RFA Empire Salvage sailing as Papendrecht


Previous name:                        PAPENDRECHT,  LOTHRINGEN

Subsequent name:                   Papendrecht

Official Number:                       159160              

Class:                                      Fleet Attendant Oiler

Pennant No:                            A159

Laid down:
Builder:                                    Rotterdam Dry Dock, Rotterdam
Launched:                               17 April 1940
Into Service:                            1941
Out of service:                         1946
Fate:                                        Broken up


Items of historic interest involving this ship: -


Background Data: Launched for commercial owners soon after the start of WW2, she was unable to escape from her builder’s yard when the Germans invaded Holland owing to the magnetic mining of the New Waterway. After seizure by the Germans, who altered her decks and fittings considerably for replenishment at sea duties, she sailed as a supply tanker. Her capture by the British provide a valuable insight into the German methods of replenishment at sea, as having no bases, they had been forced to experiment and had evolved the buoyant rubber hose.


17 April 1940 launched by Rotterdamsche Droogdok Maatschappij N.V, Rotterdam as Yard Nr: 220 named PAPENDRECHT for N.V. Maatschappij Motorschip ‘Papendrecht’

14 November 1940 seized by the Kriegsmarine Authorities, placed under management of J.T. Essberger Hamburg and renamed LOTHRINGEN. Completed for service as a supply ship with oiling at sea equipment. Crewed by 35 members of the German Mercantile Marine, 1 x  Naval Officer and 45 Naval ratings.

7 March 1941 sailed Schiedam

8 March 1941 arrived Cherbourg for minor repairs



As the German Naval Auxiliary LOTHRINGEN
Courtesy of Rob van Leeuwen, Holland


11 March 1941 sailed Cherbourg for Brest thence St Nazaire arriving on the 20 March 1941

21 March 1941 sailed St Nazaire for Brest 

11 May 1941 sailed La Pallice for the mid-Atlantic for U-boat refuelling operations

15 June 1941 after suffering slight damage from aircraft from the aircraft carrier HMS EAGLE, she was captured intact in position 19.49N 30.30W, NW of the Cape Verde Islands, by the cruiser HMS DUNEDIN in Operation SalvageShe was taken to Bermuda by a Prize Crew (under the command of Lieutenant R. Beveridge, Royal Navy took command of the ship. The German Chief Officer, three other officers and 19 German ratings remained onboard to work the ship) and her cargo was taken as a prize. The status of the ship was left in abeyance until the cessation of  hostilities and she was temporarily registered in Hamilton and  was renamed EMPIRE SALVAGE



Photo taken from an aircraft from HMS Eagle of HMS Dunedin with the captured German naval tanker LOTHRINGEN later to become RFA Empire Salvage


1941 renamed Empire Salvage

4 July 1941 Captain George W Callaway RFA (Lieutenant Commander RN (Retd)) appointed as Master

5 July 1941 Mr J B D Payne RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

2 September 1941 Temporary Electrical Lieutenant Brian Toller Whinney RNVR and Temporary Electrical Lieutenant Stanley Edmund  Jenner, G.M., RNVR awarded a Mention in Despatches for rendering a bomb safe onboard

23 September 1941 the first Official Record of her when she sailed from Bermuda to Halifax arriving on 26 September 1941

5 October 1941 sailed Halifax in Convoy HX153 to the Clyde arriving on 18 October 1941

October 1941 conducted OAS trials on the Clyde, using captured rubber hoses from the German supply tanker GEDANIA

20 November 1941 sailed the Clyde to Scapa Flow arriving 22 November 1941 to conduct extensive OAS trials with RFA GRAY RANGER

8 December 1941 conducted OAS trials with RFA BLUE RANGER

December 1941 conducted OAS trials with destroyers of the Home Fleet

21 December 1941 sailed Scapa Flow to Lyness arriving the next day

6 January 1942 sailed Oban in Convoy WN 228 to Methil  and then convoy FS 696 diverting to the Tyne arriving on 10 January 1942

