RFA Sir Percivale




Reproduced with permission of the MOD


RFA Sir Percivale


Sir Percy at anchor


Official Number:              335624                                                                  

Class:                             SIR LANCELOT CLASS Landing Ship Logistics

Pennant No:                    L3036  

Laid down:                      27 July 1966
Builder:                           Swan Hunter, Hebburn
Launched:                      4 October 1967
Into Service:                   1970
Out of service:                17 August 2004
Fate:                               Broken up


Items of historic interest involving this ship: –


Background Data:   In December 1961 the following announcement was made: War Office Military Supply Ship:A 6000t ocean-going twin screw military supply vessel has been ordered by the MOT from the Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Co Ltd at Govan, who are to develop the final specifications of the ship, which is expected to cost about £1million. Building will start around February 1962 and the ship is expected to be in service late in 1963 or early in 1964. The design calls for a fast troop and vehicle carrier capable of discharging onto beaches. She will have bow and stern loading facilities for tanks and military vehicles, ramp loading hatches, cargo handling cranes and provision for carrying and launching pontoons. A helicopter will be carried aft, and on completion she will have a Merchant Navy crew and will be managed by the British India Steam Navigation Co Ltd”.  In March 1963 it was announced that tenders were to be invited for a further two vessels at a cost of £2 million each and all three would then replace thirteen former Tank Landing ships and would be part of an eventual Class of five or six ships, all of which would be named after Knights of the Round Table. The final three vessels were ordered in April 1965, and in December 1968 it was announced that as from January 1970, the management of these six vessels, as well as that of one ex-LST, would be transferred to the RFA


April 1966 laid down as LSL 06

3 October 1967 the Coventry Evening Telegraph reported –


3.10.67 Cov Even Tele Sir Percy


4 October 1967 launched by Hawthorn Leslie Shipbuilders Ltd, Hebburn as Yard Nr: 762 named SIR PERCIVALE for the Ministry of Transport


St Perci launch

Percy ships bell


23 March 1968 completed and placed under management of British India Steam Navigation Co Ltd., London


Sir Percivale in White

Sir Percivale in  BI colours

Sir Percy original colour 


13 January 1970 having sailed from the UK berthed at Tobruk to load 2,605 tons of military cargo, 32 vehicles, and ammunition during the British Forces withdrawl from Libya 

14 January 1970 sailed Tobruk for the UK to discharge

3 February 1970 sailed from the UK and berthed at Tobruk to load 2,481 tons of military cargo, 32 vehicles, and ammunition

5 February 1970 sailed Tobruk for the UK to discharge

6 March 1970 management transferred to the RFA

24 September 1970 arrived on the River Tyne from Marchwood

25 January 1971 her Ship’s Badge was officially presented to her

24 November 1971 at Portsmouth Dockyard

23 February 1972 at Southampton

June 1972 monitored French Nuclear tests in the Pacific

22 August 1972 RASed with RFA PLUMLEAF (2)

21 November 1972 at River Tyne

21 February 1973 at Marchwood Military Port

July 1973 monitored French Nuclear tests in the Pacific (for the second time)

15 March 1974 sailed Marchwood for sea trials

25 March 1974 returned to Marchwood from sea trials

28 April 1974 sailed Marchwood for Panama to take part in Operation Yarrow with part of the Scientfic Team

11 May 1974 arrived at Balboa 

13 May 1974 rest of Scientfic Team and RAF team joing the ship

16 May 1974 sailed Balboa to Pitcairn Island

26 May 1974 arrived at Pitcairn Island – RAF team and equipment landed

30 May 1974 inspection and maintenance of starboard engine in the lee of Gambier

31 May 1974 off Morane – mail drop from French of Pitcairn codes

5 June 1974 PUT 9 inflated

6 June 1974 weather bad – wind 30 knots

7 June 1974 wind during previous 24 hours up to 40 knots. Average 30 knots. PUT 9 disintegrated during the night of gale force winds with squalls reaching 65 knots

10 June 1974 outgoing mail transfered to French ‘Orage’

11 June 1974 PUT10 inflated. Successful test flight to 9,700 feet off Morane, 14,000 feet cable out. Equipment satisfactory. Balloon at 10,100 feet

15 June 1974 adverse weather forecast. PUT 10 deflated

20 June 1974 danger area closed from 0001Z. Awaiting suitable conditions for inflation

24 June 1974 accident to a boat at Pitcairn Island reported. Sailed to Pitcairn Island – later turned back to Morane but no event. Again sailed to Pitciarn Island.

