RFA Laurelleaf


RFA Laurelleaf


Previous name:                       Olalla
Subsequent name:                  Lampas,  Loida,  Foundation Star

Official Number:                      139170                                                          

Class:                                      Emergency Wartime Construction LEAF Group Freighting Tanker

Pennant No:                            Y7.153

Signal Letters:                         JNPH (1919)

Laid down:
Builder:                                    Craig Taylor & Co, Stockton
Launched:                               30 August 1916
Into Service:                            8 December 1916
Out of service:                         1919 sold commercially
Fate:                                        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


30 August 1916 launched by Craig, Taylor & Co Ltd, Stockton as Yard Nr 171 named RFA OLALLA

8 December 1916 ceased to be considered as an RFA

8 December 1916 completed and placed under management of Lane & MacAndrew Ltd, London as an oiler transport and renamed LAURELLEAF

2 January 1917 berthed at Bermuda with main engine defects – white metal bearings required repairing.

1 February 1917 berthed at Port Arthur

17 March 1917 off Southern Ireland subject to an attack by a German submarine – the torpedo missed its mark

22 March 1917 arrived at Invergordon

28 March 1917 arrived at Glasgow

28 April 1917 berthed Sabine, Port Arthur

5 May 1917 sailed Sabine, Port Arthur, Texas with a load of 7,449 tons of FFO

31 May 1917 an Admiralty report on this ship showed she had completed only two round trips from the UK to Sabine, Texas during which she had suffered serious defects to her engine bearing etc resulting in having to stay 17 days at Bermuda, 21 days at Sabine (including loading time) and 7 days on the River Clyde for repair of leaky condensors etc – source MT23/808 at the TNA

1 June 1917 sailed Scapa Flow at 13:00hrs

10 June 1917 sailed Greenoch

26 June 1917 berthed at Port of Spain, Trinidad

5 September 1917 Seaman/Gunner Lawrence Williamson discharged dead having drowned. He is buried in San Fernando (Paradise) Cemetery. Trinidad


Laurence Williamson Gunner

Seaman/Gunner Lawrence Williamson



29 March 1918 at 38°23N 51°2W in a convoy from Hampton Roads to the UK being escorted by HMS BERWICK


HMS Berwick



20 July 1918 at 09.20hrs while in an escorted convoy from Hampton Roads to London ordered by HMS BAYANO to take up station 3 miles ahead of the convoy on the Port side and report anything seen. Returned to convoy at 18.00hrs – no reports

HMS Bayano with dazzle



16 December 1918 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing east

30 December 1918 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing west

15 January 1919 berthed at Trinidad from London

30 January 1919 sailed Trinidad for Falmouth

27 March 1919 sailed Plymouth for Sabine, Texas

28 June 1919 at Liban, Baltic Sea  alongside HMS GALATEA refuelling her


HMS Galatea 1914



14 July 1919 at Reval, Baltic Sea – HMS VINDICTIVE aground since 6 July 1919. Discharged 700 tons of FFO to Laurelleaf to lighten the ship. With the assistance of tugs eventually pulled clear.

15 July 1919 at Reval, Baltic Sea alongside HMS VINDICTIVE refuelling her with 870 tons FFO. On the same day the Director of Tranport & Shipping, Admiralty reported that RFA LAURELLEAF had been sold to Anglo-Saxon Petroleum Co Ltd.

