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RAFA Tide Austral (1955-1962)

HMAS Supply (1962-1985)

Crew List NSW Crew List ACT-NT-OS Crew List QLD 
Crew List VIC Crew List TAS Crew List SA Crew List WA

Launch Launch

© Photo's courtesy of Third Officer Chris White RFA Tidepool

HMAS SUPPLY was built as a war operations requirement for the RAN by Harland and Wolf, Belfast Northern Ireland, as a result of a Government direction in 1951 ordering the armed services to prepare for possible mobilization by 1953.

Subsequently the easing of the international situation rendered her employment as a unit of the RAN unnecessary when she was completed in 1955.

The tanker was operated by the British Admiralty with a civilian crew as a Royal Fleet Auxiliary under the name TIDE AUSTRAL from 1955 to 1962. Her service under Admiralty control included various charter periods including two years (1956-58) when she was employed at the Admiralty's discretion, operating in direct payment of a debt incurred for the taking over of Shell Tankers Ltd building berths.

In 1962 the Naval Board decided to add TIDE AUSTRAL to the Australian Fleet and to commission her, contrary to the Royal Navy's practice with oilers, as a White ensign vessel manned by a naval crew. She commissioned (as HMAS TIDE AUSTRAL) at Southampton on 15th August 1962 under the command of Captain Geoffrey V. Gladstone, DSC and Bar, RAN.

At a ceremony at Portsmouth on 7th September 1962 the ship was renamed SUPPLY by Mrs. O.H. Becher, wife of Rear-Admiral Otto H. Becher, CBE, DSO, DSC and Bar, Australian Naval Representative, United Kingdom.

HMAS SUPPLY sailed from Portsmouth on 1st October 1962 bound for Sydney with her brood of four 'TONN' Class Minesweepers, She called at Gibraltar for a short period to allow repairs to the Minesweepers then on to the next leg of the journey to Malta where she anchored in the main channel of the harbour.

HMAS SUPPLY Grand Valetter Harbour Malta 1962

HMAS SUPPLY Grand Valetta Harbour Malta 1962

On sailing from Malta HMAS Supply in company with her sweepers, headed for Aden and the start of the long haul through the Suez Canal. From there she headed to Australia where she arrived on 6th December 1962.

Anchored in Aden Harbour enroute to Australia  1962

Anchored in Aden Harbour enroute to Australia 1962

© Photo courtesy of Graeme Andrews
© Photo courtesy of ABEM Bruce Cain,
Clipping from 'The Macleay Argus Kempsey NSW 1962

Since joining the Australian Fleet SUPPLY has served as a Fleet Oiler during exercises and training operations, mainly in Australian and New Guinea waters and in the Far East. She underwent a long refit from December 1970 to November 1971. The ship participated in an exercise at Pearl Harbour in September 1972, in which ships of the RAN, USN, US Coastguard, Canadian Armed Forces and RNZN took part.

In February 1973 HMA Ships PERTH, DERWENT and SUPPLY were constituted as a Task Group to make a goodwill cruise of a number of countries bordering the Indian Ocean. After visits by the Task Group to Port Louis, Mauritius and Mombassa, Kenya, SUPPLY detached on 16th March. After visiting Port Victoria, Mahe Island in the Seychelles Group the ship returned to Australia.

During July and August 1973 SUPPLY supported the RNZN frigates OTAGO and CANTERBURY (the latter after she had relieved OTAGO) which observed the French nuclear tests at Mururoa Atoll.

HMAS SUPPLY was paid off on December 16 1985
HMAS SUPPLY was paid off on December 16 1985

For those ex crew members who can remember the round house in the galley, a circular room roughly in the middle of the galley was originally designed as the gun bay of a 4" gun for defence of the ship, the gun being located on the deck immediately aft of the canteen. After international tensions eased throughout Asia the armament was no longer required and so the circular room was incorporated into the ships galley.

Other items of information have been forwarded from time to time, one of which is the story of a certain item of deck cargo which accompanied Supply to Australia. This item was a ships anchor for the German Battleship Bismark, although this anchor had never been fitted to the ship it was a spare and apparently sent to Australia. Rumour has it that the anchor was last heard of in storage at Moorebank NSW.

