RFA British Light

 

Subsequent name:                 RFA Olwen, Mushtari

Official Number:                     140449

Class:                                    10,000t OL CLASS Tanker

Pennant No:                           Y7.242 / X 09

Laid down:
Builder:                                   Palmers, Jarrow
Launched:                              3 October 1917
Into Service:                           17 April 1937

Out of service:                        1947 sold to commercial interests

Fate:                                       October 1959  Broken up

 

Items of historic interest involving this ship: -

 

Background Data:   Of the six ships in this Class, two of them were built by HM Dockyards to keep the Dockyards busy after the end of WW1 in accordance with the Colwyn Committee‘s recommendations.. Two other similar ships were built for Anglo Saxon Petroleum Co Ltd, London at the same time - MUREX at Portsmouth and NASSA at Devonport - and after producing these two well-built ships, the finances and materials appeared to be short and the two built for the RFA were supposedly built with odds and ends and auxiliaries taken from out moded warships. With their cheap and second-hand fittings they had some heavy maintenance bills, which they paid for by spending most of their lives on charter. MUREX and NASSA were both broken up at Osaka in 1936

 

22 October 1917 launched by Palmers Shipbuilding & Iron Co Ltd, Jarrow  as Yard Nr: 878 named BRITISH LIGHT for the Shipping Controller

