RFA Appleleaf


Previous name:                       George Lyras
Subsequent name:                  Damon

Official Number:                      186296                                    

Class:                                     SECOND LEAF CLASS Support Tanker

Pennant No:                           A83

Laid down:
Builder:                                   Batram & Sons, Sunderland
Launched:                               22 April 1955
Into Service:                           17 April 1959
Out of service:                       July 1970
Fate:                                       Returned to owners


Items of historic interest involving this ship:


Background Data:   In June 1956 the London Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ Conference discussed Britain’s future naval strategy and the vulnerability of static bases in the face of world-wide change. Consideration was given to the provision of Fleet Trains to supply warships at sea and the Admiralty announced plans to build up a force of such ships. So began a period of major Fleet modernisation with the bare-boat chartering of 8 motor tankers for freighting duties that reintroduced the LEAF names to the Fleet. These 8 vessels were all broadly similar and were bare-boat chartered as replacements for the DALEand WAVEClasses. Although primarily intended for freighting duties, most of them were also capable of replenishment at sea.

22 April 1955 launched by Bartram & Sons Ltd, South Dock, Sunderland  as Yard Nr 346 named  GEORGE LYRASfor Marine Enterprises Ltd (Lyras Bros Ltd, Managers) London

September 1955 was laid up at Kiel

13 April 1959 Mr P Ryan RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

17 April 1959 bare-boat chartered by the Admiralty for 11 years and renamed APPLELEAF (2)

5 May 1959 sailed Devonport on her first voyage to Trinidad

1 October 1959 sailed Malta to Trinidad

4 November 1959 Commodore Thomas Elder CBE DSC RFA appointed as Master

19 May 1960 Mr I M McFarlane RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

23 May 1960 Captain D A C Butler RFA appointed as Master

11 June 1960 sailed Malta to Abadan

9 February 1961 Captain James H Chant RFA appointed as Master

March 1961 officially opened the new Henderson Graving Dock at Immingham

16 June 1961 Mr J Edge RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

8 December 1961 Captain Leslie G Rowling DSC RFA appointed as Master

1 May 1962 arrived at Malta from Port Said

10 July 1962 Mr A King RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

28 November 1962 sailed Malta to Abadan

26 April 1963 sailed Old Kilpatrick for Aden but suffered engine trouble on passage

3 May 1963 arrived Gibraltar for repairs to be effected

26 August 1963 Mr Thomas L Morton RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

3 December 1963 Captain A H Tarr RFA appointed as Master

29 February 1964 at 49.40N 5.47W Sailor Mau Yuen Lam discharged dead having died apparently from natural causes. He was buried at sea

2 March 1964 Mr J S Aitken RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

22 July 1964 took part in a training film with HMS Loch Fada in Persian Gulf on light jackstay transfer

7 May 1965 arrived Auckland, New Zealand

28 July 1965 Captain Robert  H Venning RFA appointed as Master

30 September 1965 Mr J S Aitken RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

29 May 1966 Mr E Smeaton RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

19 September 1966 Captain Alf Waters RFA appointed as Master

17 April 1967 Mr J A Ferguson RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

23 May 1967 Captain G E B Harcombe RFA appointed as Master

11 October 1967  to 25 January 1968 was part of Task Force 318 - the Aden Task Force formed to cover the final British military withdrawal from the area codenamed Operation Magister  - along with 9 other RFA’s

6 May 1968 Mr R E Davies RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

15 June 1968 Captain Charles W P Sumner RFA appointed as Master

September 1969 after a breakdown in the North Atlantic was towed back to Devonport by RFA GREEN ROVER for extended repairs to be carried out

January 1970 returned to owners and renamed Damon and owned by Arpa Sg Corp SA being registered at Pireaus, Greece

1974 sold to Tri Amindo (S) Pte Ltd and registered at Singapore retaining the same name - official number changed in that registry to 3560

21 February 1974 was disabled and flooding In the Atlantic about 170 miles east of Norfolk, Virginia, but there was no immediate danger to the ship's 37 crew. The US Coast Guard dropped a pump to assist the crew.

16 November 1974 in The Straits Times, Singapore notice is given to change the ships name to RALUSA - this change of name did not take place

1978 sold to La Naviera Linea Argentina de Nav Maritima y Fluvial Sac and registered at Buenos Aires retaining the same name

1 March 1979 suffered extensive damage as the result of an engine room fire while lying at San Pedro and was sold for scrap to local Argentine breakers

6 August 1980 broken up at San Pedro, Argentina




Was one of 17 tankers employed in the Mozchan on Beira Patrol duties

Additional information

Copyright © 2008 – 2018 Christopher J White

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