RFA Dockleaf
 
 
 

Previous name:                    Oleary
Subsequent name:              Litiopa  

Official Number:                   140277                                                     

Class:                                    Emergency Wartime Construction LEAF Group Freighting Tanker

Pennant No:                          Y7.161

Laid down:
Builder:                                  Bartram and Sons, South Dock, Sunderland
Launched:                             11 November 1916
Into Service:                          April 1917
Out of service:                       1922
Fate:                                       Sunk 22 October 1943

 

Items of historic interest involving this ship: -

 

Background Data:  During WW1, eighteen vessels of varying types were acquired second hand and converted or purchased and converted while on the stocks, or in a few cases building as tankers. Some were converted after serving with the Dummy Battleship Squadron by the insertion of cylindrical tanks in their holds. All were originally intended to operate as RFA’s however, owing to reasons of international law and the operation of the US Neutrality Act, these oilers became Mercantile Fleet Auxiliaries, being renamed with the LEAF nomenclature and placed under civilian management although operationally they remained under Admiralty control

 

11 November 1916 launched by Bartram & Sons Ltd, South Dock, Sunderland as Yard Nr: 238 named  RFA OLEARY

3 April 1917 completed and placed under management of Lane & MacAndrew Ltd, London as an oiler transport and renamed DOCKLEAF. Base port Devonport

3 June 1917 mined and damaged off Genoa while on a voyage from Port Arthur to Spezia with a cargo of oil. The mine had been laid by a German submarine UC35 (Kapitanleutnant Ernest von Voigt).  None of the crew were killed or injured

6 April 1918 at Spezia, Italy Chief Steward Paul Young discharged dead - drowned

June 1918 re-entered service after repairs

31 December 1918 arrived at Perim from Abadan

6 January 1919 arrived at Port Said from Abadan

January 1919 Captain Ernest G Enright RFA appointed as Master

 

Ernest_G_Enright

Captain Ernest G Enright RFA

29 January 1919 at Sevastopol - HMS CANTERBURY came alongside and was refuelled with 208 tons of FFO

HMS Canterbury

HMS CANTERBURY

9 February 1919 at Sevastopol - HMS CANTERBURY came alongside and was refuelled with 206 tons of FFO

28 August 1919 sailed Suez for Colombo

16 September 1919 berthed in Kepple Harbour, Singapore

1919 sold to Anglo Saxon Petroleum Co Ltd

6 December 1919 arrived at Port Said from Novorossick

25 April 1920 arrived at Suez from Abadan

1920 Captain Hugh Lloyd Walker Sinclair was Master

 

Hugh Sinclair Dockleaf

Captain Hugh L W Sinclair

 

13 June 1920 sailed from Suez for Hurghada

19 October 1920 sailed Suez for Abadan

25 November 1920 arrived at Suez from Abadan

27 December 1920 at Suez

9 January 1921 berthed at Abadan

19 January 1921 sailed Abadan

1 February 1921 berthed Suez

3 March 1921at Abadan

16 March 1921 at Suez

26 March 1921 sailed Suez for Abadan

11 June 1921 arrived at Suez from abadan

7 July 1921 sailed Abadan for Suez

24 July 1921 sailed Port Said for Thameshaven

24 September 1921 Captain Charles V Gale was Master

22 October 1921 sailed Tampico for Lands End (f.o.)

5 March 1922 passed Bermuda for Land End (f.o.)

23 March 1922 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing west

1922 renamed LITIOPA by her owners

6 April 1922 arrived Avonmouth for bunkers from Cardiff

7 April 1922 sailed Avonmouth for Key West

19 May 1922 sailed Tampico for Lands End

15 June 1922 sailed Rotterdam for Key West

1 August 1922 sailed Tampico for Lands End

16 September 1922 sailed Tampico for Lands End

26 November 1922 arrived at Tampico from Rotterdam

6 December 1922 sailed Tampico for Gibraltar

26 April 1923 sailed Las Palmas for Tampico

4 October 1923 at 29.53N 14.46W Fireman Tan Sam discharged dead - consumption

21 October 1923 arrived Las Palmas from Vado

31 December 1923 sailed Tampico for LEFO

30 May 1924 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing west

13 January 1925 berthed at Thames Haven

16 January 1925 before Gray's Police Court 3rd Engineer James Cole appeared summoned for smoking onboard during the time the ship was discharging her cargo of 1,800,000 gallons of crude oil. Chief Officer John Lenfestey was also summoned for permitting the offence. Each defendant was fined £10

