RFA Protected War Grave sites

RFA Protected War Grave sites

The Protection of Military Remains Act 1986 is a UK Act of Parliament which provides protection for the wreckage of military aircraft and designated military vessels. The Act provides for two types of protection: protected places and controlled sites. Military aircraft are automatically protected but vessels have to be specifically designated. The primary reason for designation is to protect as a ‘war grave’ the last resting place of UK servicemen (or other nationals), however, the act does not require the loss of the vessel to have occurred during war.

There have been three statutory instruments designating wrecks under the Act, in 2002, 2006, and 2008. None of the twelve wrecks which are designated as controlled sites, on which diving is banned are of RFA vessels or ones which contain RFA personnel.

All other vessels that meet the criteria of the Act are subject to a rolling programme of assessment and those that meet the criteria will be designated as protected places. The order that is currently in force, since 2008, designates 46 wrecks as protected places. This means that diving is allowed but divers must follow the rule of: –  Look, don’t touch.

One Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel is designated as a protected place: –

Name S.I. YearConflict Location Date Sank
RFA Sir Galahad2002Falklands WarFalkland Islands25 June 1982

Two non RFA vessels are designated as protected places on which RFA crew member(s) was/were serving and who were killed at the time of the vessels sinking: –

NameS.I. YearConflictLocationDate Sank
HMS Prince of Wales2002Second World WarOff Singapore10 December 1941
Atlantic Conveyor2008Falkland WarFalkland Islands25 May 1982

Details of the officers and crew members who were killed on the above ships are listed in the RFA Roll of Honour for the year in which the vessel on which they were serving on was sunk.