Royal Fleet Auxiliary


Lantern Swinger
My neighbours son is wanting to join the RFA. Did anyone go on to serve in the RFA and got anything to say about it - good, bad, etc?


What do you want to know? It's got it's plus and minus points when compared against the RN. Plus, it depends what he wants to do in the RFA. Be ready for lots of sea time, of course, as that's all the RFA do! None of these cushy shore posts!

You cannot sum being at sea to a few words... It's sh1t at times, but it's also the best thing ever at others... and the people are the greatest...

Could he stick with it for ever? It's great fun, I will say that. But it does take it out of your life. I miss the RFA (well, the people I worked with) just about every day, and would say go for it, but not before looking at what the alternatives are...


Lantern Swinger
Well, I helped him with the application form and took it into the RFA recruiting office in the dockyard. (I work in Pompey dockyard). They were a bit doubtful of him getting into COMMS as he only has an E in English. Then they said they worry less about formal qualifications and more about psychometric test results which is apparently what happens in the pusser now.

Anyway, assuming he gets past the test and gets an interview does anyone know what sort of things he might be asked beyond the obvious "Why do you want to join ... ", " Whos the Secretary of State for Defence ... " etc


Lantern Swinger
As it happens, my neighbours sons cousin is also trying to get in and looks better qualified on paper so if either of them get anywhere I'll let you know what happens.


tufty said:
My neighbours son is wanting to join the RFA. Did anyone go on to serve in the RFA and got anything to say about it - good, bad, etc?

Sorry if this is a bit late but I know of one oppo of mine who has recently gone back to sea in the RFA. He was an RN Sparker and was back in civvy street working for a bank when he was made redundant. Following his RFA comms. training, which he passed with top marks, he is now back at sea, presently aboard the Mounts Bay, and absolutely LOVING it !!!! He is in his 50's too and they take people on up to 56 years of age I think. From the sound of it the standard of accomodation aboard RFAs these days is amazing. He has en-suite cabin with all mod cons. Sat. TV, internet etc. and his rank, I think, is the equivalent of a senior AB or Killick !!!!

Good luck to the lad, hope he enjoys it !!!


I know a couple of blokes from the workies , and they say go for it , so good luck men , starboard ten , :twisted: :lol:


War Hero
Always thought the Royal Fleet Auxilary was a civilian mob i.e. Merchant Navy! Was when I was with them in '75! So you need a Discharge Book etc. maybe now that we've got sod all Royal Navy it has become the 'standby Navy' and works under different rules - used to be the 'best club in the world' but times have changed!

Of the Officeers they said "the Royal Navy was Gentlemen trying to be Officers, the Merchant Navy was Officers trying to be Gentlemen and the RFA was neither trying to be both" lot of truth in that!


I am a serving member of the RFA. In fact I sailed with the Comms Rating on the Mounts Bay mentioned in a earier post.
The RFA is manned by civilians. They are required to hold Merchant Navy "Discharge Books". However they are contracted to the MOD (N).
I completed 22 years in the Royal Navy and a week after "retiring" from the RN, I was on my first RFA ship on it's way to West Africa.
The money is good. The pension is good (Second only to a Military Pension). The leave is good - 17 days for each month away. ie 4 month trip = 68 days Leave (At Senior Rate level). All cabins are en-suite.
It is far more laid back than the RN and also as a civilian ,there is no BS.
As far as I am concerned, the only down side is the time away. The RFA's job is to be at sea supporting the Military (Not just the RN) in its gobal operations which means being on station at all times.

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