RFA Oligarch (1)

For details of RFA Oligarch (1) please see the entry for RFA Limeleaf

 

RFA Oligarch (2)

 
RFA_Oligarch

 

Previous name:                       British Lantern

Official Number:                      142604

Class:                                      10,000t OL CLASS Tanker

Pennant No:                            Y7.286  /  X12

Laid down:

Builder:                                   Workman Clark & Co Ltd, Belfast        
Launched:                               30 June 1918
Into Service:                            1 August 1918
Out of service:                         14 April 1946
Fate:                                       Scuttled

 

Items of historic interest involving this ship: -

 

 

Background Data:  Of the six ships in this Class, two of them were built by HM Dockyards to keep the Dockyards busy after the end of WW1 in accordance with the Colwyn Committee‘s recommendations. Two other similar ships were built for Anglo Saxon Petroleum Co Ltd, London at the same time - MUREX at Portsmouth and NASSA at Devonport - and after producing these two well-built ships, the finances and materials appeared to be short and the two built for the RFA were supposedly built with odds and ends and auxiliaries taken from outmoded warships. With their cheap and second-hand fittings they had some heavy maintenance bills, which they paid for by spending most of their lives on charter. MUREX and NASSA were both broken up at Osaka in 1936

 

30 June 1918 launched by Workman Clark & Co Ltd, Belfast as Yard Nr 424 named BRITISH LANTERN for the Shipping Controller

1 August 1918 completed and placed under management of British Tanker Co, London. Cost £206,857

29 September 1918 berthed at Avonmouth from Philadelphia with Captain Ernest Loader as Master with one DBS passenger

24 October 1918 entered New York Harbour with Captain Ernest Loader as Master. The ship had sailed from Cardiff with 51 crew

22 November 1918 as British Lantern berthed at Hull from New York

30 December 1918 sailed from Port Arthur for Avonmouth

21 January 1919 arrived at Avonmouth from Port Arthur

29 January 1919 sailed Avonmouth for the United States. In collision with the steamship War Penguin in Barry Roads. Both ships were damaged

War Penguin

ss War Penguin

8 June 1919 sailed the River Tyne for Port Arthur

28 June 1919 arrived New Orleans from the River Tyne

3 July 1919 sailed Port Eads to Shanghai via Colon and Honolulu

10 July 1919 arrived Balboa on passage from New Orleans to Shanghai

27 July 1919 sailed Honolulu for Shanghai

13 August 1919 berthed at Shanghai

3 September 1919 arrived at Baik Papan from Shanghai

16 September 1919  sailed from Singapore for Suez

7 October 1919 arrived at Suez from Singapore

5 November 1919 10.30am involved in a collision with the dock wall in Tilbury Docks

6 December 1919 sailed Gravesend for Port Arthur

4 January 1920 arrived at Port Arthur

25 January 1920 passed Gibraltar

4 April 1920 arrived at Port Said from Gibraltar

28 April 1920 sailed Abadan for Albany, Western Australia

23 May 1920 arrived at Albany, Western Australia

29 May 1920 at Adelaide, Australia engaged in a pumpover with RFA WAR KRISHNA in the harbour

10 June 1920 sailed to Abadan

25 July 1920 sailed Basra after repairs to damage following a collision

11 August 1920 arrived at Suez from Abadan

13 August 1920 sailed Port Said for Portsmouth arriving on 26 August 1920

17 September 1920 sailed Southampton for Port Arthur, Texas

5 October 1920 arrived at Port Arthur, Texas from Southampton

9 October 1920 sailed Port Arthur, Texas for Devonport

28 October 1920 arrived at Greenock from Port Arthur, Texas

2 November 1920 sailed Glasgow for Texas

21 November 1920 berthed at Port Arthur, Texas from Greenock

26 November 1920 sailed Port Arthur, Texas for the River Clyde

20 December 1920 arrived at the Clyde from Port Arthur, Texas

3 January 1921 went to the assistance of the oiler British Vine (ex RFA VINELEAF)  which broke down off the Irish Coast while on passage from Thames Haven to Newport News. British Vine helped into Queenstown, Ireland

