RFA Crenella

RFA Crenella

 

 
 

 

Crenella-01

RFA Crenella

 

Previous name:                             Montcalm, HMS Audacious
Subsequent name:                        Rey Alfonso, Anglo Norse, Polar Chief, Empire Chief

Official Number:                            106869

Class:                                          Dummy Battleship / Storeship / Oiler

Pennant No:                                 X 04 / X 71 / Y7.143

Laid down:
Builder:                                        Palmers Shipbuilding and Iron Company, Jarrow.

Launched:                                    17 May 1897

Into Service:                                 18 November 1916
Out of service:                              1919

Fate:                                           1952 scrapped

 

Items of historic interest involving this ship: -

 

Background Data:   Some official lists, marked as “Lists of RFA’s” show a number of vessels as having spent some time as RFA’s during the First World War. These records are extremely sketchy and some of these vessels were “Yard Craft”, partially or wholly Dockyard manned, partly by RNR or Reserve Fleet personnel. Some of the Depot Ships staffed by skilled civilian Dockyard workers  were for a time White Ensign. The Director of Stores was understood to have been concerned with their manning and operationally they remained under Admiralty control

 

17 May 1897 Launched by Palmers Shipbuilding & Iron Co Ltd, Jarrow as Yard Nr 724 named Montcalm for African Steamship Co (Elder, Dempster & Co, Managers)  Liverpool

August 1897 completed

3 September 1897 maiden voyage from Avonmouth to Montreal. Carried 12 x 2nd Class passengers

14 September 1897 sailed Montreal for Avonmouth arriving 27 September 1897

1 October 1897 sailed Avonmouth for Montreal

27 November 1897 arrived at Avonmouth from Montreal

1898 chartered by Atlantic Transport Line for 13 months

13 November 1898 first voyage for ATL Bristol - New York - London

24 December 1898 first voyage for ATL from London to New York

18 November 1899 sailed London for New York

24 January 1900 last voyage for  ATL having completed 11 round voyages on charter

27 April 1900 arrived Cape Town with Yeomanry remounts

13 June 1900 first voyage New Orleans to Cape Town as a Boer War Transport and completed 6 round voyages

June 1902 first voyage Avonmouth to Montreal and completed 4 round voyages

10 December 1902 last voyage Liverpool to St John N.B

6 April 1903 acquired by Canadian Pacific Railway Co, Liverpool and converted to carry 70 x 2nd Class and 1800 x 3rd Class passengers

