Petroleum_2
above RFA Petroleum in 1905
 
RFA Petroleum
Petroleum

 

 

Previous name:

Official Number:                     118493                                                               

Class:                                   Tanker

Pennant No:                          D 99 / N 92 / X 10 / X 51

Laid down:
Builder:                                Swan Hunter, Wallsend
Launched:                            30 October 1902
Into Service:                         May 1903
Out of service:                      1936
Fate:                                    Broken Up

 

Items of historic interest involving this ship: -

 

Background Data:  Soon after the turn of the 20th Century, the Admiralty acquired a number of small tankers and store ships and from the experiments conducted with these tankers was obtained  the experience which resulted in the building of a large number of tankers of various sizes which were especially designed for their task of refuelling warships. None of these early ships were sister ships, and they became the first Admiralty vessels to fall into the new RFA category on its inception in 1905

 

30 October 1902 launched by Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson Ltd, Wallsend as Yard Nr 280 named PETROLEUM for Petroleum United Agencies, London. She was the largest  tanker in the world at that time

May 1903 completed and laid up on the Tyne, still owned by the builders, awaiting a buyer

6 March 1905 purchased by the Admiralty for £61,122 plus a conversion cost of £8,340 and was primarily intended for the freighting  of oil from the Admiralty’s various sources in Romania, Mexico and the East Indies.  She’s been  built as an oil burner and was the first Admiralty owned vessel of this type. She was found to be too dangerous to operate as such and was converted into a coal burner. Was initially manned on a Yard Craft Agreement

8 August 1905 finally sailed from Wallsend bound for Gibraltar and was attached to the Atlantic Fleet

16 November 1905 taken in hand for modifications for being taken in tow and passing hoses for supplying oil fuel over her bows

27 January 1906 fitted with OAS (oiling-at-sea) trial gear to conduct the world’s initial oiling at sea experiments

February 1906 carried out OAS trials with the battleship HMS VICTORIOUS. Only water was passed through the hose as the battleship was not fitted to burn oil fuel

Hms Victorious

HMS VICTORIOUS

 

The trials continued until the following June and also involved HM ships HINDUSTAN, KING EDWARD V11, DOMINION and COMMONWEALTH

14 October 1906 made fast to No: 14 buoy, Portsmouth

15 October 1906 entered No: 12 dry dock, Portsmouth Dockyard

13 November 1906 still in No: 12 dry dock, Portsmouth Dockyard

27 November 1906 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

6 June 1907 readied for further OAS trials after modifications based on the 1906 trials

1 December 1907 on passage from Portsmouth to Port Arthur, Texas to load cargo arriving on 12 December 1907

2 December 1907 the Evening Express newspaper (a newspaper published in Wales) reported that -

Press Report Evening Express 2 12 1907

13 December 1907 commenced loading cargo

19 December 1907 sailed Port Arthur, Texas to Portland

1907 to 1914 employed on Fleet Attendant duties and on freighting oil from Port Arthur (Texas), Constanza, Borneo and Burma to the Dockyards. While freighting, she carried reserve coal in her summer tanks owing to the lack of coal at the loading ports

7 January 1908 was damaged in a hurricane while on passage from Port Arthur

10 January 1908 berthed at Portland to discharge

18 January 1908 the Army & Navy Gazette reported that ...

Army Navy Gaette 18 1 1908

21 January 1908 sailed Portland to Portsmouth arriving the next day

15 February 1908 sailed Portsmouth to Port Arthur, Texas to load cargo arriving 8 March 1908

11 March 1908 sailed Port Arthur, Texas to Portland

1 July 1908 her Purser was granted an increase in wages from £12 to £14 per month

22 July 1908 off Port Edgar, Firth of Forth RFA KHARKI alongside loading 200 tons of FFO

29 July 1908 at Portland Harbour Chief Steward Morris Middleton and Engineers Steward William Henry Crocker both discharged dead - drowned

 Press Report Petroleum

Press Report from the Exeter & Plymouth Gazette of 30 July 1908

 

2 December 1908 arrived at Portsmouth Harbour

7 December 1908 at Netley in Southampton Water

16 June 1909 arrived at Portsmouth Harbour

October 1909 at Port Arthur, Texas Seaman Harold A Kelly logged as having jumped ship

13 November 1909 at Portland with RFA KHARKI berthed alongside - supplied 685 tons of FFO

1 December 1909 the issue of the Rum Ration on Atlantic voyages in bad weather was allowed but the priveledge was not to be abused

21 December 1909 at Turnchapel with RFA KHARKI berthed alongside

1910 was fitted for towing and for being towed during OAS experiments along with RFA KHARKI