 Press Report - Litiopa

Press report from the Chelmsford Chronicle of 23 January 1925

 

8 October 1925 sailed Gibraltar

22 October 1925 in Germany Fireman Man Fok discharged dead - TB of the lungs and kidneys

31 March 1926 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing west

October 1927 purchased for £65,000 by A/S Mosvolds Rederi 11 (M. Mosvold, Manager) Farsund  Norway name unchanged

13 October 1928 sailed Balboa

30 December 1930 sailed Los Angles for Yokohama. Was reported missing and was unable to be contacted on 28 January 1931. Anglo Saxon later stated she was due on 22 January 1931

5 February 1931 off Shanghai, China in fog struck British vessel Eurylochus from Newport which was at anchor - both vessels were reported by Lloyds to be badly damaged but entering the port

 Eurylochus

ss Eurylochus

26 September 1931 sailed Los Angeles for Australian ports

1 November 1932 berthed at Sydney, NSW, Australia from Singapore

7 December 1932 berthed at Sydney, NSW, Australia from Balik Papen

15 January 1933 berthed at Port of Fremantle, Western Australia from Balik Papen

18 January 1933 sailed Port of Fremantle, Western Australia  for Pladjoe

17 March 1933 berthed at Sydney, NSW, Australia

2 April 1933 sailed Sydney, NSW, Australia for Balik Papen

29 December 1934 berthed at Sydney, NSW, Australia from Balik Papen

22 January 1935 sailed Balik Papen for Lyttelton arriving 11 February 1935

13 February 1935 sailed Lyttelton for Balik Papen

20 May 1935 in collision with a Norwegian motor tanker Turicum at Pangkalan Soesoe

6 January 1938 at New Orleans grounded

9 January 1938 at New Orleans part cargo discharged into lighters - refloated

1940 returned to Admiralty service, name unchanged

5 February 1940 sailed Curacao to Las Piedras independently

9 February 1940 sailed Las Piedras to Liverpool independently arriving 5 March 1940

2 April 1940 sailed Liverpool to Corpus Christi independently arriving 27 April 1940

9 May 1940 sailed Corpus Christi to Bermuda independently arriving 20 May 1940

23 May 1940 sailed Bermuda in Convoy HXB 45 with a cargo of petrol arriving Liverpool on 7 June 1940

25 June 1940 (one report shows 28 June 1940) sailed Liverpool in convoy OB174 to New York - the convoy dispersed on 30 June 1940 - sailed independently arriving on 12 July 1940

12 September 1940 rammed in New York Harbour, while in ballast, by a Greek liner Nea Hellas with 585 passengers onboard. Litiopa hit in the starboard bow returned to berth

Nea Hellas

Greek liner Nea Hellas

4 October 1940 sailed New York City to Aruba independently arriving 12 October 1940

13 October 1940 sailed Aruba to Bermuda independently arriving 20 October 1940

21 October 1940 sailed Bermuda independently to Halifax arriving 25 October 1940

14 December 1940 sailed Halifax in Convoy HX 96 with a cargo of petrol arriving Liverpool 30 December 1940

12 January 1941 sailed Liverpool in Convoy OB273 and dispersed on 16 January 1941sailed to Aruba independently arriving 5 February 1941