The ship also had what was referred to as a "War Prop" fitted to the Tank deck Stbd side aft, this prop was a 4 bladed type but never used. (Wonder what happened to it)

Rumour has it that the Prop was bought by a Chief EM by the name of Fred Bray who put it in his back yard. Fred was Navy through and through, they say he had a flag pole in his front yard and conducted his version of Colours every morning at 08:00, he also had two dogs called Warramunga and Bataan. There were also other items bought back from the UK on the homeward voyage which included a couple of cars.

Thanks go to Sam Walker for supplying me with a copy of some Daily Orders from the Mururoa voyage; these will appear in the near future on the Mururoa page.

The ship was finally disposed of in 1989 and was rumoured to have been towed to South Korea where she was scrapped.

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Ships Company of RAFA Tide Austral 1955 to 1962

Third Officer Rex Cooper1959 - 1961 lookout@rfa-association.org 

Radio Officer Leslie Wilkie1960 - 1961 wilkie8@wilkie8.karoo.co.uk

James Nelson Junior Engineer 1959 - 1961 j-nelson@tiscali.co.uk 

George Milburn 3rd Officer 1961 george.milburn@btconnect.com 

Andy Hunter Engineer 59 - 60 AHunter112@cogeco.ca 

David Burgess 59 - 60 Jnr Engineer davidarthurburgess@btopenworld.com 

Martyn Hobbs Senior Apprentice 1955 - 1956 martyn.hobbs@tiscali.co.uk

Far left Chief Officer Norman 'Toots' McLeoud - Far right Mike Corner
Far left Chief Officer Norman 'Toots' McLeod - Far right Mike Corner

Can anyone name the rest as it would be appreciated

Officers and and family members onboardRAFA Tide Austral at Southhampton in 1959


L to R: Alf De Sousa Engineer, Dick Davis (XO), Richard his son, Eric 'Peter' May (Navigator), Mrs Davis, Neil 'Jimpy' Walker (Second Officer), Rex Cooper OBE (Who supplied the photo), John Hart (Electrical Officer), Joan Davis (XO's daughter) the last Officer is not known.

Radio Staff abord RAFA Tide Austral 1960
Radio Staff aboard RAFA Tide Austral 1960


L to R: 2nd Officer Eric Gilbert RFA, LTO A. Toogood RN, Snr Radio Officer Mark Sutton, LRO ??? RN,
3rd Officer Les Wilkie RFA.
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Ships Captains of the Tide Class Tanker

HMAS Supply

1962 - 1985

Captain G.V. Gladstone DSC* RAN 15.08.1962

Captain W.J. Dovers DSC RAN 22.12.1964

Commander H.K. Duncan RAN 22.11.1965

Captain N.E. McDonald RAN 10.01.1966

Commander J. Lancaster RAN 05.12.1966

Captain B.S. Murray RAN 05.01.1967

Captain D.H.D. Smyth RAN 13.12.1967

Captain H.E. Bailey DSC RAN 06.01.1970

Commander J.L. Curtis RAN 21.06.1971

Captain V.A. Parker RAN 18.10.1971

Captain R.G. Loosli CBE RAN 13.12.1972

Captain B.H. Loxton RAN14.01.1974

Captain J.D. Stevens RAN 16.12.1974

Captain B.L. Cleary RAN 13.12.1975

Captain J.B. Snow RAN 08.02.1977

Captain D.J. Martin RAN 04.08.1978

Captain P.H. James RAN 19.01.1979

Captain I.D.G. MacDougall RAN 29.09.1980

Captain B. Nobles RAN 26.01.1982

Commander T.W. Jones RAN 08.06.1983

Captain P.D. McKay RAN 02.08.1983

Captain L.M. Sulman RAN 18.02.1985

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Commissioning Crew List

* Captain G.V. Gladstone DSC* RAN 15.08.1962

* J.D. Goble Commander HMAS Tide Austral 1962 Terry Hills,

* Vince Fazio ex: LtHMAS Tide Austral 1962 Petersham,

* Jack King ex:PO HMAS Tide Austral 1962, Chief Coxs'n 72 - 73 Nelson Bay R.I.P.

* Les Church ex: LSTO HMAS Tide Austral 1962 Coogee. churchl@optusnet.com.au 

* Eric Bouvier ex: PO Stoker HMAS Tide Austral 1962 Maroubra.

* Graeme Andrews ex HMAS Tide Austral 1962 Koolewon, graewin@aol.com

* John 'Rip' Kirby ex: ABWTR HMAS Tide Austral 1962 Wauchope, R.I.P.