29 August 1910 sailed Portland for New York

13 September 1910 in No: 13 dry dock at Portsmouth Harbour

16 September 1910 berthed in No: 4 Basin at Portsmouth Harbour

28 October 1910 berthed on North Raiway Jetty at Portsmouth Harbour

1912 was released from OAS trials owing to a freighting urgency from the U.K. to Romania

20 April 1912 at Portland with HMS SPITEFUL berthed outboard Able Seaman John Patrick Sheridan of HMS SPITEFUL slipped while attempting to board RFA PETROLEUM to make his way to his ship. He fell into the harbour and was drowned. At an inquest touching on his death held at the Royal Naval Hospital, Portland a verdict of "Accidental Death" was recorded

30 June 1912 at Portland with RFA KHARKI berthed alongside - supplying cargo

3 July 1912 at Portland with RFA KHARKI returned to berth alongside

24 August 1912 sailed Portsmouth Harbour

7 December 1912 arrived Portmouth Harbour

6 September 1913 arrived at New York from Portland

September 1913 Lieutenant John R Williams RNR was Commanding Officer

27 September 1913 at Longhope, Orkney. Mr A Hunter RFA was the Chief Engineer Officer

8 October 1913 berthed at Portland

15 January 1914 encountered very heavy weather in the Atlantic. Rescued the crew of the Norweigan barque Chala.

21 January 1914 collided with and sank a small Turkish schooner in the Bosphorus

26 August 1914 seen by HMS MINERA in the Bay of Biscay off Bilbao

4 August 1915 Engineer Lieutenant Archibald Hunter RNR appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

21 January 1916 took on charge a Dent Deck Watch No 28214 which had been originally purchased by the Admiralty in October 1862 and had been taken on charge on HMS RACOON, HMS DEE, HMS ROSARIO, HMS ORION, Torpedo Boat 89, HMS FORTE and HMS COSSACK.  Landed off charge at Glasgow on 23 August 1916.  The Deck Watch was destroyed in action on HMS PHOEBE on 21 January 1921

13 May 1916 Lieutenant Ernest G Enright RNR appointed in command

 

Ernest_G_Enright

Lieutenant Ernest G Enright RNR

 

11 September 1916 Lieutenant Frederick W Dunn-Taylor RNR appointed in command

 

Photo of-DUNN-TAYLOR FREDERICKWILLIAM

Lieutenant Frederick W Dunn-Taylor RNR

26 October 1916 in collision with ss Ashtabula, a tanker owned by the Anglo American Oil Company Ltd., while RFA Petroleum was being moved into dry dock at Messrs Palmers' Hebburn on Tyne. The ship was being moved by tugs and a pilot when it hit the tanker which was berthed alongside causing minor damage. The Admiralty accepted liability but blamed no one for the collision.

7 November 1916 took on charge a Dent Marine Chronometer No 1504 which had been originally purchased by the Admiralty on 15 August 1843 and had been take on charge on HMS CHALLENGER, HMS BRITON, HMS BLAKE and HMS PEGASUS. Landed off charge at Glasgow on 2 May 1917 and then reissued to HMS SPEEDWELL

13 June 1917 Lieutenant William Frost RNR appointed in Command

12 July 1917 in the River Clyde - details from an entry in the log of HMS PATUCA

amcPatuca

HMS PATUCA

27 October 1917 at Glasgow received one rating from HMS OROTAVA

10 December 1917 Fireman H Young discharged to DQ's - reason and duration not shown. He had signed on on the 22 May 1917.

18 March 1918 Pumpman George Henry Saunders, aged 29,  MMR 563369 discharged dead - illness. He died in King Georges Hospital, London and is buried in Portland (St. George) Portland, Dorset

Saunders

Courtesy and © of The War Graves Photographic Project

1 April 1918 Assistant Steward Eric G Smith MMR 520386 and Fireman John Collison MMR 878075 both logged as deserted the ship. Smith had signed on on the 20 January 1918 while Collison had signed on on 22 November 1916 as a Stoker. He had been promoted Fireman on 14 November 1917

 E G Smith

Assistant Steward Eric G Smith

18 April 1918 at Greenock RFA PETRELLA alongside to receive bunkers

27 November 1918 Engineer Lieutenant Walter L Iron RNR appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

22 December 1918 Leading Fireman J H Wilson MMR 873285 logged as deserting the ship. He had signed on on the 29 May 1918

2 Janaury 1919 Engineer Lieutenant George L Lowson RNR appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

14 January 1919 Ordinary Seamen H Long MMR 872951 and F Tiplady MMR 947217 both logged as deserting the ship. They had both signed on on 25 June 1918.