21 May 1903 sailed Swansea

13 August 1903 arrived Avonmouth from Montreal

31 August 1903 sailed Bristol to Montreal with 11 passengers. Captain A E Evans was Master

26 May 1904 at 0410hrs while on passage from Montreal to Bristol passed the Old Head of Kinsale

1 February 1905 arrived at Avonmouth Docks from St John, NB

25 August 1905 arrived at Bristol Roads from Montreal

7 July 1906 while on passage from Avonmouth to Montreal passed Cape Ray

17 October 1906 berthed at Liverpool from Montreal

22 August 1907 arrived on the Mersey from Montreal and then sailed for Avonmouth

7 December 1907 sailed Avonmouth for St. Johns, N.B.

19 August 1908 sailed Barry Dock to Montreal with 3 passengers. Captain C W Hodder was Master           

22 September 1908 sailed Avonmouth for Montreal with 2 passengers. Captain C W Hodder was Master

3 November 1908 sailed Avonmouth for Montreal with 1 passenger. Captain C W Hodder was Master

6 December 1908 arrived at Greenock

28 December 1909 having sailed Avonmouth for Montreal signalled Brow Head by wireless

10 March 1910 arrived Avonmouth from St. Johns, N.B.

7 April 1910 sailed St. Johns, N.B. for Avonmouth

18 July 1910 arrived Quebec from AVonmouth

22 April 1911 arrived at Falmouth

9 July 1912 while on passage from Montreal to Avonmouth passed the Fastnet this day

5 October 1912 arrived Avonmouth Dock from Montreal

8 February 1913 arrived St Johns, N.B. from Liverpool

11 March 1913 arrived at Greenock

14 May 1913 sailed Montreal for Liverpool

16 June 1913 while on passage from from Avonmouth to Montreal arrived Quebec

3 July 1913 arrived Avonmouth from Montreal

2 August 1913 sailed Montreal for Avonmouth

7 November 1913 arrived Avonmouth from Montreal

August 1914 requisitioned for service as a B.E.F. Transport

30 September 1914 berthed at Quebec from London

24 October 1914 arrived at Gravesend from Montreal

28 October 1914 taken up by the Admiralty as the dummy battleship HMS Audacious

6 July 1915 DBS Squadron disbanded; became a store ship

29 January 1916 purchased by the Admiralty as a store ship and later converted to be a tanker - renamed RFA CRENELLA. Only owned by the Admiralty for about 20 months

26 October 1916 conversion completed; management transferred to Anglo Saxon Petroleum Co Ltd, London

18 November 1916 renamed CRENELLA

8 January 1917 at sea Chief Steward Charles James Raven discharged dead - found missing presumed drowned

11 October 1917 ownership transferred to the Shipping Controller

26 November 1917 while in ballast enroute from Queenstown to the USA was torpedoed by German submarine U101 (Kapitänleutnant Karl Koopman) when 146 miles west of Queenstown, Ireland at 49.47N, 10.58W but managed to reach port with USS Cushing II (DD55) standing by and giving damage control assistance which kept Crenella from sinking.

1 August 1918 attacked by submarine off SW Ireland but torpedo missed its target

22 September 1918 at 27.06N 79.59W Fireman and Trimmer Richard McKinnon discharged dead - drowned

19 December 1918 passed Key West

29 April 1919 to 30 September 1919 supported the American minesweepers engaged in clearing the 50,000 mines laid over an area of 6,000 square miles in the North Sea between Scotland and Norway in the Northern Barrage in an attempt to prevent the egress of German submarines during WW1 assisted by RFA‘s HICKOROL and PETRONEL

26 November 1919 purchased by Anglo Saxon Petroleum Co Ltd, London and retained same name

19 October 1920 purchased by Velefa Steamship Co Ltd (Runciman (London) Ltd, Managers)  London name unchanged

13 June 1921 70 nmiles north of Key West, Florida

5 July 1921 60 nmiles west of Sand Key

26 August 1921 sailed from Port Arthur, Texas for a British port

20 June 1923 purchased for £24,000 by A/S Larvik Hvalfaugerselsk (Chr. Nielsen & Co A/S,  Managers) Larvik, fitted out as a whaling depot ship and renamed Rey Alfonso

1925 purchased by H.M. Wrangell & Co A/S, Haugesund name unchanged.

1927 purchased by Anglo Norse Co ( Hans Borge, Manager ) Tonsberg and renamed  ANGLO NORSE. Was based at the South Sandwich Islands fitted with 4 x 50 ton derricks for the decking of whales for flensing

 

Anglo_Norse_I

as Anglo Norse

 

August 1929 purchased by Falkland Whaling Co Ltd, Jersey and renamed POLAR CHIEF

September 1939 laid up at Tonsberg, Norway but escaped to the UK before German troops invaded that country.

8 December 1939 departed Norwegian Waters in Convoy HN 5 to the Clyde arriving on 25 December 1939

10 January 1940 sailed the Clyde independently to Liverpool arriving the next day

16 January 1940 sailed Liverpool in convoy OB73 and then independently to Curacao arriving on 5 February 1940

6 February 1940 sailed Curacao independently to South Georgia arriving 2 March 1940

9 March 1940 sailed South Georgia independently to Aruba arriving 31 March 1940

2 April 1940 sailed Aruba independently to Halifax arriving 13 April 1940

14 April 1940 sailed Halifax in convoy HX35 with a cargo of FFO to the Downs arriving 29 April 1940

27 July 1940 sailed Southend in convoy FN234 to Methil arriving 29 July 1940

30 July 1940 sailed Methil in convoy OA192 which dispersed on 3 August 1940 sailed independently into Liverpool the same day

