RFA Birchol (1)

 

RFA Birchol

RFA-Birchol-BW

Off Northern Russia 1919

RFA BIRCHOL

 

Official Number:                    140325

Class:                                     SECOND 1000 t CREOSOL CLASS Harbour Oiler

Pennant No:                            X07

Laid down:
Builder:                                   Barclay Curle, Whiteinch

Launched:                               16 June 1917
Into Service:                            12 September 1917
Out of service:                         29 November 1939

Fate:                                        Stranded off the Hebrides, Scotland. No fatalites

 

Items of historic interest involving this ship: -

 

Background Data:  On the outbreak of WW1, the Admiralty embarked on a further programme of tanker construction for the newly-formed RFA Service. Eventually there were eighteen ships in this Class, twelve of which were named after trees with the OL suffix, while the remainder had names connected with the oil industry also with the OL suffix. Four of the Class were diesel engined and were sold after the Armistice but the rest, being triple expansion steamers, had long and successful lives

 

16 June 1917 launched by Barclay Curle & Co Ltd, Whiteinch as Yard Nr: 547 named BIRCHOL (1)

28 June 1917 Engineer Lieutenant John Rushton RNR appoined as Chief Engineer Officer. He signed off on the 22 April 1918 to take a similar appointment on RFA CAROL.

21 July 1917 Lieutenant Wm Alfred Wooster RNR appointed in Command. He signed off on the 3 March 1919 to take command of RFA VISCOL

William Alfred WOOSTER

Lieutenant Wm Alfred Wooster RNR

15 December 1917 Donkeyman Edmund John Lobb logged as an absentee. He was arrested and sent to HMS Eagle. He had signed on on the 2 August 1917

LOBB EDMUNDJOHN

Donkeyman Edmund John Lobb

7 April 1918 at Glasgow alongside HMS DUKE OF EDINBURGH and received 200 tons of FFO from the Royal Naval Cruiser

8 April 1918 cast off from HMS DUKE OF EDINBURGH

22 April 1918 Engineer Lieutenant Stanley Black RNR appointed as Chief Engineer Officer. Demobilised 20 March 1919

9 July 1918 at Glasgow alongside HMS DUKE OF EDINBURGH and received 245 tons of FFO from the Royal Naval Cruiser

10 July 1918 cast off from HMS DUKE OF EDINBURGH

10 January 1919 arrived at Glasgow from Greenock in ballast

3 March 1919 Lieutenant John Weir RNR appointed in Command on transfer from RFA Viscol. On 30 April 1919 transferred to RFA Sprucol

17 March 1919 Engineer Lieutenant David J Rees RNR appointed as Chief Engineer Officer on transfer from RFA Viscol. On 12 May 1919 he was appointed to RFA Montenol.

7 April 1919 Fireman Francis McFarlane MMR 904813 discharged dead - he died at Fazakerley Sanatorium. He is buried in Liverpool (Ford) Roman Catholic Cemetery and remembered on a screen wall. He had signed on on the 9 May 1918

McFarlane F

1 May 1919 Lieutenant John H T Lewis RNR appointed in Command. On 12 May 1919 transferred to RFA Larchol

John H T Lewis

Lieutenant John H T Lewis RNR

11 May 1919 Engineer Lieutenant Finlay Campbell RNR appointed as Chief Engineer Officer on transfer from RFA PERTHSHIRE.

12 May 1919  Lieutenant William F Clay RNR appointed in Command

6 June 1919 sailed Invergordon with US submarine chasers no 95, 256 and 354 to Kirkwall (for additional fuel) and onto Northern Russia. The American Naval Officers reported they had many pleasant hours in the Saloon stressing 'she was not a dry ship'

US Submarine Chasers

US submarine chasers no 95 (hull letters AS), 256 (hull letters AR)  and 354 (hull letters BT) at Muirtown, Scotland while en route to Northern Russia

18 June 1919 arrived Archangel and anchored off

4 July 1919  Birchol dressed ship for US Independence Day much to the pleasure of the crews of the US ships which she was supporting in Northern Russia.

