African_Prince-06

HMS Botlea before being commissioned and under her former name of African Prince

 

 

True name:                                         HMS Botlea

Previous name:                                   Glennevis  African Prince  Pentridge Hill

Subsequent name: 

Official Number:                                   137842                                                                          

Class:                                                 Special Service Freighter - Q ship

Pennant No:                                        X15 - F113

Laid down:                             
Builder:                                               Ayrshire Dockyard Company, Irvine, Scotland
Launched:                                           1917
Into Service:                                        1939      
Out of service:                                     March 1941
Fate:                                                     Scuttled 30 December 1945

 

Items of historic interest involving this ship: -

 

 

Background Data:  In 1939 Winston Churchill gave authority for a number of merchantmen to be requisitioned for service as Q-ships, although for security purposes they were referred to as Special Service Freighters. A fleet of 9 small mainly coal-burning vessels were acquired , 6 for deep-sea work and 3 for coastal work. All were commissioned as HM ships under their original names but were given RFA cover names and on entering harbour and while in harbour they flew the Blue Ensign, behaved as RFA’s and adopted the RFA commercial practices. None of them was really suitable for their intended roles and met with a complete lack of success. Their Q-ship service officially ended on 2 March 1941

 

1917 launched by Ayrshire Dockyard Co Ltd, Irvine as Yard Nr: 445 named GLENNEVIS for African Steam Ship Co Ltd (J. Gardiner & Co, Managers) Glasgow . 

May 1917 completed for the Rio Cape Line (Furness, Withy & Co, Managers) London

15 February 1920 sailed Buenos Aires for Liverpool

23 April 1920 sailed London for Rosario

19 May 1920 arrived at Monte Video from London

31 August 1920 sailed St Vincent, Cape Verde Islands

3 September 1920 sailed Porto Alejandro for Liverpool

11 September 1920 arrived at Liverpool

22 September 1920 sailed Liverpool for New York

28 October 1920 sailed New York to Buenos Ayres

1 March 1921 berthed at Liverpool from Buenos Ayres with three passengers. Captain W M Higgins was Master

19 March 1921 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing east

1922 renamed AFRICAN PRINCE by her owners

4 June 1922 arrived at New York from Hull

13 July 1922 at Dundee loading cargo for New York

29 September 1922 berthed at Dundee

15 October 1922 berthed at New York having sailed from Dundee

7 March 1923 arrived at New York

7 August 1923 arrived at Philadelphia from the River Plate

30 April 1924 at the Government Hospital, Durban Fireman & Trimmer Antonio Pais discharged dead with malaria

21 September 1924 arrived at Victoria from Rio de Janerio

11 July 1925 sailed Santos for New Orleans

5 November 1925 sailed Bahia for New Orleans

13 January 1926 arrived Rio de Janerio from New York

21 June 1926 sailed St Vincent, Cape Verde Islands for London

17 September 1926 arrived Santos

3 January 1927 sailed Newport News

22 May 1927 at Sanatorio Rio, Rio de Janerio Fireman & Trimmer Jospeh Lima discharged dead from a fractured pevis due to a fall

5 November 1927 at Rio de Janerio Sailor Paul Luszeck discharged dead having been killed by a locomotive

8 November 1927 berthed Santos from Rio de Janerio

16 September 1928 sailed River Mersey for Tunis

1930 laid up Rothesay Bay during the Depression

18 June 1930 sailed West Hartlepool for Antwerp

12 May 1932 at Rosella Hospital, Geralton, Western Australia Chief Engineer Officer William W Sinclair discharged dead suffering from acute pyclities

30 June 1932 berthed at Barry Docks from St. Vincent, Cape Verde Islands with 1 passenger and 1 DBS. Captain William R Harries was Master