10 February 1941 sailed Aruba independently to Freetown arriving on 2 March 1941

8 March 1941 sailed Freetown independently to Curacao arriving on 23 March 1941

25 March 1941 sailed Curacao independently  to Takoradi arriving on 16 April 1941

20 April 1941 sailed Takoradi independently to Curacao arriving on 8 May 1941

11 May 1941 sailed Curacao independently to Takoradi arriving on 2 June 1941

5 June 1941 sailed Takoradi independently to Curacao arriving on or about 25 June 1941

27 June 1941 sailed Curacao independently to Takoradi arriving on 22 July 1941

25 July 1941 sailed Takoradi indpendently to Curacao arriving on 14 August 1941

15 August 1941 sailed Curacao independently to Kingston, Jamaica arriving on 18 August 1941

21 August 1941 sailed Kingston, Jamaica independently to New Orleans arriving on 27 August 1941

22 September 1941 sailed New Orleans independently to Aruba arriving on 2 October 1941

5 October 1941 sailed Aruba independently to Trinidad arriving on 8 October 1941

11 October 1941 sailed Trinidad independently to Puerto la Cruz arriving on 12 October 1941

13 October 1941 sailed Puerto la Cruz independently to Aruba arriving on 15 October 1941

18 October 1941 sailed Aruba independently to Trinidad arriving on 21 October 1941

27 October 1941 sailed Trinidad independently to Puerto la Cruz arriving on 28 October 1941

29 October 1941 sailed Puerto la Cruz independently to Aruba arriving on 30 October 1941

3 November 1941 sailed Aruba independently to Curacao arriving on the same day

5 November 1941 sailed Curacao independently to Aruba arriving on the same day

7 November 1941 sailed Aruba independently to Takoradi arriving on 1 December 1941

8 December 1941 sailed Takoradi independently to Curacao arriving on 29 December 1941

2 January 1942 sailed Curacao independently to Takoradi arriving on 26 January 1942

12 February 1942 sailed Takoradi independently to Curacao arriving on 6 March 1942

13 March 1942 sailed Curacao independently to New Orleans arriving on 22 March 1942

14 August 1942 sailed Pilottown independently to Beaumont

17 August 1942 sailed Beaumont independently to Mobile arriving on 19 August 1942

25 August 1942 sailed Mobile independently to Key West arriving 28 August 1942

29 August 1942 sailed Key West in Convoy KN 135 to New York City arriving 4 September 1942

13 September 1942 sailed New York City to Guantanamo in Convoy NG305 arriving on 20 September 1942 

20 September 1942 sailed Guantanamo to Aruba in Convoy GAT7 arriving on 23 September 1942

24 September 1942 sailed Aruba to Curacao in Convoy AW 3 (with two other ships) arriving the same day

26 September 1942 sailed Curacao independently to Las Piedras arriving the same day

29 September 1942 sailed Las Piedras independently to Curacao arriving the same day

5 October 1942 sailed Curacao to Guantanamo in convoy TAG 10 arriving on 8 October 1942

15 October 1942 sailed Guantanamo to New York City in Convoy GN12 arriving on 24 October 1942

31 October 1942 sailed New York City to Guantanamo in Convoy NG318 arriving on 7 November 1942

7 November 1942 sailed Guantanamo to Curacao in Convoy GAT20 arriving on 10 November 1942

12 November 1942 sailed Curacao to Guantanamo in Convoy TAG20 arriving on 15 November 1942

16 November 1942 sailed Guantanamo to New York City in Convoy GN20 arriving on 23 November 1942

6 December 1942 sailed New York City to Guantanamo in Convoy NG327 arriving on 13 December 1942

13 December 1942 sailed Guantanamo to Curacao in Convoy GAT29 arriving on 18 December 1942

21 December 1942 sailed Curacao to Guantanamo in Convoy TAG30 arriving on 24 December 1942

24 December 1942 sailed Guantanamo to New York City in Convoy GN30 arriving on 1 January 1943