25 June 1974 a French ship landed a medical team onto Pitcairn Island. Returned to Morane. Marmora fired at 1900Z. The Balloon was not inflated

28 June 1974 balloon inflated

30 June 1974 ‘Apelline’ fired 1830Z Balloon at 9,000 feet with 13,500 feet cable out. Wind speed 30 knots at event time. Recovered in squall 35 to 40 knots.

2 July 1974 RASed with RFA TIDEPOOL

4 July 1974 PUT 10 balloon deflated. When close-hauled for fan replacement ripline and bridle caught on centre floodflight tearing off rip panel. On way to Pitcairn.

5 July 1974 arrived at Pitcairn. Sailed for Gambier in the afternoon

6 July 1974 to 8 July 1974 engine maintenance off Gambier

19 July 1974 PUT11 inflated

21 July 1974 Balloon put up to an estimated altitude of 10,250 feet

25 July 1974 two blower fans damaged beyond repair after 24 hours of winds 25 to 40 knots

27 July ‘Propensity’ fire 1840Z. Ballon at 10,800 feet with 13,800 feet of cable out. Winds at altitude 17 knots

30 July 1974 ship on course 080 degrees True running before 40 knot westerly wind. Rough sea and heavy swell. Balloon on mooring strop

31 July 1974 ‘Haverel’  fired at 2230Z. Balloon at 9,600 feet with 12,500 feet of cable out. Wind speed at altitude 35 knots. 20 to 30 knots during descent.

1 August 1974 PUT deflated.

2 August 1974 danger area opened at 0001Z  RAS with RFA TIDESPRING

3 August 1974 at Pitciarn Island

4 August 1974 sailed Pitcairn Island for Balboa 

15 August 1974 arrived at Balboa 

16 August 1974 scientific team landed to fly back to the UK via Miami. Sailed from Balboa for the UK

29 August 1974 arrived at Marchwood

2 January 1976 sailed from Chatham Dockyard into the River Medway and to sea

March 1976 embarked the Rear Party and the last stores and equipment on the closure of RAF Gan in the Maldive Islands

8 February 1977 entered Chatham Dockyard from the River Medway

11 February 1977 sailed from Chatham Dockyard into the River Medway

15 April 1977 moored in Grand Harbour, Malta

5 July 1977 landed supplies for British troops in Belize after the size of the garrison was doubled

14 October 1978 at Liverpool

31 December 1978 at Marchwood Military Port

6 March 1979 at Marchwood Military Port

25 May 1979 at Chatham

20 December 1979 Captain Anthony Pitt RFA appointed in command



Captain Antony F Pitt RFA


26 December 1979 at Marchwood Military Port

5 May 1980 at the River Tyne

19 May 1980 at Chatham

7 July 1980 at Hull

24 April 1981 berthed at Marchwood Military Port

18 August 1981 Captain Anthony F Pitt RFA appointed in command

20 October 1981 berthed at Marchwood Military Port

1 April 1982 berthed at Zeebrugge Mole

2 April 1982 sailed Zeebrugge Mole for Marchwood

3 April 1982 arrived Marchwood Military Port from Zeebrugge to discharge cargo and then reload for Operation Corporate – the Falklands Conflict

5 April 1982 sailed Marchwood  Military Port fourteen inches overloaded for service during Operation Corporate with 310 troops and 3 Gazelle helicopters from “M” Flight,  Brigade Air Squadron embarked. Anchored in Lyme Bay overnight

6 April 1982 sailed Lyme Bay

7 April 1982 the Amphibious Landing group assembled at sea and other ships involved were RFA’s SIR LANCELOT, SIR GALAHAD (1), SIR GERAINT and PEARLEAF (2)

19 April 1982 anchored at Clarence Bay, Ascension Island

29 April 1982 alongside STUFT m.v. Fort Toronto and loaded 1,003 tons of fresh water then sailed Ascension Island in company with RFA’s SIR GALAHAD (1), SIR GERAINT, SIR LANCELOT, SIR TRISTRAM and PLUMLEAF (2) and HM ships FEARLESS, INTREPID and ANTELOPE

