RFA Wave King
RFA Wave King
Previous name: Empire Sheba
Official Number: 169897
Class: WAVE CLASS Freighting Oiler (unmodified)
Pennant No: X82 / B 525 / A182
Laid down: 23 March 1943
Builder: Harland & Wolff (Govan)
Launched: 6 April 1944
Into Service: 22 July 1944
Out of service: 1956 - Laid up at Portsmouth, Hampshire
Fate: Broken up
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.
23 March 1943 laid down as EMPIRE SHEBA for the MoWT
28 January 1944 taken over by the Admiralty as the first of the WAVE Class - name cancelled
6 April 1944 launched by Harland & Wolff Ltd, Govan as Yard Nr 1222 G named WAVE KING.
27 March 1944 Mr Charles M Morgan OBE RFA (Lieutenant Commander (E) RNR) appointed as Chief Engineer Officer
12 June 1944 Captain J M Humphrey OBE DSC RFA appointed as Master
21 July 1944 completed and taken over from the builders
4 August 1944 was nominated to join convoy UC32 but did not join.
9 August 1944 sailed the Clyde to Liverpool and the to New York in convoy UC33 arriving on the 20 August 1944
11 August 1944 suffered steering gear failure and fell out of her column in Convoy UC 33. USS RIND (DD404) remained with ship for 2.5 hours while the ships engineers repaired the steering gear. Rejoined Convoy. USS RIND rejoined the Convoy patrolling astern.
27 August 1944 sailed New York to Liverpool and then the Clyde in convoy CU 27 arriving on the 8 September 1944
1 October 1944 sailed the Clyde to Port Said in convoy KMF 35 arriving on the 11 October 1944
25 October 1944 sailed Suez independently arriving at Aden on the 30 October 1944
30 October 1944 sailed Aden independently to Khor Kwai arriving 3 November 1944
3 November 1944 sailed Khor Kwai independently to Abadan arriving 5 November 1944
6 November 1944 sailed Abadan independently to Colombo, Ceylon arriving 14 November 1944
16 November 1944 sailed Colombo, Ceylon independently to Trincomalee arriving 17 November 1944
18 November 1944 in Operation Outflank - the Eastern Fleet Task Force from Trincomalee - with escorts
27 November 1944 conducted successful RAS trials with the battleship HMS KING GEORGE V using 2 x 5” buoyant hoses
18 December 1944 RAsed HMS Whirlwind during Operation ROBSON - the first naval participation in Operation Outflank
13 January 1945 sailed Trincomalee, Ceylon with RFA Empire Salvage and RFA Echodale with a RN Unit as Force 69 to take part in Operation Meridan - an air attack on the oil refineries at Palembang to put them out of action They were joined in the fuelling area south of Sumatra by RFA ARNDALE which was despatched from Freemantle 2 days later
16 January 1945 attached to the British Pacific Fleet - the Main Body as Force 69 sailed from Trincomalee. The underway replenishment group included RFA’s WAVE KING, ARNDALE, ECHODALE and EMPIRE SALVAGE escorted by the cruiser HMS CEYLON and the destroyer HMS URCHIN
20 January 1945 formed part of the underway replenishment group supporting Operation Meridian One - the naval air strike on the Royal Dutch Oil refinery at Pladjoe, the largest and most important oil refinery in the Far East
7 February 1945 arrived Freemantle
13 February 1945 sailed Freemantle independently to Sydney, NSW arriving 20 February 1945
27 February 1945 in the company of RFA's ARNDALE, CEDARDALE and Requisition Auxilary SAN ADOLPHI sailed Sydney, NSW escorted to Manus, Admiralty Islands by HMAS WHYALLA and arriving on 9 March 1945
15 March 1945 The British Pacific Fleet, retitled as Task Force 57 to fit in with US Navy practice, was directed to participate in Operation Iceberg - the invasion of Okinawa - and RFA’s ARNDALE, BACCHUS (2), BROWN RANGER, CEDARDALE, DINGLEDALE, WAVE KING and WAVE MONARCH were attached.
19 March 1945 sailed Manus, Admiralty Islands independently to Leyte arriving 26 March 1945
28 March 1945 to 30 March 1945 The British Pacific Fleet Train, designated Task Force 112 - included RFA’s ARNDALE, CEDARDALE, DINGLEDALE, WAVE KING and WAVE MONARCH.
