Dolabella

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Introduction

Dolabella was launched in 1939 and immediately put into service on WW2 convoys. Her war service was exceptional and she remained with the same company throughout her service life of 19 years until broken up in 1958.

Dolabella
Dolabella - Location and date not known. [1]

Basic Data

Item Value
Type Tanker
Registered owners, managers and operators Anglo-Saxon Petroleum Co Ltd, London
Builders Hawthorne Leslie
Yard Hebburn
Country UK
Yard number 622
Registry London
Official number 167358
Signal letters N/K
Call sign GBZZ
Classification society N/K
Gross tonnage 8,142
Net tonnage 4,800
Deadweight N/K
Length 465.3 ft
Overall Length 483.8 ft
Breadth 59.3 ft
Depth 33.8 ft
Draught N/K
Engines 8 cylinder 4-stroke cycle single-acting (4S.C.SA) oil engine - with 25 9/16” bore and 55.½” stroke
Engine builders Hawthorne Leslie and Co
Works Hebburn, Newcastle
Country UK
Boilers N/A
Power 502 NHP
Propulsion Single Screw
Speed 12 knots
Cargo capacity N/K
Crew Approximately 80 when Stan Mayes was aboard (see crew list below)

Additional Construction Information

The Lloyds Register entry for Dolabella for 1941-2 has the following additional information about her:

  • Machinery aft
  • 1 deck - second deck clear of cargo tanks
  • Cruiser stern
  • Longitudinal framing at bottom & at deck
  • Fitted with echo-sounding and radio direction finding equipment
  • Carrying petroleum in bulk

Career Highlights

Date Event
DateEvent
15 August 1939 Launched
November 1939 Completed
June 1958 Broken up at Hong Kong

Service in WW2

Convoys

Dolabella took part in 85 convoys and undertook many independent voyages during WW2 according to information shown in the table below which is provided courtesy of Convoyweb - see External. Ref. #4.