8 May 1982 entered the TEZ (Total Exclusion Zone) around the Falkland Islands

16 May 1982 successfully test fired an Army 105mm gun from her deck

21 May 1982 led the Amphibious Landing Group into San Carlos Water, Falkland Islands

24 May 1982 was hit by an Argentinian bomb which failed to explode

25 May 1982 sailed Falkland Sound along with RFA’s RESOURCE, STROMNESS and TIDEPOOL and escorted by HMS AMBUSCADE

26 May 1982 hit by a second Argentinian bomb which also failed to explode

29 May 1982 entered San Carlos Water, Falkland Islands

1 June 1982 the POW’s aboard were transferred to facilities ashore in the Falkland Islands

2 June 1982 anchored at Teal Inlet, Falkland Islands

4 June 1982 anchored at San Carlos Water, Falkland Islands

5 June 1982 berthed alongside RFA SIR GALAHAD (1) at Teal Inlet

8 June 1982 at San Carlos Water, Falkland Islands alongside RFA OLNA (3) and received 100 tons of bunkers

11 June 1982 sailed San Carlos Water, Falkland Islands

12 June 1982 anchored at Teal Inlet, Falkland Islands

13 June 1982 alongside STUFT m.v. Elk and then RFA OLNA (3)

16 June 1982 was the first ship to enter Port Stanley and was followed by RFA SIR BEDIVERE

17 June 1982 alongside RFA BLUE ROVER and later alongside RFA FORT GRANGE

18 June 1982 anchored in San Carlos Water, Falkland Islands

19 June 1982 alongside RFA RESOURCE in Port Stanley Harbour

21 June 1982 alongside STUFT m.v. Elk

23 June 1982 alongside RFA STROMNESS and later STUFT m.v. Elk

28 June 1982 in Port William Harbour alongside STUFT mv Fort Toronto and later sailed Falkland Islands on completion of her Operation Corporate duties

8 July 1982 at Clarence Bay, Ascension Island alongside STUFT m.v. ALVIGA and received 286 tons of bunkers

11 July 1982 sailed Clarence Bay, Ascension Island for Marchwood Military Port

23 July 1982 berthed alongside Marchwood Military Port North after Operation Corporate

28 July 1982 at Marchwood South  RFA SIR GERAINT sailed and RFA SIR PERCIVALE was visited by the members of the Admiralty Board of Enquiry who were enquiring into the loss of RFA SIR TRISTRAM and RFA SIR GALAHAD (1) at Port Pleasant, Falkland Islands on 8 June 1982

29 July 1982 sailed Marchwood Military Port North for Gibraltar

1 August 1982 anchored in Gibraltar Bay

2 August 1982 entered Gibraltar Dockyard and berthed on No: 43 berth for refit

6 August 1982 cold moved from No: 43 berth to No: 2 Dry dock

3 September 1982 while in No: 2 Dry dock suffered a fire in the Bulk Linen Store – fire brigade called. Fire extinguished

13 September 1982 No 2 Dry Dock flooded up

28 September 1982 moved to No: 43 berth. Loaded 585 tons of bunkers. Captain P Roberts RFA was in command

22 December 1982 at Flushing, Vlissingen, Netherlands

28 July 1983 at South Shields, River Tyne

3 April 1984 at Marchwood Military Port

25 September 1984 was awarded her Falkland Islands 1982 Battle Honour by Mr A Kemp DST (SF) at Marchwood Military Port

12 March 1988 sailed Marchwood Military Port

April 1988 together with RFA SIR TRISTRAM involved in Exercise Dragon Hammer in the Mediterranean

14 May 1988 at Genoa, Italy

22 July 1988 Captain Anthony Pitt DSC RFA appointed in command while also Marine Superintent RFA HQ at Empress State Building

18 August 1988 Captain Peter Robinson RFA appointed as Commanding Officer


Capt Peter Robinson

Captain Peter Robinson RFA


31 August 1988 until 21 September 1988 together with all the other LSL’s with the exception of RFA SIR LANCELOT was involved in Exercise Teamwork 88

5 June 1989 sailed Devonport to act as a Support Ship alongside at Freetown to provide accommodation and stores support to the British Army


SIRP 1989 Freetown Sierra Leone

sir percy at Freetown

RFA Sir Percivale berthed alongside at Freetown, Sierra Leone


9 November 1989 Captain Anthony Pitt DSC RFA appointed as Commanding Officer

28 September 1990 sailed to Germany to embark units of the 7th Armoured Brigade for deployment to the Persian Gulf

10 October 1990 sailed Marchwood Military Port for service during Operation Granby – the Gulf War

April 1991 arrived home from the Persian Gulf

1991 was awarded the Kuwait 1991 Battle Honour along with 10 other RFA’s

20 to 24 June 1991 at London for the London Gulf War Parade

15 January 1992 berthed at Portland

February 1992 together with RFA’s SIR BEDIVERE & SIR TRISTRAM participated in Exercise Teamwork

