Empire Gilden

2nd October 2005, 22:46
Ihope the memberes can help me with this one.
i have among my b/w prints, a copy of a photo of a ship with the words

EMPIRE GILDCN BR or gilden, gilocn, giloon.
taken 8/28/42 at anch I take it that means 28 august 1942
US AUTHORITY i think is on the bottom

my problem is that i can not find it in THE EMPIRE SHIPS second edition
nor on line

i have tried to scan the photo but having a little problem at moment but i hope someone will have an answer.
many thanks for now


22nd November 2005, 08:37
Empire ships
Have a look on Ted Finch's site
it could be
Guidon 7044 431 56 10 1942 MOWT
31.10.42 Torpedoed and sunk by U.504 at 30.10S 33.50E.

23rd November 2005, 11:11
Thank you Ray,
I have had a look at the website you mension, It gave me a target to start with.
I also have the book Empire Ships by W H Mitchell and L A Sawyer.

but i have now found a lot more info on http://uboat.net


25th August 2006, 16:23
Hi here is some info on the Empire Guidon built 1942 Grt 7,041 yard Furness S.B.Haverton Hill.Sunk by Sub.U504 30-10s- 33-50e on voyage U.K.To Alexandria crew member George Alvin order of the British Empire 12th April 1943 for courage,initative and Leadership hope this is of some help.

30th August 2006, 13:07
Thanks Rob

Sorry I hadn’t noticed your message until now, I had thought this line was closed. But that bit of info is very handy.


22nd April 2016, 10:24
I realise that this is an old thread, but I am desperately trying to find a photo of the SS Empire Guidon as my Grandad, George Williams, R183723 served on her. Further details: SS EMPIRE GUIDON, O.N.164857: George Williams served on this ship as an Able Seaman from 23/07/42 – 31/10/42. (Returned to U.K. 27/12/42 on Dutch vessel Sibajak O.N. 82255 as a passenger). On 31st October 1942, when on route from New York, via Durban to Alexandria and carrying 7032 tons of military stores, general cargo and coal, the unescorted SS Empire Guidon was torpedoed by the German U-boat 504, (commanded by Hans-Georg Friedrich Poske). Only five people from fifty-seven on board died, which is remarkable, as the ship was circa 200 miles from the coast, but the crew were reported missing at the time. One crew member, one gunner and three passengers were lost. It is unclear how long the survivors were adrift at sea, but records appear to show they arrived back in South Africa somewhere between 3rd and 6th November. Another record states that the 43 crew members and eight gunners were picked up by the Clan Alpine and landed at Port Elizabeth. On the 13th April 1943, by the King’s Order, George’s name was published in the London Gazette as he had received a commendation “For Brave Conduct in the Merchant Navy”, (for saving fellow ship mates even though he couldn’t swim), whilst serving on the S.S. Empire Guidon. He received a personal notification of this from then Prime Minister, Winston Churchill.

George Williams was definitely commended in the London Gazette on 13th April 1943 in relation to the above for brave conduct in the Merchant Navy and should have been issued with an Oak Leaf Emblem by the Central Chancery. Information obtained from: George Williams’ Merchant Navy Continuous Certificate of Discharge Book, National Archives Files BT381/2093 (crew lists and log), T335/61(Merchant Navy Awards File) and www.uboat.net I have copied the full awards file which includes the citation that describes how Able Seaman Williams and Chief Officer Wardale returned to the ship, after the abandonment, and despite the fact it was still being torpedoed, assisted the Master and radio officers who were still on board and trying to escape. Two further torpedoes hit the ship during the rescue and the ship sank.

If anybody can find an image of the SS Empire Guidon I would be extremely grateful!

Roger Griffiths
22nd April 2016, 12:33
As EMPIRE GUIDON only survived for approx three months, together with the fact that photographing ships during WW2 was officially forbidden, I think you will have a difficult time finding a photograph of her.
I don't know if you have seen the official five page Survivors Report given my Captain Burgess on 23 December 1942. It is in the TNA piece ADM199/2142, pages 379-384. It mentions the actions of your Grandfather but does not refer to him by name. I can send a copy if you wish but I think you need to make 3 posts so that you can contact via personal message to give me you e mail address.


22nd April 2016, 14:47
Hi Roger,
That's what I feared, but as this thread started with a member saying he had a photo, it came up on Google search!

22nd April 2016, 14:48
I would, however, love to she the full report. Grandad is mentioned several times in T335/61, but the citation is very brief.