23 December 1917 completed at a cost of £191,789 and placed under management of British Tanker Co, London

September 1918 at Cette Sailor P Farrell discharged dead - found drowned

4 December 1918 arrived at Suez

13 December 1918 sailed Perim for Singapore

5 January 1919 sailed Singapore for Suez

24 January 1919 arrived at Suez from Aden and Singapore

1919 transferred to Admiralty ownership but remained under commercial management

27 February 1919 arrived at Port Said

14 March 1919 arrived at Colombo from Cette

28 May 1919 arrived at Port Said

11 October 1919 arrived at Portsmouth from Abadan

October 1919 Captain Robert H Farrington appointed as Master

FARRINGTON ROBERTHAYDON

Captain Robert H Farrington

14 October 1919 sailed Portsmouth to sea

26 November 1919 arrived at Port Arthur, Texas from Falmouth

1 December 1919 sailed Port Arthur, Texas for Falmouth

21 February 1920 sailed Port Arthur, Texas for Fiji

26 April 1920 arrived at Auckland, New Zealand from Port Arthur, Texas

29 April 1920 alongside HMS RENOWN at Auckland, New Zealand to refuel her

HMS Renown 4

HMS RENOWN

18 May 1920 arrived at Sydney, NSW

25 August 1920 arrived at Port Arthur, Texas from Abadan

29 August 1920 sailed Port Arthur, Texas for Devonport

14 September 1920 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing east

15 September 1920 arrived at Plymouth from Port Arthur, Texas sailing the same day for Killingholme

4 October 1920 at Sheerness Captain George Lumsden discharged dead - self inflicted gun shot wound to the head

17 October 1920 arrived at Port Said

23 October 1920 sailed Aden for Borneo

18 December 1920 arrived at Suez from Tarakan when on passage to Portsmouth

4 January 1921 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

7 January 1921 sailed Portsmouth for Port Arthur, Texas

1 February 1921 sailed Port Arthur, Texas to Devonport

22 February 1921 arrived at Portland from Port Arthur, Texas

7 April 1921 arrived at Gibraltar while on passage, in ballast, from Greenock to Abadan

18 May 1921 arrived Port Said from the River Clyde

8 June 1921 berthed at Abadan

19 June 1921 sailed Port Said for Devonport

1 July 1921 arrived at Plymouth from Abadan

29 July 1921 in the Persian Gulf at 27.30N 51.36E Ships Cook Edward Bray discharged dead from heat stroke

6 August 1921 sailed Abadan for Port Said

3 September 1921 arrived at Portland from Abadan and Port Said with 2 passengers and 2 DBS

20 September 1921 arrived at Port Said on passage to Abadan

27 September 1921 arrived at Aden from Portland

21 October 1921 arrived at Suez from Abadan

1922 acquired by the Admiralty but under British Tanker Co Managment

30 January 1922 sailed Tampico for Egypt

31 March 1922 sailed Tampico for LEFO

22 July 1922 sailed Tampico

11 August 1922 arrived at Portland from Tampico

14 August 1922 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

16 August 1922 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

7 October 1922 sailed Port Said

18 October 1922 sailed Port Said

26 November 1922 arrived Port Said

2 December 1922 passed Perim when on passage to Abadan

22 December 1922 sailed Port Said when on passage from Abadan for Gibraltar

25 February 1923 passed Perim when on passage from Abadan

4 March 1923 sailed Port Said for Devonport

23 April 1923 at Colon

5 August 1923 sailed Tampico for LEFO

31 August 1923 at Thameshaven

9 October 1923 sailed New Orleans for Lisbon

30 October 1923 sailed Lisbon for Key West

1 January 1924 passed St Thomas for Tampico

21 January 1924 entered New York Harbour with Captain Alfred C Oswald as Master and 37 crew

10 February 1924 grounded outside of South Pass, New Orleans,  was assisted off and proceeded

6 June 1924 entered New York Harbour with Captain Alfred C Oswald as Master and 37 crew having sailed from Tampico, Mexico

 

British_Light_Discharge_Certificate

5th Engineer Edward Joseph HORT's Discharge Certificate
with thanks to Jim Savage

22 August 1924 arrived at Curacao from Marseilles

13 November 1924 sailed Tampico for Valentia

26 February 1925 berthed at Curacao from Liverpool

21 April 1925 sailed Curacao for LEFO

31 May 1925 sailed Curacao for LEFO

13 August 1925 at Singapore

5 September 1925 at Abadan

31 December 1925 at Port Said

15 January 1926 berthed at Abadan

22 January 1926 sailed from Abadan - the ships Master was Captain George Robson

1 February 1926 arrived Ceylon

4 February 1926 sailed Ceylon 

16 February 1926 at Abadan

7 March 1926 berthed at Singapore

10 March 1926 sailed Singapore

22 March 1926 berthed at Singapore 

25 March 1926 sailed Singapore

5 April 1926 berthed at Singapore

8 April 1926 sailed Singapore

23 April 1926 berthed at Abadan 

27 April 1926 sailed Abadan

6 May 1926 at Aden

13 May 1926 at Suez for transit through the Suez Canal to Port Said arriving the next day

23 May 1926 at Gibraltar

31 May 1926 at the Tyne

11 July 1927 sailed New York for Port Arthur, Texas

30 September 1927 sailed Port Said for Devonport

19 December 1927 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

3 January 1928 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

16 May 1930 berthed at Portsmouth Dockyard

8 June 1930 sailed from Portsmouth Dockyard when her steering gear failed and the ship came to rest on the Hamilton Sandbank. Refloated without damage at high tide the next day

9 June 1930 berthed at Portsmouth Dockyard

11 June 1930 sailed from Portsmouth Dockyard

25 July 1930 passed Perim when on passage to Sheerness

11 October 1930 at Sheerness

July and August 1931 was laid up at Sheerness

17 August 1931 at Sheerness

11 March 1932 berthed at Portsmouth Dockyard

25 April 1932 sailed from Portsmouth Dockyard

5 May 1932 passed Zea for Constantza

13 May 1932 sailed Istanbul for Bombay

16 May 1932 Captain Robert Alexander Flack reported missing believed dead while the ship was in transit of the Suez Canal. Believed he fell overboard and was drowned