31 October 1919 passed Dungeness

22 November 1919 arrived at Port Arthur from Hull

31 December 1919 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing west. Arrived at Plymouth

6 March 1920 arrived at Port Said from Tampico

29 May 1920 arrived at Suez from Aden

21 August 1920 sailed Abadan for Suez

18 December 1920 arrived at Suez

17 January 1921 at Suez Sailor Wo An discharged dead from burns and shock after an accident

5 March 1921 arrived at Suez from Abadan

6 March 1921 sailed Port Said for Avonmouth

15 March 1921 passed Gibraltar sailing west

22 March 1921 berthed at Avonmouth to discharge from Abadan with 5 passengers. Captain G A Dawson was the Master

26 March 1921 arrived Barrow

19 May 1921 passed the Llloyds Signal Station  on the Lizard when sailing east

19 July 1921 passed Bermuda when on passage to Tampico

1 September 1921 sailed Southampton for Port Arthur, Texas

27 September 1921 sailed Tampico for Gibraltar

19 October 1921 passed Gibraltar when on passage to Alexandria

27 October 1921 arrived at Alexandria from Tampico

29 October 1921 at Alexandria, Egypt  2nd Engineer Officer Hubert Berry discharged dead – accident ashore on railway

25 November 1921 berthed at Curaçao from Alexandria, Egypt

12 December 1921 arrived at Tampico

10 February 1922 sailed Tampico for Boston

11 March 1922 sailed Tampico for Boston

1922 renamed LAMPAS by her owners

17 June 1922 berthed at Avonmouth Oil Berth from Cardiff for bunkers

30 June 1922 passed Bermuda for Key West for orders

9 July 1922 sailed Tampico for LEFO

20 July 1922 passed Bermuda

31 December 1922 sailed Tampico for LEFO

1 July 1923 at a hospital at Tampico Able Seaman Thomas E Smith discharged dead from a stranulated hernia

5 September 1923 sailed Tampico for LEFO

14 October 1923 when on passage to Bermuda passed St Catherines Point

9 May 1924 sailed Tuxpan for LEFO

24 June 1924 sailed Liverpool for Tampico

18 July 1924 sailed Tuxpan for LEFO

27 November 1924 sailed the River Tyne for Gibraltar

9 March 1925 at Marseilles Fireman Wo Far discharged dead from an aortic aneurism

26 May 1925 sailed from Cardiff for New York but had to put back after a fire was discovered in the stoke hold

4 October 1925 sailed Curaçao for New York

16 November 1925 at Montreal, Canada

3 December 1925 at Tampico

15 June 1926 berthed at Avonmouth

20 September 1926 berthed at Saltend Jetty, Hull from Curaçao to discharge

28 October 1926 at a hospital at Curaçao Greaser Daniel Patrick Healy discharged dead from natural causes


D P Healey

Greaser Daniel Patrick Healy

16 June 1927 purchased for £70,000 by Dampskibsselskapete A/S Stokke (N. Chr. Evensen, Manager) Norway and time chartered to her previous owners

9 July 1927 sailed Tampico for LEFO

20 July 1927 passed Bermuda

4 January 1929 arrived at Falmouth from Rouen, France

19 January 1929 sailed Falmouth

1 September 1929 arrived at Liverpool from Curaçao with 1 passenger – Captain C Jensen was the Master

1932  grounded in the River Mersey – tugs Minegarth, Poolgarth and Yewgarth  assisted in pulling her clear. Subject to litigation in the Admiralty Division of the High Court on 24 March 1933 – case (1933) 45 Ll.L.Rep. 259 refers

1939 sold to Compania Maritima Atlantica Ltda, Panama and renamed LOIDA under the Panamanian Flag

23 July 1942 sailed Hampton Roads in unescorted convoy KS523 to Key West arriving on 31 July 1942

1 August 1942 sailed Key West in unescorted convoy WAT11 to Guantanamo arriving on 4 August 1942

6 August 1942 sailed Guantanamo in unescorted convoy CP4 to Cristobal arriving on 10 August 1942

30 January 1943 at 04.50S 81.20W exchanged signals with USS Sampson (DD394)

1952 sold to Foundation Shipping Corp, Panama and renamed FOUNDATION STAR

6 September 1952 as a molasses tanker Foundation Star sank off North Carolina at 34.37N 75.17W having broken in two in a hurricane with the loss of 11 of her crew of 30. Four US Coast Guard vessels and three commercial vessels were involved in the rescue of the crew.



1. In 1926 Anglo Saxon announced a scheme whereby they were prepared to sell, then charter back, a number of war-built tankers. Included in these were the former BRIARLEAF, LAURELLEAF and DOCKLEAF
2. The image above is when the RFA Laurelleaf had been sold and renamed Lampas.