RFA Appleleaf
Armed Merchant Cruiser HMAS Westralia, RFA Appleleaf and Cruiser HMAS Hobart
Armed Merchant Cruiser HMAS Westralia, RFA Appleleaf and Cruiser HMAS Hobart

 

Previous name:                    Texol

Official Number                    140251

Class:                                   5000T Fast Leaf (ex TEXOL) Class Fleet Attendant Tanker

Pennant No:                         X32  Y7.178    X32   X01

Laid down:
Builder:                                Workman Clark, Belfast
Launched:                           28 November 1916
Into Service:                        16 February 1917

Out of service:                     1947

Fate:                                     Broken up


Items of historic interest involving this ship: -

 

Background Data:   All ordered in 1915, the six Admiralty-designed vessels in this Class were very advanced ships for their day. They were designed to act as Escorts on Atlantic Convoys during WW1, whilst also bringing cargoes of oil fuel from the U.S. to Britain. They were fitted with six boilers and four powerful cargo pumps with a pumping rate of 2000 tonnes per hour, which for many years was too high to be used by HM ships. They were originally planned to be named after oil bearing countries with the now usual OL suffix, but their military appearance and naval names caused difficulties with the U.S. Neutrality Act, so various modifications were made and they were then placed under commercial management and given LEAF names in common with other converted ships running as Admiralty tankers under commercial management


28 November 1916 launched by Workman Clark & Co Ltd, Belfast as Yard Nr 368 named TEXOL for the Shipping Controller

16 February 1917 completed at a cost of £287,234. Placed under management of Lane & MacAndrew Ltd, London as an oiler transport and was renamed APPLELEAF (1)

1917 - 1918 served on North Atlantic convoy duties

2 May 1917 at Port Arthur Hospital Pumpman Edward Tozer discharged dead - reason not found in TNA records

5 May 1917 sailed Port Arthur, Texas with 5,181 tons of FFO

11 June 1917 sailed Devonport

6 August 1917 0800hrs sailed Devonport escorted by HMS CHRISTOPHER with paravanes deployed. Paravanes recovered at 2240hrs

14 September 1917 sighted by HMS ALMANZORA at 50.43N 8.45W

23 October 1917 in convoy from Halifax, Nova Scotia escorted by HMS GLOUCESTERSHIRE. Rear ship in the convoy some 10 nmiles astern

HMS Gloucester 1909

HMS GLOUCESTERSHIRE

10 November 1917 was mined in the North Sea and was towed to port for repairs

12 December 1917 underwent trials in Belfast Lough during repair period

8 April 1918 repairs completed and she re-entered service

29 April 1918 at 41 17N 47 55W in company of RFA PLUMLEAF stopped by HMS LEVIATHAN who delivered despatches to both tankers

9 May 1918 damaged by a fire on the Clyde. 150 tons of cargo was lost

7 September 1918 re-entered service after fire damage was repaired

24 September 1918 in a convoy from Canada to Liverpool with RFA PLUMLEAF (1) and other shipping escorted by HMS ROXBURGH

HMS Roxburgh 1

HMS ROXBURGH

1 October 1918 left convoy for Pembroke Dockyard

25 January 1919 at Copenhagen Greaser Chas Russell discharged dead - reason not shown in TNA records. He had signed on the ship on the 8 November 1918

Chas Russell

Greaser Chas Russell

21 September 1919 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on Flamborough Head southbound

20 November 1919 at Biorko alongside HMS VINDICTIVE to refuel her with 190 tons of FFO and to receive RAF stores

26 November 1919 sighted HMS DRAGON which was on passage from Riga to Libau

HMS DRAGON

HMS DRAGON

3 December 1919 grounded on passage from Libau (Latvia) to Copenhagen but was refloated

15 February 1920 berthed at Gibraltar from Sheerness to discharge

2 March 1920 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

3 March 1920 sailed Portsmouth Harbour

7 March 1920 berthed at Gibraltar from Portsmouth to discharge

13 May 1920 at Batoum alongside HMS TORCH refuelling her with 53 tons of FFO

16 May 1920 passed by HMS ARK ROYAL while both ships were on passage to Constantinople

24 May 1920 at Constantinople Fireman Felix Rocks discharged dead - drowned - he was climbing a pilot ladder when returning onboard from a small boat when he fell into the water

