Wave-class oiler

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RFA Wave Conqueror.jpg
RFA Wave Conqueror, pictured in 1952
Class overview
Name: Wave class
Preceded by: Ranger class
Succeeded by: Surf class
Built: 1943–1946
In commission: 1944–1974
Completed: 20
General characteristics
Type: Replenishment oiler
Displacement: 16,476 long tons (16,740 t) to 16,483 long tons (16,748 t)
  • 465 ft (142 m) (p/p)
  • 492 ft (150 m) (o/a)
Beam: 64 ft 4 in (19.61 m)
Draught: 28 ft 6 in (8.69 m)
  • Parsons double reduction geared turbines
  • 3 drum type boilers
Speed: 15 knots (17 mph; 28 km/h)
Capacity: 11,900 long tons (12,091 t)

The Wave class was a class of replenishment oilers built for service supporting the Royal Navy during the later years of the Second World War. They were subsequently transferred to the Royal Fleet Auxiliary after the end of the war, and went on to support British and allied fleet units in Cold War conflicts such as the Korean War.

Design and construction[edit]

The expanding needs of the Royal Navy to carry out long range operations away from friendly fueling and replenishment stations led to the ordering of a number of tankers of around 16,500 long tons (16,765 t) displacement, able to carry 11,900 long tons (12,091 t) of fuel oil.[1] These would allow the Royal Navy and its allies increased flexibility, particularly in the Pacific theatre, where there were large expanses of water and few friendly fuel stations. A total of twenty ships were eventually built by three British yards; 12 by the Furness Shipbuilding Company, Haverton Hill-on-Tees, three by Harland and Wolff at their yard in Govan, and the remaining five by Sir J. Laing & Sons Ltd, at Sunderland.[1][2]


Thirteen of the 20 of the ships were initially built for the Ministry of War Transport (MoWT), which assigned them to be operated by various merchant shipping lines. Consequently, most were named with the standard MoWT prefix "Empire".[2] The remaining MoWT owned oilers were transferred to the Royal Fleet Auxiliary in 1946 and all were given "Wave" names.[1][2] Several of the RFA ships served in the Far East during the Second World War, while the class was heavily involved in the Korean War. RFAs Wave Sovereign, Wave Baron, Wave Premier, Wave Prince, Wave Chief, Wave Knight, Wave Regent, Wave Laird and Wave Conqueror all served there in support of allied fleet units and task forces.[3]

The class began to be retired from the Royal Fleet Auxiliary in the late 1950s, with Wave Commander and Wave Liberator the first to be sold for scrapping in 1959.[2] Most of the remaining vessels had been scrapped by the mid-1960s, but refits and modifications allowed several to continue in service until the mid-1970s, with Wave Chief the last to be retired, in 1974.


Name Pennant Builder Launched Original name Fate
Wave Baron A242 Furness Shipbuilding Company 19 February 1946 Empire Flodden Scrapped in 1972
Wave Chief A265 Harland and Wolff 30 August 1946 Empire Edgehill Scrapped in 1974
Wave Commander A244 Furness Shipbuilding Company 21 April 1944 Empire Paladin Scrapped in 1959
Wave Conqueror A245 Furness Shipbuilding Company 27 November 1943 Empire Law Scrapped in 1960
Wave Duke A246 Sir J. Laing & Sons Ltd 16 November 1944 Empire Mars Scrapped in 1969
Wave Emperor A100 Furness Shipbuilding Company 16 October 1944 Scrapped in 1966
Wave Governor A247 Furness Shipbuilding Company 30 November 1944 Scrapped in 1960
Wave King A182 Harland and Wolff 21 July 1944 Scrapped in 1966
Wave Knight A249 Sir J. Laing & Sons Ltd 22 October 1945 Empire Naseby Scrapped in 1964
Wave Laird A119 Sir J. Laing & Sons Ltd 3 April 1946 Empire Dunbar Scrapped in 1970
Wave Liberator A248 Furness Shipbuilding Company 9 February 1944 Empire Milner Scrapped in 1959
Wave Master A193 Sir J. Laing & Sons Ltd 20 May 1944 Empire Salisbury Scrapped in 1963
Wave Monarch A264 Harland and Wolff 6 July 1944 Sold as oil hulk in 1960
Wave Premier A129 Furness Shipbuilding Company 27 June 1946 Scrapped in 1960
Wave Prince A207 Sir J. Laing & Sons Ltd 27 July 1945 Empire Herald Scrapped in 1971
Wave Protector A215 Furness Shipbuilding Company 20 July 1944 Empire Protector Scrapped in 1963
Wave Regent A210 Furness Shipbuilding Company 29 March 1945 Scrapped in 1960
Wave Ruler A212 Furness Shipbuilding Company 17 January 1946 Empire Evesham Scrapped in 1977
Wave Sovereign A211 Furness Shipbuilding Company 20 November 1945 Scrapped in 1966
Wave Victor A220 Furness Shipbuilding Company 30 September 1943 Empire Bounty Chartered to Air Ministry in 1960


  1. ^ a b c Jane's Fighting Ships. p. 81. 
  2. ^ a b c d Colledge. Ships of the Royal Navy, Vol. 2. pp. 383–4. 
  3. ^ Rottman. Korean War Order of Battle. pp. 143–4. 


External links[edit]