W R Harries NON RFA

Captain William R Harries

14 November 1935 arrived at Greenock from Rothesay Bay

24 January 1936 sailed Cape Town for Port Elizabeth

28 January 1936 sailed East London for Durban

31 January 1936 sailed Durban for Lorenzo Marques

1 February 1936 arrived at Lorenzo Marques from Durban

5 February 1936 sailed Lorenzo Marques for Madagascar

13 February 1936 sailed Majunga for Diego Suarez

19 February 1936 sailed Tamatave for Reunion

26 March 1936 sailed Rangoon

18 April 1936 sailed Port Said

6 May 1936 sailed from the Keil Canal to Gdynia

11 May 1936 arrived at Gdynia from Rangoon

20 May 1936 sailed Gdynia for the Tyne

1936 purchased by Dorset Steamship Co Ltd, London and renamed PENTRIDGE HILL

15 September 1937 sailed the River Tyne to Hull in ballast

16 September 1937 berthed at Middle Dock, Hull

28 March 1938 arrived at Piraeus

8 May 1938 sailed Istanbul

4 August 1938 at Marseilles 2nd Mate Francis A Evans discharged dead with blood poisoning

 

 2nd mate evans

2nd Mate Francis A Evans

 

14 February 1939 arrived at Buenos Ayres

1939 acquired by the Board of Trade (later MoS and MoWT) and renamed BOTLEA under management of Sir William Reardon Smith & Sons Ltd, Cardiff

14 September 1939 Lieutenant Commander Thomas B Bruton Royal Naval appointed in command.

16 September 1939 commissioned as HMS BOTLEA

14 December 1939 conversion completed. Cover name RFA LAMBRIDGE. Complement 84 under the  command of Commander Thomas B. Brunton Royal Navy. Armed with 7 x single 4-inch guns, 4 x Lewis machine guns, 4 x single 21-inch torpedo tubes and 100 depth charges

22 December 1939 sailed Chatham for Sheerness then to the Solent area for work-up

3 January 1940 sailed from the Solent area on her first cruise and operated in the North Atlantic for the remainder of that year

8 January 1940 stopped off Dakar by HMS NEPTUNE while in the Lambridge disguise - she was not detected as a 'Q' ship

 

HMS Neptune

HMS NEPTUNE

 

19 February 1940 Able Seaman John Page C/J 22317 discharged dead. Drowned. Remembered with pride on the Chatham Naval Memorial

March 1940 at Gibraltar

April 1940 at Bermuda

28 August 1940 sailed Bermuda in convoy HX69 to Methil arriving 13 September 1940 - on convoy papers listed as RFA Lambridge thus maintaing her cover as a Q ship

27 January 1941 berthed at Simonstown Dockyard, South Africa for boiler cleaning a repairs to minor defects

6 February 1941 sailed from Simonstown Dockyard, South Africa

5 March 1941 at Colombo she hoisted the White Ensign for service as an Armed Merchant Cruiser with Pennant Number F 113

20 May 1941 arrived at Bombay escorting HMS CAPETOWN which was under tow of the tug TAIKOO for repairs

22 June 1941 sailed Aden under the command of Commander T I Scott-Bell DSC Royal Navy (Retd)

31 July 1941 berthed at Simonstown Dockyard, South Africa from Aden to be de stored and de ammunitioned in order to revert service as a merchant cargo ship

12 August 1941 sailed from Simonstown Dockyard, South Africa

1 October 1941 transferred to MoWT control

16 January 1942 sailed Cape Town independently to Lourenco Marques arriving 23 January 1942

7 February 1942 sailed Lourenco Marques independently to Cape Town arriving 13 February 1942

29 August 1942 sailed from Liverpool to New York arriving on the 18 September 1942

24 December 1942 sailed from Liverpool in convoy ON(S)156 to New York arrived 17 January 1943

22 April 1943 arrived at Cape Henry

4 June 1943 Bosun Robert Fraser awarded the British Empire Medal (Civil Division) in the Birthday Honours List 1943 - details published in the London Gazette of this day