6 August 1940 sailed Liverpool independently to Barry arriving 8 August 1940

15 August 1940 sailed Barry independently to the Clyde

2 October 1940 sailed the Clyde independently to Barry arriving 4 October 1940

8 October 1940 sailed Barry independently to the Clyde arriving 10 October 1940

21 October 1940 sailed the Clyde independently to Barry arriving 24 October 1940

19 November 1940 sailed Barry independently to the Clyde arriving on 28 November 1940

1 December 1940 sailed the Clyde independently to Barry arriving 3 December 1940

13 December 1940 sailed Barry independently to the Clyde arriving 15 December 1940

27 December 1940 sailed the Clyde in convoy OB 265 which dispersed on 30 December 1940 and then independently to Curacao arriving 18 January 1941

11 March 1941 sailed Curacao independently to Halifax arriving 24 March 1941

11 April 1941 sailed Halifax independently to New York arriving 17 April 1941

2 July 1941 acquired by the MoWT under management of Chr. Salvesen & Co, Leith

8 July 1941 sailed New York independently to Halifax arriving 11 July 1941

27 July 1941 sailed Halifax in convoy HX141 to Belfast Lough arriving 10 August 1941

13 August 1941 sailed Belfast Lough in convoy BB61 to Avonmouth arriving 15 August 1941

23 August 1941 sailed Avonmouth independently to Milford Haven arriving the next day

25 August 1941 sailed Milford Haven and joined convoy ON10 which dispersed on the 11 September 1941 and then sailed independently to New York arriving 16 September 1941

16 October 1941 sailed New York independently to Halifax arriving 19 October 1941

22 October 1941 Sailed Halifax in convoy HX 156 arriving Belfast Lough  4 November 1941

9 November 1941 sailed Belfast Lough in convoy BB 98 to Avonmouth arriving 12 November 1941

17 November 1941 renamed Empire Chief

 

RFA Crenella

 as Empire Chief during WW2

9 December 1941 sailed Avonmouth independently to Milford Haven arriving 11 December 1941

12 December 1941 sailed Milford Haven independently to Belfast Lough arriving the next day

14 December 1941 sailed Belfast Lough in convoy ON46 along with RFA DELPHINULA the convoy then dispersed and she sailed independently to Reykjavik arriving 22 December 1941

January 1942 ran aground at Reykjavik, Iceland was refloated and temporarily repaired allowing her to reach the UK for permanent repair

8 July 1942 sailed Reykjavik in tow to the Tyne arriving 15 July 1942

17 February 1942 sailed the Tyne and joined convoy FN946 to Methil arriving the next day

25 March 1943 sailed New York in convoy HX231 arriving at Belfast Lough on 10 April 1943 with a cargo of fuel oil

10 April 1943 sailed Belfast Lough in convoy BB278 to Avonmouth arriving 12 April 1943

15 April 1943 sailed Avonmouth independently to Barry arriving the same day

29 April 1943 directions from the Admiralty - Polar Chief was not to be fitted for oiling at sea due to stability problems - Admiralty War Diary

20 May 1943 sailed Barry independently to Milford Haven arriving 22 May 1943

23 May 1943 sailed Milford Haven and joined the Liverpool to New York convoy ON186 arriving New York 7 June 1943

15 June 1943 sailed New York in convoy HX244 arriving at Liverpool on 30 June 1943 with a cargo of fuel oil

7 August 1943 sailed New York in convoy HX251 arriving at Belfast Lough on 22 August 1943 with a cargo of fuel oil

22 August 1943 sailed Belfast Lough in convoy BB317 to Swansea arriving 25 August 1943

30 August 1943 sailed Swansea independently to Barry arriving the next day

16 October 1943 sailed Barry independently to Milford Haven arriving the same day

17 October 1943 sailed Milford Haven to join the Liverpool to New York convoy ON 207 to New York arriving 3 November 1943