* Percy Norrish ex: STD HMAS Tide Austral 1962 Forster

* Ron Smith ex: POEL HMAS Tide Austral 1962 Castle Hill mar6099@ozemail.com.au

* Ted McGuire ex ABUC HMAS Tide Austral 1962 Springwood, angelted@bigpond.net.au

* Gerald Fowkes ex: ABEM2 HMAS Tide Austral 1962 Quakers Hill. R.I.P

* Colin 'Dusty' Miller ex: LWTR HMAS Tide Austral 1962 colbea@bigpond.com  

* Stewart Parnaby ex: ABEMP HMAS Tide Austral 1962 swparnaby@bigpond.com

* Alan Murgatroyd ex Sparker HMAS Tide Austral 1962 murgy@bigpond.com

* Harold Goodall ex: ABQA HMAS Tide Austral 1962 Brisbane hgo02980@bigpond.net.au

* Bob Simpson ex Comms Yeoman 1962 scoshieadm@bigpond.com

* Colin Lewin ex: Chief Writer 1962 Commissioning Crew.

* John 'Jack' Lennon ex: ERA HMAS Tide Austral 1962 - 1964 johnlennon1240@hotmail.com

* Lofty Still ex LSBA HMAS Tide Austral 1962 jstill@netspace.net.au

* Mick Shotter ex: HMAS Tide Austral 1962 Tasmania

* Ian Taber ex: TIF HMAS Tide Austral 1962 iantaber@optusnet.com.au 

* Ray Moore ex LRO HMAS Tide Austral 1962 RIP some years ago 

* Paul Lambert ex: LT HMAS Tide Austral 1962 pjlambert@smartchat.net.au

* Ron 'Pincher' Martin ex: LSWM HMAS Tide Austral 1962

* Ray Claucen ex: LCK HMAS Tide Austral 62 - 63 clar@alphalink.com.au 

* Ken Barley ex: LEM HMAS Tide Austral 1962 c/o joemarg@nex.net.au 

* Vic Martin ex: STD HMAS Tide Austral 1962 vicmar@webace.com.au 

* Harold 'Bluey' Peterson ex: LSCK HMAS Tide Austral 1962 harryhco@bigpond.com

* John King ex: ABTO John passed away 25 years ago. R.I.P

* Tiny Linning ex: RS R.I.P.

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Tide Class Fast Fleet Tankers

The Tide Class Fast Fleet Tankers were tasked replenishing Royal Navy warships with Fuel Oil, Diesel, AVCAT, lubricating oils and fresh water, thereby allowing them to act independently of shore support and remain at sea for long periods of time. They were designed to replenish three ships simultaneously- one to port (preferably an aircraft carrier), one to starboard and one at the aft.

The class was built in two distinct groups: Tidereach, Tideflow, Tide Surge and Tide Austral were constructed between 1953 and 1956. Displacing 26,000 tons, the 'early Tides' had a complement of around 90 and were powered by three Babcock and Wilcox boilers, producing a speed of 17 knots. A further two vessels - Tidepool and Tidespring - were completed to a modified design between 1961 and 1963. They were slightly larger, displacing 27,400 tons, measured 177 metres in length and also had a speed of 17 knots. The hull was strengthened to enable them to operate in frozen waters but more significantly they were the first RFA tankers built with a flight deck, a hanger and workshops and were capable of supporting three Wessex helicopters. The hanger was located on the port side of the funnel and could hold 3 helicopters. The starboard side had a garage that could be used for vehicles or as a hanger for 3 more helicopters. The helicopters had the dual role of transferring stores and equipment to other ships and providing anti-submarine defence for a convoy. They also carried two liberty boats on davits at the aft of the ship, and forward of the hanger there was even a swimming pool!

The design of the two later vessels, Tidespring and Tidepool, was similar to that later used for the OL Class of Tankers 

Tideflow was originally named Tiderace, and Tidesurge was named Tiderange. During the Suez conflict the Tiderace, the Tidereach and the Tiderange were all near Suez when one was short on oil and was directed to return to Malta to reload her tanks - the wrong one returned and it was realised that their names were all very similar and so hence the change of the Race to the Flow and the Range to the Surge. The name changes took place in 1958. (Thanks to Chris White for passing this on) 

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Eventually Supply made it to her area of operation to refuel units of the RAN and USN before returning via Pakistan, to Australia

As there were those aboard Supply that had not partaken in the age old ritual of the "Crossing The Line" ceremony the ships entertainment committee proceeded to hold one of the auspicious occasions, as can be seen from the photo below much fun was had by all even Capt McDougal in the foreground joined the festivities.

