WITH REGARDS TO MIKE HALL’S query in the June 2011 issue of Sea Breezes. Your particular craft C653, with ON 181893, was a Lubricating Oil Lighter. It was built by Rowhedge Iron Works Co Ltd in 1948. About 22 RFA craft had C designations such as your RFA C653, another 22 are listed as having names beginning with C such as RFA Cairndale, RFA Capable etc.
It could be that the subsequent 22 were the numbered series renamed or is it a coincidence that there were 22 of each?
Naval Stores harbour craft were allocated a number with prefix C from the days when the Coaling Officer operated all fuelling craft, eventually all store type craft were operated by Naval Stores Department and C numbers were allocated to dumb barges, coal lighters, dumb coal lighters, self propelled diesel lighters, self propelled stores lighters, launches and tugs.
1 Cathedral Walk
Cloyne, Co Cork, Ireland
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