Ordered in 1915, the 6 Admiralty-designed ships in this Class, also known as the TEXOL CLASS. were powerful twin screw ocean tankers which were very advanced for their day. Strangely enough, all of them were built by different shipyards. They were designed to act as Escorts on Atlantic Convoys during the First World War, whilst also bringing cargoes of oil fuel from the United States to Britain.

They were originally designed with names of oil bearing countries with the OL suffix, but their military appearance and Naval names caused difficulties with the United States Neutrality Act. Various modifications were made and all 6 were then placed under the commercial management of Messrs Lane & MacAndrews Ltd with LEAF names in common with other converted ships running as Admiralty tankers under that firm’s management.

 

They were fitted with 6 Scotch boilers in two entirely separate boiler rooms without an inter-connecting door between them until eventually this was rectified which enabled them to then have a smaller complement of around 66 European or 90 Lascars. Unfortunately they had a very heavy fuel consumption which exceeded 90 tons per day at full speed and they mostly ran on just 3 boilers at reduced speed thus cutting fuel consumption to around 33 tons per day.

With dimensions of around 425.0 (o.a.) x 54.5 x 28.5 ft, the ships were fitted with 4 very powerful cargo pumps with a pumping rate of 2000 tons per hour. They also had 4 cylindrical petrol tanks fitted in their summer tanks later in their careers, with a capacity of 47,000 gallons with a separate pumping system plus a considerable fresh water distilling plant too.

The Class consisted of APPLELEAF (1), BRAMBLELEAF (1), CHERRYLEAF (1), ORANGELEAF (1), PEARLEAF (1) and PLUMLEAF (1), with BRAMBLELEAF (1) and PLUMLEAF (1) becoming WW2 casualties.

 

APPLELEAF (1):

RFA-Appleleaf-1

Builder: Workman Clark & Co Ltd, Belfast.

Launched: 28 November 1916 as TEXOL. Completed: 16 February 1917. Cost £ 287,234

Yard Nr: 368 Official Nr: 140251 Signal Letters: GVCG

Tonnages: 5892 grt 2480 nrt 7300 dwt 12370 full load displacement

Dimensions: 426’08” (o.a.) x 54’06” x 28’08½”

Machinery: Triple expansion 6 cyl by the builders. 1102 nhp.

Speed: 16 knots.

Pennant Nrs: X 32 / Y7.178 / X 01

Battle Honour: None recorded.

Fate: Arrived Troon for demolition by West of Scotland Shipbreaking Industry Ltd on 15 December 1947.

 


BRAMBLELEAF (1):


brambleleaf3


Builder: Russell & Co, Port Glasgow.

Launched: 26 October 1916 as RUMOL Completed: 1 May 1917. Cost £ 279,850

Yard Nr: 702 Official Nr: 140287 Signal Letters: GVDN

Tonnages: 5917 grt 2498 nrt 7300 dwt 12370 full load displacement

Dimensions: 425’02” (o.a.) x 54’06” x 28’07½”

Machinery: Triple expansion 6 cyl by D. Rowan & Co, Glasgow.1124 nhp.

Speed: 16 knots

Pennant Nrs: X 50 / Y7.182 / X 08

Battle Honour: None recorded

Fate: While on passage from Alexandria to Tobruk she was torpedoed and damaged by the German U-559 with the loss of 7 of her crew. She was a constructive loss and was towed back to Alexandria where she served as an oil hulk for the remainder of the War. She finally arrived at La Spezia for demolition on 3 April 1953.

 

CHERRYLEAF (1):


Cherryleaf - 1


Builder: Sir Raylton Dixon & Co Ltd, Middlesborough.

Launched: 9 November 1916 as PERSOL Completed: 20 April 1917. Cost £ 266,000

Yard Nr: 608 Official Nr: 140278 Signal Letters: GVGL

Tonnages: 5934 grt 2588 nrt 7300 dwt 12370 full load displacement

Dimensions: 425’00” (o.a.) x 54’06” x 28#07½”

Machinery: Triple expansion 6 cyl by Richardson, Westgarth & Co Ltd, Middlesborough. 1082 nhp.

Speed: 16 knots.

Pennant Nrs: X 48 / Y7.181 / X 17

Battle Honour: None recorded

Fate: Sold commercially 1947 and renamed ALAN CLORE. Arrived Troon for final demolition by West of Scotland Shipbreaking Co Ltd on 30 January 1951 after partial demolition by W.H. Arnott Young & Co Ltd at Dalmuir the previous month.

 

ORANGELEAF (1):


Orangeleaf 1


Builder: Sir Joseph L Thomson & Sons, Sunderland.

Launched: 26 October 1916 as BORNOL. Completed 1 June 1917. Cost £ 265,000

Yard Nr: 523 Official Nr: 140300 Signal Letters: GVTT

Tonnages: 5983 grt 2358 nrt 7300 dwt 12370 full load displacement

Dimensions: 425’00” (o.a.) x54’06” x 28’07½”

Machinery: Triple expansion 6 cyl by George Clark & Sons Ltd, Sunderland. 1086 nhp.

Speed: 16 knots

Pennant Nrs: X 26 / Y7.183 / X 40

Battle Honour: None recorded

Fate: Arrived Briton Ferry for demolition by T.W. Ward Ltd., on 25 January 1948

 

PEARLEAF (1):


Pearleaf-01


Builder: Wm Gray & Co Ltd, West Hartlepool.

Launched: 12 September 1916 as GYPOL. Completed: 20 March 1917. Cost £267,540

Yard Nr: 878 Official Nr: 140269 Signal Letters: GVVR

Tonnages: 5916 grt 2711 nrt 7300 dwt 12370 full load displacement

Dimensions: 425’00” (o.a.) x 54’06” x 28’08½”

Machinery: Triple expansion 6 cyl by Central Marine Engineering Works Ltd, West Hartlepool. 1089 nhp.

Speed: 16 knots.

Battle Honour: Sicily 1943

Fate: Arrived Blyth for demolition by Hughes Bolckow Ltd on 23 December 1947

 

PLUMLEAF (1):


RFA Plumleaf 1

Builder: Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson, Wallsend

Launched: 4 August 1916 as TRINOL. Completed: 11 March 1917. Cost £ 261,901

Yard Nr: 1015     Official Nr: 140263     Signal Letters: GVWI

Tonnages: 5916 grt 2467 nrt 7300 dt 12370 full load displacement

Dimensions: 425’02” (o.a.) x 54’06” x 28’07½”

Machinery: Triple expansion 6 cyl by the builders. 1104 nhp.

Speed: 16 knots

Battle Honour: None recorded

Fate: Was bombed and sank alongside Palatorio Wharf, Valetta, Malta during an air raid and became a constructive total loss on 4 April 1942. The wreck was raised on 28 August 1947 and was towed to Catalina for demolition on 11 October that year.

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