Wave Liberator-04
RFA Wave Liberator



Previous name:                   Empire Milner

Official Number:                  169143

Class:                                WAVE CLASS Freighting  Oiler (unmodified)

Pennant No:                        X140 / A248

Laid down:
Builder:                               Furness Shipbuilding Company
Launched:                           9 February 1944
Into Service:                        1946 renamed Wave Liberator
Out of service:                     1959

Fate:                                   Scrapped Hong Kong


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, twenty one of this type were built and were offered to the Admiralty, who wanted faster tankers for the Pacific Fleet Train. The Admiralty took twenty 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 eight 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.


9 February 1944 launched by Furness Shipbuilding Co Ltd, Haverton Hill as Yard Nr: 358 named EMPIRE MILNER for the MoWT.

June 1944 on completion for Ministry of War Transport handed to civil management of Anglo-Saxon Petroleum. 

4 July 1944 sailed Middlesbrough on convoy FN1407 arriving at Methil the next day

6 July 1944 sailed Methil in convoy EN405 arriving the Clyde on 8 July 1944

9 July 1944 underwent repairs on the Clyde which were completed on 11 July 1944

16 July 1944 sailed the Clyde in convoy UC30 to New York arriving on the 27 July 1944. In station 83 in the convoy. With 49 other ships 

28 July 1944 underwent repairs in New York which were completed on 31 July 1944

3 August 1944 sailed New York in convoy CU34 along with EMPIRE LAW (later RFA WAVE CONQUEROR) arriving Swansea 14 August 1944

14 August 1944 underwent repairs at Swansea which were completed on 24 August 1944

25 August 1944 sailed Swansea independently to Belfast Lough arriving the next day

26 August 1944 sailed Belfast Lough joining convoy UC35 to New York arriving 5 September 1944

12 September 1944 sailed New York in convoy CU39 to Cardiff arriving 22 September 1944

24 September 1944 sailed Cardiff independently to Liverpool arriving the next day

28 September 1944 underwent further repairs which were not completed until 10 October 1944

10 October 1944 sailed Liverpool in convoy UC40B to New York arriving 20 October 1944

22 October 1944 sailed New York in convoy CU44 to Avonmouth arriving 2 November 1944

9 November 1944 sailed Avonmouth independently arriving Milford Haven the next day

11 November 1944 sailed Milford Haven joined convoy UC44B along with RFA WAVE MONARCH to New York arriving 22 November 1944

1 December 1944 sailed New York in convoy CU49 arrived the Downs 12 December 1944

18 December 1944 sailed Southend in convoy FN1575 to Middelsborough arriving 20 December 1944

20 January 1945 while under tow from Middlesborough to Hull struck a wreck in the River Humber off Grimsby - convoy FS1701 - arrived Hull that day

1 March 1945 left Hull in tow to the Tyne arriving the following day

28 April 1945 sailed the Tyne joining convoy FS 1792 to Southend arriving 30 April 1945

1 May 1945 sailed Southend in convoy UC66A along with EMPIRE BOUNTY (later RFA WAVE VICTOR) and EMPIRE LAW (later RFA WAVE CONQUEROR) to New York arriving 12 May 1945

15 May 1945 sailed New York in convoy CU70 to Avonmouth arriving 25 May 1945

27 May 1945 sailed Avonmouth joining convoy ON305 to New York arriving 6 June 1945

8 June 1945 sailed New York independently to Portsmouth arriving 17 June 1945

19 June 1945 sailed Portsmouth independently arriving New York 28 June 1945

6 July 1945 sailed New York independently arriving Thames Haven 16 July 1945

29 July 1945 sailed Thames Haven independently arriving New York

7 August 1945 passing the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard

11 August 1945 sailed sailed New York independently arriving Bremerhaven 23 August 1945

20 August 1945 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing east bound

26 August 1945 sailed Bremerhaven independently arriving Falmouth 28 August 1945

4 September 1945 sailed Falmouth independently arriving Galveston, Texas 17 September 1945

24 October 1945 sailed Galveston, Texas independently arriving Portsmouth 10 November 1945

13 November 1945 sailed Portsmouth independently, passing the Lloyds Signal Station and arriving Falmouth 13 November 1945