8 August 1943 sailed Liverpool to Freetown in convoy OS53 arrived on 27 August 1943

15 June 1944 sailed Cape Town to Durban in convoy CD43 arrived on the 19 June 1944

10 August 1944 sailed Durban independently to Mombassa arriving on 21 August 1944

29 August 1944 sailed Mombassa independently to Durban arriving on 9 September 1944

22 September 1944 sailed Durban independently to Lourenco Marques arriving 24 September 1944

4 October 1944 sailed Lourenco Marques independently to Mombasa arriving 13 October 1944

23 May 1945 sailed Bone independently to Gibraltar arriving 26 May 1945

29 May 1945 sailed Gibraltar independently to Middlesborough arriving 7 June 1945

17 June 1945 sailed Middlesborough to the Tyne arriving the same day

30 December 1945 considered to have no further commercial use so was scuttled in position 55.30 N 11..00 W loaded with a cargo of poison gas shells as part of Phase 1 of Operation Sandcastle

 

Notes:

 

  1. RFA Lambridge was a cover name for the 'Q' Ship HMS Botlea. The name Lambridge was used when the ship was in port so her true identity was not disclosed. She never sailed as an RFA.

 

 

 

L3027

 

 

Previous name:                                       L 3027

Subsequent name:                                  HMS LOFOTEN

Official Number:                                                                                                             

Class:                                                      LST (3) / Accommodation Ship / Helicopter Support Ship /Accommodation Ship

Pennant No:                                             L 3027 / K 07

Laid down:                                               30 May 1944
Builder:                                                     Blyth Drydock & Shipbuilding Co., Cowpen Quay, Blyth        
Launched:                                                26 January 1945   
Into Service:                                             24 October 1945      
Out of service:                                         1991                     
Fate:                                                          Broken up October 1993 

                 

 

 

T15f

 

The 'Q' Ship HMS Beauly in her disguise as RFA Looe
© William Tracy
(Photograph from the collection of the late Sub.Lt.(E) Leslie W W Tracy RNVR, who served as 3rd Engineer aboard HMS Beauly/RFA Looe 10th May to 24 August, & 10 October to 21 November, 1940)

 



Official Number:                     147919                                                                           

Class:                                      Special Service Freighter - Q ship

Pennant No:                            X63

Laid down:                             
Builder:                                   Ailsa Ship Building Company, Troon
Launched:                               2 May 1924
Into Service:                          
Out of service:                         2 March 1941
Fate:                                         Broken Up

 

Items of historic interest involving this ship: -

 

Background Data:  In 1939 Winston Churchill gave authority for a number of merchantmen to be requisitioned for service as Q-ships, although for security purposes they were referred to as Special Service Freighters. A fleet of 9 small mainly coal-burning vessels were acquired , 6 for deep-sea work and 3 for coastal work. All were commissioned as HM ships under their original names but were given RFA cover names and on entering harbour and while in harbour they wore the Blue Ensign, behaved as RFA’s and adopted the RFA commercial practices. None of them was really suitable for their intended roles and met with a complete lack of success. Their Q-ship service officially ended on 2 March 1941

 

 

2 May 1924 launched by Ailsa Shipbuilding Co Ltd, Troon as Yard Nr 386 named BEAULY for Wm Sloan & Co, Glasgow

August 1924 completed

19 September 1924 arrived at Avonmouth from Glasgow with a general cargo

30 November 1924 berthed at City Docks, Bristol from Glasgow

17 December 1924 arrived Avonmouth Docks from Glasgow via Belfast

20 December 1924 sailed Avonmouth Docks for Glagow

4 February 1925 sailed Bristol to Glasgow

26 June 1928 a 10 year old boy - Ivor Hancock - stowed away on board at Bristol. Discovered some 20 hours later when the ship was off Belfast

 

 Stowaway - 4-7-1928 Press Cutting west daily news

Press cutting from the Western Daily News of 4 July 1928

 

7 June 1929 arrived at Bristol City Docks from Glasgow

3 July 1929 arrived at Bristol City Docks from Glasgow

1 August 1929 berthed at Bristol City Docks from Glasgow discharging cargo

6 December 1929 at Bristol City Dock loading for Belfast and Glasgow

31 December 1929 sailed Bristol City Docks for Glasgow on the evening tide

9 January 1930 berthed at Bristol City Docks from Glasgow discharging cargo

20 January 1930 berthed at Bristol City Docks from Glasgow discharging cargo

1932 passenger accommodation removed

19 October 1933 while anchored at Barry Roads bound for Bristol reported by radio that she had been damaged by a French steamer Normand from Rouen. She reported the extent of her damage amounted to a twisted stem and loss of one anchor.