5 January 1921 sailed Queenstown for Port Arthur, Texas

24 January 1921 berthed at Port Arthur, Texas from the Clyde and Queenstown

28 January 1921 sailed Port Arthur, Texas for Devonport

29 January 1921 signalled the US Navay Communications Service when at 27.40N 90.07W

15 February 1921 arrived at Newport

16 February 1921 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing east

23 February 1921 sailed from Hull for Port Arthur, Texas

19 March 1921 sailed from Port arthur, Texas for the Clyde

7 April 1921 arrived the Clyde from Port Arthur, Texas

30 April 1921 arrived at Port Arthur. Texas from the Clyde

7 May 1921 reported by radio to the US Naval Radio Service that she was 100 miles east of Hatteras - source New York Tribune of 8 May 1921

26 May 1921 arrived at the River Tyne

1 June 1921 sailed the River Tyne for Sheerness

5 June 1921 sailed Sheerness for Port Arthur, Texas - source New York Herald of 7 June 1921

18 June 1921 radioed the US Naval Communications Service that she was 60 nmiles east of Key West

21 June 1921 berthed at Port Eads

24 June 1921 sailed New Orleans for London

28 June 1921 at 23.00hrs radioed the US Naval Communications Service that she was 80 nmiles south of Hatteras

12 July 1921 arrived at Gravesend for Purfleet from New Orleans

14 July 1921 sailed Gravesend for Port Arthur, Texas

31 July 1921 radioed the US Naval Communications Service that she was off Sand Key

3 August 1921 berthed at Port Arthur, Texas - source New York Herald of 4 August  1921

6 August 1921 sailed Port Arthur, Texas for Devonport - source New York Herald of 8 August 1921

18 August 1921 radioed the US Naval Communications Service that she had passed Tortugas

13 September 1921 radioed the US Naval Communications Service that she was east of Ambrose

17 September 1921 arrived at Port Arthur, Texas from Rosyth

20 September 1921 sailed from Port arthur, Yexas for Valencia for orders

24 September 1921 radioed the US Naval Communications Service that she was 450 nmiles SW of Hatteras

8 October 1921 while on passage from Port Arthur, Texas to Devonport was in collision 40 miles west of the Bishops Rock with the steamer Arnaldo Da Brescia which was on passage from Genoa

Arnaldo da Brescia 01

Arnaldo Da Brescia

The Arnaldo Da Brescia arrived at Cardiff on 10 October 1921 for dry docking and extensive repairs. RFA BRITISH LANTERN was damaged on her starboard side. She signalled that her tanks were leaking. She anchored in Whitesands Bay and RFA TREFOIL sailed from Devonport, berthed alongside BRITISH LANTERN and took off 1,000 tons of FFO to lighten the tanker

2 December 1921 arrived at Port Said from the River Tyne

3 December 1921 sailed Suez for Abadan

31 December 1921 arrived at Aden from Abadan

5 January 1922 arrived Suez from Abadan

10 March 1922 arrived Devonport

3 April 1922 sailed from Devonport

21 April 1922 sailed from Portland for Port Arthur, Texas

18 May 1922 sailed Port Arthur, Texas for LEFO

14 June 1922 passed Dungeness

18 June 1922 passed Gibraltar

28 July 1922 arrived Suez from Abadan

29 July 1922 sailed Port Said

8 August 1922 passed Gibraltar

14 August 1922 arrived at Plymouth from Abadan

5 September 1922 sailed Devonport

9 September 1922 passed Gibraltar when on passage from Devonport to Malta

18 September 1922 arrived Port Said from Malta

19 October 1922 sailed Port Said when on passage from Abadan to Mudros

22 October 1922 at Mudros

21 February 1923 at Mudros

13 July 1923 at 28.10N 50.45E Pumpman Alfred Edgecombe discharged dead - natural causes - buried at sea

22 August 1923 to the 25 August 1923 berthed at the Oil Wharf, Kepple Harbour, Singapore

27 August 1923 sailed Singapore for Abadan

11 October 1923 sailed Port Said for Malta

13 December 1923 arrived at Table Bay from Abadan

22 December 1923 at Cape Town alongside HMS REPULSE refuelling her

repulse

HMS REPULSE

24 December 1923 0900hrs alongside HMS HOOD at Cape Town to refuel her. Cast off at 1600hrs on account of swell having transferred 1,890 tons of FFO