6 June 1920 at Constantinople alongside HMS TORCH refuelling her with 165 tons of FFO

31 July 1920 at Constantinople alongside HMS TORCH refuelling her with 134 tons of FFO

27 August 1920 at Bayukdere alongside HMS TORCH refuelling her with 32 tons of FFO

17 October 1920 at Constantinople alongside HMS TORCH refuelling her with 150 tons of FFO

26 December 1920 at Suez alongside HMS MALAYA refuelling her with 2,010 tons FFO

2 January 1921 sailed Aden

7 January 1921 arrived at Suez from Aden

22 February 1921 arrived at Funchal, Maderia from Aden and berthed alongside HMS DELHI refuelling her

HMS Delhi

HMS DELHI

23 February 1921 at Funchal, Maderia alongside HMS's DANAE, DRAGON and DUNEDIN refuelling them

24 February 1921 sailed Funchal, Maderia

27 February 1921 berthed at Gibraltar from Funchal, Maderia

9 March 1921 berthed at the Port of London from Gibraltar with one case of Malaria onboard - treated onboard

14 June 1921 at Copenhagen alongside HMS DANAE refuelling her

15 July 1921 at Copenhagen alongside HMS DANAE refuelling her

11 August 1921 at Copenhagen alongside HMS DANAE refuelling her - supplied 210 tons FFO

30 September 1921 at Invergordon alongside HMS Malaya refuelling her

24 October 1921 berthed at Invergordon

5 November 1921 at Invergordon alongside HMS MALAYA refuelling her - supplied 500 tons FFO and also alongside HMS WARSPITE refuelling her - supplied with 252 tons FFO

10 December 1921 at Rosyth

1922 to 1926 in reserve at Rosyth along with 4 of her sister ships

18 November 1926 Captain John Henry Jones RFA appointed as Master and Mr R McWhannell RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

1926 to 1930 brought out of reserve during the General Strike and was chartered to Anglo Saxon Petroleum Co Ltd, London, running mainly between the Caribbean and the U.K

19 February 1927 at 24.05N 84.58W Seaman Stanley Watson discharged dead. He fell overboard by accident and was drowned

16 July 1927 sailed Plymouth for Tampico to load cargo

9 January 1928 Captain James D Ashworth RFA appointed as Master

Capt J D Ashworth

Captain James D Ashworth RFA

27 August 1928 Captain Charles H Noel RFA appointed as Master

20 September 1928 arrived at Plymouth from Sheerness

7 January 1929 berthed at Devonport

1 March 1929 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

2 March 1929 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

10 April 1929 passed Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing west bound

17 May 1929 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

23 May 1929 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

1 July 1929 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

3 July 1929 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

20 August 1929 at Terneuzen, Holland Fireman Albert Harding discharged dead having drowned after a motor vehicle accident ashore

25 August 1929 arrived at Plymouth Sound from Holland

6 November 1929 Captain John B Hurst RFA appointed as Master

John B Hurst

Captain John B Hurst RFA

28 December 1929 at Port of Spain, Trinidad Ordinary Seaman Francis J Mitchell discharged dead suffering with tubercolosis. He is buried in a shared grave at  Woodbrook Cemetery,  Port of Spain in grave 11 East No: 235 with four other deceased. There is no head stone

DSC 0856

CEM2209945 132819876518

Images kindly supplied by Jerome Lee

30 January 1930 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing westbound

22 May 1930 arrived at Suez from Shantung

10 June 1930 passed the Lloyds SIgnal Station on the Lizard sailing east

11 June 1930 arrived at Plymouth from Swansea

18 June 1930 Captain John Gow RFA appointed as Master

 John Gow

Captain John Gow RFA

22 June 1930 sailed Devonport for Trinidad

1930 to 1933 served on Admiralty freighting duties between the West Indies and the U.K