Departure Convoy/Independent Arrival
Tyne, Nov 9, 1939 FS.34 (Methil - Southend) Southend, Nov 11, 1939
Southend, Nov 12, 1939 OA.34 (Southend - Dispersed)
Independent Galveston, Dec 4, 1939
Galveston, Dec 7, 1939 Independent Port Arthur, Dec 8, 1939
Port Arthur, Dec 13, 1939 Independent Halifax, Dec 23, 1939
Halifax, Dec 27, 1939 HXF.14 (Halifax - Liverpool) Southend, Jan 8, 1940
Southend, Jan 19, 1940 OA.75G (Southend - to OG 15)
Independent Port Arthur, Feb 12, 1940
Galveston, Feb 17, 1940 Independent New Orleans, Feb 19, 1940
New Orleans, Feb 21, 1940 Independent Halifax, Feb 28, 1940
Halifax, Mar 2, 1940 HX.24 (Halifax - Liverpool) Southend, Mar 17, 1940
Southend, Mar 26, 1940 OA.117 (Southend - Dispersed)
Independent New York, Apr 11, 1940
New York, Apr 17, 1940 Independent Halifax, Apr 21, 1940
Halifax, Apr 22, 1940 HX.37 (Halifax - Liverpool) Clyde, May 7, 1940
Clyde, May 9, 1940 Independent Liverpool, May 10, 1940
Liverpool, May 28, 1940 OB.157 (Liverpool - Dispersed)
Independent Halifax, Jun 10, 1940
Halifax, Jun 10, 1940 Independent Philadelphia, Jun 13, 1940
Philadelphia, Jun 16, 1940 Independent New York, Jun 17, 1940
New York, Jun 18, 1940 Independent Halifax, Jun 21, 1940
Halifax, Jun 21, 1940 HX.52 (Halifax - Liverpool) Falmouth, Jul 4, 1940
Clyde, Jul 17, 1940 Independent Liverpool, Jul 18, 1940
Liverpool, Jul 27, 1940 OB.190 (Liverpool - Dispersed)
Independent Curacao, Aug 13, 1940
Curacao, Aug 20, 1940 Independent Bermuda, Aug 24, 1940
Bermuda, Aug 27, 1940 BHX.69 (Bermuda - Jd HX 69)
HX.69 (Halifax - Liverpool) Clyde, Sep 11, 1940
Clyde, Sep 17, 1940 Independent Avonmouth, Sep 23, 1940
Avonmouth, Sep 27, 1940 Independent Swansea, Sep 28, 1940
Swansea, Oct 5, 1940 Independent
Milford Haven, Oct 6, 1940 OB.225 (Liverpool - Dispersed)
Independent Curacao, Oct 24, 1940
Curacao, Oct 29, 1940 Independent Bermuda, Nov 2, 1940
Bermuda, Nov 3, 1940 BHX.86 (Bermuda - Returned To Bermuda)
Bermuda, Nov 10, 1940 Independent Halifax, Nov 13, 1940
Halifax, Nov 14, 1940 HX.88 (Halifax - Liverpool) Liverpool, Nov 30, 1940
Liverpool, Dec 16, 1940 OB.260 (Liverpool - Dispersed)
Independent Aruba, Jan 4, 1941
Aruba, Jan 5, 1941 Independent Bermuda, Jan 10, 1941
Bermuda, Jan 13, 1941 BHX.103 (Bermuda - Jd HX 103)
HX.103 (Halifax - Liverpool) Liverpool, Feb 2, 1941
Liverpool, Feb 23, 1941 OB.290 (Liverpool - Dispersed)
Independent Curacao, Mar 14, 1941
Curacao, Mar 14, 1941 Independent Aruba, Mar 15, 1941
Aruba, Mar 20, 1941 Independent Halifax, Mar 28, 1941
Halifax, Mar 31, 1941 HX.118 (Halifax - Liverpool) Belfast Lough, Apr 18, 1941
Belfast Lough, Apr 18, 1941 BB.8 (Belfast Lough - M Haven) Dublin, Apr 19, 1941
Dublin, Apr 25, 1941 Independent Liverpool, Apr 26, 1941
Liverpool, May 18, 1941 OB.324 (Liverpool - Dispersed)
Halifax, Jun 2, 1941 Independent New York, Jun 4, 1941
New York, Jun 12, 1941 Independent Halifax, Jun 14, 1941
Halifax, Jun 16, 1941 HX.133 (Halifax - Liverpool) Halifax, Jun 22, 1941
Halifax, Jul 16, 1941 HX.139 (Halifax - Liverpool) Loch Ewe, Jul 29, 1941
WN.159 (Oban - Methil) Methil, Jul 31, 1941
Methil, Aug 2, 1941 FS.558 (Methil - Southend) Southend, Aug 4, 1941
Southend, Aug 11, 1941 FN.504 (Southend - Methil) Methil, Aug 13, 1941
Methil Roads, Aug 16, 1941 EC.60 (Southend - Clyde) Loch Ewe, Aug 18, 1941
Independent New York, Sep 1, 1941
New York, Sep 14, 1941 Independent Halifax, Sep 16, 1941