27 December 1923 sailed Cape Town

3 January 1924 sailed Simonstown for Bombay

10 June 1924 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

15 June 1924 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

13 August 1924 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing east

10 November 1924 to the 15 November 1924 berthed at the Oil Wharf, Kepple Harbour, Singapore

16 November 1924 sailed Singapore for Abadan

5 December 1924 sailed Abadan

23 December 1924 and 24 December 1924 berthed at the Oil Wharf, Kepple Harbour, Singapore

20 January 1925 sailed Abadan

2 February 1925 arrived Suez from Abadan

16 March 1925 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing east

25 June 1925 arrived at Glasgow from Baytown

2 July 1925 sailed from Glasgow for Baytown

15 August 1925 sailed Port Said

6 April 1926 sailed from Grangemouth for Abadan

6 July 1927 sailed Tocopilla for San Pedro

16 November 1928 berthed at Avonmouth from Curacao with one DBS as a passenger. Captain James H Sloan was Master

28 February 1930 while on passage from Tampico to Flushing put into Plymouth this day to effect repairs to the steering

13 March 1930 arrived at New Orleans

20 March 1930 arrived Tampico from New Orleans

7 June 1930 sailed Abadan

23 June 1930 arrived at Suez from Abadan

24 June 1930 arrived Port Said

6 July 1930 passed Ushant

9 July 1930 arrived at Grangemouth

14 July 1930 passed Beachy Head sailing west

30 July 1930 arrived at Suez

10 November 1930 sailed Aden for Abadan

18 December 1930 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour to be laid up until June 1931

6 March 1931 berthed at No: 3 Basin, Portsmouth Dockyard with RFA PETRONEL and NAV ISLEFORD

1 April 1931 berthed at Portsmouth

27 June 1931 berthed in No 3 Basin, Portsmouth Harbour together with RFA APPLELEAF (1)

June 1931 was in collision with ss Bianca - this fact was used by a Norwegian Insurance Agent named Ragnvald Dahl Prag to defraud a number of Norwgian Underwriters of £8,500 - he appeared at the Mansion House Justices Room charged with a number of counts of fraudulent conversion

4 July 1931 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

22 August 1931 at Port Arthur, Texas

27 December 1931 at Santa Cruz de Tenerife in Hospital Able Seaman George Joseph O'Halloran discharged dead from a fracture skull

4 May 1932 sailed Malta for Abadan

10 June 1932 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

29 June 1932 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

30 June 1932 at Sheerness

17 January 1933 sailed the River Wear to Swansea

14 March 1933 sailed Abadan for Singapore

5 May 1933 at Abadan

3 June 1933 passed Gibraltar

12 June 1933 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

13 June 1933 berthed on Gosport Oil Jetty before sailing from Portsmouth Harbour

12 July 1933 passed Perim for Abadan

9 August 1933 sailed Port Said for Portsmouth Harbour

23 August 1933 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

25 September 1933 at Portsmouth Harbour in Dock No: 15

3 October 1933 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

22 February 1935 in the Bay of Biscay together with RFA WAR PATHAN and Spanish steamer Galea rescued the entire crew of the Italian steamer Taide

29 April 1935 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

30 April 1935 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

2 September 1935 at Port Said

15 June 1936 in dock at Sunderland

16 September 1936 berthed at Abardan from Portland

12 October 1936 berthed at Simonstown Dockyard, South Africa

15 October 1936 sailed Simonstown for Abadan

7 November 1936 sailed Abadan for Gibraltar

21 February 1937 arrived at Abadan

23 February 1937 sailed Abadan for Malta

10 April 1937 sailed Abadan for Malta

26 May 1937 arrived at Abadan from Malta

23 June 1937 berthed at Gibraltar from Abadan and Port Said to discharge part of her cargo which had been loaded for Gibraltar and Portsmouth