27 July 1930 berthed in Portsmouth Harbour

28 July 1930 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

20 October 1930 berthed in Portsmouth Harbour from Trinidad

8 December 1930 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour for Trinidad

12 January 1931 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing east bound

26 January 1931 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

2 February 1931 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

17 February 1931 sailed Blyth for Devonport

4 April 1931 arrived Milford Haven from Trinidad

20 April 1931 Mr R McWhannell RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

28 May 1931 berthed at Glasgow from Trinidad

4 June 1931 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

27 June 1931 berthed in No 3 Basin Portsmouth Harbour together with RFA BRITISH LANTERN

7 July 1931 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

15 July 1931 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

20 July 1931 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

10 August 1931 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

14 August 1931 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

18 September 1931 arrived at Plymouth from Trinidad

26 September 1931 sailed Plymouth and passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing west bound

30 October 1931 arrived at Milford Haven from Trinidad and Mr R Blacklock RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

8 December 1931 passed St Catherines Point sailing east bound

17 December 1931 berthed on the River Tyne at Swan Hunters

2 January 1932 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

4 January 1932 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

14 February 1932 arrived at Milford Haven from Trindad

22 February 1932 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

26 February 1932 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour for Trinidad

29 March 1932 Steward Charles Louis White discharged dead

C L White

Steward Charles L White

7 April 1932 arrived at Milford Haven from Trinidad

14 May 1932 arrived at Glasgow

21 May 1932 sailed Glasgow

24 June 1932 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing east bound

5 September 1932 Captain Hermanin R Elsby RFA discharged to hospital at Invergordon where he died on 8 September 1932

6 September 1932 Captain J Gow RFA appointed as Master

9 December 1932 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

31 January 1933 in No: 14 Dock at Portsmouth Dockyard

2 February 1933 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

6 March 1933 arrived at Milford Haven from Trinidad

22 May 1933 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing east bound

2 June 1933 arrived at Plymouth from Salzaete

30 December 1933 arrived at Glasgow from Trinidad

3 March 1934 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

10 April 1934 Captain Charles H Noel RFA appointed as Master

 

Charles_Noel_3_-_1943

Captain Charles H Noel RFA 

25 April 1934 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

20 December 1934 sailed Singapore for Hong Kong with Captain and Mrs N L Hammond RE as passengers

1934 served on the China Station, where she relieved RFA BELGOL

 

Appleleaf_Card_6a

RFA Applelaf's Christmas Card for 1936 while on the China Station.
Kind donated by Andrew Gourley from Captain Charles Noel's collection

 

22 October 1935 at Hong Kong

28 January 1937 Captain Stanley G Kent RFA appointed as Master

11 February 1937 Mr D H Evans RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

10 January 1938 twelve unauthorised Chinese were found on board at Hong Kong. They appeared before the Marine Court and were fined $20 each. They claimed they were looking for friends. The ship was due to sail to Singapore within four hours

20 January 1938 at Singapore when berthed at the Naval Base at Seletar the ship was searched by Revenue Officers

22 January 1938 Seaman Fong Chow Foi appeared before a Singapore Court after 3,000 tahils of Chandu (opium) were discovered under a false deck in the chain locker. Its value was given as $24,000. He was sentenced to 2 years and 2 months rigorous imprisonment

17 December 1938  at sea at 29.20N 123.20E Fireman's Boy Wair Lap Cheong discharged dead with tuberculosis

3 September 1939 at Hong Kong on the outbreak of WW2

15 October 1939 at sea at 5.07S 103.05E Greaser Phul Chung Ta discharged dead having committed suicide

26 October 1939 at Singapore berthed on RFA RUTHENIA with HMAS HOBART moored alongside to be refuelled

4 November 1939 at Singapore alongside HMAS HOBART to refuel her

HMAS Hobart

HMAS HOBART

14 November 1939 sailed Singapore independently to Penang arriving the next day

21 November 1939 sailed Penang independently to Singapore via Nancowry Harbour, Nicobar Islands arriving 2 December 1939

29 December 1939 sailed Singapore independently to Hong Kong arriving 5 January 1940

8 January 1940 Captain Reginald Percival Harris RFA appointed as Master

 

