RFA Mapleleaf



Previous name:                         Mount Royal, HMS Marlborough, RFA Rangol

Subsequent name:                    British Maple

Official Number:                         109498

Class:                                        Emergency Wartime Purchase LEAF Group Freighting Tanker

Pennant No:                              Y7.174

Laid down:
Builder:                                      C S Swan & Hunter Ltd., Wallsend
Launched:                                 17 August 1898
Into Service:                               6 July 1915 (as RFA Rangol)
Out of service:                            4 October 1919 sold to Commercial interests and renamed

Fate:                                           Arrived for breaking up on 25 January 1933


Items of historic interest involving this ship: -


Background Data:   During WW1, eighteen 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 into 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



17 August 1898 launched by C.S. Swan & Hunter Ltd, Wallsend as Yard Nr 230 named for the Beaver Line service of Elder Dempster & Co Ltd, Liverpool as Mount Royal

November 1898 completed as a cargo liner

30 November 1898 sailed on her maiden voyage from the Tyne to New Orleans

22 December 1898 arrived at New Orleans

3 January 1899 sailed New Orleans for Liverpool

21 January 1899 arrived at Liverpool

26 April 1899 sailed Gravesend

May 1899 first voyage from the Tyne to Montreal

3 July 1899 first voyage from London to Quebec. Completed 2 round trips

22 July 1899 at Montreal Able Seaman B S McKenzie discharged dead - found drowned

15 August 1899 sailed Montreal to Gravesend

5 November 1899 first voyage from Naples to Cape Town as a Boer War Transport. 

1 December 1899 arrived at Cape Town with 345 mules from Gibraltar and 1,902 mules from Naples

2 December 1899 sailed Cape Town for Port Elizabeth

5 December 1899 berthed at Port Elizabeth

5 January 1900 sailed Las Palmas for Liverpool

12 February 1900 first voyage from Liverpool to Cape as a Boer War Transport. 

4 June 1900 at Hospital, Port Elizabeth Able Seaman Robert Brickley discharged dead - fracture of spine

23 July 1900 first voyage from New Orleans to Cape Town as a Boer War transport. Completed six round voyages in all

24 July 1900 at 24.55N 49.17W Fireman James Philbean found missing from the ship at sea - discharged dead

24 December 1900 at Tynemouth Jubilee Infirmary, North Shields Able Seaman Herman Braemninger discharged dead - from injuries suffered when he fell down the ships hold

25 December 1900 sailed Shields for New Orleans

5 February 1901 at 23.42N 32.10W passenger Charles Raglan discharged dead - natural causes

28 July 1901 sailed New Orleans with 1,000 remounts for Cape Town

6 November 1901 at Cuxhaven on the River Elbe the Sea Pilot H. Skode collapsed and died from a heart attack

21 December 1901 arrived at New Orleans from Natal

13 January 1902 sailed New Orleans for Cape Town with 1,040 horses on board

16 July 1902 arrived St Vincent, Cape Verde

25 July 1902 arrived at Port Elizabeth, South Africa

28 August 1902 sailed from Barry, South Wales

25 November 1902 sailed from the River Tyne

3 March 1903 reported has having turned round due to severe weather while on passage from the UK to the US

6 April 1903 acquired by Canadian Pacific Railway Co, Liverpool name unchanged

7 May 1903 sailed Quebec for Cardiff

27 June 1903 arrived Montreal from London

19 July 1903 passed Gravesend while on passage from Montreal to London

18 September 1903 sailed London for Montreal

1 October 1903 arrived Quebec from London

9 October 1903 passed Cape Ray

9 November 1903 entered dry dock at Cardiff with damage to the keel which occurred in September 1903

16 November 1903 on board Hamadryad Hospital ship, Cardiff Able Seaman Robert Thomas discharged dead from accidental injury

8 January 1904 arrived at Galveston from Cardiff

26 March 1904 Chief Cook Salvatore Portelli discharged dead - consumption

8 September 1904 arrived the Mersey from Montreal

20 November 1904 while on passage from Montreal to Liverpool passed Brow Head

21 November 1904 arrived at Liverpool

17 March 1905 arrived at New Orleans from the River Tyne

23 June 1905 arrived at Liverpool from Montreal

19 May 1906 arrived at Antwerp

22 September 1906 passed Prawle Point when on passage from Montreal to London

15 November 1906 sailed Gravesend for New Orleans

16 November 1906 passed St Catherines Point

10 December 1906 passed Sand Key

13 December 1906 arrived at Galveston

1907 converted to carry 1500 x 3rd Class passengers in just 10 days

May 1907 sailed on her first voyage from London to Canada

6 July 1907 at Skeena River Steward Archie Willis discharged dead - drowned

7 December 1907 sailed Antwerp for St. John's Novia Scotia with 303 hundred passengers. Reported as missing while crossing the North Atlantic. Arrived at Queenstown, Southern Ireland on 7 January 1908 after suffering machinery breakdown while about 250 miles west of Fastnet. Passengers transfered to ss Montrose which sailed Queenstown on the 11 January 1908. The ss Montrose was reported as missing when it failed to arrive at St. John's on the  21 January 1908. Arrived late