30 June 1937 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

1 July 1937 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

4 July 1937 transferred to Admiralty management and manning as an RFA renamed OLIGARCH(2) at Wallsend

6 July 1937 Mr Leonard H Taylor RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

CEO Leonard H Taylor

Chief Engineer Officer Leonard H Taylor RFA

13 July 1937 certificate of Registry endorsed with her new name

July 1937 fitted for defensive armament by Swan Hunter and Wigham Richardson on the Tyne

2 April 1938 berthed at Gibraltar while on passage from Malta to Trinidad in ballast

5 May 1938 berthed at Gibraltar from Trinidad to discharge cargo

1 July 1938 Captain Harry M Sinclair RFA appointed as Master

18 July 1938 to 27 July 1938 towed m.v. GYRO from Devonport to Malta

19 April 1939 in collision with HMT SOMERSETSHIRE at Gibraltar

Somersetshire 01

HMT SOMERSETSHIRE

3 September 1939 at Portsmouth on the outbreak of WW2

19 September 1939 sailed Southend in convoy OA7 along with RFA OLYNTHUS (1) until it dispersed on 22 September 1939

2 October 1939 at Freetown HMS CUMBERLAND berthed alomgside to refuel

HMS Cumberland 57

HMS CUMBERLAND

19 October 1939 sailed Lagos independently to Freetown arriving on 25 October of that year

26 October 1939 sailed Freetown independently for Jamestown, St Helena

4 November 1939 sailed Jamestown, St. Helena independently to Trinidad arriving on 20 November

1 December 1939 sailed Trinidad independently

20 December 1939 sailed Freetown independently arriving Trinidad on 2 January 1940

4 January 1940 having loaded sailed Trinidad independently to Halifax arriving 16 January 1940

18 January 1940 sailed Halifax independently to Scapa Flow arriving 1 February 1940

10 February 1940 sailed Scapa Flow independently to Greenock arriving two days later

27 February 1940 Mr Clifford N Ansell RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

11 March 1940 sailed Glasgow to Scapa Flow arriving on 16 March - sailed under sealed orders

24 March 1940 sailed the Clyde to Liverpool and then in convoy OB116 until dispersed arriving at Trinidad on 11 April1940

17 April 1940 sailed Trinidad independently to Halifax arriving on 27th - ten days later

30 April 1940 sailed Halifax in convoy HX 39 with a cargo of FFO arriving at Liverpool on 14 May 1940 - ship detached to Scapa Flow

19 May 1940 sailed Liverpool independently arriving at the Clyde the next day

28 May 1940 sailed Greenock in convoy NS4 arriving at Scapa Flow on 14 June 1940

3 June 1940 arrived at Harstad with other shipping under RN escort

29 June 1940 sailed Scapa Flow to Reykjavik arriving on 1 July 1940

12 August 1940 Captain William W Peddle RFA appointed as Master

 

PEDDLE_WM_WALTER

Captain William W Peddle RFA

7 September 1940 sent by NOIC Iceland to Reydarfiord loaded with petrol and bombs escorted by the Norwegian Patrol Vessel Honnigsvaag - Admiralty War Diary

1 December 1940 sailed Reykjavi arriving the Clyde on 7 December 1940

19 April 1941 allocated for Fleet Attendant duties in Norwegian Waters along with RFA ALDERSDALE

29 May 1941 at Loch Ewe with HMAS NESTOR alongside being refuelled

15 July 1941 sailed Oban in Convoy WN 153 along with RFA BLUE RANGER to Methil arriving on 18 July 1941

24 July 1941 sailed Scapa Flow for Seidisfjord, on the east coast of Iceland, escorted by the destroyer HMS GARLAND

27 July 1941 to 7 August 1941 sailed Seidisfjord to take part in Operation FB - supporting  Force A which destroyed facilities on Spitzbergen - along with RFA WAR SUDRA