R_P_Harris

Captain Reginald P Harris RFA

16 February 1940 Mr F Campbell RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

22 February 1940 sailed Hong Kong returning to that port 26 February 1940

27 February 1940 sailed Hong Kong

16 March 1940 sailed Hong Kong and RAS'ed with HMS LIVERPOOL in the vicinity of Saddle Island on the China Station - details from the Admiralty War Diary of this day

3 April 1940 sailed Hong Kong independently to Singapore arriving 25 April 1940

4 April 1940 rendered assistance to the Norwegian steamer PRODUCE which had run aground on North Reef, Paracel Islands in the South China Sea the previous day and which broke up rapidly as she was in a very exposed position. 37 persons were rescued

10 June 1940 sailed Singapore to Penang arriving 12 June 1940. Returned to Singapore 3 July 1940

23 July 1940 sailed Singapore independently to Hong Kong arriving on 28 July 1940

14 August 1940 sailed Hong Kong independently to Singapore arriving 20 August 1940 thence to Colombo

18 October 1940 arrived Colombo

21 October 1940 refuelled Ranchi at Colombo

4 November 1940 refuelled Ranchi at Colombo

21 November 1940 refuelled Ranchi at Colombo

22 November 1940 Junior Engineer Officer James Crerar RFA discharged dead from an appendicitis. He had signed on the ship on 23 October 1939 and he is buried in Colombo (Kanatte) General Cemetery, Ceylon in Plot 6B Row N Grave 9

 

Crerar_J

Courtesy and © of The War Graves Photographic Project

3 December 1940 sailed Colombo independently arriving Trincomalee 5 December 1940

13 December 1940 sailed Trincomalee to Colombo arriving 14 December 1940

19 December 1940 at Addu Atoll, Maldive Islands alongside HMAS HOBART refuelling her with 1,100 tons of FFO

15 January 1941 sailed Trincomalee independently to Colombo arriving 17 January 1941

19 January 1941 off Colombo towing a target for HMAS CANBERRA to fire reduced charge of the full calibre shells

24 January 1941 sailed Colombo independently to Mahe, Seychelles arriving 1 February 1941

10 February 1941 sailed Mahe, Seychelles independently to Dar-es-salaam arriving 14 February 1941

14 February 1941 resupplied Minesweeping Group 109

16 February 1941 sailed Dar-es-salaam independently to Mahe, Seychelles arriving 19 February 1941

9 March 1941 sailed Mahe, Seychelles  to Port Victoria, Mauritius arriving 13 March 1941

7 April 1941 at Seychelles with HMAS Canberra alongside being refuelled - supplied 427 tons FFO

12 April 1941 at Seychelles with HMAS Canberra alongside being refuelled - supplied 789 tons FFO

17 April 1941 sailed Mahe, Seychelles independently to Colombo arriving 22 April 1941

10 May 1941 sailed Colombo independently to Trincomalee

17 May 1941 sailed Trincomalee independently to Colombo arriving the next day

21 May 1941 sailed Colombo to Trincomalee

3 June 1941 sailed Trincomalee independently to Colombo arriving the next day

1 July 1941 sailed Colombo independently to Mahe, Seychelles arriving 6 July 1941

August 1941 at Bombay for repairs

11 August 1941 Captain Reginald Percival Harris RFA discharged dead. He is buried in the Kirkee War Cemetery, Bombay, India in Plot IV Row K Grave 12


Harris_RP

Courtesy and © of The War Graves Photographic Project

 

