francol

 

 

Official Number:                     140441 

Class:                                     SECOND 2,000t  BELGOL CLASS Tanker

Pennant No:                            X67 / X 27

Laid down:
Builder:                                    Earle’s Shipbuilding & Engineering Co Ltd, Hull
Launched:                               18 October 1917

Into Service:                            18 December 1917
Out of service:                          4 March 1942 
Fate:                                         Sunk by Japanese armed forces

 

Items of historic interest involving this ship: -

 

Background Data:  There were ten ships in this Class, all Admiralty designed of which five were named after Allied countries while the other five were given names indicating power or speed, all with the OL suffix. three of them, RFA’s FRANCOL, MONTENOL and SERBOL had upright funnels with a single tall mast close by, while the remainder had a raking funnel and two raking masts. During WW2 the mainmast was removed from these.

26 July 1917 Engineer Lieutenant Frederick C Pavitt RNR appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

18 October 1917 launched by Earle’s Shipbuilding & Engineering Co Ltd, Hull as Yard Nr: 624 named FRANCOL

9 November 1917 Lieutenant William T Williams RNR appointed in command

 Captain WILLIAMS WM THOMAS

Lieutenant William T Williams RNR

18 December 1917 completed

23 April 1918 Fireman Robert Bateson MMR 384716 logged as a deserter. He had signed on the ship on 5 December 1917.  He was arrested on 27 April 1918.

24 April 1918 Able Seaman Thomas Cousins MMR 82035, Greaser Jno Jones, Fireman Thomas McArdle MMR 865981 and Greaser J Jones logged as deserting the ship. Able Seaman Cousins and Greaser Jno Jones both had signed on on 23 November 1917. Fireman McArdle had signed on on 9 January 1918. Greaser Jones had signed on on 1 April 1918.

9 June 1918 Able Seaman Beu Sweeten MMR 927290 logged as a deserter. He had signed on on the 5 December 1917.

10 June 1918 Greaser Jas Graham MMR 943636 logged as a deserter. He had signed on on the 5 December 1917

21 June 1918 Pumpman John Thomas MMR 842984 and Greaser Hy Granite MMR 896460 both logged as deserting the ship. Both had signed on on the 23 November 1917

28 June 1918 Ordinary Seaman Robert Pasher MMR 927204 logged as a deserter. He had signed on on the 5 December 1917.

9 September 1918 Ordinary Seaman K Liversay logged as a deserter. He had signed on on the 1 July 1918

12 September 1918 Stoker A Sykes MMR 957505 logged as a deserter. He had signed on on the 1 July 1918

18 January 1919 sailed Portsmouth to sea

26 January 1919 at Milford Haven 2nd Cook Tam Yow discharged dead from pneumonia

5 June 1919 Greaser Thomas Hinch MMR 969349 logged as an absentee

28 July 1919 at Biorko Sound, Baltic Sea alongside HMS VINDICTIVE refuelling her with petrol and oil in drums

18 August 1919 at Biorko Sound, Baltic Sea alongside HMS VINDICTIVE refuelling her

3 September 1919 at Biorko Sound, Baltic Sea alongside HMS VINDICTIVE refuelling her. RFA TURMOIL (1) alongside at the same time

19 September 1919 at Biorko Sound, Baltic Sea alongside HMS VINDICTIVE refuelling her 440 tons FFO

9 October 1919 arrived at Biorko Sound, Baltic Sea

18 October 1919 at Biorko Sound, Baltic Sea alongside HMS VINDICTIVE refuelling her 295 tons FFO

Vindictive

HMS VINDICTIVE

1 November 1919 Captain William T Williams RFA appointed as Master under a Board of Trade Agreement - previously had been in command as Lieutenant RNR since 9 November 1917. Discharged on 25 January 1920