23 May 1992 arrived at Devonport

8 June 1992 Captain David Gerrard RFA appointed Commanding Officer



Captain David Gerrard RFA

 1 July 1992 berthed at Marchwood

18 September 1992 sailed from Devonport

11 October 1992 sailed from Devonport

19 October 1992 arrived at Portsmouth

3 November 1992 sailed from Portsmouth

29 January 1993 sailed from Marchwood, Southampton Water

2 February 1993 arrived at Gibraltar

3 February 1993 sailed from Gibraltar

8 March 1993 arrived at Split

March 1993 replaced RFA SIR BEDIVERE as Accommodation Ship at

11 December 1993 Captain Alan T Roach RFA appointed as Commanding Officer until 15 December 1993


Capt allan roach

Captain Alan T Roach RFA


16 December 1993 berthed at Marchwood Military Port

7 January 1994 sailed from Marchwood Military Port

6 February 1994 arrived at Devonport with RFA’s SIR BEDIVERE and SIR GALAHAD (2)

7 February 1994 sailed Devonport with RFA’s SIR BEDIVERE and SIR GALAHAD (2) for Exercise Royal Dawn but all three ships were diverted from the Exercise to transport troops, stores and vehicles from Marchwood Military Port to Split to support UN requirements

7 March 1994 berthed at Marchwood Military Port

30 March 1994 berthed at Marchwood Military Port

15 April 1994 sailed from Marchwood Military Port                       

6 June 1994 took part in the 50th Anniversary of D-Day Spithead Review

4 July 1994 berthed at Marchwood Military Port

11 July 1994 sailed from Marchwood Military Port

11 September 1994 arrived at Devonport

14 September 1994 sailed from Devonport

22 September 1994 at Marchwood Military Port

22 December 1994 arrived at Devonport

3 January 1995 sailed Devonport

9 January 1995 arrived at Devonport

10 January 1995 sailed Devonport

18 January 1995 arrived and sailed from Devonport

24 January 1995 arrived and sailed from Devonport

31 January 1995 at North Shields, River Tyne (see note 2)

27 February 1995 arrived at Devonport

25 March 1995 at Marchwood Military Port

21 April 1995 arrived and sailed from Devonport

May 1995 engaged in Exercise Destined Glory 95

1 July 1995 at Marchwood Military Port

18 August 1995 at Marchwood Military Port (see note 2)

6 September 1995 arrived at Marchwood Military Port

18 September 1995 sailed from Marchwood Military Port

13 October 1995 visited Leith Docks

31 October 1995 at Marchwood Military Port

30 November 1995 at Marchwood Military Port

15 December 1995 arrived at Devonport

31 December 1995 still at Devonport

4 January 1996 arrived at and sailed from Millbay Docks, Plymouth for Norway

12 January 1996 returned to Millbay Docks for more Royal Marines

2 April 1996 arrived at Devonport

23 April 1996 entered dry dock at Devonport

May 1996 in dry dock at Devonport

23 July 1996 until 31 July 1996 Sea Training from Devonport

11 August 1996 sailed Marchwood Military Port for Akrotiri, Cyprus to embark 1st Battalion King’s Regiment, their vehicles and equipment to transport them to Aquaba, Jordan

2 November 1996 arrived at Marchwood Military Port

11 November 1996 sailed from Marchwood Military Port

14 January 1996 arrived at Devonport

16 January 1997 sailed U.K. as part of Task Group 327.01 – the Ocean Wave 97 Deployment led by the carrier HMS ILLUSTRIOUS to the Far East-along with RFA‘s DILIGENCE,  FORT AUSTIN, FORT GEORGE, OLNA (3), SIR GALAHAD (2), and SIR GERAINT

1 February 1997 transitted the Suez Canal, Southbound

17 June 1997 at Manila

30 June 1997 became the last RFA to leave Hong Kong prior to its handover to the Chinese and was there for the formal handover of the colony

5 September 1997 sailed from Marchwood Military Port for refit at Middlesborough

9 October 1997 at Middlesborough

28 November 1997 at Marchwood Military Port

22 December 1997 at Devonport

17 April 1998 at Marchwood Military Port

20 April 1998 at Marchwood Military Port

1 June 1998 at Marchwood Military Port

3 July 1998 at Marchwood Military Port

13 July 1998 at Marchwood Military Port

8 August 1998 and 9 August 1998 acted as Control ship during a search for two missing divers after they had dived on the wreck of the AMC MOLDAVIA off the South Coast

