RFA Ashleaf - courtesy of Leith Birnie


Previous name:                        Olga
Subsequent name:                                                                          

Official Number                        139185

Class:                                     Emergency Wartime Construction - LEAF Group Freighting Tanker

Pennant No:                           Y 7.156

Laid down:                             1916
Builder:                                   Ropner, Stockton on Tees.

Launched:                              12 September 1916

Into Service:                            6 January 1917
Out of service:                        29 May 1917
Fate:                                       Sunk


Items of historic interest involving this ship: -


Background Data:  During WW1, 18 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


12 September 1916 launched by Ropner & Sons Ltd, Stockton-on-Tees as Yard Nr 505 named RFA OLGA

6 January 1917 completed and placed under management of Lane and MacAndrew Ltd, London as an oiler transport renamed ASHLEAF. Base port Devonport

1 February 1917 berthed at Port of Spain, Trinidad suffered from engine troubles "necessitating the raising of shafts and remetalling bearings. Further work in connection with above generally"

16 April 1917 Captain William L  Phillips was Master

17 April 1917 Bosun Henry Morel and Seaman John Harper both logged for desertion. They had both signed on the previous day

Bosun Henry Morrell

Bosun Henry Morel

29 May 1917 sunk when topedoed by German Submarine U88 (Kapitanleutnant Walther Schwieger) in the North Atlantic 150 miles west of the Bishops Rock at 48°40N, 09°30W while sailing to Trinidad 

31 May 1917 an Admiralty report on this ship showed she had completed only one round trip from the UK to Port of Spain, Trinidad. Suffering defects which resulted in her being delayed at Port of Spain for 37 days (including loading & bunkering time) and a further 17 days on her return to the UK - source MT23/808 at the TNA


Additional information

Copyright © 2008 – 2018 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.