Former harbour workhorse ends up in a watery grave

RFA Reward leaving Portsmouth Harbour in 1966 PPP-150128-123425001
RFA Reward leaving Portsmouth Harbour in 1966 PPP-150128-123425001
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The recent feature here in praise of tugs prompted Graham Egleton to get in touch about one tug in particular.

In the summer of 1965 he came to Portsmouth and joined the ocean-going fleet tug RFA Reward as third engineer.

RFA Reward is raised after sinking in the Firth of Forth in 1976 PPP-150128-123446001

RFA Reward is raised after sinking in the Firth of Forth in 1976 PPP-150128-123446001

She was a Bustler-class tug and with her sister RFA Cyclone was based in Portsmouth working for the MoD.

She was launched in October 1944 and entered service with the navy as HMS Reward in March 1945.

In 1963 ocean-going tugs were switched to the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and Reward was based in Portmsouth until the early 1970s.

Graham says: ‘I served aboard her several times as 3rd and 2nd Engineer until I left her in Malta in 1972.

‘In 1975 she was converted to oil rig patrol duties, for duty in the North Sea, and reverted to her original name HMS Reward, manned by the Royal Navy, when she re-joined the fleet.’

But, in dense fog, on August 10, 1976, she collided with a German container ship SS Plainsman in the Firth of Forth. She was hit amidships on the starboard side and sank.

She was raised by salvage experts and scrapped.