23 January 1943 sailed New York City to Guantanamo in Convoy NG339 arriving on 29 January 1943

29 January 1943 sailed Guantanamo to Curacao in Convoy GAT41 arriving on 2 February 1943

5 February 1943 sailed Curacao to Guantanamo in Convoy TAG40 arriving on 8 February 1943

8 February 1943 sailed Guantanamo to New York City in Convoy GN40 arriving on 16 February 1943

22 February 1943 sailed New York City to Guantanamo in Convoy NG345 arriving on 1 March 1943

1 March 1943 sailed Guantanamo to Curacao in Convoy GAT47 arriving on 5 March 1943

12 March 1943 sailed Curacao to Guantanamo in Convoy TAG47 arriving on 15 March 1943

15 March 1943 sailed Guantanamo to New York City in Convoy GN47 arriving on 23 March 1943

27 April 1943 sailed New York City to Guantanamo in Convoy NG358 arriving on 4 May 1943

4 May 1943 sailed Guantanamo to Curacao in Convoy GAT 60 arriving on 8 May 1943

11 May 1943 sailed Curacao to Guantanamo in Convoy TAG59 arriving on 14 May 1943

14 May 1943 sailed Guantanamo to New York City in Convoy GN59 arriving on 22 May 1943

1 June 1943 sailed New York City to Guantanamo in Convoy NG365 arriving on 9 June 1943

9 June 1943 sailed Guantanamo to Curacao in Convoy GAT67 arriving on 12 June 1943

21 June 1943 sailed Curacao to Trinidad in Convoy GAT 69 arriving 24 June 1943

3 July 1943 sailed Trinidad in Convoy TJ1 and was detached on or about 6 July 1943 when she sailed independently to Takoradi arriving on 28 July 1943

4 August 1943 sailed Takoradi to Freetown in Convoy TS49 arriving on 10 August 1943

18 August 1943 sailed Freetown to Takoradi in Convoy ST74 arriving on 23 August 1943

27 August 1943 sailed Takoradi to Freetown in Convoy TS51 arriving on 1 September 1943

8 September 1943 sailed Freetown to Lagos independently arriving on 14 September 1943

19 September 1943 sailed Lagos to Takoradi in Convoy LTS2 arriving on 21 September 1943

24 September 1943 sailed Takoradi to Freetown independently arriving on 29 September 1943

1 October 1943 sailed Freetown to Takoradi independently arriving on 6 October 1943

11 October 1943 sailed Takoradi to Lagos in Convoy TGE3 with two other ships arriving on 13 October 1943

16 October 1943 sailed Lagos for Freetown in ballast escorted by the trawler HMS ORFASY

 ORFASY

HMS ORFASY

21 October 1943 HMS ORFASY was torpedoed by the German submarine U-68 (KapitanLeutnant Albert Lauzemis), exploded and sank with the loss of all hands. At the same time, the U-boat fired 2 torpedoes at LITIOPA which missed

22 October 1943 a further two torpedoes were fired at 0040 and 0211 and again, both missed. The U-boat commenced shelling the tanker at 0427 which lasted for 20 minutes before firing a 5th torpedo at 0448 which malfunctioned. At 0459 shelling was resumed. Two more torpedoes were fired at 0541 and 0552 but incredibly both missed so shelling again resumed from 0600 to 0627 when the U-boat left the burning and listing tanker. The crew of thirtyfive all survived the shelling and took to four lifeboats which became separated in  the dark. Two boats returned to the ship when it got light as it was still afloat but then ammunition began exploding and the tanker eventually sank about 1245 in position 06.18 N 11.55 W off Monrovia. Two lifeboats arrived at Robertsport later that day while the other two boats arrived the following day. The 1st Engineer and the Cook died enroute to safety.

 

Notes:

 

In 1926 Anglo Saxon announced a scheme whereby they were prepared to sell, then charter back, a number of war-built tankers. Included in these were the former BRIARLEAF, LAURELEAF and DOCKLEAF.

Additional information

Copyright © 2008 – 2017 Christopher J White

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