7 September 1941 sailed Bombay independently to Colombo arriving 10 September 1941

12 September 1941 sailed Colombo independently to Trincomalee arriving the next day

17 September 1941 sailed Trincomalee independently to Mahe, Seychelles arriving 23 September 1941

22 September 1941 Captain Edward Mills RFA appointed as Master

1 October 1941 sailed Mahe, Seychelles independently to Colombo arriving 7 October 1941

21 October 1941 sailed Colombo independently to Trincomalee arriving 3 November 1941

16 November 1941 sailed Trincomalee independently to Colombo arriving the next day

25 November 1941 sailed Colombo independently to Trincomalee arriving the next day

27 November 1941 sailed Trincomalee to Colombo

13 December 1941 3rd Engineer Officer Francis L Burns RFA discharged dead from natural causes. He is buried in Colombo (Kanatte) General Cemetery, Celyon in Plot 6 Row M Grave 6

 

Burns_FL

Courtesy and © of The War Graves Photographic Project

21 January 1942 refuelled H M Ships INDOMITABLE, NESTOR, NIZAN and NAPIER at Addu Atoll

24 January 1942 refuelled H M Ships INDOMITABLE, NESTOR, NIZAN and NAPIER off Cocos Island

28 January 1942 refuelled HMAS's NESTOR and NAPIER when on passage to Trincomalee

31 January 1942 listed as deployed in the East Indies Fleet in the Indian Ocean together with HMIS CLIVE and HMS's BARONIA and ATHENE

5 February 1942 arrived at Trincomalee

8 February 1942 refuelled HMS ROYAL SOVEREIGN at Trincomalee

14 February 1942 Radio Officer Henry George Blake discharged dead. He died on HMHS Vita from natural causes and is buried in Trincomalee War Cemetery in Plot 2 Row C Grave 5.

 

blake

Courtesy and © of The War Graves Photographic Project

 

25 February 1942 at Trincomalee with HMAS NIXAM alongside being refuelled

28 February 1942 sailed Colombo with orders to sail to 6.40N,84.30E and 2.30N, 91.50E to provide oil if necessary for groups of ships of China Force proceeding to westward

3 March 1942 refuelled HMS DANAE

8 March 1942 arrived at Trincomalee

11 March 1942 sailed Trincomalee with three other ships and escorted by HMS VERBENA and HHMS AETOS arriving Colombo on 13 March 1942

25 March 1942 refuelled HMS's RAMILLIES and ROYAL SOVEREIGN at Addu Atoll

30 March 1942 sailed Colombo escorted by HMS SHOREHAM

2 April 1942 refuelled three destroyers south of Ceylon

14 June 1942 Steward Lee Hsing Chin discharged dead. He is buried in Colombo (Kanatte) General Cemetery, Ceylon in Plot 6C. Row A. Grave 3

 

Lee_Hsing_Chin

Courtesy and © of The War Graves Photographic Project

 

29 June 1942 sailed Colombo in convoy C20 to Cochin arriving 2 July 1942

22 July 1942 sailed Cochin independently arriving Colombo 24 July 1942

29 July 1942 sailed Colombo in company with RFA BROOMDALE in convoy JC3 arriving Trincomalee 31 July 1942

1 August 1942 sailed Trincomalee as part of one of three dummy convoys used in Operation Stab - a diversionary operation to invade the Andaman Islands - in company with RFA BROOMDALE and thus take attention away from the US invasion of Guadacanal . Sailed at 0400Z revered course at 1700Z back to Trincomalee. Also in this dummy convoy was RFA BROOMDALE and two other merchant ships with RIN and RN escort ships

3 August 1942 sailed Trincomalee independently to Colombo arriving 5 August 1942

7 October 1942 sailed Colombo for Diego Garcia in Convoy C 29 and arrived 11 October

30 November 1942 sailed Colombo to Addu Atoll arriving 17 December 1942

17 December 1942 sailed Addu Atoll to Colombo arriving 20 December 1942

January 1943 Mr A S A Duncan RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

10 March 1943 rescued 17 DEMS gunners and 46 of the crew of 55 from the U.S. freighter ANDREA F LUCKENBACH which had been torpedoed by the German submarine U-221 whilst  in Convoy HX 228 and had her stern blown off

