RFA Salvestor

RFA Salvestor (A499) was a King Salvor-class salvage vessel of the post war Royal Fleet Auxiliary.

Name: RFA Salvestor
Ordered: 10 January 1941
Builder: Wm. Simons & Co. Ltd., Renfrew
Yard number: 753
Laid down: 20 September 1941, as Assistance
Launched: 28 August 1942, as Salvestor
Completed: 30 September 1942
Decommissioned: September 1959
Fate: Sold for scrapping, July 1970
General characteristics
Class and type: King Salvor-class salvage vessel
Displacement: 1,780 long tons (1,809 t) full load
Length: 216 ft 11 in (66.12 m)
Beam: 37 ft 11 in (11.56 m)
Draught: 15 ft 7 in (4.75 m)
Propulsion: 2 × 3-cylinder triple expansion steam engines, two shafts
Speed: 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph)
Complement: Between 52 and 72
Armament: 4 × 20 mm AA guns (4×1)

Salvestor was built by Wm. Simons & Co. Ltd. of Renfrew, Scotland. Laid down on 20 September 1941 as Assistance, and launched on 28 August 1942 as HMS Salvestor. The ship was decommissioned in September 1959, laid up at Pembroke Dock, and sold for breaking up to Thos W Ward at Briton Ferry in July 1970.

Service history

During the Second World War the Salvestor was one of two Royal Navy ships manned by South African Naval personnel (SANF). She remained the property of the Royal Navy, but was under SANF control from 31 August 1944. She served in the Mediterranean and then participated in the war against Japan with the British Eastern Fleet.

In 1945 Salvestor assisted a merchant ship that had encountered problems more than 200 km from Milne Bay, New Guinea. After the war Salvestor salvaged a number of wrecks from Hong Kong Harbour, including a Japanese tug. The SANF crew was gradually replaced by Royal Navy personnel, she was handed back to the Royal Navy in 1946.

For services rendered in the war against Japan, the Salvestor received the "Pacific 1942-45" battle honour, the only South African-manned naval vessel to be honoured in this way.


  • Du Toit, Allan (1992). South Africa's Fighting Ships: Past and Present. Rivonia, South Africa: Ashanti Publishing. ISBN 1-874800-50-2.
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