RFA Bacchus (1915)

RFA Bacchus (1915) was a stores freighter and distilling ship of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. Built by William Hamilton and Company, of Port Glasgow for the Indo-China Steam Navigation Company and purchased by the Admiralty while on the stocks on 22 March 1915.

United Kingdom
Name: RFA Bacchus
Builder: William Hamilton and Company, Port Glasgow
Launched: 10 May 1915
Commissioned: 1915
Decommissioned: 1937
Renamed: RFA Bacchus II, May 1936
Fate: Sunk as target, 15 November 1938
General characteristics
Displacement: 3,598 long tons (3,656 t)
Length: 295 ft 1 in (89.94 m) p/p
Beam: 44 ft 1 in (13.44 m)
Draught: 20 ft 8 in (6.30 m)
  • 2 × 3-cylinder triple expansion steam engines
  • Two shafts
Speed: 10 knots (19 km/h)
Complement: 52

On 4 May 1928, Bacchus was in collision with the Greek cargo ship Ioannis Falafos in the English Channel 20 nautical miles (37 km) south of St. Alban's Head, Dorset. Ioannis Falafos sank in three minutes with the loss of ten of her 22 crew. The survivors were initially rescued by Bacchus but she was severely damaged at the bows and was abandoned as it was thought that she would sink too. The British cargo ship Manchester Commerce took all on board. Bacchus was later reboarded once it became apparent that she would remain afloat. She was towed into Portland Harbour stern-first by an Admiralty tug.[1][2][3] Bacchus was subsequently repaired and returned to service.

She was renamed RFA Bacchus II in May 1936 in order to free the name for a new ship. She was sunk as target on 15 November 1938 over the Hurd Deep, 10 miles off Alderney in the Channel Islands, by gunfire from the cruiser HMS Dunedin.


  1. "Collision in Channel". The Times (44885). London. 5 May 1928. col D, p. 12.
  2. "Casualty reports". The Times (44885). London. 5 May 1928. col B, p. 21.
  3. "The Channel collision". The Times (44886). London. 7 May 1928. col C, p. 9.
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