2 February 1919 Able Seaman W Slater MMR 981116 logged as deserting the ship. He had signed on on the 20 January 1919.

16 February 1919 Able Seaman F Benton MMR 981120 logged as deserting the ship. He had signed on on the 17 January 1919. He was arrested on 23 March 1920 using a false name of Richard Jannis.

2 March 1919 Able Semen A Melville MMR 981121, R Shepherd MMR 790013, A Barry MMR 981125, Stoker H Harding MMR 950815 and Stoker J W Pollett MMR 963346 all logged as deserting the ship. Each had signed on on the 17 January 1919.

3 March 1919 Donkeyman J D Casey MMR 981109, Stoker J E Williams MMR 981113 both were logged as deserting the ship. Both had signed on on the 17 January 1919.

5 March 1919 Greaser C Cornell MMR 981177 logged as deserting the ship. He had signed on on 1 February 1919

12 March 1919 Stoker James Berry MMR 838330 logged as being absent without leave. He had signed on on 17 January 1919. He returned to the ship and was transfered to HMS Eaglet on the 21 August 1919.

15 March 1919 Fireman P Travers MMR 313027 logged as deserting the ship. He had signed on on the 5 March 1919

21 March 1919 Stoker J Smith MMR 404619 logged as deserting the ship. He had signed on on the 5 March 1919

3 April 1919 Engineer Lieutenant Charles P Vickerman RNR appeared before a court martial charged with (a) being absent without leave and (b) improperly leaving his ship. The accused pleaded Guilty and was adjudged to forfeit 12 months seniority, to be dismissed his ship and to be severely reprimanded.

1 May 1919 Engineer Lieutenant Joseph S Harrison RNR appointed as Chief Engineer Officer. He had previously served as  the Chief Engineer Officer of RFA RELIANCE

1 May 1919 Greaser Barnard Ferney MMR 981185 and Assistant Steward A Bowman MMR 938672 both logged as deserting the ship. Greaser Fernley had signed on on the 29 January 1919 and Assistant Steward Bowman had signed on on 13 March 1919. Assistant Steward Bowman must have been recovered as he was transfered to HMS Eaglet on 16 October 1919

2 May 1919 Able Seaman Gordon P Lyndon MMR 981111 logged as deserting the ship. He had signed on on 17 January 1919

Lyndon2

Able Seaman Gordon P Lyndon

17 June 1919 at Copenhagen alongside HMS GALATEA refuelling her

23 June 1919 at Revel alongside HMS GALATEA refuelling her

4 July 1919 at Copenhagen with HMS VINDICTIVE alongside being refuelled with 380 tons of FFO

19 July 1919 Ordinary Seaman Thomas Roberts logged as deserting the ship. He had signed on on the 31 December 1918

8 September 1919 at Copenhagen with HMS VINDICTIVE alongside being refuelled with 400 tons of FFO

11 October 1919 at Copenhagen roadstead with HMS DRAGON alongside being refuelled

10 November 1919 at Copenhagen with HMS VINDICTIVE alongside being refuelled with 614 tons of FFO

Vindictive

HMS VINDICTIVE

21 December 1919 at Copenhagen with HMS VINDICTIVE alongside being refuelled with 520 tons of FFO

1920 fitted out for oiling at sea duties

6 February 1920 sailed from the River Tyne for Port Arthur, Texas

5 March 1920 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

26 March 1920 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour returning the same day

28 March 1920 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

23 June 1920 at Matsu Islands with HMS MANTIS alongside being refuelled - 34 tons of FFO issued

24 June 1920 at Hong Kong with HMS CRICKET alongside being refuelled

24 July 1920 at Wei-hai-Wei alongside HMS CAIRO to refuel her

HMS Cairo

HMS CAIRO

23 November 1920 to 20 December 1920 in dry dock at Kings Dock, Keppel Harbour, Singapore

29 January 1921 at Singapore alongside HMS MALAYA refuelling her

16 February 1921 Fireman Herbert Edward Greene MMR 978926 discharged dead

6 July 1921 Fireman Mier Muhammed Kaloo discharged dead. He is buried in the Naval Section of Gillingham (Woodlands) Cemetery in grave 485 in the S E Corner

 

Kaloo_NM

Courtesy and © of The War Graves Photographic Project

 

22 September 1921 at Stockholm, Sweden refuelling units of the Royal Navy's 2nd Destroyer Flotilla who were on a visit to the Baltic with the 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron under the command of Rear Admiral Nicholson

7 June 1922 Mr J A Brown RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

1 July 1922 Captain Hermann R Elsby RFA appointed as Master

9 January 1923 sailed Greenock for Devonport

21 December 1924 sailed Plymouth to Old Kilpatrick

1924 towed an oil barge built at Chatham Dockyard to Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands and carried the first cargo of oil to the tanks there which had previously been only a coaling station

