capehowe2

 

 

True Name                                               HMS Cape Howe

Previous name:                                        Knight Almoner
Subsequent name: 

Official Number:                                       167638                                                                          

Class:                                                       Special Service Freighter - Q ship

Pennant No:                                              X02

Laid down:                                               
Builder:                                                     Lithgows, Port Glasgow
Launched:                                                31 March 1930
Into Service:                                             15 September 1939
Out of service:                                          21 June 1940
Fate:                                                        Sunk

 

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 nine small mainly coal-burning vessels were acquired , six for deep-sea work and three 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

 

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31 March 1930 launched by Lithgows Ltd, Port Glasgow as Yard Nr: 830 named KNIGHT ALMONER for Ottoman Line Ltd ( Pardoe-Thomas & Co Ltd, Managers) Cardiff

23 May 1930 mortgaged; joint mortgagees were James Shearer & Bertie Pardoe-Thomas

July 1930 completed

18 July 1930 sailed Glasgow for Cadiz in ballast

22 August 1930 arrived Montevideo from Cadiz

14 October 1930 sailed St Vincent, Cape Verde Islands

24 October in contact with Niton Radio reporting she was on passage to Dieppe and was 102 nmiles south west

26 October 1930 arrived at Dieppe

9 November 1930 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing west bound

10 November 1930 arrived at Penarth, South Wales

During the 1930's laid up at Newport, South Wales during the depression

26 January 1931 sailed Ibicuy

2 February 1931 passed Rio de Janerio

17 February 1931 arrived Teneriffe from Ibucuy sailing later in the day for Dunkirk

11 March 1933 mortgage transferred to James Shearer Snr and John McCulloch of Lithgows Ltd.

30 January 1934 sold to Lyle Shipping Co Ltd., Glasgow

7 February 1934 renamed Cape Howe by her owner

23 February 1934 sailed Newport for Singapore

29 March 1934 sailed Port Natal for Singapore

22 April 1934 arrived Singapore

1 May 1934 sailed Singapore for Saigon

30 June 1934 sailed Rangoon

9 July 1934 sailed Colombo

27 July 1934 arrived at Suez

21 October 1934 arrived Port Said

3 November 1934 arrived at Karachi from Alexandria

27 December 1934 sailed Maderia for Londonderry

10 June 1935 arrived Singapore

15 June 1935 sailed Kohsichang

12 July 1935 arrived at Lorenço Marques

19 July 1935 arrived Table Bay from Kohsichang

27 December 1935 sailed Maderia

5 January 1936 arrived at Londonderry from Rosario

14 May 1936 sailed Pernambuco

10 June 1936 at Princess Pier, Greenock Fireman Mohammed Said discharged dead - drowned

4 October 1936 arrived Cristobal from Hamburg

1 December 1936 berthed at Liverpool from the River Plate with 1 DBS. Captain J R MacIntyre was Master

23 December 1936 passed Gibraltar east bound

6 March 1937 sailed Batavia to New York with a cargo of rubber

4 June 1936 at Greenock

15 July 1938 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing east bound

September 1939 requisitioned by the Admiralty for conversion into a Special Service Freighter by Portsmouth Dockyard

19 September 1939 commissioned as HMS Cape Howe

February 1940 conversion completed. Cover name RFA PRUNELLA.Complement 90 under command of Commander Eric L. Woodhall DSO MVO Royal Navy.  Armed with 7 x single 4-inch guns, 4 x Lewis  machine guns, 4 x single 21-inch torpedo tubes, 100 x depth charges and was fitted  with Asdic

26 March 1940 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

7 April 1940 sailed Portsmouth on her first cruise

13 April 1940 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

26 April 1940 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

5 June 1940 while disguised as RFA PRUNELLA, reported sighting at 1630 two unidentified warships northwest of Norway in 64-45N, 00-24W making for Iceland on course 265 at 20 knots

21 June 1940 while hunting German submarines to the South of Ireland torpedoed and sunk at 49.54N 8.47W by the German submarine U28 (Kapitanleutnant Gunter Kuhnke) with 57 of the crew being killed. Those lost are remembered with pride on the Naval Memorials at Liverpool, Plymouth and Portsmouth. The body of one who was lost was recovered and he is buried in Pornic War Cemetery, Loire Atlantique, France - Able Seaman Gerald Barber P/SSX 23467