14 March 1943 sailed Colombo in convoy C44 to Addu Atoll and Diego Garcia arriving 21 March 1943 - escort HMAS GAWLER

Hmas gawler

HMAS GAWLER

25 March 1943 at Diego Garcia refuelled HMAS NEPAL alongside

26 March 1943 sailed Diego Garcia in the company of HMAS NEPAL

28 March 1943 at 13.20S 19.14E RASed with HMAS NEPAL astern

29 March 1943 RASed again with HMAS NEPAL astern during which the hose burst

9 April 1943 at Addu Atoll with HMAS MARYBOROUGH alongside being refuelled

HMAS Maryborough

HMAS MARYBOROUGH

10 April 1943 sailed Addu Atoll to Colombo arriving 13 April 1943 escorted by HMAS's MARYBOROUGH and LISMORE

20 April 1943 sailed Addu Atoll in convoy XC19 to Colombo arriving 23 April 1943

14 May 1943 Mr John H Dawe RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

CEO John H Dawe

Chief Engineer Officer John H Dawe RFA

15 May 1943 sailed Colombo in convoy CX3 to Addu Atoll arriving 18 May 1943

24 June 1943 joined convoy KR5 at sea to Colombo arriving 27 June 1943

29 July 1943 sailed Colombo in convoy CX5 to Addu Atoll arriving 1 August 1943

4 August 1943 at Diego Garcia with HMAS NIZAM alongside being refuelled

17 September 1943 sailed Addu Atoll in convoy XC6 to Colombo arriving 20 September 1943

1 December 1943 on passage from Colombo to Addu Atoll being escorted by HMAS MARYBOROUGH

3 December 1943 at Addu Atoll with HMAS MARYBOROUGH alongside being refuelled

9 December 1943 sailed Colombo independently to Trincomalee arriving 11 December 1943

24 December 1943 at Trincomalee alongside HMS CEYLON refuelling her

HMS Ceylon

HMS CEYLON

14 January 1944 at Trincomalee alongside HMS CEYLON refuelling her

26 April 1944 sailed Colombo along with RFA’s EAGLESDALE and ECHODALEin convoy JC46 to Trincomalee arriving 28 April 1944

15 May 1944 at Exmouth Gulf, Australia with USS Fanning (DD385), USS Cummings (DD365) and USS Dunlap (DD384) each alongside to fuel,

22 September 1944 sailed Trincomalee under escort to Addu Atoll arriving 25 September 1944

29 October 1944 sailed Aden independently to Suez arriving 3 November 1944

11 November 1944 sailed Port Said in convoy GUS 58 to Gibraltar arriving 21 November 1944

25 November 1944 sailed Gibraltar in Convoy MKS 68g which r/v with Convoy SL 177 the following day and finally detached from the Convoy and arrived Southend on 4 December

5 December 1944 sailed Southend in Convoy FN 1562 (Southend - Methil) and detached from the Convoy the following day and arrived at Sunderland

2 April 1945 at Scapa Flow alonside HMS ANSON refuelling her with 1,640 tons of FFO

23 April 1945 at Scapa Flow alonside HMS ANSON refuelling her with 1,171 tons of FFO

15 July 1945 Captain Edward Mills RFA appointed as Master

2 November 1945 sailed Clyde anchorage to Belfast arriving the next day

5 November 1945 sailed Belfast to Glasgow arriving the next day

4 December 1945 arrived at Bowling, sailed the next day to the Clyde anchorage

10 December 1945 at Greenock

15 December 1945 at Glasgow

11 June 1946 laid up at Tail of Bank thence to Finnart Bay.

5 July 1946 handed over to Hadley Shipping Co to look after on a care and maintenance basis until such time that disposal instructions were received.

27 November 1947 sold by Ministry of Supply for scrap.

15 December 1947 arrived Troon for breaking up by West of Scotland Shipbreaking Co Ltd

Additional information

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