13 January 1942 at Newcastle for repairs, the fitting of a gyro compass and defensive armament. 

16 March 1942 fitted with aviation spirit stowage prior to deployment to Halifax, Nova Scotia for duties as Station Oiler there

18 April 1942 surveyed at Newcastle and registered in London for service with the Admiralty as RFA EMPIRE SALVAGE

11 May 1942 sailed the Tyne in convoy FN704 to Methil arriving the next day

13 May 1942 sailed Methil in convoy EN84 to Oban arriving on 15 May 1942

15 May 1942 joined convoy ON95 which had sailed Liverpool to Cape Cod Bay. The largest ship in the convoy was noted as straggling - arrived Halifax 27 May 1942

29 May 1942 sailed Halifax in convoy HJ3 to St John, Newfoundland arriving on 31 May 1942

30 November 1942 at St John's, Newfoundland with USCG Cutter Mojave alongside to refuel

2 December 1942 at St John's, Newfoundland USCG Cutter Mohawk alongside to refuel also US Coast Guard Cutter Alconquin alongside to refuel

USCGC Mohawk WPG 78

USCG Cutter Mohawk

9 December 1942 at St John's, Newfoundland with USCG Cutter Modoc alongside to refuel

26 December 1942 joined convoy ON 153 which had sailed Liverpool on the on 11 December 1942, from St. John's, Newfoundland arriving New York on the 31 December 1942

22 January 1943 sailed New York in convoy HX 224 to Loch Ewe arriving on 6 February 1943

9 February 1943 sailed Loch Ewe in convoy WN393 to Scapa Flow arriving the next day

22 February 1943 sailed Scapa Flow  in convoy WN397 to Methil arriving 24 February 1943

4 April 1943 refit at the Tyne. Completed 22 April 1943

6 April 1943 Mr C M Martin RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

14 May 1943 sailed Milford Haven in convoy ON 184 to New York

20 May 1943 in Operation Husky - Naval Operation Orders dated this day - Appendix 1 - shows EMPIRE SALVAGE would be based at Algiers together with RFA's ABBEYDALE and ORANGELEAF (1) to provide Furnace Fuel Oil

23 June 1943 at Algiers Harbour, Algeria with RFA's ORANGELEAF (1) and ABBEYDALE - source Admiralty War Diary

20 July 1943 at Algiers Harbour, Algeria with USS Cowie (DD632) alongside to refuel - received 15,276 gallons of fuel oil. USS Dallas (DD199) also alongside to refuel