4 December 1945 sailed Curacao for Falmouth

9 January 1946 Chief Engineer Officer Victor T Millington appointed an Officer of the most excellent Order of the British Empire. (OBE) details published in the London Gazette page 281 of this date



Chief Engineer Officer Victor T Millington OBE


22 January 1946 arrived Suez from Abadan

24 January 1946 sailed Port Said for Falmouth

28 January 1946 while on passage from Abadan to Falmouth passed Gibraltar this day

5 February 1946 berthed at Thameshaven

8 March 1946 sailed the River Tyne for Abadan

December 1946 name changed to Wave Liberator on becoming a Royal Fleet Auxiliary

29 June 1947 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing west

8 September 1947 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing west

16 November 1947 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

21 November 1947 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

18 December 1947 Mr David L S Hood DSC RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer. Passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing east

22 December 1947 Captain Douglas S Norrington RD RFA (Commander RNR) appointed as Master

7 January 1948 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing west

17 January 1948 Mr Allan D Harris RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

27 January 1948 at Cardiff

26 April 1948 at Glasgow

24 May 1948 sailed Suez

10 June 1948 at Glasgow

20 June 1948 at Port Said

29 July 1948 at Rosyth

9 August 1948 passed Gibraltar sailing east bound

14 August 1948 at Port Said

24 August 1948 sailed Suez

2 September 1948 arrived at Abadan

4 September 1948 sailed Abadan

16 September 1948 berthed at Malta

20 September 1948 Quartermaster William Kelly from the ship appeared before the Stipendary Magistrate in Valleta charged with entering a house without the occupiers permission and causing damage to the value of £8.0sh.0d 

11 October 1948 at Rosyth

26 December 1948 at Greenock

18 January 1949 Junior Ordinary Seaman  P. Arthur logged for being absent from his place of duty. Fined 10/- and forfeited one days pay

17 February 1949 having sailed from Abadan Robert Osborne a sailor who had deserted from ss British Guardsman was found on board as a stowaway

7 March 1949 sailed Port Said 

27 April 1949 at Aden AB/Signaller Edward Charles George Hewitt discharged dead - he died in No 7 RAF Hospital, Aden

30 April 1949 arrived at Suez while on passage from Abadan for LEFO

20 June 1949 EDH R G Doyle logged for being absent without leave. He was forfeited one days pay of 13sh 4d

25 June 1949 Captain Francis J King RFA appointed as Master

2 July 1949 in refit at Falmouth

3 September 1949 arrived on the Tyne at the Jarrow Oil Wharf from Aruba

16 September 1949 on passage from Falmouth for Abadan arrived at Gibraltar

19 September 1949 sailed from Gibraltar 

25 September 1949 arrived at Port Said

26 September 1949 sailed Suez

30 September 1949 passed Aden

5 October 1949 arrived at Abadan

27 November 1949 sailed Suez

7 December 1949 arrived at Abadan

8 December 1949 sailed Abadan for Port Said

31 January 1950 berthed at Fremantle, Western Australia to discharge

1 February 1950 at Fremantle Police Court Greaser William I Cummings was fined £5 for assaulting the 2nd Engineer Officer and Fireman Jack Crapper was fined £2 for using threatening words - offences to which they both pleaded Guilty - details of the incident leading up to the prosecution were reported in the Perth Daily News the next day ....

Freemantle Police Court 1950

3 February 1950 at Fremantle Ships Writer William Henry Wright and 2nd Engineer Officer Joseph M Campbell deserted the ship. The ship sailed for Abadan

17 April 1950 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

12 June 1950 at Fremantle Police Court Ships Writer William Henry Wright and 2nd Engineer Officer Joseph M Campbell both pleaded Guilty to desertion. They were both cautioned and ordered to pay £4 1sh 3d costs. The case was reported in the Western Australian newspaper the next day ...