13 November 1943 sailed New York in convoy HX266 arriving at the Clyde on 26 November 1943 with a cargo of fuel oil

9 December 1943 sailed the Clyde to join the Liverpool to New York convoy ON215 but returned to the Clyde on the 14 December 1943

23 December 1943 sailed the Clyde and joined the Liverpool to New York convoy ON 217 arriving New York on 10 January 1944

12 January 1944 sailed New York in convoy NG410 to Guantamano Bay arriving 18 January 1944

18 January 1944 sailed Guantamano in convoy GAT112 to Aruba arriving 21 January 1944

22 January 1944 sailed Aruba in convoy AW142 to Curacao arriving the next day

26 January 1944 sailed Curacao in convoy TAG111 to Guantamano arriving 29 January 1944

29 January 1944 sailed Guantamano  in convoy GN112 to New York arriving 5 February 1944

22 February 1944 sailed New York independently to Aruba arriving 29 February 1944

2 March 1944 sailed Aruba to Curacao arriving the same day

6 March 1944 sailed Curacao in convoy TAG119 to Guantamano arriving 9 March 1944

9 March 1944 sailed Guantamano in convoy GN119 to New York arriving 17 March 1944

6 April 1944 sailed New York in convoy NG427 to Guantamano arriving 14 April 1944

14 April 1944 sailed Guantamano in convoy GAT129 to Aruba arriving 17 April 1944

18 April 1944 sailed Aruba independently to Guantamano arriving 20 April 1944

23 April 1944 sailed Guantamano in convoy GN128 to New York arriving 1 May 1944

6 May 1944 sailed New York in convoy NG433 to Guantamano arriving 12 May 1944

12 May 1944 sailed Guantamano in convoy GAT135 to Aruba arriving 15 May 1944

16 May 1944 sailed Aruba independently to New York arriving 23 May 1944

13 August 1944 sailed New York independently to Houston arriving on 21 August 1944

22 August 1944 sailed Houston independently to Charleston SC arriving on 28 August 1944

30 August 1944 sailed Charleston SC in convoy KN334 to Portland ME arriving 2 September 1944

6 September 1944 sailed Portland ME independently to New York arriving the next day 

8 September 1944 sailed New York in convoy NG458 - was detached from this convoy and sailed independently to Aruba arriving 15 September 1944 

20 September 1944 sailed Guantamano in convoy GN158 to Hampton Roads arriving 26 September 1944

28 September 1944 sailed Hampton Roads independently to New York arriving the next day

3 May 1945 sailed New York in convoy HX354 arriving at Liverpool on 18 May 1945 with a cargo of fuel oil and acids

5 October 1945 sailed Curacao independently to Swansea arriving 25 October 1945

27 October 1945 sailed Swansea independently to Barry arriving the same day

3 August 1946 purchased by South Georgia Co Ltd ( Chr. Salvesen & Co, Managers) Leith and renamed POLAR CHIEF

29 April 1952 arrived for breaking up at Dalmuir by W H Arnott Young & Co 

23 June 1952  the partially-demolished ship arrived Troon for final demolition by West of Scotland Shipbreaking Co Ltd
 
12 January 1953  demolition finally completed 

Notes:

 

1. When Elder Dempster sold their Canadian interests (Beaver Line) to the Canadian Pacific Railway Co for the sum of £1,417,500, a total of 14 ships plus 3 tugs were involved in the deal and these were as follows: LAKE CHAMPLAIN (RUTHENIA), LAKE ERIE (SAXOL), LAKE MANITOBA, LAKE MICHIGAN, MILWAUKEE, MONTCALM (CRENELLA), MONTEAGLE, MONTEREY, MONTEZUMA (ABADOL), MONTORT, MONTREAL, MOUNT ROYAL (RANGOL), MOUNT TEMPLE & MONTROSE and the 3 Liverpool tugs AFRICAN, BEAVER & OTTER

 

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