King Neptune/CMTP Pete Foote Esq & His darling wife LSMTP 'Bubbles' Currin
King Neptune/CMTP Pete Foote Esq & His darling wife LSMTP 'Bubbles' Currin

While during the stopover in Karachi Pakistan there was an official handover of duties

Capt P H James hands over to Capt Ian McDougal
Capt P H James hands over to Capt Ian McDougal

'Pride of The Fleet'

'Bubbles' and the 'Technical Big Band'
'Bubbles' and the 'Technical Big Band'
'Blue' Lindores Guitar, Pete Foote Drums

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The end of an era HMAS Supply alongside the Dolphins Mothball Fleet 1986 with (Background HMAS Kimbla, Midships HMAS Colac and foreground HMAS Buccaneer
The end of an era HMAS Supply alongside the Dolphins Mothball Fleet 1986 with (Background HMAS Kimbla, Midships HMAS Colac and foreground HMAS Buccaneer. HMAS Supply decommissioned in Sydney on 16 December 1985. She was towed out of Sydney on 13 January 1987 by the Dutch tug/supply vessel SMIT LLOYD 109 bound for Kaohsiung (Taiwan) for scrapping where she arrived in February 1987.

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"Lest We Forget"

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This page is dedicated to the memory of our fellow shipmates who served with us aboard the best ship in the Fleet.

Those listed below have unfortunatly crossed the bar

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Captain G.V.Gladstone DSC* RAN: Commissioning Officer 1962
CMMDRE Dacre Smythe: Captain of Supply December 13 1967
Capt'n H.E.Bailey DSC RAN: Captain of Supply January 6 1970
Capt'n Vernon Parker: Captain of Supply October 18th 1971
RADM Sir David Martin: Captain of Supply August 4th 1978
Commodore John Snow: Captain of Supply February 2 1977
LCDR 'E' Frank Watton: 1974 RIP Jan 2004 Wales UK
Commander (E) D.G.Holthouse: Chief Engineer 1973
Commander P.E. Williams: 1973

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Enlisted Men

Chief ME Norm Rosser, Chief ME Barney Bambrick, Chief ERA Harry Hoskins 1962
LME Ralph 'Spooks' Spooner HMAS Tide Austral 1962
Jeff Cashin HMAS Tide Austral 1962
ABQMG Dave Knox HMAS Supply 1972 - 1974
ABRP Tony Eueling, Robin Pennock, LSCK Doughy Waldren HMAS Tide Austral 1962
POQMG Garry Blinkhorn, LCDR\Nav Chris Hole 1967- 68
Chief Yeo Frank Black HMAS Supply 1972 - 73 ex: RNZN Chief Tel
Chief ME Rusty Russel 1972 - 73
Chief ERA Col Dodds, PO Jack Murrell, Seaman PO HMAS Tide Austral 1962
Chief Coxn Noel Toose 1965 - 1966
Chief ERA Brian Spry 1972 - 73
LME Don Carey, ABME 'Windy' Gale, LME John Wisley
LME Vic Saikavs, LME Terry 'Sparrow' Burgess
George Quarton HMAS Tide Austral 1962
Tony Vodic, Bosun HMAS Supply
LME Paul 'Dolly' Gray, ABTO Ray Thurgood 1970 - 1971
ABEM2 Gerald Fowkes HMAS Tide Austral 1962
AB RO Dale Boney 74 - 75
ABME Les 'Sock' Vivian 73 - 74

ERA Mac McGrigor 70 - 77, 82 - 85

Engineer Curley Fahey 72 - 73

Chief MTP3 Paul Dodds 80 - 82

RS Graeme "Tiny" Linning - RIP 17:30 September 7th 2015 HMAS Tide Austral 1962

Jack King PO Seaman 1962 Chief COX 1973 - RIP 2014 HMAS Tide Austral 1962 HMAS Supply 1973

Ray "Buck" Moore LRO RIP HMAS Tide Austral 1962

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May the memory of our mates live forever as happy days of old

A little tidbit of history can anyone remember being aboard the Grey Lady when she sank while tied up alongside Garden Island in the mid 1960's

For More Information Contact:

Naval Tankermen Association ( Secretary/Treasurer )
108 East Street 
Bega NSW 2550 

witchweb@iinet.net.au

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