1945 sailed the Clyde independently arriving at New York on 27 June 1945
4 July 1945 sailed New York independently arriving the Downs 15 July 1945
16 July 1945 sailed the Downs independently arriving at Antwerp the same day
19 July 1945 sailed Antwerp independently to Falmouth arriving on 21 July 1945
July to September 1945 underwent engine repairs at Falmouth
4 October 1945 sailed Falmouth to Philadelphia arriving on 14 October 1945
14 October 1945 sailed Philadelphia to New York arriving the next day
16 October 1945 sailed New York to Oran arriving 28 October 1945 passing Gibraltar on 25 October 1945
1 November 1945 sailed Bizerta to Port Said arriving 5 November 1945 and transited the Suez Canal and arrived at Aden on 9 November 1945
9 November 1945 sailed Aden to Abadan arriving 14 November 1945
19 November 1945 sailed Abadan to Trincomalee arriving 26 November 1945
29 November 1945 sailed Trincomalee to Abadan arriving 6 December 1945
9 December 1945 sailed Abadan to Colombo arriving on 17 December 1945
December 1946 purchased by the Admiralty but remained under commercial management
12 May 1947 Captain Frederick L Finch RFA appointed as Master and Mr W McKee RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer
30 May 1947 renamed Wave Commander but remained under commercial management.
21 October 1947 sailed Sydney, NSW, Australia for Abadan
16 May 1948 taken under RFA Management and manned as an RFA
23 March 1949 Mr J E Kennedy RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer
4 August 1949 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour
17 October 1949 Mr William G Downing RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer
25 November 1949 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour returning to her berth later in the day
1 December 1949 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour
4 July 1950 Able Seaman Morris Ellis killed while saving the Bosun who had been overcome by fumes during tank cleaning. AB Ellis awarded the Albert Medal for Gallantry. See the RFA Honour section of this web site look under RFA Gallantry for further details.
AB Morris Ellis's grave in North Front Cemetery, Gibraltar
21 August 1950 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour
24 August 1950 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour
29 November 1950 Captain S P Sice RFA appointed as Master
11 July 1951 Mr C G McFadgean RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer
30 June 1952 Mr J A Ferguson RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer
9 January 1953 the ship went aground off Cape Henry, Virginia, United States of America in heavy seas. On charter to a US oil company carrying 10,000 tons of fuel oil to Baltimore from Aruba
10 January 1953 pulled clear by two US Coast Guard cutters Cherokee and Raritan and a tug Brant - she suffered no damage
13 March 1953 Captain Arthur J D Gosney RFA appointed as Master
26 January 1954 at sea at 28.34N 49.27E Secunny Ismail Abdul discharged dead - drowned
22 May 1954 Mr J A Sanderson RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer
13 July 1954 the ship was involved in a collision with the tanker British Unity in thick fog 30 miles east of Gibraltar. She suffered damage to her bow but made Gibraltar under escort of RFA Wave Duke. The Wave Commander was homeward bound from the Persian Gulf with a cargo of crude oil. Fire which broke out on the Wave Commander was put out later.
22 October 1954 Captain Alfred M Uglow RFA appointed as Master
30 September 1955 Mr G Thompson RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer
18 November 1955 Captain Hubert G Carkeet RFA appointed as Master
10th April 1956 an all night search for 3rd Officer William Russell-Smith RFA who was believed to have fallen overboard from RFA Wave Commander 12 miles off Beachy Head, Sussex was called off on the 11th April 1956 without him being found. 3rd Officer William Russell-Smith was the grandson of Captain Edward J Smith who was lost when the RMS Titanic sank
8 October 1956 Captain Emil E Sigwart RFA appointed as Master
3 May 1957 at 25.53N 66.20W Seaman Esmail s/o Hussain discharged dead - apparent natural causes - buried at sea
16 October 1957 Captain E E Lawrence RFA appointed as Master
16th September 1958 RFA Wave Commander used to receive 22,000 tons of oil from the tanker Melika, which sailed under the Liberian Flag and which was involved in an accident with the French registered tanker Fernand-Gilabert. The Melika was towed into Muscat by Royal Navy salvage crews.
22 October 1958 to Swansea, destored, laid up and handed over to MoT for disposal.
22 January 1959 offered for sale 'as lying' at Devonport in the Times of this day
9 May 1959 arrived at Inverkeithing for breaking up by T.W.Ward Ltd.
August 1959 breaking up began.