WHAT FOLLOWS IS FIRSTLY A COMPREHENSIVE LIST OF ROYAL NAVAL SHIPS IN SERVICE [INCLUDING IN ACTIVE RESERVE I.E. NOT MOTH BALLED] IN ALL THE YEARS OF MY NAVAL SERVICE [1953 TO 1983] which is already published separately,  AND SECONDLY A COMPREHENSIVE LIST OF WARSHIPS OF THE WORLD WHO FELL ON HARD TIMES FOR WHATEVER REASON, FROM 1945 T0 1988, AND IN MANY CASES, BELIEVE ME, ITS ALMOST A HORROR STORY. WHAT SHIPS AND MEN WERE NOT DESTROYED OR DAMAGED IN WW2 WERE DESTROYED/DAMAGED AT THE HANDS OF SHEER INCOMPETENCE IN THE MAJORITY OF CASES AND SHEER BAD LUCK IN MANY OTHERS BY HAPLESS PERSONNEL, POST WW2!  If I were a newspaper man I would have a field day highlighting the sheer incompetence of the naval officers specifically of the USN, who wasted half the defence budget of the Pentagon in loss of vessels, salvage repair and replacements, NOT TO MENTION the task of replacing the dead their incompetence caused and brought forward as culpable, to oceans of tears for thousands of bereaved NOK - UNBELIEVABLY SHOCKING!

This file includes details of losses sustained during the British 1982 Falklands War!

and this file

which above all else was written about executive officers who are to be seen on the bridge/bridge wings during potentially hazardous times especially RAS[L]'s in the embryonic days of the manoeuvre, at least one could think so, given the sheer number of collisions recorded in the very long list of mishaps, and grotesque death lists, as shown in this

Chronology of Naval Accidents 1945 to 1988.

This file is copyright to "Neptune Paper No. 3: Naval Accidents 1945-1988" a USA Compilation which we acknowledge fully, and moreover appreciate as an historic document.  Their excellent  file has been reprocessed to include:-

a. Typo corrections where found
b. Additional data
c. Conversion of date presentations from US to English
d. Changes in spelling from US to English
e. Changes in grammar from US to English
f. ship type and classes added

At no stage was it intended to alter the purport of the original document which for US surfers remain as scripted in the said Neptune Paper 3. All we set out to do was to make the document easier to be read by an English person without altering the original historic value which in common with all, we value and learn from.  Thank you.

The reader will readily and often read about accidents whilst doing what NATO calls a RAS [Replenishment at sea] in which any commodity, be it fuel, ammunition, food or general supplies are transferred ship to ship whilst under way, where the letters RAS are given a suffix which describes the transferred goods, an [L] for liquids generally meaning fuel oil, diesel or heavy oil known as FFO Furnace Fuel Oil, an [S] for food and general stores, an [A] for munitions or ammunition. The method of transfer were generally four-fold, although the latter event was rarely employed.  These were from an oil tanker, helicopter, Jackstay heavy or light and sea boat. It was not uncommon that a large ship, a carrier for example, could be doing a multi-RAS simultaneously taking fuel oil [non nuclear of course], aircraft fuel known as Avgas from a tanker whilst at the same time taking on board stores from another ship[s] using jackstays or  helicopters; there were multiple options available!  At all times safety was paramount to those conning ships as well as those on deck handling large heavy and cumbersome store drops.  Whenever possible mail, collected by the tanker from a nominated bunkering port, would be delivered to warships involved, and often did I see a little bag transferred containing  "something for the captain!"] In seas and oceans there was always the threat of a prowling enemy submarine so the on deck crew and those conning the vessel had to be on the ball ready to do an emergency break-away from the replenishing ship and at the same time pursue and destroy the submarine threat hoping for the much needed RAS to be resumed .

However, I am going to concentrate on oil tankers called AO's in the USN = Fleet Oiler and in the RN RFA's =Royal Fleet Auxiliary - ships owned and controlled by the navy [but NOT warships] and crewed by merchant mariners whose officers held Queens Commissions in the RFA Service and were in the pay of the navy. There were many such ships some of which were tankers, others being store and, ammunition RFA's and as you will read in Item 1289 in the associated file,  Landing Ships Logistic [LSL's] which took troops etc to the battle zone often in the thick of action, so RFA men/women were/are very special "civilians" worthy of great credit.