BARBER Gerald

Courtesy and © of The War Graves Photographic Project 

 

capehowe

                                                 HMS Cape Howe a.k.a RFA Prunella sinking

 

27 June 1940 Thirteen survivors were picked up off a raft in position 48.47 N 07.59 W, about 150 miles off Ushant by the destroyer HMS VERSATILE

4 October 1940 Honours awarded as a result of the sinking of HMS Cape Howe: -

Sub-Lieutenant Duncan Cameron Kennedy, R.N.R. mentioned in despatches for "seamanship, bravery and good leadership" taking command of the lifeboats from HMS Cape Howe when she sunk (see below)

Able Seaman G H Rhoades JX.136445

 

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6 January 1948 Mr Charles Percy Smith, Chief Engineer Officer granted permission to wear, without restriction, the award of Chevalier of the Order of Leopold II with Palm and the Croix de Guerre 1940 with Palm made by the King of the Belgians

 

 

Notes:

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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Previous name:                        Olifant
Subsequent name:  

Official Number:                       139169                                                                         

Class:                                      Emergency Wartime Construction LEAF Group Freighting Tanker

Pennant No:                             Y7.152

Laid down:
Builder:                                    Irvines Shipbuilding & Drydock Co Ltd, West Hartlepool
Launched:                                 15 August 1916
Into Service:                              November 1916

Out of service:                           4 February 1917

Fate:                                        Torpedoed and sunk

Items of historic interest involving this ship: -

 

Background Data:   During WW1, eighteen vessels of varying types were acquired second hand and converted or purchased and converted while on the stocks or in a few cases building as tankers. Some were converted after serving with the Dummy Battleship Squadron by the insertion of cylindrical tanks in their holds. All were originally intended to operate as RFA’s, however owing to reasons of international law and the operation of the US Neutrality Act, these oilers became Mercantile Fleet Auxiliaries, being renamed with the LEAF nomenclature and placed under civilian management, although operationally they remained under Admiralty control

 

October 1915 purchased by the Admiralty on the stocks

15 August 1916 launched by Irvines Shipbuilding & Drydock Co Ltd, West Hartlepool as Yard Nr: 557 named RFA OLIFANT

25 November 1916 completed and placed under management of Lane & MacAndrew Ltd, London as an oiler transport and renamed PALMLEAF. Base port Devonport. Ship fitted with 4.7 inch gun and carried two DEMS (RNR) gunners

2 February 1917 sailed Devonport for Port Arthur, Texas in ballast

4 February, 1917 4.50pm was torpedoed and sunk in the North Atlantic 240 miles W of the Fastnet Rock at 50.00N 15.00W by the German submarine U54 (Kapitanleutnant Freiherr Volkhard von Bothmer).

 Bothmer

Kapitanleutnant Freiherr Volkhard von Bothmer

The  torpedo struck the port side by No 7 tank. A further explosion occured after 6pm. There were no fatalities but one of the crew was injured (fractured rib) by accident. Her Master Captain P Daniel and Engineer Sub Lieutenant Charles Robert Whelpdale (the Chief Engineer Officer) were taken prisoner.

5 February 1917 the crew, in two life boats , were rescued by SS Argyll and landed at Queenstown

15 March 1917 registry closed - vessel sunk.

12 May 1917 an enquiry was held at the HM Navigation School, Portsmouth into the circumstances attending the sinking of the ship. 

 

 

 
 
RFA Palmol

Palmol

 

Previous name:
Subsequent name:                   Invercorrie      

Official Number:                       142412                                                   

Class:                                      SECOND 1000 t CREOSOL CLASS Harbour Oiler

Pennant No:                             X  47

Laid down:
Builder:                                      William Gray & Co., Hartlepool (South Yard)
Launched:                                14 November 1917
Into Service:                             May 1918
Out of service:                          Sold out of Service
Fate:                                       1920 Sold to commercial interests

 

Items of historic interest involving this ship: -

 

Background Data:  On the outbreak of WW1, the Admiralty embarked on a further programme of tanker construction for the newly-formed RFA Service. Eventually there were eighteen ships in this Class, twelve of which were named after trees with the OL suffix, while the remainder had names connected with the oil industry also with the OL suffix. Four of the Class were diesel engined and were sold after the Armistice but the rest, being triple expansion steamers, had long and successful lives