Robert Flack

Captain Robert A Flack RFA

2 June 1932 sailed Bombay for Abadan

12 June 1932 sailed Abadan for Portsmouth

2 July 1932 sailed Port Said

18 July 1932 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

20 July 1932 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

6 January 1933 sailed Istanbul for Karachi

13 March 1933 passed Perim for Abadan

20 March 1933 berthed Abadan from Portsmouth Harbour

2 April 1933 passed Perim

14 May 1933 passed Gibraltar when on passage to Portsmouth

20 May 1933 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

26 May 1933 at Chatham

19 June 1933 radioed she was 125 miles south of Lands End when on passage to Constanza

16 July 1933 passed Perim for Bombay13 August 1933 passed Perim for Malta

7 September 1933 sailed Constanza

10 October 1933 arrived at Aden

24 December 1933 passed Perim

28 February 1934 sailed Gibraltar

21 April 1934 arrived Devonport

24 April 1934 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

28 April 1934 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

27 May 1934 passed Perim

9 July 1934 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

12 July 1934 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

23 July 1934 on passage to Constanza

9 September 1934 sailed Port Said

4 December 1934 on passage to Abadan

1 January 1935 sailed Abadan

22 January 1935 until 26 January 1935 berthed at Simonstown Dockyard, South Africa

7 March 1935 arrived Suez from Abadan and after canal transit sailed Port Said for Gibraltar

11 April 1935 sailed Point de Bouc

14 July 1935 arrived Port Said

1 August 1935 arrived Madras from Tuapse

13 September 1935 sailed Suez for Aden

18 September 1935 sailed Aden for Suez

18 February 1936 while on passage from Haifa to Grangemouth called at Gibraltar this day

27 February 1936 sailed Grangemouth for the River Tyne

15 September 1936 arrived Abadan from the Clyde

17 September 1936 sailed Abadan for Gibraltar

14 October 1936 berthed at Gibraltar from Abadan and Port Said to discharge

7 November 1936 sailed Abadan for Gibraltar

11 December 1936 berthed at Swansea

12 February 1937 berthed at Gibraltar from Abadan and Port Said to discharge

17 April 1937 transferred to Admiralty management and manning as an RFA renamed OLWEN (1) at Wallsend 

April 1937 fitted for defensive armament

1 May 1937 Captain Frederick M Harvey RFA appointed as Master

 

FM_Harvey_-_Cherryleaf_1

Captain Frederick M Harvey RFA

 

14 September 1937 berthed at Gibraltar from Malta in ballast

25 February 1938 berthed at Gibraltar from Trinidad to discharge cargo

9 September 1938 berthed at Gibraltar from Malta while on passage to Trinidad in ballast

26 January 1939 Mr R Blacklock RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

21 April 1939 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

24 April 1939 sailed from Portsmouth Harbour

4 May 1939 Captain Percival Skone-Rees RFA appointed as Master

PSR

Captain Percival Skone-Rees RFA

 

22 July 1939 Captain Bertram Tunnard RFA appointed as Master

 

Bertram_Tunnard

Captain Bertram Tunnard RFA

 

28 August 1939 berthed at Port of Spain, Trinidad

25 September 1939 grounded whilst under the orders of the cruiser HMS AJAX - no damage

1 October 1939 acting under the orders of Commodore, South Atlantic arrived Montevideo for repairs to alleged mechanical defects

2 October 1939 in the River Plate area refuelled HMS EXETER which was flying Commodore Harwood's broad pendant

14 October 1939 sailed Montevideo independently to join Force G after repairs and to give support, with other RFA's to the RN units involved in the search for the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee

 

Olwen_1

RFA Olwen coming alongside a ship of Force G to refuel on 26 October 1939
prior to 'The Battle of the River Plate'

 

26 October 1939 RAS'ed with HMS ACHILLES and HMS AJAX

6 November 1939 sailed River Plate independently to Trinidad arriving 25 November 1939

15 December 1939 sailed Trinidad to Port Stanley, Falkland Islands arriving on 11 January 1940

28 January 1940 off Rouen Bank refuelled HMNZS ACHILLES which at the time was flying Rear Admiral Harwood's flag

February 1940 reported insubordination of and complaints by her crew

13 February 1940 the reports were investigated by the cruiser HMS SHROPSHIRE and the crew were considered unsuitable and a danger to the efficient oiling of HM ships. She was relieved by RFA ARNDALE and was ordered home