Halifax, Sep 22, 1941 HX.151 (Halifax - Liverpool)
Independent Halifax, Oct 2, 1941
HX.151 (Halifax - Liverpool) Clyde, Oct 5, 1941
Clyde, Oct 15, 1941 ON.26 (Liverpool - Dispersed)
Independent New York, Nov 2, 1941
New York, Nov 7, 1941 Independent Halifax, Nov 9, 1941
Halifax, Nov 15, 1941 HX.160 (Halifax - Liverpool) Liverpool, Nov 30, 1941
Liverpool, Dec 7, 1941 ON.44 (Liverpool - Dispersed)
Independent Corpus Christi, Jan 2, 1942
Corpus Christi, Jan 5, 1942 Independent Philadelphia, Jan 13, 1942
Philadelphia, Jan 13, 1942 Independent Hampton Roads, Jan 14, 1942
Hampton Roads, Jan 17, 1942 Independent Halifax, Jan 21, 1942
Halifax, Jan 26, 1942 HX.172 (Halifax - Liverpool) Liverpool, Feb 8, 1942
Liverpool, Feb 14, 1942 ON.67 (Liverpool - Halifax)
Independent Curacao, Mar 9, 1942
Curacao, Mar 16, 1942 Independent Halifax, Mar 29, 1942
Halifax, Apr 2, 1942 HX.183 (Halifax - Liverpool) Belfast Lough, Apr 14, 1942
Belfast Lough, Apr 15, 1942 BB.162 (Belfast Lough - M Haven) Milford Haven, Apr 16, 1942
Milford Haven, Apr 16, 1942 WP.142 (M Haven - Portsmouth) Southampton, Apr 19, 1942
PW.146 (Portsmouth - M Haven) Falmouth, Apr 26, 1942
Falmouth, May 18, 1942 PW.157 (Portsmouth - M Haven) Milford Haven, May 19, 1942
Milford Haven, May 21, 1942 OS.29 (Liverpool - Freetown) Belfast Lough, May 22, 1942
Belfast Lough, May 22, 1942 ON.97 (Liverpool - Halifax)
Independent New York, Jun 7, 1942
New York, Jun 8, 1942 Independent Lynn Haven Road, Jun 11, 1942
Hampton Roads, Jun 13, 1942 KS.510 (Hampton Roads - Key West) Key West, Jun 18, 1942
Key West, Jun 18, 1942 Independent Port Arthur, Jun 21, 1942
Port Arthur, Jun 25, 1942 Independent Key West, Jun 29, 1942
Key West, Jul 4, 1942 WAT.2 (Key West - Trinidad) Trinidad, Jul 14, 1942
Trinidad, Jul 16, 1942 Independent Capetown, Aug 12, 1942
Capetown, Aug 15, 1942 Independent Aden, Sep 1, 1942
Aden, Sep 1, 1942 Independent Suez, Sep 7, 1942
Suez, Sep 11, 1942 Independent Aden, Sep 16, 1942
Aden, Sep 16, 1942 Independent Abadan, Sep 26, 1942
Abadan, Sep 28, 1942 Independent
Bandar Abbas, Oct 7, 1942 PA.5 (Bandar Abbas - Aden) Aden, Oct 16, 1942
Aden, Oct 16, 1942 Independent Suez, Oct 22, 1942
Suez, Oct 26, 1942 Independent Massawa, Oct 30, 1942
Massawa, Oct 31, 1942 Independent Aden, Nov 2, 1942
Aden, Nov 2, 1942 AP.5 (Aden - Bandar Abbas) Bandar Abbas, Nov 9, 1942
Bandar Abbas, Nov 9, 1942 Independent Bahrein, Nov 10, 1942
Bahrein, Nov 14, 1942 Independent
Bandar Abbas, Nov 16, 1942 PA.11 (Bandar Abbas - Aden)
Independent Capetown, Dec 9, 1942
Capetown, Dec 16, 1942 Independent Takoradi, Dec 28, 1942
Takoradi, Dec 31, 1942 Independent Lagos, Jan 1, 1943
Lagos, Jan 8, 1943 Independent Capetown, Jan 19, 1943
Capetown, Jan 23, 1943 CA.6 (Capetown - Dispersed)
Independent Abadan, Feb 16, 1943
Abadan, Feb 19, 1943 Independent
Bandar Abbas, Feb 25, 1943 PA.26 (Bandar Abbas - Aden)
Independent Mombasa, Mar 8, 1943
Mombasa, Mar 12, 1943 Independent Mombasa, Mar 13, 1943
Mombasa, Mar 14, 1943 Independent Bahrein, Mar 26, 1943
Bahrein, Mar 27, 1943 Independent
Bandar Abbas, Mar 29, 1943 PB.33 (Bandar Abbas - Bombay)
Independent Adelaide, Apr 28, 1943
Adelaide, May 1, 1943 Independent Port Pirie, May 2, 1943
Port Lincoln, May 7, 1943 Independent Talara, Jun 8, 1943
Talara, Jun 10, 1943 Independent Balboa, Jun 14, 1943
Cristobal, Jun 23, 1943 ZG.35 (Cristobal - Guantanamo) Guantanamo, Jun 27, 1943