5 November 1919 at Biorko Sound, Baltic Sea alongside HMS EREBUS refuelling her 275 tons FFO

HMS EREBUS

HMS EREBUS

15 November 1919 at Riga, Latvia alongside HMS DRAGON to refuel her

HMS Dragon 2

HMS DRAGON

23 November 1919 at Riga, Latvia alongside HMS DRAGON to refuel her

24 November 1919 at Riga, Latvia RFA CELEROL arrived and came alongside FRANCOL. Both then sailed

1 December 1919 Able Seaman Andrew Horgan MMR 1012510 logged as an absentee in Copenhagen.

6 December 1919 Greaser Victor Bardot MMR 878865 and Fireman H McCann MMR 974452 both logged as deserting. Greaser Bardot had signed on on 9 August 1919 and Firemnan McCann had signed on on 14 September 1919

27 December 1919 - a tragegy occured at Pembroke Dock -

 

 Press Cutting - Francol 2

Press cutting from the Aberdeen Journal of 30 December 1919

 

Able Seaman James Campbell, Able Seaman Patrick Romayne, aged 27, Greaser Charles Sheehan MMR 713819, aged 31 all discharged dead. AB Romayne and Greaser Sheeran are both buried in Pembroke Dock (Llanion) Cemetery. AB Campbell is remembered on the Chatham Naval Memorial. Ordinary Seaman John Tyler MMR 883964 discharged dead. He is remembered on the Plymouth Naval Memorial. AB Trehayne, AB Campbell, Greaser Sheehan and OS Tyler were all accidentally drowned in Pembroke Dock. Greaser Sheeman's body was recovered on 6 March 1920

SHEERANrONAYNE

Greaser Charles Sheeran           Able Seaman Patrick Romayne

Both images courtesy and © of The War Graves Photographic Project

26 January 1920 Captain Richard Narramore Smardon RFA appointed as Master

26 January 1920 2nd Cook Tam Yow discharged dead. He had signed on on 23 January 1920

28 January 1920 Mr R McWhannel RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

7 March 1920 arrived at Aden with HM Submarines L2, L8, L19, L20, L22 and L33

21 March 1920 at Colombo, Ceylon alongside HMS CAROLINE refuelling her

14 April 1920 arrived at Hong Kong

20 May 1920 at Kobe, Japan alongside HMS HAWKINS to refuel her and deliver naval stores

 HMS Hawkins

HMS HAWKINS

25 May 1920 at Wei-hai-Wei secured alongside HMS CAIRO to refuel her

 

HMS Cairo

HMS CAIRO

27 May 1920 at Wei-hai-Wei secured alongside HMS CARLISLE to refuel her - 278 tons of FFO supplied

1 June 1920 at Wei-hai-Wei secured alongside HMS HAWKINS to refuel her

8 June 1920 off Wei-hair-Wei target towing for HMS HAWKINS sub calibre shoot

10 June 1920 off  Wei-hai-Wei target towing for HMS HAWKINS sub calibre shoot also as a torpedo target for the same ship

6 July 1920 at Wei-hai-Wei target alongside HMS HAWKINS and later alongside HMS AMBROSE

7 July 1920 at Wei-hai-Wei secured alongside HMS's CAIRO, CARLISLE and HAWKINS to refuel each. Supplied 700 tons of FFO to HMS HAWKINS and 410 tons to HMS CARLISLE

9 July 1920 off Wei-hai-Wei towing target for full calibre practice by HMS CAIRO

20 July 1920 at Wei-hai-Wei alongside HMS's COLOMBO & CURLEW to refuel them - HMS COLOMBO supplied with 400 tons FFO

22 July 1920 sailed Wei-hai-Wei

30 July 1920 off Wei-hai-Wei towing target for full calibre practice by HMS CAIRO and HMS HAWKINS

12 August 1920 at Wei-hai-Wei secured alongside HMS's CAIRO, HAWKINS, CURLEW and COLOMBO to refuel each of them. Supplied 420 tons of FFO to HMS COLOMBO