14 April 1945 - Pacific - Task Force 57 - Wave King established a record at the time for the number of ships refueled in one day and pumped 5050 tons of oil in 9 hours
23 April 1945 to 30 April 1945 The British Pacific Fleet and Fleet train were at San Pedro Bay for rest, recreation and storing along with the distilling ship RFA BACCHUS (2) and the water carrier RFA BROWN RANGER
3 May 1945 HMAS NAPIER, NEPAL, NIZAM and NORMAN, (destroyers), screened the escort carriers STRIKER and RULER, and RFA's WAVE KING and WAVE MONARCH, in the Okinawa area.
6 May 1945 - 7 May 1945 Elements of the British Pacific Fleet met up with the Tanker Group at Cootie One - 21.12. N 128.44 E - for fuelling. The Group included RFA’s CEDARDALE, WAVE KING & WAVE MONARCH and 2 other MFA oiler under the escort of HMS Norman
14 May 1945 refuelled HMS EURYALUS
15 May 1945 with Fleet Train in Area COOTIE RASing BPF ships with RN Frigates HMS WOODCOCK, HMS PHEASANT, Destroyers HMAS NIZAM, Escort Carriers HMS RULER and HMS STRIKER for defence of Fleet Train tankers RFA's DINGLEDALE, ARNDALE, WAVE KING and WAVE MONARCH (Operation ICEBERG TWO). RASed with HMS EURYALUS
22 May 1945 at Cortie One RFA’s WAVE KING & WAVE MONARCH met up with HM and HMA ships for fuelling purposes.
5 June 1945 sailed Manus Naval Base, Admiralty Islands independently to Sydney NSW arriving 11 June 1945
19 July 1945 sailed Sydney, NSW independently to Manus arriving 25 July 1945
July 1945 - Pacific - part of Task Force 112
6 August 1945 HMS Crane provide AA defence for HMS ARBITER,. HMS CHASER, HMS RULER. tankers RFA DINGLEDALE, RFA WAVE KING and SAN AMADO, .Stores Supply Ships GLENARTNEY, FORT WRANGELL during BPF replenishment with Destroyers HMAS NORMAN, HMAS NIZAM, frigate HMS BARLE, sloop HMS PHEASANT, minesweepers HMAS BALLARAT and HMAS BURNIE
14 August 1945 alongside USS Housatonic (AO35) to receive a pumpover of US Navy Special Fuel oil and AVGAS
15 August 1945 cleared USS Housatonic
20 August 1945 sailed Manus independently to Tokyo Bay 5 September 1945
2 September 1945 - present in Tokyo Bay during the surrender signing
17 September 1945 at Buckner Bay, Okinawa transfered six survivors to USS Santa Fe (CL60) for medical treatment. The survivors had come from USS YMS421 (a US minesweeper) which had been lost in a typhoon having grounded and broken up on a local reef and had then been rescued by RFA Wave King
1 October 1945 under repair at Hong Kong
26 October 1945 Second Cook and Baker Samuel Hannah appeared before the Standing Military Court, Hong Kong charged with theft of two loaves of bread from the ship on 19 October 1945. Hannah pleaded Guilty. Hannah was seen leaving the ship at 6.30pm with a parcel under his arm. He was stopped by the Chief Officer and two loaves of bread were found. He was fined $20. Seaman Samuel Smith Robinson was fined $30 or ten days imprisonment for disobeying a lawful command of an officer. He pleaded Guilty.
27 October 1945 Able Seaman Thomas Wheeler (Royal Navy) discharged dead having died from a fractured skull. He is buried in Sai Wan War Cemetery, Hong Kong.
