RFA Fort Rosalie (1)
RFA Fort Rosalie (1) spent eighteen months service in the Far East supplying the largest proposition of Ammunition used by Commonwealth Navies in the Korean War and had inspected, repaired and replaced Guns worn out by heavy bomardment.
It became, among men of the Commonwealth Navies arguable, the best known Ship in Korean Waters.
The buoy, which was to become the regular berth of the ship was situated close to CAMP-Hu, the base camp of the 41 Independent Commando, Royal Marines , who had recently returned from the outstanding service in Korea under the command of Colonel Drysdale RM. They had fought a magnificent rearguard action in company withe the 1st Division US Marine Corps at HAGARU-Ri near the Chosin River against a Force of some 100,000 Chinese. By this time, they had lost some 300 men. When they reached HUNGNAM, they were down to 100 men but remained intact as a fighting unit. They were awarded the the US Presidential Unit Citation which appears permanently on their colours.
Colonel Grant RM (successor to Colonel Drysdale RM), Major Denis Aldridge RM and Captain Gerald Roberts RM were all part of the 41st Commando which the ship had the privilege to have as Honorary members of the ships Mess.
Before returning to the UK, the ship had to dispose of 1,000 unstable TORPEX Depth Charges which were considered highly dangerous. The Depth Charges were of a similar batch to those which had exploded on a barge in Portsmouth Harbour on 14 July 1950 and also caused a major explosion on a barge in Gibraltar Harbour killing a number of the Armanents staff and the sinking of the NAV BEDENHAM on 27 May 1951.
NAV Bedenham in Gibraltar Harbour with the Ammunition barge exploding
This hazardous operation was completed successfully in waters between Japan and Korea.
Prior to leaving on her homeward voyage, the ship received the following Signals –
From: – Admiral George C Dyer – Commander in Chief, United Nations Escort and Blockade Force CTF 95
Your fine work for Ships of this command in sincerely appreciated. Your effort and those of other Auxiliaries are often unsunk but of vital importance to carrying the war to the enemy. God speed and good luck to each of you.
From: – Admiral A Scott-Moncrief – Far Eastern Command
During the past eighteen months, FORT ROSALIE has rendered exceptional service to the Fleet involving hard work and little limelight. We are all very grateful. I wish the Ship’s company and armament staff a very happy return home.
During her deployment during the Korean War she did not receive a Battle Honour (while ten RFA tankers and one RFA Hospital Ship did (covering various dates in theatre)