At the outbreak of the war the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company's tanker fleet numbered 93 ocean-going tankers.

By the end of the war nearly half of these ships were lost and 657 men were lost to enemy action.

PRODUCTION OF CRUDE AND GASOLINE - UK

TONS 

FIELD 1938 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 Total
Hardstoft 100 214 282 190 193 137 69 50 - - - - 1235
Eakring - 2252 14855 22023 18101 20532 21719 16319 14024 13196 12231 15754 171006
Dukes Wood - - - 6002 41342 60150 44944 34335 24417 20582 20267 20298 272337
Kelham Hills - - - 693 20580 28940 21274 15592 12275 10316 8964 7772 126406
Caunton - - - - - 2028 5711 4678 4288 2764 1676 1327 22472
Formby (Lancs) - 679 1552 1084 1082 951 831 568 383 365 290 268 8053
Nocton - - - - - 22 22 - - - - - 44
Totals 100 3145 16689 29992 81298 112760 94570 71542 55387 47223 43428 45419 601553

To roughly convert Tons to Barrels multiply the above figures by 7.5

Therefore during the war years Dukes Wood alone contributed over 1.4 million barrels of very high quality oil to the war effort.

Eakring must have been one of the best kept wartime secrets for it was not until April 1944 that the veil was officially lifted by the Government, having been prompted to act by an 'exclusive' report on the oil discovery in a national newspaper. The secretary for Petroleum at the time Geoffrey Lloyd, and the then BP chairman Sir William Fraser, later to become Lord Strathalmond, hosted a visit by Fleet Street journalists to the operations centre at Eakring. Mr Lloyd commented: "This oilfield like Britain, is small but of the highest quality, it yields a whole range of refinery petroleum products. Milk and oil from the same field is the slogan here. This oilfield came into operation just when we needed every ton of oil to carry this country through the crisis of the war. These were supplies that the U-boats could never sink."

Good quality oil

Oil from Eakring and Dukes Wood was of very high quality and superior to Middle Eastern Oil. After it was refined it was found to be particularly suited to the Rolls Royce Merlin Engine, the engine extensively used by most of the Royal Air Force's high performance Fighters and Bombers.  

Above: Oil from Eakring and Dukes Wood was exported to the Pumpherston Refinery, near Edinburgh, via rail sidings at Bilsthorpe.

Left: A Lancaster bomber over the target.

 

Below: Close. A piece of a German incendiary device dropped on the nearby village of Edingley, 2 miles from Dukes Wood. Now in the Dukes Wood Oil museum.