Sir Percivale

9th August 2007, 14:51
Sometime last month a Spanish Tug went in to Southampton, the Sella, a few days later it moved across to Marchwood Military Port, I heard a rumour that it was going to take the ex-RFA Sir Percivale to either Santander or Vigo in Northern Spain for scrapping, I later saw the Sella was listed as "From Marchwood Military Port to THE WORLD" Any one got any info or dates please?
Rgds Neill

9th August 2007, 21:40
Come on you Solent Lookouts. Surely we didnt let the Percy go without a photo?

Ron Stringer
10th August 2007, 08:44
Worked on the installation of the commercial radio room aboard her in Hawthorne Leslie's yard at Hebburn in 1966 or '67. I was just ashore and only helping Marconi's Tommy Ross (he of the handlebar moustache) who was really doing the installation. Because at that time I hadn't been security-cleared, I couldn't go into the military radio room so Tommy did all that work and I was left to get on with the non-military side. Must have learned something from Tommy because I was soon moved off the Percy to work on my own on installation work in the nearby Palmers yard. Great times and interesting ships.

25th August 2007, 09:46
Can anyone confirm Percy's current whereabouts? (Smoke)

30th September 2007, 10:43
She's still alongside at Marchwood.

4th October 2007, 05:29
Thanks very much for the info.
Rgds Neill

19th January 2008, 20:54
Last I saw of the old girl she was still screwed to the wall at Marchwood, this was mid Dec. 2007, 29 and a bit years since I joined her as a JEO in Cyprus.

20th January 2008, 18:45
Just as a matter of interest Gents, Sir Galahad is due at portland in February to be handed over to her new owners.

21st January 2008, 09:40
Hasnt she already been handed over at Portsmouth on 5 December?

21st January 2008, 18:24
Not sure about that. It is down on our movements schedule as handing over to new owners.

21st January 2008, 20:33
The camera never lies!!!!
Brazil formally has welcomed the former Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) landing ship Sir Galahad into her Navy at Portsmouth Naval Base yesterday.

The Sir Galahad, which in 1988 replaced the ship of the same name lost in the Falklands War, was commissioned into the Brazilian Navy as the Garcia D'Avila - the name of a distinguished captain and Brazilian war hero who served from 1913 until 1945.

Representing the British Armed Forces at the commissioning ceremony was Portsmouth Naval Base Commander, Commodore David Steel:

"Sir Galahad has seen long and distinguished service with the RFA," he said. "While it is always sad to bid farewell to one of our ships, all of us in the Naval Service are delighted and heartened that Sir Galahad, as the Garcia D'Avila, will be a valued and very capable addition to the Brazilian fleet."

Sir Galahad (8,750 tonnes) and her five sister ships began entering service from the mid-1960s, but from 2001 were replaced by four much larger and more capable vessels of 16,000 tonnes - RFAs Largs Bay, Lyme Bay, Mounts Bay and Cardigan Bay - each of which are equipped with landing craft and can accommodate 356 troops and up to 150 trucks or 24 Challenger battle tanks.

The present Sir Galahad was built by Swan Hunter at Tyne and Wear and has served in both Iraq wars. She is unique in the RFA having won two Wilkinson Swords of Peace for humanitarian aid - to Angola in 1995 and Iraq in 2003.

In July last year she made her last journey under the RFA flag when she sailed from Marchwood port, the Armed Forces' Sea Mounting Centre on Southampton Water, to Portsmouth, where she has been refitted for Brazilian service.

For more information click on or go to

21st January 2008, 20:46
I'd presumed that if the Brazilians hadn’t paid for her yet - they might have just “ran-up” the flag to see what it would look like!

Will we have changed the oil, and given her a quick valet ("refitted for Brazilian service"), before we handed her over and took the cash from them. Has she been sold with an extended warranty?!

(Experience from the last ever RN diesel submarines sold to the Canadians; and two Type 22 Frigates sold to Romania; might indicate that as soon as you have the keys, you’re on your own!!).

Even with my anorak interest in LSLs, I’d failed to notice the new, replacement, Sir Galahad (launched 1986), has a rectangular funnel! Had to refer to my files to satisfy myself.