21 February 1940 sailed Port Stanley, Falkland Islands but returned there on 9 March 1940

9 March 1940 sailed Port Stanley, Falkland Islands to Trinidad arriving 5 April 1940

23 March 1940 lost a propeller blade and a spare was fitted at Trinidad the following month

12 April 1940 sailed Trinidad for Halifax arried 23 April 1940

26 April 1940 sailed Halifax in convoy HX 38 with FFO to Devonport. RFA Abbeydale was in the same convoy arriving on 12 May 1940

19 May 1940 having sailed Devonport independently arrived Falmouth the same day

31 May 1940 at Falmouth. Mr Charles A Smith RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

13 June 1940 in Falmouth for repairs

3 July 1940 sailed Falmouth independently arriving St Helens Roads on the 7 July 1940 and thence to the Greenock on the 10 July.

5 July 1940 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour and sailed the same day to sea

13 July 1940 Captain Ernest V Blyth RFA appointed as Master

Captain Ernest V Blyth

Captain Ernest V Blyth RFA

30 July 1940 sailed Greenock for Freetown in convoy OB191 which dispersed arrived Freetown on 20 August 1940 

August 1940 whilst at Freetown was allocated for Operation Sackbut - the proposed occupation of the Cape Verde Islands

12 September 1941 berthed at Freetown with HMAS NESTOR alongside overnight refuelling her the next day

20 September 1940 at Freetown alongside HMS BARHAM to refuel her

21 September 1940 at Freetown alongside HMS CUMBERLAND to refuel her supplying 2,250 tons of FFO

hms cumberland 2

HMS CUMBERLAND

29 September 1940 at Freetown alongside HMS BARHAM to refuel her

18 November 1940 sailed Freetown for Lagos arriving 24 November 1940

27 November 1940 sailed Lagos for Freetown arriving 2 December 1940

4 November 1941 reports attack by German surface raider in the North Atlantic. Two days searching by RN and USN ships fail to find the raider but they do capture a blockade runner sailing under false colours. Olwen then signals she made raider report by mistake and that she had been fired on by a surfaced submarine.

6 January 1942 sailed New Orleans independently arriving Trinidad 14 January of that year.

26 January 1942 sailed Trinidad independently arriving Freetown 11 February 1942

16 February 1942 sailed Freetown independently arriving Trinidad 8 March 1942

29 March 1942 Captain Stanley M Woodward RFA appointed as Master and Mr L Cowell RFA (Lieutenant (E) RNR (Ret)) appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

Captain Stanley WOODWARD

Captain Stanley M Woodward RFA

13 May 1942 at Walvis Bay refuelling HMS FROBISHER alongside

26 September 1942 Mr D H Evans RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

October 1942 in refit at East London

November 1942 served as Station Oiler at East London in South Africa - due at Cape Town to dry dock for repairs on nine leaking fuel tanks. There was no dry dock faciliaries at East London at the time