1 November 1919 Captain William F Clay RFA appointed as Master - Board of Trade agreement - previously been in command as Lieutenant RNR since 12 May 1919

Captain William Frederick Clay

Captain William F Clay RFA

2 December 1919 Able Seaman J McCaskill logged as deserted this day

30 March 1920 arrived at Granton from Thameshaven

31 March 1920 sailed Granton for Thameshaven

8 April 1920 arrived at Granton from Shellhaven

11 April 1920 sailed Granton for Sheerness

8 June 1920 sailed Granton for Thameshaven in ballast

13 June 1920 arrived at Granton from Thameshaven with a cargo of motor spirit

15 June 1920 sailed Granton for Thameshaven in ballast

23 October 1920 Mr George T Beed RFA appointed at Chief Engineer Officer

CEO George T Beed

Chief Engineer Officer George T Beed RFA

17 February 1921 Captain Frederick J Sweeting RFA appointed as Master

1 June 1921 at Greenock alongside HMS BARHAM  to refuel her

HMS Barham

HMS BARHAM

7 June 1921 Chief Officer Eric Parker RFA appointed as Temporary Master

3 October 1921 Captain Roger F Shotton MID RFA appointed as Master

4 November 1921 arrived at Plymouth from the Clyde

19 May 1923 berthed at King George Dock, Hull from Rouen with a cargo of creosote

23 May 1923 sailed King George Dock, Hull for Devonport in ballast

26 May 1923 arrived at Plymouth

13 March 1924 Captain A D Davis RFA appointed as Master

20 March 1924 took on charge a Dent Marine Chronometer No 58892 which had been purchased by the Admiralty in November 1919. Taken off charge on 28 January 1927 at Malta.

24 October 1924 Mr M N Carlisle RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

29 December 1925 Captain John H Jones RFA appointed as Master

Capt John H Jones

Captain John H Jones RFA

2 March 1926 Mr R Blacklock RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

6 April 1926 arrived at Grangemouth from Rosyth

1 August 1926 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

3 August 1926 at Portsmouth on Buoy 5

17 August 1926 at Portsmouth in dry dock No:12

16 September 1926 berthed in No: 3 Basin, Portsmouth Dockyard together with RFA's MARINER and PLUMLEAF (1)

16 October 1926 Captain William H Green RFA appointed as Master

13 December 1926 Captain Thomas Banbury RFA appointed as Acting Master

11 March 1927 arrived at Grangemouth from Rosyth

2 April 1927 Mr Matthew Blair RFA appointed as Acting Chief Engineer Officer

19 March 1928 sailed Grangemouth for Port Edgar

28 March 1928 arrived at Grangemouth from Port Edgar

20 March 1928 arrived at Granton from Thameshaven

28 March 1928 arrived Grangemouth from Port Edgar in ballast. Having loaded sailed the same day for Port Edgar

30 March 1928 sailed Grangemouth for Port Edgar

2 April 1928 arrived Grangemouth from Port Edgar

30 April 1928 Captain J M Reid RFA appointed as Master

24 September 1928 Captain Robert T Gallon RFA appointed as Master

17 December 1928 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

11 January 1929 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

1 May 1929 sailed Grangemouth for Rosyth

7 May 1929 arrived at Grangemouth from Rosyth in ballast

13 May 1929 arrived at Hull with a cargo of creosote

25 June 1929 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

23 September 1929 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour returning to her berth the same day

24 February 1930 berthed on the Oil Fuel Jetty, Gosport

22 March 1930 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

26 April 1930 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

2 May 1930 Mr J B Russell RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

20 October 1930 arrived at Invergordon

19 August 1931 Mr J A Mackintosh RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

4 November 1931 Captain Frederick S Browne RFA appointed as Master

30 May 1932 Captain Thomas C Robinson RFA appointed as Master

17 December 1932 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

29 December 1932 at Portsmouth on No:5 Buoy

30 December 1932 Mr A H Ireland RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

5 January 1933 berthed in No: 3 basin at Portsmouth Dockyard along with RFA PETRONEL

16 January 1933 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

7 December 1933 Captain John B Hurst RFA appointed as Master

14 March 1934 arrived at Sunderland from Sheerness in ballast and berthed on the East Quay in South Dock

27 February 1935 Mr A L Barr RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

3 July 1935 Captain J Martin Smith DSC RFA (Lieut-Commander RNR (Rtd) appointed as Master

10 August 1935 arrived at Sunderland from Hull with a cargo of creosote

16 September 1935 Captain William H Green RFA appointed as Master

Captain WILLIAM HERBERT GREEN

Captain William H Green RFA

18 October 1935 arrived at Plymouth

16 December 1935 the Sunderland Daily Echo reported that -

Press Report Sunderland Daily Echo re Birchol 1

 