24 July 1943 at Algiers Harbour, Algeria with USS Benson (DD421) alongside

25 July 1943 at Algiers Harbour, Algeria with USS Herndon (DD638). USS Nelson (DD623) and USS Butler alongside to refuel

19 August 1943 Donkeyman John Sands discharged dead. He is buried in El Alia Cemetery, Algeria in Plot 12 Row D Grave 35



Courtesy of and © The War Graves Photographic Project


21 August 1943 sailed Algiers in Convoy KMS 23 to Birzerta arriving 23 August 1943

17 September 1943 sailed Bizerta to Malta arriving on 19 September 1943

23 September 1943 at the Gulf of Salerno, Italy USS Brant (ARS32) alongside

30 September 1943 at the Gulf of Salerno, Italy USS LCI(L) 41 to refuel - received 9,000 gallons of diesel fuel

4 October 1943 at the Gulf of Salerno, Italy USS Brant (ARS32) alongside to refuel - received 20,442 of fuel oil

7 October 1943 at the Gulf of Salerno, Italy USS YMS-226 (a minesweeper) alongside to refuel

8 October 1943 in collision with the American ss JOEL R POINSETT but damage to both vessels was slight

19 October 1943 sailed Naples in Convoy NV 4 to Malta arriving 21 October 1943

15 November 1943 sailed Bizerta in Convoy UGS22 to Augusta arriving 17 November 1943

26 November 1943 sailed Augusta in convoy AH10 arriving at Taranto the next day

29 December 1943 off Sicily refuelled USN LC135

14 January 1944 sailed Bari in convoy HA18 to Augusta arriving 16 January 1944

17 January 1944 sailed Augusta in convoy VN16 arrived Naples on 18 January 1944

19 January 1944 at Naples USS Ludlow (DD438), USS Niblack (DD424) and USS Mayo (DD422) alongside to refuel

25 January 1944 at Naples together with HMS Kemperfelt USS Trippe (DD403) alongside to refuel

26 January 1944 in the Outer Harbour, Naples USS Brooklyn (CL40) and USS Wainwright (DD419) alongside to refuel. While USS Wainwright was alongside both ships suffered damage due to a heavy swell. RFA Empire Salvage's damage was to the moulding between frames 46 to 60 bending in several plates - Source the ships log for USS Wainwright

31 January 1944 at Naples, Italy USS Edison (DD439) alongside to refuel

2 February 1944 at Naples, Italy USS Edison (DD439) alongside to refuel

3 February 1944 at Naples, Italy USS Trippe (DD403) alongside to refuel

6 February 1944 at Naples, Italy USS Trippe (DD403) alongside to refuel

12 February 1944 in the Bay of Naples USS Charles F Hughes alongside to refuel

14 February 1944 damaged by USS BROOKLYN when oiling alongside in a heavy swell. Damaged caused to her starboard side, starboard bridge and boat deck supports were badly damaged and stove in. The MoWT Surveyor declined to issue a seaworthiness certificate until the damage was repaired

3 March 1944 in the Inner Harbour, Naples USS Mayo (DD422) alongside to refuel

7 March 1944 in the Inner Harbour, Naples USS Ericsson (DD440) and USS Lansdale (DD426) alongside to refuel

19 March 1944 in the Inner Harbour, Naples USS Eberle (DD430) alongside to refuel 

22 March 1944 in the Inner Harbour, Naples USS Livermore (DD429) and HHMS Themistocies alongside to refuel

1 April 1944 in the Inner Harbour, Naples USS Livermore (DD429) alongside to refuel - received 77,772 gallons of fuel oil

USS Livermore DD 429 01

USS Livermore (DD429)

10 April 1944 in the Inner Harbour, Naples USS Hilary P Jones (DD427) alongside overnight

14 April 1944 in the Inner Harbour, Naples USS Eberle (DD430) alongside to refuel

21 April 1944 at Naples Harbour USS Charles F Hughes (DD428) alongside to refuel

1 May 1944 in the Inner Harbour, Naples  USS Charles F Hughes (DD428) alongside to refuel

2 May 1944 sailed Naples in Convoy NV36 to Augusta arriving the next day

13 May 1944 sailed Algiers in Convoy GUS 39 to Hampton Roads arriving 29 May 1944

7 June 1944 sailed Hampton Roads to New York arriving the next day

10 June 1944 sailed New York in Convoy HX295 thence Convoy WN 600 to Rosyth arriving 27 June 1944

30 June 1944 sailed Rosyth in Convoy FS1499 to the Tyne arriving on 1 July 1944

12 September 1944 sailed from the Tyne in Convoy FN 1477 to Methil arrived the next day

14 September 1944 sailed Methil in Convoy EN 435/2 arrived Loch Ewe - ship detached to Scapa Flow arriving 16 September 1944

20 September 1944 sailed Scapa Flow and joined Convoy EN 437/2 arrived Loch Ewe - ship detached to Milford Haven arriving on 22 September 1944

24 September 1944 sailed Milford Haven in Convoy OS90 for Port Said - passed Gibraltar 2 October 1944

12 October 1944 arrived Port Said for Suez Canal transit

14 October 1944 sailed Suez to Aden arrived on 19 October 1944

24 October 1944 sailed Khor Kwal to Abadan

28 October 1944 sailed Abadan

31 December 1944 sailed with RFA WAVE KING escorted by HMS's WESSEX and WAKEFUL on Operation Lentil to join Task Force 65

13 January 1945 sailed Trincomalee, Ceylon with RFA WAVE KING and RFA ECHODALE with a RN Unit as Force 69 to take part in Operation Meridan One - an air attack on the oil refineries at Palembang to put them out of action - the largest and most important oil refinery in the Far East. They were joined in the fuelling area south of Sumatra by RFA ARNDALE which was despatched from Freemantle 2 days later