17 December 1924 sailed Gibraltar for Devonport

31 December 1924 arrived at Devonport

24 January 1925 sailed Gibraltar

27 January 1925 arrived at Devonport from Gibraltar

18 March 1925 Captain John C Hawick RFA appointed as Master

HAWICK JOHN C

Captain John C Hawick RFA

19 March 1925 Mr Ernest K Horsley RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

CEO Ernest K Horsley

Chief Engineer Officer Ernest K Horsley RFA

19 May 1925 arrived at Plymouth

28 October 1925 arrived at Devonport from Malta

4 February 1926 Mr Ernest K Horsley RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

5 April 1926 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour. Captain Cyril F Haughton RFA appointed as Master

Capt Cyril F Haughton

Captain Cyril F Haughton RFA

10 April 1926 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

17 June 1926 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

24 June 1926 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

9 October 1926 berthed at Devonport

9 September 1927 arrived at Plymouth

21 September 1927 sailed the Humber for Devonport

12 October 1927 Captain Roger F Shotton MID RFA appointed as Master

5 November 1927 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

14 November 1927 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

12 June 1928 at Port Victoria, Sheerness Able Seaman George Jenkins discharged dead - accidental drowning

14 June 1928 The Scotsman newspaper reported ...

 

Press Report Scotsman 14 6 28

11 August 1928 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

16 August 1928 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

15 October 1928 Mr Edward B Morton RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

 

E_B_Morton

Chief Engineer Officer Edward B Morton RFA 

 

2 November 1928 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

26 January 1929 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

26 March 1929 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

2 April 1929 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

7 May 1929 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

11 May 1929 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

17 June 1929 Mr G A Calvert RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

25 October 1929 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

29 October 1929 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

4 December 1929 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

15 January 1930 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

1 March 1930 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

5 March 1930 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

13 March 1930 berthed at Gibraltar from Portland to discharge

24 May 1930 Captain William H Green RFA appointed as Master

Captain WILLIAM HERBERT GREEN

Captain William H Green RFA

2 June 1930 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

6 June 1930 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

September 1930 reduced to a Care and Maintenance status

27 September 1930 Mr Andrew G Forbes RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

CEO Andrew G Forbes

Chief Engineer Officer Andrew G Forbes RFA

4 May 1931 Captain Charles L Cutsforth RD RFA (Lieutenant Commander RNR) appointed as Master

Charles L Cutsforth

Captain Charles L Cutsforth RD RFA

May 1931 crew were on a monthly agreement

19 September 1931 Captain John Ross Gorrie RFA appointed as Master

 

John_Ross_Gorrie

Captain John Ross Gorrie RFA

 

12 October 1931 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

30 October 1931 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

9 November 1931 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

24 November 1931 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

1 January 1932 Captain John B Hurst RFA appointed in command

13 August 1932 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

17 August 1932 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour towing the tug C 307 to Malta

30 September 1932 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

3 October 1932 Mr Andrew G Forbes RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

7 November 1932 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

2 February 1933 sailed Devonport

26 February 1933 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

2 March 1933 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

20 April 1933 Captain John P Tugwood DSC RD RFA appointed as Master

Captain TUGWOOD JOHN PERCIVAL

Captain John P Tugwood DSC RD RFA

28 April 1933 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

29 May 1933 in 12 Dry Dock, Portsmouth Harbour

6 June 1933 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

1 January 1934 arrived at Plymouth

15 January 1934 Captain John B Hurst RFA appointed as Master

John B Hurst

Captain John B Hurst RFA

18 August 1934 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

10 September 1934 Captain Thomas Drever RFA appointed as Master

22 September 1934 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

12 October 1934 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

23 October 1934 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

10 January 1935 Mr W Maybray RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

24 January 1935 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

26 January 1935 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

22 December 1935 at Gibraltar Bosun James Bennie discharged dead. He had been admitted to the Colonial Hospital on 23 November 1935 suffering from (a) arteriosclerosis and cerebal degeneration and (b) pyorrhoea

20 February 1936 paid off and was laid up for disposal at Sheerness

18 August 1936 approval was given to dispose of her

24 March 1937 sold for £6,250 for demolition

26 March 1937 handed over to T W Ward Ltd, Inverkeithing in part payment for the liner  MAJESTIC which subsequently became the static Training Ship HMS CALEDONIA moored at Rosyth

20 April 1937 arrived at Inverkeithing for breaking up

 

Notes:

 

Was the RFA’s first operational tanker. Cargo capacity was 6,200 tons in 6 cargo tanks plus 668 tons of oil fuel, 632 tons of coal and 210 tons of reserve bunkers

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.