Guantanamo, Jun 28, 1943 GN.68 (Guantanamo - NYC) New York, Jul 6, 1943
New York, Aug 7, 1943 HX.251 (NYC - Liverpool) Liverpool, Aug 23, 1943
Liverpool, Aug 27, 1943 ON.199 (Liverpool - NYC) New York, Sep 10, 1943
New York, Sep 16, 1943 HX.257 (NYC - Liverpool) Liverpool, Sep 30, 1943
Liverpool, Oct 5, 1943 ON.205 (Liverpool - NYC) New York, Oct 23, 1943
New York, Oct 31, 1943 HX.264 (NYC - Liverpool) Clyde, Nov 17, 1943
Clyde, Nov 23, 1943 Independent Liverpool, Nov 25, 1943
Liverpool, Dec 24, 1943 ON.217 (Liverpool - NYC) New York, Jan 10, 1944
New York, Jan 28, 1944 HX.277 (NYC - Liverpool) Clyde, Feb 12, 1944
Clyde, Feb 13, 1944 Independent Loch Ewe, Feb 14, 1944
WN.545 (Loch Ewe - Methil) Methil, Feb 16, 1944
Methil, Feb 17, 1944 FS.1365 (Methil - Southend) Southend, Feb 19, 1944
Independent Sheerness, Mar 1, 1944
Southend, Mar 1, 1944 Independent Southend, Mar 2, 1944
Southend, Mar 3, 1944 FN.1285 (Southend - Methil) Tyne, Mar 5, 1944
Tyne, Mar 8, 1944 FN.1290 (Southend - Methil) Methil, Mar 10, 1944
Methil, Mar 10, 1944 EN.356 (Methil - Loch Ewe) Belfast, Mar 12, 1944
JW.58 (Loch Ewe - Kola Inlet) Molotovsk, Apr 7, 1944
Kola Inlet, Apr 28, 1944 RA.59 (Kola Inlet - Loch Ewe) Clyde, May 6, 1944
Clyde, May 24, 1944 Independent
EBC.3 (Barry - St Helens Roads) Seine Bay, Jun 9, 1944
FCM.8 (Seine Bay - Southampton) Southampton, Jun 18, 1944
Seine Bay, Jun 18, 1944 FCM.8 (Seine Bay - Southampton)
ETC.19 (Southend - Seine Bay) Seine Bay, Jun 27, 1944
Solent, Jun 27, 1944 ETC.19 (Southend - Seine Bay)
Seine Bay, Jul 10, 1944 FTC.32 (Seine Bay - Southend) Spithead, Jul 11, 1944
Southampton, Jul 30, 1944 ETC.53 (Southend - Seine Bay) Seine Bay, Jul 31, 1944
FTC.66 (Seine Bay - Southend) Southampton, Aug 13, 1944
Seine Bay, Aug 13, 1944 FTC.66 (Seine Bay - Southend)
EPM.44 (Portland - Seine Bay) Seine Bay, Aug 25, 1944
Southampton, Aug 25, 1944 EPM.44 (Portland - Seine Bay)
not reported Spithead, Oct 2, 1944
Seine Bay, Oct 2, 1944 not reported
Solent, Oct 7, 1944 not reported Barry, Oct 9, 1944
Barry, Oct 12, 1944 not reported Liverpool, Oct 13, 1944
Liverpool, Oct 16, 1944 Independent Loch Ewe, Oct 18, 1944
JW.61 (Loch Ewe - Kola Inlet) Kola Inlet, Oct 28, 1944
Kola Inlet, Dec 10, 1944 RA.62 (Kola Inlet - Loch Ewe) Clyde, Dec 20, 1944
Clyde, Dec 29, 1944 ON.275 (Southend - NYC) New York, Jan 13, 1945
New York, Feb 4, 1945 Independent Philadelphia, Feb 5, 1945
New York, Feb 12, 1945 HX.338 (NYC - Liverpool) Clyde, Feb 27, 1945
Clyde, Mar 12, 1945 JW.65 (Clyde - Kola Inlet) Molotovsk, Mar 23, 1945
Kola Inlet, Apr 29, 1945 RA.66 (Kola Inlet - Clyde) Clyde, May 8, 1945
Clyde, May 27, 1945 ON.305 (Southend - Father Point) New York, Jun 11, 1945
New York, Jun 14, 1945 Independent Rotterdam, Jun 30, 1945
Rotterdam, Jul 5, 1945 Independent Southend, Jul 7, 1945
Southend, Jul 9, 1945 Independent Antwerp, Jul 11, 1945
Antwerp, Jul 14, 1945 Independent Falmouth, Jul 15, 1945
Suez, Aug 4, 1945 Independent Abadan, Aug 16, 1945
Abadan, Aug 18, 1945 Independent Durban, Sep 8, 1945
Durban, Sep 17, 1945 Independent Diego Suarez, Sep 23, 1945
Diego Suarez, Sep 25, 1945 Independent Abadan, Oct 5, 1945
Abadan, Oct 7, 1945 Independent Trincomalee, Oct 18, 1945
Trincomalee, Oct 20, 1945 Independent Abadan, Oct 29, 1945
Abadan, Oct 31, 1945 Independent Lyttelton, Dec 4, 1945
Lyttelton, Dec 5, 1945 Independent Dunedin, Dec 6, 1945
Dunedin, Dec 14, 1945 Independent