22 August 1998 at Marchwood Military Port

23 August 1998 sailed from Marchwood Military Port for Pembroke Dock thence to Cyprus

15 September 1998 Marchwood Military Port

20 October 1998 arrived at Devonport from exercises

November 1998 in JMC 983

1 December 1998 at Marchwood Military Port

11 May 1999 at Marchwood Military Port

28 May 1999 arrived at Devonport for work-up after refit

1 July 1999 completed FOST training

2 July 1999 at Marchwood Military Port with RFA’s SIR BEDIVERE, SIR GALAHAD (2), SIR GERAINT and SEA CENTURION

16 February 2000 anchored in Falmouth Bay

17 February 2000 sailed Falmouth Bay

1 April 2000 at Marchwood Military Port

25 April 2000 arrived at Greenock and immediately entered Garvel Dry Dock

27 April 2000 sailed Greenock

June 2000 FOST training

August 2000 at Freetown Harbour, Sierra Leone

12 September 2000 was berthed in Freetown Harbour, Sierra Leone as a base for UK special forces troops who made a surprise dawn attack on the jungle base of a renegade guerrilla gang

6 October 2000 still at Freetown Harbour, Sierra Leone

25 November 2000 Captain Alan T Roach RFA appointed as Commanding Officer

March 2001 at Freetown, Sierra Leone being relieved by RFA SIR TRISTRAM

27 March 2001 at A & P Yard, Wallsend

2 April 2001 at Freetown Harbour, Sierra Leone

4 May 2001 sailed Marchwood Military Port to move across to Southampton

13 June 2001 at Cammell Lairds Yard, Birkenhead

September 2001 engaged on the Argonaut 2001 deployment together with HMS ILLUSTRIOUS, fourteen other Royal Naval Warships and RFA’s FORT VICTORIA, BAYLEAF (3), SIR TRISTRAM, SIR BEDIVERE, SIR GALAHAD (2), FORT ROSALIE (2),  FORT AUSTIN, OAKLEAF (2) and DILIGENCE

2 September 2001 arrived at Cadiz, Spain

25 December 2001 in Middle East on Operation Veritas

18 August 2002 at Dubai

28 December 2002 Captain Peter Farmer RFA appointed as Commanding Officer

Captain Peter Farner

Captain Peter Farmer RFA

May 2000 to April 2003 provided alongside support to British Forces in Sierra Leone along with RFA’s SIR GERAINT and SIR TRISTRAM at different times in Operation Palliser and was involved in Operation Barras – the rescue of British hostages

28 May 2001 featured on a postage stamp issued by South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands along with RFA’s TIDESPRING, DILIGENCE and GOLD ROVER

2 September 2002 to 5 September 2002 berthed in Cadiz, Spain

15 January 2003 deployed for Operation Telic – the 2nd Gulf War  – along with 13 other RFA’s

7 April 2003 became only the second ship to dock at Umm Qasr after the the ports capture bringing 300 tonnes of humanitarian aid including fresh water, dried food and medical supplies, a gift from Kuwait 

29 May 2003 returned to Millbay on completion of Operation Telic duties

RFA Sir Percivale 3 2004 Owen Davidson

© Owen Davidson – used with permission

6 June 2004 took part in the 60th Anniversary of D-Day Celebrations along with RFA WAVE KNIGHT (2)

29 July 2004 conducted her Haul Down ceremony at Portsmouth and was handed over to Disposal & Reserve Ships Organisation (DRSO) for Extended Readiness

17 August 2004 finally decommissioned at Marchwood

9 April 2005 at Southampton along with RFA SIR GERAINT awaiting disposal

8 October 2005 at Southampton with her name and pennant number removed

9 June 2006 moved from Marchwood Military Port to Berth 49 at Southampton for disposal lay up

10 August 2006 was moved across to Marchwood by Babcock Disposal Services

9 February 2009 announced that she was to be broken up at Hartlepool by Able U.K. Ltd, but this did not transpire

28 October offered for sale in Canada for £3.1m

13 December 2009 sailed Marchwood in tow of tug BRAVEHEART to Liverpool for breaking up

16 December 2009 arrived at Liverpool – Canada Graving Dock to be recycled by Leavesley International alongside her former Fleet mate RFA GREY ROVER

June 2010 dismantling begun



RFA Sir Percivale succumbing to the ship breakers torch

Donated by Clive Jeffreis 

8 June 2011 one of her anchors, mounted on a plinth, was officially dedicated as a centrepiece for the Merchant Navy Convoy Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire





1. Named after one of the 35 Knights of the Round Table in Arthurian legend who, along with Sir Galahad and Sir Bors, sought and found the Holy Grail

2. Locations kindly provided by 2nd Cook Ian Fisher RFA (Retired) from his Discharge Book