 

14 November 1917 launched by Wm. Gray & Co Ltd, West Hartlepool as Yard Nr: 890 named PALMOL

28 December 1917 Engineer Lieutenant Alexander Ballantyne RNR appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

1 March 1918 Lieutenant Henry J B Popplewell RNR appointed in command. Previous he had served on RFA VITOL as Chief Officer. Left the ship on 20 November 1919 to take command of RFA SERBOL

 

Henry_Popplewell

Lieutenant Henry J B Popplewell RNR

 

28 May 1918 at West Hartlepool sailed on builders trials and returned to Fish Quay, Hartlepool

30 May 1918 sailed West Hartlepool to Killingholme to load cargo arriving the next day

1 June 1918 loaded 1,000 tons of FFO as cargo

8 June 1918 sailed and broke down with a defective engine - towed to Immingham

10 June 1918 sailed Immingham originally to Belfast

12 June 1918 while on passage near the Tongue Light collied with the Trawler Minesweeper HMS PLYM. The minesweeper's port quarter was damaged. PALMOL's hull was damaged and was making water in the fore peak tank.

13 June 1918 port lifeboat discovered on fire - one oar charred, the sail and boom was burnt through. The boat was damaged inside by fire being caused by burning fuel discharging from the ships funnel.

19 June 1918 towed into Milford Haven with engine defects

20 June 1918 starboard life boat put into the water and found to be leaking badly

27 June 1918 both life boats returned after repairs

29 June 1918 sailed Milford Haven to Queenstown arriving on 30 June 1918

3 July 1918 sailed Queenstown under escort to Bere Haven - moored alongside USS Bushnell (AS2) to replenish

USS BUSHNELL

USS Bushnell (AS2)

5 July 1918 sailed Bere Haven to Dublin arriving on 6 July 1918 to discharge

7 July 1918 Pumpman James McCarthy received head injuries as a result of a drunken brawl onboard - conveyed to a Dublin Hospital for treatment. Donkeyman James G Youds returned on board drunk, he brought liquor onboard against regulations, he was abusive and insulting to Officers and Engineers having interferred with the safe working of the main engine. He threatened to sink the ship before her arrival at the next port. He refused to leave the engine room upon the orders of the Chief Engineer Officer. He was arrested onboard by officers of the Dublin Metropolitan Police and was detained pending a Naval Escort arriving from Kingstown

 

James_Garner_YOUDS

Donkeyman James G Youds

 

8 July 1918 Donkeyman James G Youds appeared before a Court Martial at Kingstown and was convicted. He was sentenced to 28 days imprisonment. He had signed on the ship on 6 May 1918. Sailed Dublin to Milford Haven. The engine was found to be overheating and was unable to proceed. The ship berthed at Cardiff Docks for engine repairs. The ship's dazzel painting was over painted in Admiralty grey.

