RFA Boxleaf



RFA Boxleaf



Previous name:                         Margha, Olinda,  Oiler Transport No 159
Subsequent name:                    India, Atheltarn, Zuiyo Maru

Official Number:                        139184

Class:                                      Emergency Wartime Construction LEAF Group Class Freighting Tanker

Pennant No:                             Y7.159

Signal Letters:                          JNRL (1919)

Laid down:
Builder:                                     Barclay Curle, Whiteinch
Launched:                                 9 December 1916
Into Service:                              17 February 1917
Out of service:                           26 August 1919 sold commercially
Fate:                                        1944 torpedoed and sunk


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 in 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


1913 ordered as the passenger/cargo liner MARGHA for the British India Steam Navigation Co, London  (along with her sister MASULA which became RFA LIMELEAF) as one of a class of nine similar vessels

October 1915 requisitioned on the stocks by the Admiralty and converted into an oiler

9 December 1916 launched by Barclay, Curle & Co Ltd, Whiteinch as Yard Nr: 539 named RFA OLINDA

22 January 1917 taken on charge a E Dent & Co Hack Watch No 56374 which had been purchased in July 1908 and had not been issued on charge before hand. Sold with the ship on 26 August 1919

17 February 1917 completed for the Shipping Controller and placed under management of Lane & MacAndrew Ltd, London as an oiler transport and renamed BOXLEAF. Base port Devonport

11 February 1917 in the North Atlantic boarded and examined by Armed Merchant Cruiser HMS PATUCA and allowed to proceed



1 April 1917 was in the Irish Sea being escorted by HMS DELPHINIUM

31 May 1917 an Admiralty report on this ship showed she had completed only one round trip during which she had suffered damage to pipelines and required changes to the engine room to bridge deck level. Her boilers required cleaning and scaling resulting in 9 days on the River Clyde for the work – source MT23/808 at the TNA

2 February 1918 at 39°43N 73°08W 5th Engineer James Doyle discharged dead – disappeared at sea

8 March 1918 sailed Devonport in a convoy for Sierra Leone escorted by HMS GLOUCESTERSHIRE

HMS Gloucestershire


15 January 1919 sailed Plymouth for Sabine

2 February 1919 arrived Port Arthur, Texas to load from Plymouth

3 February 1919 sailed Port Arthur, Texas to Plymouth

27 February 1919 arrived at the Clyde from Sabine, Texas

9 March 1919 sailed Glasgow for Port Arthur, Texas

23 March 1919 arrived at Norfolk, VA from Glasgow

10 April 1919 sailed Newport News for Devonport

26 April 1919 arrived at Devonport from Port Arthur, Texas

26 August 1919 purchased by N.V. Insulinde Tankstoomboot Maatschappij (Franz Hoynck, Manager) Amsterdam and renamed INDIA

1921 management transferred to J.A. Stockmans, Amsterdam

1923 management transferred to S.P. Boese, Amsterdam

1925 sold to British Molasses Co and renamed Atheltarn

14 February 1925 arrived at Aden from Alexandria

3 September 1925 arrived at Port Said from Hull

16 January 1926 while berthed alongside at New Orleans suffered a fire which broke out in the fan room. The fire was extinguished with the assistance of shore appliances – ship suffered considerable damage

6 October 1926 berthed at Manchester from Curaçao. Captain R N Cairns was the Master

20 November 1926 at 44°36N 30°13W Able Seaman Gosta Axel Strindberg discharged dead – lost overboard 

30 November 1926 berthed at Manchester from Curaçao with 1 passenger. Captain K Adam was the Master

7 December 1926 arrived at Glasgow

10 December 1926 sailed Glasgow for Curaçao

May 1928 purchased for £70,000 by Nippon Tanker Kabushika Kaisha, Yokohama and renamed  ZUIYO MARU. Owners later became Kishimoto Kisen Kabushika Kaisha, Tokio name unchanged



RFA Boxleaf after being sold and renamed ZUIYO MARU when purchased by Japanese owners


8 March 1929 commenced loading crude oil at Los Angeles, California Union terminal for Yokohama

18 August 1929 went ashore near Okojiri Island

10 September 1929 refloated

20 November 1932 arrived Los Angeles, California from Osaka, Japan

21 November 1932 sailed Los Angeles, California loaded for Japan

22 December 1932 sailed Osaka, Japan for Los Angles, California

16 April 1933 sailed Nagasaki, Japan for Los Angles, California

14 July 1933 from Los Angles, California arrived at Shimonoseki, Japan

28 October 1933 sailed Yokohama, Japan for Los Angles, California

25 February 1934 arrived at Los Angles, California from Osaka, Japan

27 August 1934 sailed Yokohama for Los Angeles, California

10 April 1935 sailed Yokohama for Los Angeles, California

6 July 1936 sailed Los Angeles, California for Yokohama, Japan

20 January 1937 sailed Los Angeles, California for Yokohama, Japan

3 May 1937 sailed Yokohama for Los Angeles, California

21 May 1937 arrived Los Angeles, California to load

13 June 1938 sailed Osaka for San Pedro

29 June 1939 sailed San Francisco, California for Shimotsu

2 November 1939 was at at Los Angeles California due to load for Osaka, Japan but was found to have engine defects

5 September 1944 sails Manila in Japanese escorted convoy MAMI-10 with seven other merchant ships to Miri arriving on 11 September 1944

1 October 1944 torpedoed and sunk at  16°15N 119°43E by the Freemantle, Australia based USS Cabrilla (S288) (Lt Commander William C Thompson USN) off Olongapo in the Philippines

USS Cabrilla0828804

USS Cabrilla (S288)