Now although the USN had untold hands-on experience in the vast Pacific in WW2 being refuelled at sea to maintain their harrying of the Japanese navy and targets non stop, and remember USN ships were non-nuclear and had insatiable appetites for fuel oil =FFO, one would have thought that come post war [1945 onwards] the USN would be skilled in the art of doing RAS[L]'s.  Not so as the records show!  However, during WW2 the preferred method of taking fuel from a tanker [AO] was for the tanker to stream its uncharged feeder pipe directly astern in the sea and for the vessel wanting an uplift to follow astern and to grab the pipe with a grappling- iron with lead-line [painter] connected to a capstan or winch to haul the heavy pipe inboard and then manoeuvre so that the pipe was either on the port or starboard side ready for a connect-up completing the manoevre so that the relative position of the connected ship remains constant to the tanker stationed on the tankers quarter forming a bight in the streamed pipe with no chance of fouling the pipe or running over it.  When all was in place and with good seamanship so as to avoid any collision, the signal was given for the tanker to charge the streamed pipe, and the precious oil flowed into the warships tanks. The reverse was relatively simple and once the pipe was uncharged [meaning it still had a residue in it but not under pressure] the receiving ship would disconnect, place the cap in the end of the pipe, release the pipe overboard back into sea and remain on station until the pipe begins its haul back into the tanker. The receiving ships would then return to its sea duty position or rendezvous. At some point the USN in particular, if only to match the data in this "Neptune Paper 3" took to effecting a RAS[L] in the now accepted way, viz, that both the supply ship and the receiving ship will manoeuvre together in close quarter either alongside one another or fuel by the stern method [not common but possible from modern tankers]. It took nerves of steel from all involved to conduct such a delicate manoeuvre, and during my career I witnessed scores upon scores of them especially when I was a sea rider on FOST and FOF staffs, particularly the first staff FOST, where at least three times every week work up ships at Portland would practice this evolution for real! The bridge and bridge wing was a tense place to be or observe, such was the drama, and the man steering the ship, the coxswain, using [wheel or tapper bar] usually a thoroughly trustworthy helmsman [the ships coxswain or equivalent] was focused ignoring all else within him or around him.  The team work [replicated of course in the tanker] of the bridge [CO and navigator + OOW] and the helmsman was tangible, and hopefully, thoroughly professional.  What you will read here throughout failed in the hapless USN ships, for time after time ship are shown colliding from giant aircraft  carriers to destroyers in a most amazing way. In the early-mid 1975 period I was on the Portland work-up Staff in the Dutch Frigate 'Evertsen' at sea in the local exercise areas south of the "Races" carrying out approaches to the resident RFA [whose name I have forgotten but one of those with a first name of "Grey"].  As I recall we had done several approaches and when ready we approached, across went the bow to bow line with marker flags which could be clearly seen from both bridges measuring a distance both ships had to maintain  to keep that line just a tiny bit slack than taught. In calm weather, I would say sea state 2, across came the extendable derrick over which the pipes carrying the oil would be pumped, into the waist of the ship ready to be connected by screw and thread method into pipe leading directly to the fuel tanks of the Evertsen and the order to start pumping was given. I was on the boat deck starboard  side next to the RFA tanker and all appeared to be doing well when all of a sudden Evertsen had reared up touching boot topping with the RFA boot topping and we were in the air temporarily out of the water, soon dropping back  into it with a marked 15 degrees list to port endeavouring to to free herself from the RFA: I was thrown over to the port side but in a controlled way holding on for all I was worth. The RFA being a larger ship fared much better and appeared to remain stable and upright although I understood that the single oiling pipe was ripped out of the Evertsen causing much mess in the RFA and not surprisingly in the Dutch ship. The exercise was immediately called off and we were ordered back to harbour, and both to nearby alongside berths on what was called 'Q' Pier.  Once there were were able to see the damage caused to each vessel and the huge deep scratches and total loss of paint for the most part, but I suspect that there was damaged we weren't able to see. The Evertsen cut short her workup and sailed the next day back to her base in Den Helder Holland. The RFA was replaced as the resident work up tanker.

Below are just a few examples picked at random but no where near comprehensive and you will find many more as you progress down the long list of events/Items.

Item 41 was a dreadful accident with many killed!

Item 51 the launch was carrying liberty men returning from shore leave. Item 54 almost a mirror image only this time Royal Navy. See also Item 101.

Item 69 Mass deaths! Item 73 mass deaths! Item 83 mass deaths! Item 95 mass deaths!

ITEM 367 Is a sad tale indeed. The ship so Badly damaged in a collision was called the USS AMMEN and 11 men died in her and 20 injured, and given her spoken name and the way we Christians use it meant curtains for the ship 'so be it'.

USS Nautilus (SSN-571) was the world's first operational nuclear-powered submarine and the first submarine to complete a submerged transit of the North Pole on 3 August 1958. It was thus famous world wide. In the 1959/60 period is was well known, infamous now at least in navy terms, for fires, arson, breakdowns, collisions etc of which several occurrence are listed.

Item 392 USS CHARR SS-328, brave beyond comparison and deserving of the very highest award possible

Item 635 was the worst ever RAS[L] collision between two large vessels

Item 532 tells of sheer horror and an accident without comparability!

Item 596 was the worst possible accident ever. The losses of life and materiel were unprecedented and harrowing for all involved.  Enough to turn ones mind for all time to come!

Item 1068 Dreadful pilot error landing onto USS Nimitz killing many on the flight deck and causing $US 100 Million damage.

It seems as though the annual NATO series of manoeuvres and exercises known as TEAMWORK experienced very bad weather in  1988 causing some ships to have accidents.  See Items 1269-1272

In so many ways this list tells the story of the challenges and demands of the cold war which was acted out mainly at sea and between submarine services and I for one was involved from 1959 to 1964 in UK diesel electrics, fighting a cold war already long run by those dates. We got our first nuclear boat the Dreadnought in 1960 and several thereafter and it was they who took up the British challenge from the mid 60's until the cold war ceased. From the mid sixties we conventional submariners acted as support vessels to our big sisters  supporting our nuclear boats for from then on, it became a nuclear war under  the far reaches of the Atlantic and the north polar regions.  For a read which includes two of my boats the Turpin and the Auriga, I highly recommend you read this book called Hunter Killers by Iain Ballantyne ISBN 978-1-4091-3901-0.  Iain has won many accolades for his maritime contributions, and quite recently he was awarded the prestigious special recognition from the British Maritime Charitable Foundation for his consistent and unswerving contributions to raising maritime awareness over the years.

 I now ask you to read this file and think on about the cost in lives and materiel caused directly or indirectly by the cold war, when allied navies were training to combat Warsaw Pact Russians and allies of Russia were doing their best to undermine the security and sovereignty of the Nato Alliance effectively protecting the Western World. In the East, Allied navies were engaged with fighting other communists countries notably China, North Korea, North Vietnam and parts of Indonesia whilst in the Middle East were were fighting against an ally of Russia's viz Egypt. Several other conflicts were being fought agitated by Russia but truly not a part of the Cold War Aden and Cyprus were prime cases.

Chronology of Naval Accidents.docx 1945 to1988