31 July 1941 refuelled Force A

1 August 1941 refuelled Force A

3 August 1941 was detached to Seidisfjord with the destroyer HMS GARLAND and the anti-submarine trawler HMS SEALYHAM

8 August 1941 arrived Seidisfjord

9 August 1941 at Seidisfjord Captain Peddle discharged ashore through sickness. The command of the ship was taken over by Chief Officer William H G Hine RFA - source TNA - BT381/162

19 August 1941 sailed Scapa Flow and took part in Operation Gauntlet and refuelled the troopship EMPRESS OF CANADA, HM cruisers NIGERIA and AURORA and HM destroyers ANTHONY, ANTELOPE and ICARUS at Barentsburg where the embarked Canadian troops wrecked the coal mines

24 August 1941 to 27 August 1941 supported the evacuation of 2000 Soviet miners from Spitzbergen escorted by the anti-submarine trawlers HM ships ELM and HAZEL

1 September 1941 arrived Sveagruva in company with the anti-submarine  trawlers HMS HAZEL and the Belgian VAN OOST

3 September 1941 sailed Sveagruva

5 September 1941 RASed with HMS Nigeria and HMS AURORA at Seidisfjord, Norway

14 September 1941 the Group arrived Reykjavik in company with the destroyer HMS ESCAPADE following Operations EGV 1 & 2 - the air attacks on Northern Norway. The ship was carrying 100 tons of Norwegian and Russian property. The C in C Home Fleet directed this should be off loaded in Iceland with a careful check of the inventory - details from the Admiralty War Diary

1 October 1941 Captain Albert V Barton RFA appointed as Master

15 January 1942 damaged by the British Hain Steamship Co Ltd m.v. TREHATA whilst at anchor  in Seidisfjord

12 March 1942 damaged when going alongside RFA ALDERSDALE

20 March 1942 sailed on Russain Convoy PQ 13 as escort oiler - as Force 'Q' - escorted by HMS LAMBERTON

23 May 1942 at Seidisfjord, Iceland alongside USS Rhind (DD404) and USS Wainwright (DD419) to refuel them

24 May 1942 at Seidisfjord, Iceland alongside USS Mayrant (DD402) to refuel her

30 June 1942 at Seidisfjord, Iceland alongside USS Tuscaloosa (CA37) to refuel to refuel her. Also alongside USS Rhind (DD404) to refuel her

7 July 1942 at Seidisfjord, Iceland alongside USS Rhind (DD404)

1 August 1942 under repair on the Clyde - repairs completed by 25 August 1942

5 August 1942 Mr Charles A Smith RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

 

CEO_Charles_Smith

Chief Engineer Officer Charles A Smith RFA

11 August 1942 Captain Thomas Elder DSC RFA appointed as Master

2 September 1942 sailed Scapa Flow to form Force P as part of Convoy PQ 18 along with RFA BLUE RANGER and a 4-destroyer escort and preceeded the Convoy to Lowe Sound, Spitzbergen to act as an advanced fuelling facility for the escorting destroyers.

9 September 1942 with RFA BLUE RANGER and RN escorts detached to form Force 'P'  to establish a destroyer fuelling base at Lowe Sound, Spitzbergen for those used as escorts on the Russian convoys

12 September 1942 anchored in Axelfjord, Spitzbergen along with RFA BLUE RANGER and refuelled the escorts to Convoy PQ 18 consisting of the destroyers HM ships INTREPID,  MARNE, MARTIN, METEOR, MILNE and SCYLLA

13 September 1942 sailed as part of Convoy QP 14 along with RFA’s BLACK RANGER and GRAY RANGER from Archangel arriving at Loch Ewe on 26 September 1942

28 October 1942 damaged when going alongside the MoWT tanker m.v. SAINTONGE

7 November 1942 sailed Loch Ewe in convoy WN358 to Methil arriving 9 November 1942

1 December 1942 to 10 December 1942 in Leith Docks, Edinburgh for repairs

12 December 1942 sailed Methil in convoy En172/2 to Loch Ewe arriving 14 December 1942

15 December 1942 sailed on Russian Convoy JW51A from Loch Ewe and arrived Kola Inlet on 25 December 1942 The Convoy consisted of 16 merchantmen