5 September 1939 requisitioned for Government service and it was originally intended to use her as an Army Stores Carrier

6 October 1939 transferred to the Admiralty for conversion into a Special Service Freighter by Chatham Dockyard

20 October 1939 commissioned as HMS BEAULY

6 November 1939 T/Lieutenant Commander Arthur J Anderson RNR appointed in command - appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (Military Division) on 11 December 1945

February 1940 conversion completed. Cover name RFA LOOE. Complement 69 under command of Commander Francis H. Ashton Royal Navy Armed with 4 x single 4-inch guns, 1 x 12 pdr gun, 2 x Lewis machine guns, 2 x single 21-inch torpedo tubes, 36 x depth charges and was fitted with Asdic

28 March 1940 arrived Spithead from Chatham and anchored off Beaulieu for work-up

7 April 1940 sailed Spithead on completion of work-up and commenced her first cruise via Plymouth and Holyhead then operated around the Home Coast

27 April 1940 towed RFA SCOTTISH AMERICAN to Loch Eribol after she had been torpedoed and damaged west of the Pentland Firth fully laden with oil

22 August 1940 Commander T I S Bell Royal Navy appointed as Commanding Officer

20 June 1941 as her presence in the SW Approaches did not attract any attacks from U-boats, she was withdrawn from her Special Service role and was transferred to MoWT control for resumption of commercial service

11 July 1941 sailed from Belfast Lough to Bristol in convoy BB46 arriving on 13 July 1941

26 July 1941 sailed from Belfast Lough to Bristol in convoy BB53 arriving on 28 July 1941

3 August 1941 sailed from Milford Haven to Holyhead in convoy MH 9

16 August 1941 sailed from Belfast Lough to Bristol in convoy BB62 arriving on 18 August 1941. During this convoy was attacked by German Aircraft and damaged (Source - Weekly Resume (No 51 page 2)

31 August 1941 sailed from Belfast Lough to Cardiff in convoy BB70 

2 September 1941 at Clyde Place Quay, Glasgow Able Seaman Samuel Nicholson discharged dead - drowned

21 September 1941 sailed from Belfast Lough to Bristol in convoy BB78 arriving on 23 September 1941

28 April 1942 Able Seaman Harry H G Farley Royal Navy, D/JX194893 the award of the Distinguished Service Medal for services during an air attack on 18 December 1941. Details published in the London Gazette of this day

12 May 1942 Captain John McGugan the award of a Commendation for services during an air attack on 18 December 1941 - details published in the London Gazette of this day

9 November 1943 Captain John McGugan the appointment to Membership of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) and Chief Officer Charles A MacKenzie the award of a Commendation for services during an air attack and for the destruction of an enemy aircraft - details published in the London Gazette of this day

9 January 1946 Chief Engineer Officer George Douglas the appointment to Membership of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the New Years Honours List 1946 - details published in the London Gazette of this day

1946 was returned to her owners as BEAULY

25 January 1946 arrived at Avonmouth from Belfast

22 February 1946 arrived at Avonmouth

10 April 1946 at Avonmouth

25 September 1946 arrived at Avonmouth

26 December 1946 at Avonmouth

8 August 1947 berthed at Bristol City docks from Belfast

21 August 1947 arrived at Avonmouth from Belfast

1955 owners restyled as Wm Sloan & Co Ltd, Glasgow

1956 converted from coal to oil burning.

June 1958 owners taken over by Coast Lines Ltd, Liverpool.

11 May 1959 arrived Willebroek, Belgium for breaking up

 

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.