16 January 1936 sailed Grangemouth for Rosyth with a cargo of fuel oil

22 January 1936 arrived at Grangemouth from Rosyth in ballast

23 January 1936 sailed Grangemouth to Killingholme with a cargo of fuel oil

12 June 1936 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing west

24 August 1936 arrived River Tyne from Sheerness for Tyne Dock

31 December 1936 Mr J J Humphreys RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

14 April 1937 sailed Immingham to Caen with a cargo of creosote

24 May 1937 Captain Sidney T Dunster RFA appointed as Master

4 June 1937 arrived River Tyne from Leith Docks

9 June 1937 arrived at Grangemouth from Rosyth in ballast

10 June 1937 sailed from Grangemouth for Bruge, Belgium with a cargo of creosote

4 October 1937 Captain Ernest V Blyth RFA appointed as Master

12 May 1938 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

13 May 1938 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

29 May 1938 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

1 June 1938 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour returning to her berth the next day

11 June 1938 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

19 September 1938 Mr J M Brown RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

21 September 1938 Chief Officer Robert D Almond RFA appointed as Acting Master

Captain Robert Almond

Chief Officer Robert D Almond RFA

2 February 1939 Captain W McEvor RFA (Lieutenant Commander RN (Rtd)) appointed as Master

24 March 1939 sailed the River Tyne for Rosyth

19 July 1939 entered Portland Harbour

28 July 1939 sailed Grangemouth to Rosyth

11 August 1939 at Scapa Flow alongside HMS MATABELE refuelling her with 90 tons of FFO

HMS Matabele

HMS MATABELE

26 August 1939 at Scapa Flow alongside HMS EFFINGHAM refuelling her

1 September 1939 at Scapa Flow alongside HMS EDINBURGH refuelling her with 260 tons FFO

6 September 1939  at Scapa Flow alongside HMS HOOD and HMS MATABELE refuelling them

7 September 1939 at Scapa Flow alongside HMS ROYAL OAK refuelling her, also went alongside HMS EDINBURGH refuelling her with 360 tons of FFO

15 September 1939 at 1635hrs at Loch Ewe alongside HMS HOOD refuelling her

12 October 1939 at 18:30hrs at Loch Ewe alongside HMS HOOD refuelling her

1 November 1939 at 0840hrs at Greenock alongside HMS HOOD refuelling her

28 November 1939 sailed the Clyde with RFA BROOMDALE for Loch Ewe escorted by HMS's KINGFISHER and SHELLDRAKE

29 November 1939 grounded during fog on Uist, in the Hebrides at 57 05' N 7 13' 44"W. Tug Englishman sailed in an attempt to assist. Salvage was deemed impossible due to bad weather and she was declared a total loss. Source (in part) Admiralty War Diary of this day

24 August 1970  being offered for sale by tender

9 October 1970 the wreck was sold to Elliott & Co (Divers) Eriskay Sound, Helensborough, Scotland

26 February 1971 divers from HMS Heccla investigated the site by boat using visual and echo sounder means. No trace was found and it was assumed to have been dispersed

1971 the vessel was not visible on RAF aerial photography

19 August 1975  the wreck reported as broken up with remains scattered over a large area. There was evidence of recent salvage attempts

7 August 1984  her position was given as 57 06 00N, 007 13 45W. Only a few plates and a porthole were found at a depth of about 7 metres. Most of the wreck is thought to be in deeper water off Ru Melvick

6 March 1985  the site was dived upon in 1984. The bows of wreck lie close inshore in 3 metres of water and the stern is in 14 metres on a sandy bottom

 

 

RFA Birchol 2

 

RFA Birchol 2

Birchol 2 on the Clyde 

lower image © IWM (FL 2067)

 

Official Number:                        180873  

Class:                                      1500t OL CLASS Harbour Tanker

Pennant No:                             A127

Laid down:                               25 May 1945
Builder:                                    Lobnitz, Renfrew

Launched:                                19 February 1946  
Into Service:                            12 June 1946  
Out of service:                         1965