9 October 1920 at Wei-hai-Wei alongside HMS COLOMBO to refuel her - supplied 454 tons FFO

1 November 1920 at Wusung alongside HMS COLOMBO to refuel her - supplied 360 tons FFO

2 November 1920 at Shanghai secured alongside HMS HAWKINS to refuel her

11 November 1920 at Shanghai berthed alongside HMS SCARAB to refuel her 103 tons of FFO issued

30 November 1920 at Yangtzepoo with HMS SCARAB berthed alongside to refuel her

1 December 1920 HMS SCARAB slipped

11 December 1920 Captain John Gow RFA appointed as Master. Previously Master of RFA TREFOIL

 John Gow

Captain John Gow RFA

15 December 1920 at Shangahi alongside HMS COLOMBO to refuel her

25 December 1920 arrived at Hong Kong

28 December 1920 at Hong Kong moved berth

24 January 1921 conducted OAS experiments with the cruiser HMS CAIRO off Hong Kong transferring 143 tons of FFO

31 January 1921 at Hong Kong sailed towing target for full calibre practice by HMS's CAIRO and CARLISLE

2 February 1921 at Hong Kong berthed alongside HMS HAWKINS to refuel her

13 March 1921 at Hong Kong berthed alongside HMS CURLEW to refuel her

16 April 1921 at Hong Kong RFA KHARKI secured alongside

12 May 1921 sailed from Wei-hai-Wei with BP target in tow with HMS HAWKINS and HM Submarines L3 and L9. Returned to Wei-hai-Wei four hours later still towing the target. At Wei-hai-Wei a working party from HMS COLOMBO came onboard 

17 May 1921 at Wei-hai-Wei alongside HMS HAWKINS to refuel her but the swell prevented this occuring and FRANCOL cast off

18 May 1921 at Wei-hai-Wei alongside HMS HAWKINS to refuel her

20 May 1921 off Wei-hair-Wei towed target for HMS HAWKINS to carry out full calibre shoot

30 May 1921 at Wei-hai-Wei with work party onboard from HMS AMBROSE. Then sailed towing BP target. Returned and anchored at 16:00hrs the same day

17 June 1921 at Wei-hai-Wei with work party onboard from HMS AMBROSE

20 June 1921 Captain Edward Gatley RFA appointed as Master. Previously Master of RFA KHARKI

25 June 1921 at Wei-hai-Wei alongside HMS HAWKINS to refuel her

27 June 1921 sailed Wei-hai-Wei

6 July 1921 at Wei-hai-Wei with HMS/m L1 berthed alongside 

9 July 1921 off Wei-hair-Wei towed target for HMS HAWKINS to carry out full calibre shoot

21 July 1921 down river from Wusung alongside HMS COLOMBO to refuel her and supply stores - supplied 800 tons of FFO

23 July 1921 at Shanghai, China 2nd Engineer Officer James William Campbell discharged dead. His death certificate gives the cause of death as 'General Paralysis of the Insane'

12 August 1921 at Wei-hai-Wei alongside HMS TITANIA to refuel her with HM submarines berthed outboard of her and then alongside HMS's COLOMBO and CURLEW to refuel them supplying HMS COLOMBO with 458 tons of FFO

13 August 1921 at Wei-hai-Wei alongside HMS HAWKINS to refuel her

29 August 1921 at Wei-hai-Wei alongside HMS CURLEW to refuel her

14 September 1921 at Wei-hai-Wei alongside HMS's HAWKINS and COLOMBO to refuel them. Supplied HMS COLOMBO with 289 tons of FFO

21 September 1921 2nd Engineer J W Campbell RFA discharged dead. He had signed on on 26 January 1920

22 September 1921 off Wei-hair-Wei towed BP target for HMS HAWKINS to carry out full calibre shoot

30 September 1921 at Wei-hai-Wei alongside HMS's HAWKINS and COLOMBO to refuel them. Supplied HMS COLOMBO with 180 tons of FFO

1 October 1921 sailed Wei-hai-Wei

17 October 1921 at Masampo challenged by HMS HAWKINS. Also berthed alongside HMS COLOMBO to refuel her. Supplied 608 tons of FFO