Courtesy and © of The War Graves Photographic Project
31 October 1945 in port at Hong Kong
5 December 1945 in port at Hong Kong
3 April 1946 in port at Hong Kong
3 May 1946 in port at Hong Kong
26 May 1946 sailed Hong Kong to Abadan via SIngapore (arrived on 31 May 1946)
7 June 1946 arrived Bombay - sailed 13 June 1946 arrived Abadan 19 June 1946
21 June 1946 sailed Abadan
3 July 1946 sailed Port Said
9 July 1946 passed Gibraltar
13 July 1946 arrived Old Kilpatrick to discharge
15 July 1946 sailed Old Kilpatrick to the Clyde.
28 August 1946 sailed the Clyde to Abadan
1 September 1946 passed Gibraltar
6 September 1946 arrived Port Said
13 September 1946 sailed Aden
21 September 1946 sailed Abadan to Bombay arriving 26 September 1946
28 September 1946 sailed Bombay
17 October 1946 arrived Sydney, NSW, Australia
29 October 1946 sailed Sydney, NSW, Australia
12 November 1946 arrived Colombo and sailed on 14 November 1946 to Abadan
23 November 1946 sailed Abadan to Port Said
3 December 1946 sailed Port Said to Malta
20 December 1946 sailed Malta to Port Said arriving on 23 December 1946
23 December 1946 in transit through the Suez Canal
2 January 1947 arrived at Abadan
4 January 1947 sailed Abadan to Singapore
17 January 1947 arrived at Singapore and sailed the same day to Kure
26 January 1947 arrived at Kure
4 February 1947 sailed Kure to Abadan arriving 25 February 1947
27 February 1947 sailed Abadan to Trincomalee
5 August 1947 at Hong Kong Captain Robert Morrison RFA discharged dead after suffering a heart attack
1 September 1947 Mr D F Gorrie RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer
25 September 1947 Captain Robert Grimer DSC RFA appointed as Master
24 June 1948 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour
29 June 1945 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour
5 July 1948 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour
29 September 1948 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour
30 September 1948 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour
5 October 1948 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour
22 April 1949 arrived Melbourne, Victoria, Australia from Abadan to discharge
26 April 1949 sailed Melbourne, Victoria, Australia for Abadan in ballast
9 November 1949 Captain Albert E Curtain OBE RD RFA (Commander RNR (ret)) appointed as Master
16 November 1949 Mr H G May RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer
15 January 1950 berthed at Auckland, New Zealand
7 January 1952 Captain Howard D Gausden DSO RFA appointed as Master
4 February 1952 Mr J W Ritchie RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer
6 November 1951 sailed Gibraltar
9 January 1952 at Devonport moved by RFA Careful to No 9 berth
5 June 1952 Mr J Wilson RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer
3 October 1952 arrived from Colombo, Ceylon with fuel for Royal Australian Naval ships patrolling off Monte Bello shortly after the first atomic weapon was tested there.
16 April 1953 Captain Edward E A Le Sage RFA appointed as Master
21 September 1953 at Gibraltar Donkeyman Greaser Ernest Popham missing presumed drowned - logged as discharged dead
26 January 1954 Mr J A Swallow RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer
30 October 1954 Chief Cook Percy Daniel discharged dead at 15.09N 51.46E buried at sea - apparently natural causes
24 to 29 July 1955 Engineers from HMS Loch Lomond and HMS Flamingo assisted with feed pump problems in the Persian Gulf. Wave King then sailed to Mina-al-Ahmadi to complete repairs and even later salvage money was paid to the RN ships crew.
24 October 1955 Captain Alfred W Camamile DSC RFA appointed as Master
10 January 1956 Mr J A Ferguson RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer
21 April 1956 while alongside the Admiralty Oil Fuel depot at Ol Kilpatrick, River Clyde. Pumpman Frederick WIlliam Saunders discharged dead - natural causes - massive stroke
9 August 1956 struck a rock off Sao Luis de Maranhao, Brazil and was badly damaged. After refloating, she returned for repairs to Nouth Shields.
7 November 1956 Captain E E A Le Sage RFA appointed as Master
19 November 1956 Mr Ciriaco G McFadzean RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer
6 October 1957 Captain A Jackson OBE RFA appointed as Master
6 January 1958 at 12.52N 43.16E Assistant Steward Lau Kwok Kuen discharged dead - missing at sea - presumed drowned
29 June 1958 Mr K I J George RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer
13 January 1959 sailed Malta to Abadan
20 January 1959 at sea at 16.16N 41.20E Bosun Chow Sing Foo and Seaman Lee Yao Ming both discharged dead having died from asphyxia. Both were buried at sea.
March 1960 purchased by H.G. Pounds Ltd, Portsmouth then resold to BISCO for £65,000 for scrap
16 April 1960 arrived under tow from Portland - tug Merchantman - at Barrow in Furness for breaking up.
1. Early in her career, she suffered serious stern gland trouble off Okinawa and had to be towed to Hong Kong through a typhoon for repairs and she spent almost a year out of commission. A new shaft was fitted there in May 1949.
2. When TF 57 arrived at the fuelling area in April 1945 she established a record for the number of ships fuelled in one day and pumped over 5050 tons of fuel in a period of nine hours.
3. Was part of the British Pacific Fleet Train - hence the B-pennant number