RFA Dinsdale




Official Number:                  168276
Class:                                    1st DALE CLASS Freighting Tanker

Pennant No:                          X106

Laid down:
Builder:                                  Harland & Woolf, Belfast
Launched:                             21 October 1941
Into Service:                          1942
Out of service:                       1 June 1942
Fate:                                       Sunk


Items of historic interest involving this ship: –


Background Data:  Originally there were to have been nineteen ships in this Class. The first six were purchased off the stocks from the British Tanker Co Ltd whilst building at the instigation of the then Director of Stores, Sir William Gick, who was concerned at the age of the RFA Fleet and ships that were approaching the end of their economic lives. A further two ships were purchased from Anglo Saxon Petroleum Co Ltd for evaluation purposes. At the outbreak of WW2, a further eleven ships were acquired from the MoWT war programme although one of these, to have been named EPPINGDALE, which had been registered in London as EMPIRE GOLD on 21/02/43 and intended for transfer to the Admiralty for manning and management as an RFA and despite five Officers being appointed to her, the intended transfer was cancelled the following day and she thus never entered RFA service. Three of this Class were converted into LSG’s and were then reconverted back into tankers at the end of the War.



21 October 1941 launched by Harland & Wolff Ltd, Belfast as Yard Nr: 1078 named EMPIRE NORSEMAN for the MoWT and originally intended for management by Eagle Oil Transport Co Ltd, London

18 January 1942 Mr Alexander B McIntyre RD RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer


Alex Bain McIntyre photo

Chief Engineer Officer Alexander B McIntyre RD RFA


16 March 1942 Captain Thomas H Card RFA appointed as Master

11 April 1942 completed; taken over by the Admiralty and renamed DINSDALE. Was originally intended for management by Anglo Saxon Petroleum Co Ltd, London but was allocated to the Admiralty to compensate for the loss of RFA CAIRNDALE. Anchored in Belfast Lough

16 April 1942 sailed Belfast Lough

17 April 1942 suffered an engine breakdown due to an accumulation of sand in her engine pipes which prevented her sailing in convoy as planned – returned to Belfast Lough

23 April 1942 sailed Belfast Lough in escorted convoy OS26 in ballast to Freetown arriving 9 May 1942 enroute to Point-a-Pierre, Trinidad

14 May 1942 at Pointe Fortin, Trinidad Able Seaman Robert Thomas McKinsby Davidson discharged dead – accidentally drowned


ABRobert Davdison

Able Seaman Robert T McK Davidson


21 May 1942 sailed Trinidad for Port Elizabeth and Durban

31 May 1942 torpedoed SSW of St. Paul’s Rocks, South Atlantic Ocean by the Italian Submarine Commandante Alfredo Cappellini. Sank the following day. When attacked five of the crew were killed and have no known grave but the sea. See 1942 Roll of Honour. A further eight crew members arrived at New York on the 23 June 1942 awaiting repatriation



The Tower Hill Memorial records four of those who died


15 June 1942 the Master and 43 crew, rescued by the Spanish steamer MONTE ORDUNA were landed at Las Palmas before being taken on to Cadiz by the Spanish CIUDAD DE VALENCIA



Her Master, Captain Thomas H Card OBE RFA later served as RFA Commodore between December 1955 and January 1957