Stan Mayes served on several of the convoys that took place during the Normandy Landings including convoys EBC3, FCM8, ETC19, FTC3, ECC53 and FTC66. You can find Stan's moving accounts of these convoys and his impression of the landings on the Benjidog Recollections website HERE. The link also has images of Stan's and payslips from this period.

Dolabella
Dolabella in the Mersey with aeroplanes destined for Russian loaded on her false deck. Based on the information available about convoys in which Dolabella took part this must have been just before the departure of convoy JW58 that, according to the Warsailors website - External Ref. #6, left the assembly point at Loch Ewe (on the North-West coast of Scotland between the Isle of Skye and Ullapool) on 27 March 1944 and arrived at Kola Inlet (Murmansk) in Russia on 4 April 1944; Dolabella was at station #43. There were no merchant ships lost on this convoy but the escorts sank four U-boats by various means including aircraft and 'Hedgehog' attacks.[2]
Dolabella
This is a close-up of some of the planes on deck shown in the previous image. [2]

Crew List May 1944

Dolabella Dolabella Dolabella Dolabella
The above four images show the crew list at the time Stan Mayes joined the ship in May 1944. His name appears at position #21. [2]

Service post WW2

It is generally understood that after the war Dolabella returned to her work of transporting oil with Anglo-Saxon Petroleum and this is confirmed by the following newspaper reports.

Singapore 1950 - A Near Miss

Dolabella was berthed near the tanker Langula which had an explosion on board causing two deaths and 10 serious injuries. Fortunately Dolabella was moved away safely before the ensuing fire could spread.

Dolabella Dolabella
This is a cutting from the Examiner - Launceston Tasmania on Tuesday 18 April 1950. [4]

Brits 1 - Iranians 0

The following report that appeared in The Courier-Mail (Brisbane) in June 1951 describes how Dolabella got caught up in a dispute between the Iranians and the British. The angle taken by the Americans is interesting - "Another Russian plot!". Perhaps it was?

British protest on 'sabotage' plan

Persians warned on staff

LONDON, June 25 (A.A.P.).

The British Ambassador to Teheran (Sir Francis Shepherd) has protested to the Persian Govern ment against a proposed now sabotage law. He said that if the law were passed it inevitably would re sult in mass resignations by the British staff on the oilfields. Sir Francis Shepherd said the terms of the proposed law were discriminatory against oil company employees. The law would make oil technicians liable to punishment for mishaps during refining operations. The Persian Prime Minister (Mohammed Mossadeq) has asked the Persian Parliament to pass the law as a matter of urgency. It provides for trial by special tribunals of those charged with sabotage. Military courts would try suspects. Those convicted would be liable to sentences ranging from three to 10 years imprisonment with hard labour. There would be no recourse to civil courts.

'It's sabotage'

The three-man Persian Oil Board to-day sent the Anglo Iranian Oil Company's Abadan manager (Mr. Eric Drake) a letter saying that he was guilty of sabotage for 'interfering with the flow of oil.' The letter said he had in terfered by refusing to instruct the captains of oil tankers at Abadan to sign receipts issued by the National OH Company. Another letter from the board gave Mr. Drake until Thursday to decide whether to remain in the employ of the oil company.

Tanker slips out

Meanwhile, about 25 tankers are held up at Abadan. The British tanker Dolabella yesterday gave the Persians the slip at Abadan and headed out to sea. A spokesman of the Anglo Saxon Petroleum Company, owners of the Dolabella, said the tanker was on its way to Australia. It would call at Singapore. Persian Custom officers cleared the Dolabella by mistake before they asked the captain to sign their new receipt saying the oil was from the Iranian National Oil Company. Mr. Drake refused to recall the Dolabella.

Plan by Russia

SYDNEY, Monday. — The American United Press president (Mr. Hugh Baillie) said to-day that the Persian oil crisis was part of the Russian plan to cut off oil supplies from Britain and America.

The Sydney Morning Herald of 26 June 1951 gave the following "gung-ho" coverage of the same event. It is good to hear that the Gymkhana Club entered into the spirit of things.

Dolabella Dolabella Dolabella
This is a cutting from the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald of 26 June 1951. [3]
Dolabella
This is is another postcard image showing Dolabella. The date and location not known. [2]

Image Credits

  1. From the website owner's photo collection
  2. By courtesy of Stan Mayes
  3. By courtesy of the Sydney Morning Herald
  4. By courtesy of The Examiner - Launceston Tasmania