20 October 1921 at Masampo alongside HMS HAWKINS to refuel her

23 November 1921 arrived at Hong Kong

30 December 1921 at Hong Kong alongside HMS HAWKINS to refuel her

5 January 1922 Captain John P Tugwood DSC RD RFA appointed as Master

Captain TUGWOOD JOHN PERCIVAL

Captain John P Tugwood DSC RD RFA

9 January 1922 at Hong Kong with HMS TARANTULA moored alongside to be refuelled

19 February 1922 berthed at Singapore. Sailed 23 February 1922 for Rangoon

15 March 1922 off Hong Kong towed target for HMS DURBAN to carry out full calibre shoot

6 May 1922 at Hong Kong entering dry dock

25 May 1922 at Hong Kong secured to No: 8 buoy

14 June 1922 arrived at Wei-hai-Wei

4 July 1922 and 5 July 1922 off Wei-hai-Wei towed target for HMS HAWKINS to carry out full calibre shoot

5 August 1922 sailed Wei-hai-Wei 

15 August 1922 alongside HMS DURBAN to refuel her at Hong Kong

18 August 1922 at Wei-Hai-Wei

19 September 1922 at Wei-hai-Wei berthed alongside HMS HAWKINS

27 September 1922 and 28 September 1922 off Wei-hai-Wei towed target for HMS HAWKINS and other ships in the Cruiser Squadron to carry out full calibre shoot

11 October 1922 at Wei-hai-Wei alongside HMS HAWKINS to refuel her

16 October 1922 sailed from Wei-hai-Wei

25 January 1923 off Hong Kong towing target for HMS DIOMEDE for a full calibre shoot

13 March 1923 at Hong Kong target party from HMS DIOMEDE boarded 

29 March 1923 at Yokohama, Japan alongside HMS DIOMEDE to refuel her

20 April 1923 arrived Wei-Hai-Wei

24 April 1923 sailed Wei-Hai-Wei towing target for sub-calibre shoot by HMS DIOMEDE. Returned to Wei-Hai-Wei

26 April 1923 sailed Wei-Hai-Wei towing target for sub-calibre shoot by HMS DIOMEDE. Returned to Wei-Hai-Wei

27 April 1923 HMS DESPATCH transfered S A Ammunition to RFA FRANCOL at Wei-Hai-Wei

2 May 1923 alongside HMS DIOMEDE and HMS DESPATCH to refuel them at Wei-Hai-Wei

5 May 1923 at Wei-Hai-Wei alongside HMS DURBAN to refuel her and the sailed to Hong Kong

20 June 1923 sailed Hong Kong

24 June 1923 arrived Wei-Hai-Wei

2 August 1923 Mr David  E Morgan MIMarE RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

 

CEO David E Morgan

Chief Engineer Officer Daivid E Morgan MIMarE RFA

 

15 August 1923 at Wei-Hai-Wei alongside HMS DURBAN to refuel her

18 August 1923 at Wei-Hai-Wei alongside HMS HAWKINS to refuel her

21 August 1923 off  Wei-hai-Wei towed target for HMS HAWKINS to carry out full calibre shoot

14 September 1923 at Yokohama, Japan alongside HMS HAWKINS to refuel her

27 September 1923 at Yokohama, Japan alongside HMS DURBAN to refuel her

6 June 1924 Captain Stanley B Spillett RFA appointed as Master

SPILLETT STANLEYBURT

Captain Stanley B Spillett RFA

20 June 1924 at Royal Naval Hospital, Liu Kung, Wei-Hai-Wei, China Captain Edward Gattey RFA discharged dead from cerebal malaria. He was buried in the Royal Naval Cemetery, Wei-Hai-Wei

WEI hai WEI NAVAL CEMETERY

Royal Naval Cemetery, Wei-Hai-Wei

1925 had the lower portion of her forehold fitted out as a temporary magazine

22 April 1925 Chief Engineer Officer David  E Morgan MIMarE RFA married Miss Ethel M Smith, Sister in the Government Civil Hospital which took place at the Wesleyan Methodist Church, Wanchi, Hong Kong

4 June 1925 Mr Edward B Morton RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

 

E_B_Morton

Chief Engineer Officer Edward B Morton RFA

 

9 January 1926 in the company of HMS FOXGLOVE arrived at Wei-hai-Wei from Hong Kong

19 October 1927 Captain Donald R McCutchan RFA appointed as Master

 

Donald_R_McCutchan2

Captain Donald R McCutchan RFA

 

10 May 1928 Captain Frederick J Connolly RFA appointed as Master

 

Cap Frederick J CONNOLLY

Captain Frederick J Connolly RFA

 

12 March 1929 Captain Frederick J Connolly RFA discharged dead at Hong Kong - buried at the Protestant Cemetery, Hong Kong on 14 March 1929 with mourners from the RFA's FRANCOL, KHARKI, FORTOL and officers from the Naval Stores Department from HM Dockyard. 

