RFA Servitor
Picture supplied by Bowling Green University, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes
Servitor as Detroit on 17 September 1977 after her RFA service
Image used with permission of Tony Last

Subsequent names:                  Puloe Brani, B.B. McColl,  A.J. Patmore, Rotary, Peggy Reinauer and
Official Number:                       136820 / 229053                                                                 
Class:                                     FIRST 1000t ATTENDANT CLASS Oiler

Pennant No:                            N 89 / X 06 / X 63 / YO148

Laid down:
Builder:                                   Chatham Dockyard
Launched:                               26 May 1914
Into Service:                            May 1915
Out of service:                         1922
Fate:                                      Sold and name changed.



Items of historic interest involving this ship: -


Background Data:  On the outbreak of WW1, the Admiralty embarked on a programme of tanker construction for the fledgling RFA Service and there were four ships in this Class, all of which were little more than powered barges. The early Swedish diesel engines in two of them gave endless trouble and ultimately, three of the Class were sold off at the end of the War as part of the Government Disposal Scheme. In April 1940, approval was given to build six 1,500 ton Fleet Attendant Tankers, of which two were intended to replace two of this Class and the rest to replace larger Fleet Attendant Tankers for freighting duties, but eventually to replace the other 1,000 tonners. As designed they were to have been 3,200 tons full load displacement, 263 ft (o.a.) x 38.5 ft x 16 ft, with steam engines developing 1,200 ihp giving a speed of 10 knots with 2,000 miles endurance. Cargo was to have been 1,500 tons of fuel oil, 100 tons of diesel oil and 50 tons of petrol. There were no slops available in the U.K. for building and building capacity was sought in Canada but the shipyards there could not cope either. In May 1940 the idea was abandoned


26 May 1914 launched by H.M. Dockyard, Chatham as Yard Nr:       named SERVITOR

6 March 1915 Lieutenant John H Jones RNR appointed in command

May 1915 completed at a cost of £57,867

17 May 1915 at Chatham signing on crew

9 July 1915 at North Shields

29 July 1915 at Leith

4 August 1915 Engineer Lieutenant Charles McTaminey RNR appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

1915 based as Oiler for the Firth of Forth on Dockyard service

17 September 1915 at Rosyth alongside HMS HIBERNIA received 24 tons of FFO from the battleship

HMS Hibernia 1905


1 October 1915 at South Queensferry

15 October 1915 at Rosyth with HM TB 36 alongside "to complete with oil"

9 December 1915 at Leith

30 December 1915 at Queensferry with HM TB 36 alongside discharging oil into the tanker

7 January 1916 at Rosyth with HM TB 36 alongside "to complete with oil"

16 February 1916 at Queensferry with HM TB 36 alongside "to complete with oil"

15 June 1916 at Queensferry alongside HMS FEARLESS refuelling her - 26 tons of FFO supplied

Fearless 1912


24 June 1916 at Queensferry alongside HMS FEARLESS refuelling her - 45 tons of FFO supplied

8 September 1916 Engineer Lieutenant Charles L Low RNR appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

17 April 1917 Stoker James Sutton logged as deserting from the ship. He had signed on the ship on 7 November 1916. Sentenced to 42 days hard labour on 27 April 1917.

4 August 1917 Able Seaman J Harris logged as deserting from the ship. He had signed on the ship 25 August 1916

9 October 1917 Lieutenant Richard T Kestell RNR appointed in command

23 October 1918 at Granton Harbour, Edinburgh with HMS TALBOT alongside being refuelled with 18 tons of FFO

5 December 1918 Lieutenant Frederick Stanley Browne RNR appointed in command

1 January 1919 at Rosyth alongside HMS TORCH refuelling her with 117 tons of FFO

6 January 1919 at Rosyth alongside HMS TORCH refuelling her with 14 tons of FFO

28 February 1919 Sub-Lieutenant (Chief Officer) Ernest J Tippett RNR dismissed his ship for being absent without leave. Appointed to RFA Boxol


