RFA Sir Tristram (L3505)

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RFA Sir Tristram & MV Dan Lifter late 1982.JPG
Sir Tristram being carried home by the heavy lift ship MV Dan Lifter in late 1982
Career (United Kingdom) RFA Ensign
Name: RFA Sir Tristram
Namesake: Tristan
Ordered: 22 March 1965
Builder: Hawthorn Leslie, Hebburn
Laid down: 9 February 1966
Launched: 12 December 1966
Commissioned: 14 September 1967
Decommissioned: 16 December 2005
Status: Training ship at Portland.
General characteristics
Class & type: Round Table class landing ship logistics
Displacement: 6,407 t (6,306 long tons)
Length: 135.8 m (445 ft 6 in)
Beam: 17.1 m (56 ft 1 in)
Draught: 3.9 m (12 ft 10 in)
Propulsion: 2 × 10-cylinder four-stroke turbo-charged Mirrlees National ALSSDM10 diesel engines
400 hp (300 kW) Bow thruster
Speed: 16 knots (18 mph; 30 km/h)
Complement: 51
Armament: • 4 × Oerlikon 20 mm cannon
• 4 × 7.62 mm machine guns
Aircraft carried: One spot for Westland Sea King or Westland Lynx aft, one spot for CH-47 Chinook, Sea King or Lynx on main vehicle deck

RFA Sir Tristram (L3505) is a Landing Ship Logistics of the Round Table class. She was launched in 1966, and accepted into British Army service in 1967. As with others of her class, she was transferred to the Royal Fleet Auxiliary in 1970. The ship saw service in the Falklands War of 1982, and was badly damaged at Fitzroy on 8 June.

Early service[edit]

In January 1972 RFA Sir Tristram was part of an Anti-invasion task force for British Honduras, together with Sir Bedivere and Sir Geraint. In 1977 RFA Sir Tristram was used as a guest ship for the Queens Silver Jubilee Fleet Review at Spithead in the Solent.[1]

Falklands War[edit]

In April 1982 RFA Sir Tristram was diverted from Belize to the Falkland Islands to take part in Operation Corporate, the British effort to retake the Falkland Islands.

Further information: Bluff Cove Air Attacks

On the 8th of June while transporting men and equipment to Fitzroy Cove alongside the Sir Galahad, Sir Tristram was attacked by A-4 Skyhawks from Argentine Air Force's V Brigada Aérea (FAA), each loaded with three 500 lb retarding tail bombs.[2] At approximately 14:00 local time the decks were strafed and two crew were killed. A 500 lb bomb penetrated the deck, but failed to explode immediately, allowing the remaining crew to be evacuated. Following the later explosion, Sir Tristram was abandoned. Immediately following the end of the conflict, Sir Tristram was used as accommodation by members of 97 Fd Bty (Lawson's Company) Royal Artillery, initially in Fitzroy, and again later after she was towed round and moored in Port Stanley.

After the war the hulk was re-floated and towed to Stanley, where she was used as an accommodation ship until 1984. Sir Tristram was then returned to the United Kingdom on a heavy lift ship and extensively rebuilt.

Rebuilt[edit]

Following the rebuild, Sir Tristram re-entered active service in 1985, and saw service in the Gulf War, and the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s. The ship supported relief operations for Hurricane Mitch off Central America. In 2000 the ship was deployed to Sierra Leone in support of British operations there, followed by a cruise to the Baltic Sea in support of MCMVs. Early 2001 saw Sir Tristram return to Sierra Leone to take over from Sir Percivale as the ship supporting British forces ashore there. In 2003 the ship was deployed as part of the largest British fleet for 20 years in support of the invasion of Iraq.

The ship was decommissioned on 17 December 2005 but continues to be used for training purposes by the Special Boat Service and other elements of UK Special Forces Group.[3]

Roll of Honour[edit]

The two crewmen killed in the air attack at Bluff Cove.

  • Seaman Shi Cam Yeung
  • Bosun Sik Chee Yu

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://ships.toysoutofthepram.com/html/rfa_sir_tristram_l3505.html RFA Sir Tristram at Royal Fleet Auxiliary Site
  2. ^ Moro, Rubén Oscar (1985). La guerra inaudita: historia del conflicto del Atlántico Sur. Pleamar, p. 462. ISBN 9505830432. (Spanish)
  3. ^ "Ex RFA Sir Tristram". A&P Group. Retrieved 12 August 11. "In 2006 it was decided to regenerate the ex LSL Sir Tristram for a new role as a special forces training platform to replace the aged Rame Head and relocate the facility from Portsmouth Harbour to Portland in Dorset under a project name of Project Newman."