30 December 1942 sailed on Russian Convoy RA51 from Kola Inlet and arrived at the Loch Ewe on the 11 January 1943 - the convoy consisting of 14 merchantmen

8 January 1943 arrived at Akureyri, Iceland to load cargo from the RN oil fuel depot

11 January 1943 sailed Akureyri, Iceland for Hvalfjordur, Iceland

17 January 1943 sailed on Russian Convoy  JW52 from Loch Ewe and arrived at Kola Inlet on 27 January 1943. The Convoy consisted of 15 merchantmen

February 1943 in collision with RFA WAR AFRIDI

1 March 1943 sailed Kola Inlet in convoy RA53 to Seidisfjord arriving on 14 March 1943

19 March 1943 sailed Loch Ewe in Convoy WN 405 to Methil arriving 21 March 1943

21 March 1943 sailed Methil in convoy FS1069 to Southend arriving 23 March 1943

28 March 1943 at North Shields, River Tyne

8 April 1943 under going repairs on the Tyne - repairs completed 22 April 1943

24 May 1943 as Force R carried depth charges and ammunition for the destroyers of Force H

27 May 1943 collided with the pier at Tyne Dock and was slightly damaged. The wooden pier was severely damaged and a dredger lighter was sunk. The 2nd Engineer’s proficiency allowance was suspended for 12 months. Repairs carried out by Smith’s Dock Co Ltd, North Shields during which permanent disguise features were added. These included the fitting of a dummy funnel amidships to give her the appearance of a dry cargo vessel

30 May 1943 sailed Methil in Convoy EN 236 to Loch Ewe arriving 1 June 1943

4 June 1943 joined Convoy OS49 which had sailed Liverpool the same day

5 June 1943 the Director of Stores signalled the FOIC Tyne requesting details by letter of explosives and other dangerous cargo loaded onto the ship and confirmation that the Ministry of War Transport's representative concurred in the stowage arrangements had been obtained - details from the Admiralty War Diary

8 and 11 June 1943 RAS'ed the B3 Ocean Escort Group which were escorting Convoys OS49 and KMS16. HMS SALVEDA (to become RFA SALVEDA) was in the same convoy

13 June 1943 Convoy OS49 split

15 June 1943 arrived at Gibraltar

22 June 1943 sailed Gibraltar in convoy GTX3 along with RFA's CELEROL, CHERRYLEAF (1) and NASPRITE in the same convoy

28 June 1943 the C in C Mediterrean issued the following signal concerning RFA's being used to carry explosives - see the entry dated 5 June 1943 above: -

Page 408

details from the Admiralty War Diary of this date

30 June 1943 torpedoed and slightly damaged by German Submarine U-453 (Kapitänleutnant Freiherr Egon Reiner von Schlippenbach) at 32°57N, 21°10E while in convoy GTX 3 - arrived in Tobruk under her own power where she was used in the harbour to fuel destroyers

21 August 1943 sailed Tobruk and joined convoy UGS 13 arriving at Alexandria the following day. RFA CEDARDALE sailed in the same convoy

9 September 1943 repaired at Alexandria

27 March 1944 in collision with the Norwegian tanker VIVI  at Alexandria

15 February 1945 at the Outer Harbour, Alexandria with USS Frankford (DD497) and USS Baldwin (DD624) alongside

3 January 1946 in port at Alexandria

15 February 1946 sailed Alexandria for Port Said arriving on 24 February 1946 (sailed at only 4 kts)

25 February 1946 sailed Port Said

13 April 1946 at Suez and sailed under tow

14 April 1946 scuttled at the southern end of the Red Sea loaded with obsolete ammunition at 27°30N, 34°45E

October 1946 – Gyro compass equipment – which had been earlier removed from the ship and RFA's ABBEYDALE and DERWENTDALE (1)  and was now set for fitting in RFA's CHERRYLEAF (1), PEARLEAF (1) and CEDARDALE

 

Notes:

.

1.  The PQ nomenclature for Arctic Convoys was derived from the initials of Commander Phillip Quellyn Roberts, a Planning Officer in the Admiralty

Additional information

Copyright © 2008 – 2017 Christopher J White

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