Sub Lieutenant Ernest J Tippett RNR

31 March 1919 Stoker C Childs logged as being absent without leave from the ship. Returned on the 16 April 1919

11 May 1919 Able Seaman Robert McKay logged as deserting from the ship. He was arrested on 18 May 1919. He had originally signed on on the 5 May 1919

15 May 1919 at Granton HM Monitor M31 secured alongside to refuel

16 May 1919 at Granton HM Monitor M33 secured alongside to refuel - supplied 20 tons of fuel oil

23 June 1919 Assistant Cook F Jones logged as deserting from the ship. He had signed on the ship on 14 June 1919

April 1920 at Rosyth for paying off

September 1922 purchased for £5,000 by J. Le Masurier, London and renamed PULOE BRANI

After two unsuccessful attempts to cross the Atlantic under her own power was towed to Montreal.

1922 operated as tanker on the Great Lakes, Canada

1924 purchased by C.S. Brady, name unchanged

1925 purchased by McColl Brothers Ltd, Ontario and renamed B.B. McCOLL

26 November 1928. Became a total loss by fire at Buffalo and was rated as a constructive total loss.

1931 purchased by Ohio Tankers Inc, Ogdensbury who rebuilt her and re-engined her with 2 x 6 cyl 12½” x 18” diesel engines by Electric Boat Works, Groton. 91 nhp. Renamed A.J. PATMORE

1932 damaged by an explosion while unloading petrol at Toronto was rebuilt and then sold to  R.T.C. No Eleven Corporation, New Jersey name unchanged

1942 purchased by Kimball Transportation Inc, Boston name unchanged

13 November 1942 aquired by the US Navy  converted at Sullivans Dry Dock & Repair Co. Her first US Commanding Officer was Chief Boatswain George A. Rowland USNR

23 February 1943 commissioned at Brooklyn as USS ROTARY(YO-148) and was assigned to the Atlantic Fleet Service Force. Reported to Casco Bay, Maine under the operational control of Commander, Destroyers US Atlantic Fleet where she fuelled destroyers and  other visiting ships

Servitor USN

Servitor when commissioned as USS Rotary (YO 148)
US Navy Photo

4 May 1943 at Casco Bay, Maine alongside USS Greer (DD145) and refuelled her with 14,908 gallons of fuel oil

1 April 1944 at Casco Bay, Maine alongside USS Nields (DD616) and refuelled her with 26,443 gallons of fuel oil

14 June 1944 in South Boston Navy Yard alongside USS SC705 to refuel her

September 1944 to August 1945 part of Service Squadron One of the US Atlantic Fleet

11 November 1944 at Casco Bay, Maine moored alongside USS Weeden (DE797) and refuelled her

28 March 1945 at Casco Bay, Maine moored alongside USS Durik (DE666) and refuelled her with 2,500 gallons of fuel oil

3 April 1945 at Casco Bay, Maine moored alongside USCGC Algonquin and refuelled her

16 April 1945 at Casco Bay, Maine moored alongside USS Jouett (DD396) and refuelled her

25 November 1945 sailed Casco Bay, Maine for the Boston Naval Yard

December 1945 decommissioned from naval service and laid up

21 May 1946 struck from the US Naval Register and transferred to the U.S. Maritime Commission for disposal, reverting to the name A.J. PATMORE

30 July 1946 repurchased by Kimball Transportation Inc, Boston and renamed PEGGY REINAEUER

1951 purchased by Michigan Tankers Inc, Detroit name unchanged

1955 renamed DETROIT by her owners

1959 was lengthened to 249’ 06” which increased her tonnage to 1,156 grt

12 August 1975 purchased by Hannah Inland Waterways Inc, Lemont who later became known as Hannah Marine Corporation. Purchased for hauling fresh water in South America but was never used for this purpose. She was laid up in her owners shipyard and her official documents were closed. Her deep well pumps and engines were removed and her lifeboats were presented to two local Boy Scout Troops

1983 purchased by a Chicago company for scrap and was cut up at Chicago Port Authority’s Shed 2 on the Calumet River in Chicago

Additional information

Copyright © 2008 – 2018 Christopher J White

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