RFA Eppingdale




No Image




Original Name                         Empire Gold

Official Number:                      164843


Pennant No:                          

Laid down:                                23 November 1939
Builder:                                      Furness Shipbuilding Co Ltd, Haverton Hill
Launched:                                4 October 1940
Fate:                                          18 April 1945 torpedoed and sank


Items of historic interest involving this ship: –


Background Data:  Although originally intended  for Admiralty service, she was never taken over and nor saw service in the RFA


4 October 1939  launched by Furness Shipbuilding Co Ltd, Haverton Hill as Yard Nr: 325 named EMPIRE GOLD for the MoWT

February 1941 completed under management of Common Bros Ltd, London

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 from the UK

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

21 March 1942 attacked with gunfire by a submarine at 27.11N 48.35W – source Admiralty War Diary of this day and reported in the Commander Eastern Sea Frontiers Radio reports

27 November 1942 sailed New York in convoy HX217 to St Johns, Newfoundland arriving 5 December 1942 after suffering a steering defect – source Admiralty War Diary dated 4 December 1942 page 545

21 February 1943 while registered at Middlesbrough and under refit at Palmers Yard at Hebburn, the Registrar of Shipping was requested to re-register the vessel at London as RFA EPPINGDALE for transfer to the Director of Stores for manning and management

21 December 1943 Mr Frederick W Howell RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

23 December 1943 Captain Samuel Thomas RFA appointed as Master

24 December 1943 Registry closed and the ship transferred to Admiralty ownership but the ships Certificate was not delivered up

13 January 1944 re-registered as Empire Gold for the Ministry of War Transport, London. Despite 5 Officers having been appointed to her, the intended transfer was cancelled

7 February 1944 sailed the River Tyne in unescorted convoy FN1259 to Methil arriving the next day

19 February 1944 sailed Methil in unescorted convoy EN348 to Loch Ewe arriving 21 February 1944

22 February 1944 sailed Loch Ewe and joined in escorted convoy ON225 which had sailed from Liverpool but had to return to the River Clyde arriving on 26 February 1944

8 March 1944 sailed the River Clyde in escorted convoy ON227 to New York arriving 22 March 1944. During this convoy acted as an Escort Oiler

12 April 1944 sailed New York in escorted convoy HS287 to Milford Haven arriving 26 April 1944 with a cargo of petrol

27 April 1944 sailed Milford Haven in escorted convoy WP.SP30 to Weymouth Bay arriving 29 April 1944

1 May 1944 sailed Portsmouth in escorted convoy PW515 to Milford Haven and then independently to Belfast Lough arriving 3 May 1944

3 April 1945 sailed New York in Convoy HX 348

18 April 1945 While on passage from Philidelphia and New York to Antwerp, with a cargo of 10,278 tons of motor spirit, she was damaged by a  torpedo from U-1107 in the Bay of Biscay in position 47.47 N 06.26 W, caught fire and  broke in two with the loss of 43 of her crew. Both halves later sank 4 crew were picked up by a rescue ship and landed at Greenock. Some of those who were killed including the Captain Henry Cecil Cansdale are buried in Pornic War Cemetery, St. Nazaire, France

24 July 1945 the ships registration with the Registrar General of Shipping and Seaman closed this day the vessel having been lost by enemy action. The Registrar General was notified that the Certificate of Registry had been lost with the ship.




She was the last EMPIRE ship to be lost through enemy action