RFA Bayleaf (A109)
|Builder:||Cammell Laird, Birkenhead|
|Launched:||27 October 1981|
|Completed:||25 March 1982|
|Commissioned:||26 March 1982|
|Decommissioned:||20 April 2011|
|Class and type:||Leaf class support tanker|
|Displacement:||37,390 t (36,799 long tons)|
|Length:||170.7 m (560 ft 0 in)|
|Beam:||25.9 m (85 ft 0 in)|
|Draught:||11 m (36 ft 1 in)|
|Speed:||15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph)|
Bayleaf was one of four ships ordered from Cammell Laird at Birkenhead in 1973, and laid down in 1975 as the Hudson Sound. When the ordering company ran into financial difficulties, the ships were laid up, and later were offered for sale or charter. The ship was finally launched on 27 October 1981, and when completed on 25 March 1982 she was then bareboat chartered to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and renamed Bayleaf.
She was almost immediately put into active service, and sailed to Gibraltar and Ascension Island en route for service in "Operation Corporate" – the Falklands War – in company with HMS Intrepid. She arrived in the Total Exclusion Zone on 9 June 1982, finally returning to Devonport on 31 August.
In 2001 Bayleaf was purchased outright by the MoD.
Following the reductions to the Royal Navy fleet outlined in the 2010 "Strategic Defence and Security Review" it was decided that Bayleaf would be paid off in April 2011. The RFA Ensign was scheduled to be lowered for the final time on 20 April 2011 at HMNB Devonport.
- White, Christopher J.; Robinson, Peter (2011). "RFA Bayleaf". historicalrfa.org. Retrieved 25 February 2011.
- Padley, Peter (2011). "More Vessels of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary". hmforces.co.uk. Retrieved 25 February 2011.
- Navy News (22 March 2011). "Trusty tanker Bayleaf bows out". Retrieved 27 March 2011.