13 July 1918 sailed Cardiff Docks but engine defects stopped the sailing and the ship anchored in Barry Roads.

16 July 1918 engine spare parts arrived and were fitted

17 July 1918 sailed Barry Roads to Falmouth under escort arriving the next day

18 July 1918 at Falmouth was found to have engine defects and was in need of cylinder oil which arrived on 20 July 1918

21 July 1918 sailed Falmouth to Portland arrived on 22 July 1918

22 July 1918 sailed Portland under escort to Port Victoria, Sheerness arriving 23 July 1918 to load cargo

26 July 1918 moved by tug 'Robust' to No 10 buoy, Sheerness for engine repairs

28 July 1918 sailed Sheerness to Dover arriving the same day

29 July 1918 sailed Dover to Dunkirk Roads - anchored

30 July 1918 to 4 August 1918 anchored at Dunkirk Roads refuelling various Royal Naval Ships alongside

5 August 1918 sailed Dunkirk Roads to Dover to reload cargo and arrived the same day

6 August 1918 sailed Dover to Dunkirk Roads, moored alongside HMS VELOX to refuel her and then moved to an anchorage

 Velox D34-04

HMS VELOX

7 August 1918 to 11 August 1918 anchored at Dunkirk Roads refuelling various Royal Naval Ships alongside

12 August 1918 sailed Dunkirk Roads to Dover (NE Pier) to load cargo

13 August 1918 sailed Dover to Dunkirk Roads - anchored

14 August 1918 to 18 August 1918 anchored at Dunkirk Roads refuelling various Royal Naval Ships alongside

18 August 1918 sailed Dunkirk Roads to Dover to moor alongside RFA Elderol and load cargo

19 August 1918 sailed Dover to Dunkirk Roads - anchored

20 August 1818 to 23 August 1918 anchored at Dunkirk Roads refuelling various Royal Naval Ships alongside

24 August 1918 at Dover refuelling various Royal Naval Ships alongside

25 August 1918 at Dover alongside RFA PLUMLEAF (1) loading cargo

26 August 1918 to 28 August 1918 at Dover alongside the oiler ss British General loading cargo and refuelling Royal Naval Ships alongside

 

british general

ss British General

 

30 August 1918 sailed Dover to Dunkirk Roads - anchored

31 August 1918 to 5 September 1918 anchored at Dunkirk Roads refuelling various Royal Naval Ships alongside

5 September 1918 sailed Dunkirk Roads to Dover to load cargo

6 September 1918 sailed Dover to Dunkirk Roads to 14 September 1918 refuelling various Royal Naval Ships alongside

14 September 1918 sailed Dunkirk Roads to Calais Roads

15 September 1918 sailed Calais Roads to Sheerness to load cargo

16 September 1918 sailed Sheerness to Dover 

17 September 1918 at Dover discharging cargo into ss British General then sailed to Sheeness to load cargo

18 September 1918 sailed Sheerness to Dover discharging cargo into ss British General

20 September 1918 sailed Dover to Portsmouth

22 September 1918 to 24 September 1918 at Portsmouth loading cargo from HMT Vologda and refuelled Royal Naval Ships alongside together with RFA BATTERSOL

25 September 1918 sailed Portsmouth to Plymouth arriving the next day

26 September 1918 at Plymouth alongside RFA TURMOIL (1) when she suffered a fire in the engine room. Extinguished.

27 September 1918 at Plymouth RFA BLACKOL alongside discharging into Palmol. RFA TURMOIL (1) also moored alongside discharging part of her cargo into Palmol

28 September 1918 at Plymouth refuelling various Royal Naval Ships alongside

29 September 1918 at Plymouth RFA BLACKOL alongside discharging her cargo into Palmol

30 September 1918 at Plymouth RFA TURMOIL (1) alongside discharging her cargo into Palmol and then she refuelled Royal Naval Ships alongside

1 October 1918 at Plymouth RFA BLACKOL alongside discharging her cargo into Palmol

4 October 1918 and 5 October 1918 at Plymouth refuelling various Royal Naval Ships alongside

6 October 1918 at Plymouth RFA BLACKOL alongside discharging her cargo into Palmol

7 October 1918 at Plymouth refuelling various Royal Naval Ships alongside

8 October 1918 at Plymouth RFA BLACKOL alongside discharging her cargo - 124 tons FFO - into Palmol. Also refuelled one Royal Naval Ship alongside - 195 tons FFO

9 October 1918 at Plymouth RFA BLACKOL alongside discharging her cargo - 264 tons FFO

11 October 1918 at Plymouth HMS ORIOLE alongside discharging her fuel into Palmol

12 October 1918 at Plymouth RFA BLACKOL alongside discharging her cargo into Palmol and then she refuelled Royal Naval Ships alongside

13 October 1918 at Plymouth RFA BLACKOL alongside discharging her cargo into Palmol

14 October 1918 to 30 November 1918 at Plymouth RFA BLACKOL alongside discharging her cargo into Palmol and then she refuelled Royal Naval Ships and a number of US ships alongside

1 December 1918 at Devonport on the oil quay at Turnchapel

5 December 1918 at Devonport moved from the oil quay at Turnchapel to alongside ss Masconomo. Was in collision with the port anchor of ss Masconomo suffering damage to the hull. After fuelling anchored off.

6 December 1918 at Devonport moved to Plymouth Sound alonside USS George G Henry to refuel her

USS George G. Henry

USS George G Henry

9 December 1918 at Devonport moored to a buoy with HMS's Minion, Osiris, Obdurate and Obedient alongside

10 December 1918 at Devonport RFA BLACKOL moored alongside and pumped over 152 tons of FFO

11 December 1918 at Devonport moved with a tug to alongside RFA RED DRAGON in No 3 Dock. Commenced to pump her cargo into Red Dragon. 

