Requisitioned Auxiliary – Empire Gold

 

 

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Official Number:                    164843

Builder:                                   Furness Shipbuilding Co Ltd., Haverton Hill on Tees              

Launched:                              4 October 1940

Into Service:                           February 1941

Out of service:                       18 April 1945

Fate:                                        Torpedoed and sunk

Items of historic interest involving this ship: –

 

Background Data:  One of a group of additional ships requisitioned by the Admiralty to augment the ships of the RFA

Career Data:

23 November 1939 keel laid

4 October 1940 launched by Furness Shipbuilding Co Ltd., Haverton Hill on Tees as Yard Nr: 325 named Empire Gold for the MoWT

February 1941 completed, under management of Common Bros. Ltd., London and requisitioned for Admiralty service as an oiler and served as an Escort Oiler, name unchanged

3 February 1941 sailed the Tyne in convoy FN398 to Methil arriving the next day

6 February 1941 sailed Methil in convoy EN68/1 to Loch Ewe arriving 9 February 1941

4 March 1941 arrived at Trinidad having sailed independently

18 March 1941 sailed Trinidad independently to Halifax arriving 28 March 1941

31 March 1941 sailed Halifax in escorted convoy HX118 with a cargo of petrol to Avonmouth arriving 21 April 1941

3 May 1941 sailed Avonmouth independently to Milford Haven arriving 5 May 1941

6 May 1941 sailed Milford Haven and joined convoy OB319 from Liverpool until dispersal on 13 May 1941 at 61N 35W and then independently to Aruba arriving 1 June 1941

4 June 1941 sailed Aruba independently to Halifax arriving 13 June 1941

20 June 1941 sailed Halifax with a cargo of petrol in escorted convoy HX134 to Loch Ewe arriving 10 July 1941

18 July 1941 arrived Belfast Lough having sailed independently from Loch Ewe

19 July 1941 sailed Belfast Lough in escorted convoy BB50 to Avonmouth arriving 21 July 1941

29 September 1941 sailed Avonmouth independently to Milford Haven arriving 1 October 1941

1 October 1941 sailed Milford Haven joining escorted convoy ON22 from Liverpool until it dispersed on 15 October 1941 and then sailed independently to New York arriving 19 October 1941. RFA OLYNTHUS also sailed in this convoy

24 October 1941 sailed New York independently to Halifax arriving 27 October 1941

28 October 1941 sailed Halifax in escorted convoy HX157 to Belfast Lough arriving 12 November 1941

14 November 1941 sailed Belfast Lough in escorted convoy BB100 to Milford Haven arriving the next day

16 November 1941 sailed Milford Haven in unescorted convoy WP67 to Plymouth arriving 18 November 1941

19 November 1941 sailed Plymouth independently to Falmouth arriving the same day

16 December 1941 sailed Falmouth joining unescorted convoy PW81 to Milford Haven arriving the next day

18 December 1941 sailed Milford Haven joining escorted convoy ON48 from Liverpool until dispersal on the 31 December 1941 and then independently to Port Arthur arriving 11 January 1942

16 January 1942 sailed Beaumont independently to Halifax arriving 27 January 1942

1 February 1942 sailed Halifax in escorted convoy HX173 to Milford Haven arriving 13 February 1942

20 February 1942 sailed the Clyde independently to Belfast Lough arriving the same day

5 March 1942 sailed Belfast Lough joining in escorted convoy OS21 to Galveston arriving 1 April 1942

21 March 1942 came under fire from a submarine and transmitted a SSS message when at 27.11N 48.35W

26 July 1942 arrived at Aruba escorted by USS YMS-56

27 November 1942 sailed New York in escorted convoy HX217 to St Johns, Newfoundland with a cargo of AVGAS arriving 5 December 1942. Reported in the Admiralty War Diary of  4 December 1942 on page 545 that she suffered a steering defect. A number of ships in convoy HX217 suffered heavy weather damage

10 December 1942 sailed St. Johns, Newfoundland in escorted convoy HX218 to Belfast Lough arriving 20 December 1942 with a cargo of Avgas

20 December 1942 sailed Belfast Lough in unescorted convoy BB247 to Milford Haven arriving 22 December 1942

27 December 1942 sailed Milford Haven independently to Swansea arriving the next day

10 January 1943 sailed Swansea independently to Milford Haven arriving the same day

11 January 1943 sailed Milford Haven independently to Belfast Lough arriving the next day

13 January 1943 sailed Belfast Lough in escorted convoy ON161 to New York arriving 31 January 1943

7 February 1943 sailed New York in escorted convoy UGS5 to Oran arriving 26 February 1943

21 February 1943 the Registrar of Shipping was requested to re-register the ship as Eppingdale for transfer to the Director of Stores, Admiralty for manning and management but the transfer was cancelled and her name was retained as Empire Gold

3 March 1943 sailed Oran in escorted convoy TE17 to  Algiers arriving 5 March 1943

8 March 1943 sailed Algiers in escorted convoy ET13 to Oran arriving the next day

3 January 1945 sailed Hampton Roads in convoy UGS66 to Gibraltar but put back into Hampton Roads with engine defects arriving 5 January 1945 – source the ships log of USS Earle (DD635) of 4 January 1945 page #393

23 January 1945 at the US Marine Hospital, Norfolk Bosun Gunnar Gottfrid Gustfarson discharged dead from lung cancer

8 March 1945 at sea at 36.03N 01.14W Pumpman George Curtis discharged dead due to respiratory failure from gasoline fumes

18 April 1945 torpedoed and damaged by U1107 W of the Bay of Biscay in position 47.47N 06.25W while on passage from Philadelphia and New York to Antwerp in convoy HX348 carrying 10,278t of motor spirit. She caught fire, broke in two and both halves sank with the loss of forty three lives. Four survivors were rescued by the Rescue Ship Gothland and landed at Greenock three days later. The four who were rescued were Chief Officer George Dobson, Third Engineer Officer Denis Kay, Fifth Engineer Officer Herbert Schofield and Junior Ordinary Seaman Terence Slater

Of those lost, the ship’s Master – Captain Henry Cecil Cansdale

 H C CANSDALE

Captain Henry Cecil Cansdale

is buried in Pornic War Cemetery, Loire Atlantic, France in grave 1.G.1

 

Cansdale HC

 

Courtesy and © of The War Graves Photographic Project

 

and thirty seven are remembered with pride on the Tower Hill Memorial. The ships five DEMS gunners who were also lost are recorded with pride on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial

 

Empire Gold

Notes: 

She was the last EMPIRE ship to be lost to enemy action in WW2