Fate:                                       1969 Broken up

 

Items of historic interest involving this ship: -

Background Data:   There were four ships in this Class, all Admiralty-designed as harbour oilers. A fifth vessel, the ex-German LISELOTTE ESSBERGER which had been captured at Trondheim in April 1945 and was taken as a War Prize, was handed over to the MoWT and was renamed EMPIRE TEGYIKA. In 1947 she was transferred to the Admiralty and was renamed THORNOL, but remained under commercial management and was never RFA-manned

 

19 February 1946 launched by Lobnitz & Co, Renfrew as Yard Nr: 1090 named BIRCHOL (2)

9 May 1946 Captain B Smith RFA appointed as Master

27 May 1946 Mr Albert P Cox RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

 CEO COX ALBERT PERCIVAL

Chief Engineer Officer Albert P Cox RFA

12 June 1946 completed

18 July 1947 Captain T G Hill RD RFA (Lieutenant Commander RNR) appointed as Master

1 January 1948 Mr Philip E Bassadona RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

13 May 1948 Captain William F Curlett RFA appointed as Master

1949 based at Hong Kong and spent many years there until relieved by RFA EDDYCREEK

27 August 1949 Mr C Treweeks RFA (Lieutenant Commander (E) RN (ret)) appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

7 September 1949 at Hong Kong alongside HMS AMETHYST to refuel her after her detention during the 'Yangtze Incident'

6 April 1950 Captain William H G Hine RFA appointed as Master

25 June 1950 to 27 July 1953 took part of the Royal Navy Fleet Train deployed during the Korean War stationed as a harbour tanker at Hong Kong.

13 September 1950 Mr Robert A Higgie RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

CEO Robert A Higgie

Chief Engineer Officer Robert A Higgie RFA

19 January 1952 Captain R K McKenzie RFA appointed as Master

24 July 1952 Mr J M Lumsden RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

2 June 1952 Quartermaster Lee Ah Moy discharged dead having died at Kowloon Hospital from a brain haemorage following a fall

7 July 1953 berthed at Hong Kong

10 November 1953 at Hong Kong Sailor Kum Chow Yuk discharged dead as the result of an accident

18 November 1953 at Hong Kong with HMAS CULGOA berthed alongside being refuelled

13 September 1954 Captain Allistoun M Macquire-Samson RFA appointed as Master

3 December 1954 Mr George H Came RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

26 August 1955 Mr C M Porter RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

17 November 1955 Captain I W Hall RFA appointed as Master

23 January 1956 Mr T B Willis RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

29 June 1956 Captain Robert D Almond RFA appointed as Temporary Master

Captain Robert Almond

Captain Robert D Almond RFA

8 August 1956 Captain B H Lawrence RFA appointed as Master

2 September 1956 at Plymouth Sound alongside HMS PUNCHER to refuel her

19 December 1956 Mr W Hynd RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

5 July 1957 Mr T B Willis RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

10 February 1958 Captain H E Michael RFA appointed as Master

21 February 1958 Mr W Hynd RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

25 April 1959 Mr A Bloomer RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

21 May 1959 at Plymouth alongside HMS CENTAUR refuelling her

29 June 1960 Captain Alfred M Uglow RFA appointed as Master until 13 December 1960

4 August 1960 Mr H F Latto RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

12 January 1961 Captain R J Lockwood RFA appointed as Master

28 November 1961 Captain A S McWilliam RFA appointed as Master

4 July 1962 Captain W H G Hine RFA appointed as Master

13 August 1962 Mr J H Mills RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

15 August 1963 Captain P Colfer RFA appointed as Master

28 November 1963 Mr B W Edwards RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

30 January 1964 Mr A Bloomer RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

4 August 1964 Captain D P Kindersly RFA appointed as Master

1965 laid up at Devonport

12 July 1969 placed on the Disposal List along with her sisters RFA‘s OAKOL(2) and TEAKOL(2) and all three being advertised for sale in the Times of this date 'as lying' at HM Dockyard, Devonport

15 September 1969 sailed Devonport in tow for Belgian breakers

18 September 1969 arrived at Antwerp for breaking up by Jos de Smedt

Additional information

Copyright © 2008 – 2017 Christopher J White

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website, by continuing to use the site you agree to cookies being used. More info.