F J Connolly

The grave of Captain Frederick J Connolly RFA in Hong Kong 

9 May 1931 Captain Nathan Colbridge RFA appointed as Master and Mr William C Elliott RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

Captain Nathan Colbridge

Captain Nathan Colbridge RFA

4 February 1932 Captain Cecil R Rosen RFA appointed as Master

13 February 1934 Mr William W Ridgway RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

22 March 1935 Captain I Evans RFA appointed as Master

24 October 1935 at Hong Kong

14 April 1936 at Hong Kong

28 December 1936 at Hong Kong

8 January 1937 Mr Wilfred C Shortland appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

December 1937 Captain Charles J Leach RFA appointed as Master

Captain C J Leach

Captain Charles J Leach RFA

12 January 1938 Captain A Spencer RFA appointed as Master

18 August 1938 at Wei-hai-Wei berthed on HMS DORTSETSHIRE refuelling her

3 December 1938 at Hong Kong berthed on HMS DORTSETSHIRE refuelling her

7 January 1939 Captain Frederick G Drake RFA appointed as Master

Fred G Drake

Captain Frederick G Drake RFA
before RFA service

25 May 1939 Mr Arthur A Robson RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

 ROBSON ARTHUR ALBERT

Chief Engineer Officer Arthur A. Robson RFA

3 September 1939 at Hong Kong on the outbreak of WW2

14 October 1939 at Hong Kong berthed on HMS DORTSETSHIRE refuelling her

17 October 1939 sailed Hong Kong

17 December 1939 in collision with HMS BIRMINGHAM while refuelling her. The BIRMINGHAM had to have her bow repaired and a propeller replaced in Hong Kong

12 November 1940 Seaman Gunner Basil Schofield appeared before the Marine Court, Hong Kong charged with being absent from the FRANCOL since since 30 October 1940. He pleaded Guilty and was sentenced to be returned to the ship

July 1941 Captain John H Burman RFA appointed as Master

11 December 1941 refueled USS Alden DD211 at Singapore

January 1942 served as the Eastern Fleet Oiler along with RFA RUTHENIA at Singapore

16 January 1942 anchored at Singapore Roads with HMAS MARYBOROUGH alongside being refuelled

HMAS Maryborough

HMAS MARYBOROUGH

30 January 1942 towed the Insect class gunboat HMS GRASSHOPPER from the Singapore Naval Base to Kepple Harbour

1 February 1942 anchored at Singapore Roads with HMAS MARYBOROUGH alongside being refuelled

10 February 1942 received instructions to sail to Batavia after embarking Dockyard personnel.  Sailed at 16:30hrs with 75 naval and Dockyard personnel onboard

12 February 1942 arrived at Tandjong Priok

25 February 1942 the cargo from the damaged RFA WAR SIRDAR was transferred to her

27 February 1942 sailed Tandjong Priok in the Dutch East Indies, along with RFA WAR SIRDAR in convoy with the Depot Ship HMS ANKING, carrying a full load of  Australian troops, the minesweeper MMS.51 and escorted by the Australian  sloop HMAS YARRA and the Indian sloop HMIS JUMNA

2 March 1942 sailed Tjilatjap with escorts

3 March 1942 while on passage to Fremantle, in position 11.00 S 109.00 E near Tjilatjap, 300 miles south of Java, the above convoy was attacked by the Japanese heavy cruisers ATAGO, TAKAO and MAYA together with the destroyers ARASHI and HOWAKI and in the ensuing battle, which lasted only 90 minutes,all 4 ships were sunk. There were only 13 survivors from FRANCOL all of whom  became PoW’s. Those lost are remembered on the Tower Hill Memorial, the Hong Kong Memorial and the Plymouth Naval Memorial.

 

Francol_memorial

Those named on the Tower Hill Memorial, London

12 March 1943 the Sunderland Daily Echo newspaper reported -

 

Sunderland Daily Echo 12 3 1943 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Additional information

Copyright © 2008 – 2017 Christopher J White

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