7 January 1908 at 51.31W 8.57W passenger Jacob Faut (child) discharged dead - pneumonia

20 July 1908 arrived at Quebec from London

2 September 1908 arrived at Quebec on passage from Antwerp to Montreal

2 October 1908 passed North Foreland while on passage from London and Antwerp to Montreal

11 July 1909 while on passage from London and Antwerp to Montreal passed Cape Ray

31 August 1909 while on passage from London and Antwerp to Montreal passed Heath Point

1 October 1909 while on passage from London to Montreal radioed giving her position as 125 miles west of the Lizard

29 October 1909 while on passage from Montreal to London radioed giving her position as 100 miles west of Brow Head

12 May 1910 sailed Gravesend via Antwerp for Montreal

27 May 1911 at 45.51N 52.25W passenger Joseph Walach discharged dead - natural causes

2 June 1910 arrived Quebec

7 June 1910 sailed Montreal for London

17 June 1910 passed Belle Isle

21 June 1910 passed Gravesend

28 March 1913 at 50.06N 3.55W passenger Kasimir Mietla (infant) discharged dead - pneumonia

16 October 1913 at 53.35N 33.24W passenger Rudolph Weich (child) discharged dead - chicken pox

28 October 1914 was hired by the Admiralty for conversion into the Dummy Battleship HMS MARLBOROUGH, on completion of which she was based at Loch Ewe.

6 July 1915, with the disbandment of the DBS Squadron she had cylindrical tanks inserted into her holds and served as the oiler RFA RANGOL,

10 July 1916 purchased by the Admiralty 

17 November 1916 her management was transferred to Lane and MacAndrew and she became the oiler transport renamed MAPLELEAF

4 May 1917 arrived at Port Arthur, Texas

11 June 1917 arrived at Greenock

21 October 1917 she was narrowly missed by a torpedo in the Atlantic.

07 November 1917 she was transferred to the Shipping Controller

4 January 1918 berthed at London from Port Arthur, Texas with one passenger. The Master was Captain Llewellyn Nicholas

9 Augsut 1918 arrived at Greenock, River Clyde from Port Arthur, Texas with one passenger (DBS?)

21 October 1918 at Sea Chief Cook Fred James Nixon discharged dead - through natural causes

25 October 1918 Fireman James Wilson discharged dead - through natural causes - buried at sea in the presence of the Commisioned Escort Ship HMS CORONADO at 49.36N 12.36W

27 November 1918 sailed Plymouth for Port Arthur, Texas

13 December 1918 arrived at Charles SC from Plymouth

16 January 1919 sailed Norfolk VA for Lough Swilly

3 February 1919 arrived at Greenock

4 October 1919 purchased by the British Tanker Co

19 October 1919 renamed BRITISH MAPLE

20 November 1919 sailed Newport News for Rotterdam

27 November 1919 sailed Halifax, NS

11 December 1919 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard towing the s.s. War Zephyr

13 December 1919 arrived at Plymouth Sound towing s.s. War Zephyr. The tow had lasted over one week from a position 1,000 miles west of The Lizard after the War Zephyr's main shaft had broken. The tow had parted once during the week in very heavy weather

15 December 1919 berthed at Rotterdam

12 January 1920 sailed Dartmouth for Tampico

19 February 1920 sailed Newport News for Alexandria

14 March 1920 arrived at Port Said from Tampico

29 March 1920 at Dixie Hospital, Hampton Fireman Samuel Bowning discharged dead - natural causes

3 April 1920 anchored at Gibraltar from Tampico for orders

18 April 1920 sailed Fayal for Newport News

16 June 1920 arrived at Gibraltar from Newport when on passage to Alexandria

15 November 1920 the Master and crew of Mapleleaf took proceedings against the Master and crew of the War Zephyr (see above) in the Admiralty Division of the High Court

3 December 1920 sailed Newport News for Dartmouth

29 December 1920 the Western Times reported -

Press report British Maple 1920



Cook                           Fireman
         Clarence Boak             Mowbray Darling          
Both had signed on the ship during October 1920

28 January 1921 berthed at Newport News

7 February 1921 sailed Tampico for Newport News

16 February 1921 sailed Newport News for Dartmouth

15 March 1921 sailed from Hull in ballast to Newport News

26 March 1921 at a hospital at Newport News, USA 2nd Steward Thomas Sergenson Rathbone discharged dead from natural causes. He had, in November 1918, served on RFA Orangeleaf (1)


2nd Steward Thomas Sergenson Rathbone

7 April 1921 signaled the US Naval Communications Service that the ship was at 32°38N 78°59W

28 April 1921 sailed Newport News

9 May 1921 on passage from Tampico for Avonmouth

12 May 1921 berthed at Avonmouth from Newport News with 3 DBS

16 May 1921 sailed Avonmouth 

12 June 1921 berthed at Port Eads

15 June 1921 sailed New Orleans

21 June 1921 arrived at Newport News from New Orleans

9 July 1921 berthed at Hull from New Orleans

1 September 1921 arrived at Newport News and sailed the same day

19 September 1921 arrived at Thameshaven

6 June 1922 arrived at Hamble in Southampton Water to act as a bunker depot ship 

10 December 1932 sold for £3,500 for demolition at Rosyth by Metal Industries Ltd

27 December 1932.arrived Rosyth

 25 January 1933 breaking up commenced

12 May 1933 the remaining hulk was transferred to Charlestown to hold oil residues.

1934 was transferred back to Rosyth

06 March 1935 demolition was finally completed






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 (RFA RUTHENIA), LAKE ERIE(RFA SAXOL), LAKE MANITOBA, LAKE MICHIGAN, MILWAUKEE, MONTCALM (RFA CRENELLA), MONTEAGLE, MONTEREY, MONTEZUMA (RFA ABADOL), MONTORT, MONTREAL, MOUNT ROYAL(RANGOL), MOUNT TEMPLE & MONTROSE and the 3 Liverpool tugs AFRICAN, BEAVER & OTTER


Additional information

Copyright © 2008 – 2017 Christopher J White

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