Press report West Oz 1950


4 August 1950 at Abadan (Kabda Reach) Fireman William Henry James discharged dead

6 September 1950 arrived River Tyne from Rosyth

17 October 1950 Captain Douglas N J Williams RFA (Lieutenant Commander RNR) appointed as Master

4 November 1950 Mr J A Macpherson RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

14 January 1951 sailed Bombay

9 February 1951 passed Gibraltar sailing west bound

16 February 1951 sailed Portsmouth Harbour

21 February 1951 passed Gibraltar sailing east bound

26 February 1951 arrived Port Said

18 April 1951 sailed Gibraltar

1 June 1951 sailed Curacao

26 June 1951 sailed the River Tyne for Trinidad

12 July 1951 off San Fernando Jetty, Trinidad - Assistant Steward Allan Stratford discharged dead - drowned

Press Cutting Trinidad Guardian

Press Cutting from the Trinidad Guardian
supplied with thanks to Jerome Lee


29 October 1951 Mr D F Gorrie RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

24 November 1951 passed Flamborough Head Lloyds Signal Station north bound

16 January 1952 arrived on the River Tyne berthing at Smiths Dock

6 February 1952 sailed Jacksonville

11 February 1952 at Southport, Louisiana, USA Fireman Choi Lee discharged dead - drowned

11 March 1952 arrived Le Havre Roads

14 March 1952 sailed Rouen for Falmouth

2 July 1952 sailed Colombo for Singapore

16 September 1952 arrived at Bahrein

8 November 1952 Captain Sidney T Dunster OBE RFA appointed as Master



Captain Sidney T Dunster RFA


18 January 1953 sailed Aden for Suez

6 February 1953 passed Gibraltar sailing west

15 February 1953 sailed Le Havre for the River Clyde

19 February 1953 in refit at Govan on the River Clyde

24 February 1953 Mr F Hobson RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

17 November 1953 entered Eideralie dry dock on the Clyde for refit

4 February 1954 Mr William J Brown OBE DSC RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

12 April 1954 Mr J A Macpherson RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

5 October 1954 arrived at Suez

2 December 1954 berthed at Wallsend Slipway, River Tyne from Sheerness

16 April 1955 Captain Edmund H Butterworth RFA appointed as Master


Captain Edmund H Butterworth RFA

Captain Edmund H Butterworth RFA


19 May 1955 in refit at Swan Hunters, Wallsend on Tyme

23 July 1955 sailed Gibraltar for Teneriffe

10 August 1955 sailed Aruba

18 November 1955 Mr Wallace G Downing RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

6 January 1956 arrived at Aden

7 January 1956 sailed Aden for the Persian Gulf

21 January 1956 sailed Mena Al Ahmadi for LEFO

31 January 1956 arrived at Suez

24 December 1956 entered Grand Harbour, Malta with RFA's TIDEREACH, WAVE VICTOR and BROWN RANGER after covering, with RN units, the Anglo-French Forces withdrawl from Port Said

28 May 1957 in refit at Smith's Dock, River Tyne

19 July 1957 Captain Ronald V Warren DSC RFA appointed as Master

Capt Ronald V Warren DSC

Captain Ronald V Warren DSC RFA
kindly donated by Mrs Susan Henry

1 August 1957 Mr David Meikle RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer



Chief Engineer Officer David Meikle RFA 

23 August 1957 sailed Suez

4 September 1957 sailed Abadan for Malta

7 September 1957 sailed Muscat

15 September 1957arrived at Suez

22 September 1957 berthed at Gibraltar

23 February 1958 sailed Port Said

20 April 1958 sailed Suez

23 May 1958 sailed Port Said

12 November 1958 arrived at Suez

15 November 1958 sailed Port Said

21 December 1958 sailed Bandar Mashur to Bombay arriving 27 December 1958 for repairs 

6 January 1959 laid up at Bombay with unrepaired collision damage

29 January 1959 offered for sale in 'The Times', lying 'as is' at Bombay

Press Cutting the Times 1959 WLiberator

2 April 1959 purchased by Hong Kong Towage and Salvage Co, Hong Kong for scrap

5 April 1959 sailed Bombay in tow of the Hong Kong Moller tug GOLDEN CAPE

Golden Cape

Moller tug Golden Cape when HMRT Aimwell

4 May 1959 arrived Hong Kong for breaking up



Additional information

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