12 December 1918 continued to pump over her cargo to RFA RED DRAGON and then moved to RFA PEARLEAF (1) to load. Having loaded sailed to Portland arriving on 13 December 1918 to discharge

14 December 1918 sailed Portland to Devonport arriving the next day

15 December 1918 alongside the oil quay at Turnchapel to load

17 December 1918 RFA PETRONEL alongside to be refuelled with 40 tons of FFO

26 December 1918 at the oil quay at Turnchapel - moved to Plymouth Sound alongside USS Steed and USS Munsio to refuel them both. Afterwards moved alongside RFA BLACKOL at Devonport for the night

27 December 1918 alongside RFA BLACKOL loading cargo from her

6 January 1919 at Devonport loaded 30 tons of fresh water

8 January 1919 sailed Devonport for Dover arriving alongside the Eastern Arm of Dover Docks on 11 January 1919

11 January 1919 sailed Dover to the River Humber arriving the next day and anchored off 

14 January 1919 sailed from anchorage in the River Humber to Killingholme arriving the same day

15 January 1919 sailed Killingholme to King George's Dock, Hull arriving the same day

16 January 1919 sailed Hull to the River Humber anchorage arriving the same day

20 January 1919 sailed River Humber anchorage to Immimgham arriving the same day

21 January 1919 sailed Immingham to Grimsby arriving 23 January 1919

1 February 1919 at Grimsby for repairs to the windlass at Alexandra Dock

3 February 1919 Engineer Lieutenant Jonathan E Green RNR appointed Chief Engineer Officer

18 February 1919 sailed Grimsby to Immingham arriving the same day - made fast the the Eastern Jetty.

19 February 1919 at Salt End Jetty, Hull loading cargo

21 February 1919 sailed Hull for Killingholme arriving the same day - to discharge

28 February 1919 sailed Killingholme to Harwich. Anchored off the Cromer Light overnight. 

5 September 1919 on 16 buoy at Devonport with RFA Blackol alongside her - transferred 639 tons of FFO as cargo

9 September 1919 on 9 buoy at Devonport with C81 alongside her - transferred 368 tons of FFO as cargo

10 September 1919 on No 10 buoy at Devonport with RFA Petronel berthed alongside her 

11 September1919 refuelled RFA Petronel

12 September 1919 at Devonport HMS's WOLSEY, WINCHESTER, WHITLEY and SPLENDID alongside to be refuelled - 263 tons of FFO issued

16 September 1919 at Devonport C81 alongside and transferred 199 tons of FF as cargo. HMS Gabriel alongside to be refuelled and received 185 tons FFO

18 September 1919 at Devonport HMS P22 alongside for fuel - 28 tons of FFO supplied

19 September 1919 at Devonport HMS's MARTIAL and SUMAREZ alongside for fuel. 62 tons and 280 tons supplied respectively

20 September 1919 at Devonport RFA BLACKOL alongside with 600 tons of FFO as cargo

10 November 1919 at Devonport RFA ELDEROL alongside to take off all cargo - 159 tons of FFO - all tanks empty

18 November 1919 destored ammunition and guns

20 November 1919 crew paid off and discharged to HMS EAGLET and Officers to the Ministry of Shipping. The Master, 2nd Engineer, 2 seamen, 2 greasers and 1 cook remained as a maintenance party

19 January 1920 berthed in No: 11 Dock at Devonport

29 January 1920 sold to British Mexican Petroleum Co Ltd (Andrew Weir & Company., Managers) and renamed Invercorrie 

1920 owners became Andrew Weir & Co, London - name unchanged

1923 re-engined with  2 x T.3 cyl  09” 15” & 25” - 18” steam engines by McKee & Baxter, Glasgow. 82 nhp

1923 transferred back to British Mexican Petroleum Co Ltd (Andrew Weir & Co.,Managers) London name unchanged

13 June 1923 from Swansea berthed at Avonmouth for bunkers

30 October 1924 sailed Liverpool for Aruba

1925 transferred to Lago Shipping Company (Same managers) London name unchanged

1931 sold to Lago Petroleum Corp., Maracaibo, Venezuela name unchanged

2nd quarter 1938 dismantled locally and the hulk was scuttled near Maracaibo

Additional information

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