Just been looking at some on-line photos, to confirm SLEP Sir Bedivere similarly has a rectangular funnel.

However, similar on-line photos of the earlier re-built, lengthened and strengthened (as a pre-curser to the SLEP idea) Sir Tristram, at “Her final mooring in Portland, Sep ’07”; and now posing as an SBS “training and activity centre”; kept her original oval funnel.

Does anyone know if Sir Percivale (the only one in her original, unadulterated, form), is still on the used-car-lot awaiting a buyer?

Does any one know when the SLEP Sir Bedivere is due to arrive ex-Gulf, to join her?

22nd January 2008, 17:48
Sir Percy is still at Southampton alright, if you care to click on this web site gives you handy news and shipping movements in the Solent area, including which ships are in port.

Sir Bedivere, all I know at the mo is her decommissioning date has been brought forward from 2017 to some time this year.

23rd January 2008, 00:10
I does seem a damn shame that such a “young” versatile ship as Sir Bedivere, with new engines etc, should be being disposed of!!

I feel the need to write a letter to someone important suggesting an alternate, and continuing, use for her. I’d suggest that the LSL Sir Bedivere, should be dispatched to the Caribbean to provide the “Naval” presence for our Overseas Territories,

Whilst able to fulfil all the roles currently required, she would be less expensive to man, and to run, than a frigate/destroyer - certainly less expensive to deploy to the area than HMS Ocean, that during last year, fulfilled our obligations to the area.

The utilisation of Sir Bedivere for such a deployment, would free-up one of our now scarce fighting ships, for the roles that they were primarily designed and intended for.

Additionally, with her vehicle decks stuffed with Royal Engineers kit (there is lots of it laying around - even new kit at Withams awaiting disposal . . .)

she would be “pre-deployed”, on-station, fully equipped, waiting to provide the emergency relief invariably required during the annual hurricane season.

As and when required, the Army’s RE (with Pioneers, Medics etc), could be flown out.

CONSTRUCTIVE comments please gentlemen!!

23rd January 2008, 07:19
The RFA Sir Bedivere left Bahrain on 18/01/08 for the last time to begin her journey home, I have not seen any mention of her coming northbound through Suez yet but will post as soon as I know, we are still hoping she will come to Gibraltar en-route!!!
Rgds Neill
Photo on:

23rd January 2008, 20:02
The crystal ball has Bedivere ending up at Pompey 25 Feb after a call at her home port on 18 Feb.
Most of her hull is over 40 years old.
Many RFAs in the Caribbean in recent years have carried out disaster relief in various islands, and somehow they managed it without the help of the Army!

23rd January 2008, 21:09
I totally agree Lancastrian.

Even if “Most of her hull is over 40 years old”, the SLEP rejuvenation she benefited from, means she has another ten years of useful life left in her, which it is suggested the RN should take advantage of.

I am sure what our sailors have done in the past with hand tools and enthusiasm was appreciated by the beneficiaries, and would have made a change for the lads from starring at computer screens!

But, try to imagine what could be done with a number of Land-Rovers, JCBs and field kitchens etc, with the trained “operatives” flown out to use them only “as and when” required. I’m not bothered about the colour of their uniforms. Let sailors and marines do the job if we have enough.

It is suggested “disaster relief” should not be at the top priority that RN frigates/destroyers (and certainly not HM Ocean!), should be engaged with, when the Navy’s fighting ships are spread so thinly elsewhere.

23rd January 2008, 22:23
The original "WIGS" deployments of one frigate supported by an RFA, which started in the early seventies, were to protect Belize from invasion by Guatemala.
After that subsided, the excuse of Counter Narcotic operations with the USCG was invented to keep it going and the odd hurricane relief job was incidental.
The real reason of course was to give the boys and girls a nice trip in the sunshine and I'm sure the Oceans enjoyed it!

24th January 2008, 00:07
A bit like the Army maintaining their commitment to Cyprus - and posting the lads there - although (I understand), there is not an agreed “establishment” for the place!

28th January 2008, 11:22
Rumour tree has it the Sir Bedivere will visit Gibraltar 10-14/02 on her way back to the UK
Rgds Neill