Under Two Flags
RFA's Under Two Flags
During both World Wars there was an urgent need for ships to supplement the RFA fleet, some ships were hired or requisitioned, others were taken over on the stocks and a small group were captured enemy ships, awarded to the Admiralty by the Prize Courts.
That is just part of the story as throughout its history the RFA has disposed of surplus ships, either at the end of major conflict, as in the two World Wars, or at times of financial restraint. This series of articles will attempt to highlight the on-going careers of ships that were at one time in the RFA service.
The first two ships featured were part of the original ‘Leaf’ class, a group of eighteen vessels of a variety of types that were acquired on the builders stocks, or purchased from shipping companies, all of them were converted to their role as tankers.
This ‘Leaf’ class of ships were originally intended to operate as RFA’s, but because of the American Neutrality act and International Law, they were placed under the management of Lane and MacAndrew, London, though operationally they still came under the orders of the Admiralty, who was responsible for their manning, and some of the stores they carried.
Material for these articles was collated with the kind help of Mr James R Smith, co-author of "RFA A Century of Service", to whom we are extremely grateful.
One of a class of four “1,000” ton class harbour and coastal tankers, that spent the majority of her RFA career based at Sheerness.
In 1922 she was sold to Canadian interests for £5,000 and re-named “Puloe Brani”, the ship made two unsuccessful attempts to cross the Atlantic under her own power, but was eventually towed across to Montreal. She began her career on Lake Ontario in 1926 under the name “B.B. McColl”. In 1928 she suffered a serious fire at Buffalo and was abandoned and later sold by her underwriters to the Ohio Tanker Corporation, who had her rebuilt by the Electric Boat Works as a barge type tanker and she had her name changed yet again to “A. J. Patmore”.
Builder: Richardson Duck & Co Ltd, Stockton on Tees
Yard No: 649
Official No: 139200
Launched: 26th October 1916
Length: 380 feet
Beam: 50.9 feet
Draught: 32.4 feet
Machinery: Triple expansion engine by Blair and Co Ltd, Stockton on Tees
Builder: Weser Actien Gesellschaft, Bremen
Yard No: 192 Official No: 136803
Completed: March 1913
Tonnage: 5,811 grt
Length: 420.2 feet
Beam: 56.1 feet
Propulsion: 1 x 3cyl triple expansion engine by builder, single shaft.
Speed: 11.5 knots
Launched as the cargo vessel “Lauterfels” for Deutsche Dampschiffahrts Gesellschaft Hansa of Bremen.
Builder: Sir Raylton Dixon and Co Ltd, Middlesbrough
Yard No: 594
Official No: 137518
Launched: 2nd May 1916
Length: 400 feet
Beam: 54.1 feet
Draught: 32.5 feet
Machinery: Triple expansion engines by North Eastern Marine Engineering Co Ltd, Newcastle.