3 January 1943 off Massel Bay on passage to Cape Town at 8 knts

3 February 1943 sailed Cape Town independently arriving at East London on the 6 February of that year

8 February 1943 sailed East London independently arriving Durban two days later

27 February 1943 sailed Seychelles independently arriving Abadan 15 March 1943

17 March 1943 sailed Abadan

22 March 1943 sailed Banda Abbas in convoy PA30 to the Seychelles arriving 1 April 1943

3 April 1943 sailed Seychelles independently arriving Diego Suarez on the 5th of that month

8 April 1943 sailed Diego Suarez independently arriving Mauritius 11 April.

20 April 1943 sailed Mauritius escorted by HMS ST LOMAN (ASW Trawler) arriving at Durban on 27 April 1943

29 April 1943 damaged by the salvage vessel SALVIKING at Durban but damage was not serious

3 June 1943 at Durban with HMAS NIZAM alongside being refuelled

9 June 1943 at Durban with HMAS NIZAM alongside being refuelled

16 June 1943 at Durban with HMAS NIZAM alongside being refuelled

25 June 1943 at Durban with HMAS NIZAM alongside being refuelled

29 June 1943 at Durban with HMAS NIZAM alongside being refuelled

1 July 1943 at Durban with HMAS NIZAM alongside being refuelled

6 July 1943

14 August 1943 Captain Leonard Elford RFA appointed as Master

Captain Leonard Elford

Captain Leonard Elford RFA 

16 February 1944 docked in the dry dock at Durban, South Africa

21 February 1944 undocked from the dry dock at Durban, South Africa

3 March 1944 at Springfield Military Hospital, Durban Fireman Hoosain Baba discharged dead from pneumonia

5 May 1944 docked in the dry dock at Durban, South Africa

1 June 1944 undocked from the dry dock at Durban, South Africa

31 July 1944 sailed Bombay in convoy BM98 arriving at Colombo 5 August 1944

23 August 1944 sailed Colombo in convoy CX29 to Addu Atoll arriving 27 August 1944

8 September 1944 at Addu Atoll with HMAS CESSNOCK alongside being refuelling

11 September 1944 at Addu Atoll with HMAS MARYBOROUGH alongside being refuelling

HMAS Maryborough

HMAS MARYBOROUGH

17 September 1944 at Addu Atoll with HMAS CESSNOCK alongside being refuelling

30 September 1944 sailed Colombo in convoy CX33 to Addu Atoll arriving 3 October 1944

9 November 1944 sailed Addu Atoll in convoy XC34 to Colombo arriving 12 November 1944

28 December 1944 sailed Colombo independently arriving at Addu Atoll on the 31 December 1944

4 January 1945 sailed Addu Atoll independently to Trincomalee arriving on the 9 January 1945 

26 April 1945 sailed Trincomalee escorted by HMS PALADIN - at end of operations involving HMS EMPRESS and HMS SHAH (both CVE's)  returned to Trincomalee with HMS PALADIN

29 April 1945 RASed with HMS Rotherham, HMS TARTAR and other destroyers of Force 63 - Operation Bishop

May 1945 took part in Operation Dukedom by supporting the RN force intercepting and sinking the Japanese heavy cruiser HAGUR

4 May 1945 RASed with HMS CEYLON part of Task Force 68

HMS Ceylon

HMS CEYLON

5 May 1945 RASed with HMS ROTHERHAM

13 May 1945 sailed Trincomalee escorted with HMS PENN as Task Force 67

4 August 1945 sailed Trincomalee independently to Bombay arriving on the 11 August 1945

23 August 1945 sailed Bombay independently to Trincomalee arriving 29 August 1945

7 September 1945 sailed Trincomalee independently to Madras 9 September 1945

1 November 1945 at Singapore

9 May 1946 Captain Robert D Almond RFA (Lieutenant Commander RNR) appointed as Master until 30 December 1946

Captain Robert Almond

Captain Robert D Almond RFA

13 May 1946 Mr George C Dunning RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

G_C_Dunning_RFA

Chief Engineer Officer George C Dunning RFA

23 December 1946 at Trincomalee C S Hospital Oilman Abdull Ghani discharged dead - natural causes

30 December 1946 laid up at Trincomalee for disposal

1947 purchased by M. Esmailiji Abdulhussein Co, Karachi name unchanged

13 February 1948 at Trincomalee Greaser S A Ahmed Baba discharged dead from natural causes

1948 purchased by Saifriden Shaikh Sharafali (Gulf Steamships Ltd, Managers) Karachi name unchanged

12 October 1949 owners now Gulf Steamships Ltd (Ibrahim Mohemedali, Manager) Karachi and renamed MUSHTARI

October 1959 arrived Karachi for demolition

 

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