27 January 1945 arrived Trincomalee

18 February 1945 sailed Trincomalee

24 April 1945 sailed Akyab to Kyaukpyu arriving the next day

15 May 1945 sailed Kyaukpyu to Trincomalee arriving on 20 May 1945

26 May 1945 sailed Trincomalee

1 June 1945 arrived Bombay for repairs and was transferred back to the Netherlands Govt and chartered by the MoWT. The British Govt back-paid the Netherlands Shipping and Trading Ltd the sum of £46,200 for use of the ship from 1 December 1943

4 June 1945 sailed Bombay

30 June 1945 in collision with the landing ship HMS ROCKSAND

HMS Rocksand

HMS Rocksand


Mid August 1945 together with HMS CALPE formed part of Force 14 having sailed from Trincomalee for Operation Jurist

30 August 1945 damaged the cruiser HMS CEYLON while oiling at anchor north of Penang, Malaysia

HMS Ceylon


23 September 1945 sailed Trincomalee to Madras and then back to Trincomalee

29 September 1945 at Trincomalee, Ceylon sailing on 19 October 1945 to Singapore

16 November 1945 sailed Singapore for Hong Kong thence Okinawa

23 January 1946 assigned to Force C to establish British naval port facilities at Kure and Sasebo in Japan

26 January 1946 at Hong Kong - sailed to Okinawa 31 January 1946

13 February 1946 at Kure. Sailed to Shanghai arriving on 24 February 1946

27 February 1946 arrived Hong Kong

28 February 1946  2nd Officer Keith Nelson Howard RFA discharged dead. He is buried in Sai Wan War Cemetery, Hong Kong in Plot 1 Row F, Grave 15



Courtesy of and © The War Graves Photographic Project

3 March 1946 sailed Hong Kong arrived Bombay 21 March 1946

2 April 1946 sailed Bombay to Abadan arriving on 10 April 1946

12 April 1946 sailed Abadan arriving Suez 25 April 1946

26 April 1946 sailed Port Said. Passed Malta GC 30 April 1946

10 May 1946 berthed at Portsmouth Harbour

15 May 1946 sailed from  Portsmouth Harbour

16 May 1946 handed back to her original owners Van Ommeren's Scheeps, Rotterdam. Underwent a refit which included the fitting of an additional boat deck amidships

2 August 1946 entered her owners commerical service having been renamed Papendrech

22 August 1946 sailed Houston, Texas for LEFO

10 January 1948 sailed Port Said for LEFO

1 July 1948 sailed Beaumont, Texas for LEFO

23 July 1948 arrived Saltend, Hull

3 September 1948 berthed at Hull from Corpus Christi to discharge

23 October 1948 while on passage from Abadan to LEFO sailed Port Said this day

8 November 1948 arrived Saltend, Hull

11 November 1948 sailed Saltend, Hull for Rotterdam

31 December 1948 sailed Abadan for LEFO

28 January 1949 berthed at Southampton

6 June 1949 berthed at Hull from Abadan to discharge

10 June 1949 sailed the River Tyne for Abadan

18 August 1949 berthed at Hull from Le Harve to discharge sailing again the same day

16 September 1949 sailed Abadan for LEFO

19 December 1949 passed the Lloyds Signal station on the Lizard sailing west

25 December 1949 passed the Lloyds Signal station on the Lizard sailing east

7 March 1950 sailed Port Said when on passage from Abadan to LEFO

23 March 1950 arrived at Le Havre from Plymouth

27 April 1950 sailed Abadan for LEFO

22 May 1950 arrived at the River Tyne berthing on the Jarrow Oil Wharf from Abadan

25 July 1957 sailed Tail of the Bank

April 1963 to November 1963 used as a storage tanker for molasses at Beira, Mozambique

February 1964 sold for breaking up to Japanese interests

15 April 1964 arrived for breaking up at Onomichi, Japan by Onomichi Zosen

Additional information

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