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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am wondering if any other old salt is under the misconception of the term ‘Empire Ship” last night while researching the previous names of ships I sailed on I found out that four of the them were Empire Ships and two were Fort Boats. I thought the term Empire meant a ships design, I was wrong as one was a Tanker and the others cargo ships.

Here is what one author wrote about Empire Ships.


The World War II 'Empire' ships covers a wide range of vessels, ranging from tugs, coasters, tankers and cargo ships to passenger liners, both wartime built and requisitioned, and post war reparations ships. Also included are a few ships which were renamed 'Empire' at the time of the Suez crisis.
This directory lists each ship, together with previous and subsequent names and owners and is purely a guide to subsequent research. Managers while under Ministry of War Transport ownership are also given, where known.

John.
 

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Hi John,

From Gordon Mumford's site: http://www.gordonmumford.com/m-navy4.htm

Empire Ships:

In 1939, the British Ministry of Shipping adopted a standard naming system whereby all merchant ships ordered to be built in Britain to Government account, except very small ship types, would be given the prefix 'Empire' to their name. This applied to ships acquired through purchase, requisition, or taken in prize, with some exceptions. It also applied to older ships acquired from the USA, modern ships acquired on Lease/Lend arrangements, salved and refitted ships, and captured enemy ships.

Rgds
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the info Hugh, but Munsford left off the smaller vessels,I reviewed a list of ships last night a 100 or more and they included Tugs, Landing Craft,and even Police launches.
John
 

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The NZSCo and Federal Steam managed several "Empire" ships during the Second World War, these being;
Empire Avocet
Empire Merganser
Empire Whimbrel
Empire Flag
Empire Cyprus
Empire Abercorn (Rakaia)
Empire Windrush
Empire Castle
Empire Manor
 

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John Rogers said:
Thanks for the info Hugh, but Munsford left off the smaller vessels,I reviewed a list of ships last night a 100 or more and they included Tugs, Landing Craft,and even Police launches.
John
John,

Interesting point. I have been aware of the Empire Ships and where to find them all on the web, but I automatically thought that they were all cargo ships and tankers. Looking at the tonnage of the ships they vary quite considerably and it is clear to see that you are right.
I would like to get my hands on the Mitchel & Sawyer book about it.

Another subject that intrigues me is the Liberty Ships.
Both the Liberty and Empire ships were key to our survival during WWII.
It would be interesting to look into the subject in more depth.
Rgds
 

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Hugh
I am reading at the moment the new book out in paperback by Peter Elphick entitled LIBERTY The Ships that won the War. It tells the complete story of the class and is facinating reading. I can highly recommend it.
Stuart Smith



Hugh MacLean said:
John,

Interesting point. I have been aware of the Empire Ships and where to find them all on the web, but I automatically thought that they were all cargo ships and tankers. Looking at the tonnage of the ships they vary quite considerably and it is clear to see that you are right.
I would like to get my hands on the Mitchel & Sawyer book about it.

Another subject that intrigues me is the Liberty Ships.
Both the Liberty and Empire ships were key to our survival during WWII.
It would be interesting to look into the subject in more depth.
Rgds
 

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Hi John
A great deal is written about the contribution of the Liberty and Empire ships during the war and rightly so. But there is another group that is sometimes mistakenly called Liberty ships they are the “Oceans” “Forts” and Parks. In 1940 the “British Merchant Shipbuilding Mission went to North America and orders where given to mainly Canadian shipbuilding yards for cargo ships of 10,000 t.d.w. By April 1945 there had been 456 completed by Canadian firms. There is an excellent reference book called “Wartime Standard Ships” “The Oceans The Forts & The Parks” by W.H. Mitchell and L.A. Sayer.

Ron
 

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dom

John,my understanding was 'empire' was a name whereas 'fort' was a class as well as a name,also the canadian built 'park boats,i did a run from leith to antwerp on the Zinna[venison on the funnel f-all in the messroom] stag line,
she was a canadian built park boat,the only difference was 'fort' boats had a raised f'o'sle head 'park' were flush deck. dom
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Dom,last night I found out that I had sailed on the Empire Sapphire,which was the Esso Saranac when I sailed on her,then I was on the Fairmount Park which became the Montreal City,then the Empire Nigel that became Bristol City,and then the Empire Canning which became the Willesden. I was having a hard time keeping track of their names, they all had at least four or five names after that before being scrapped. It was like Who's on First.
I found a good website for the Park and Fort Boats.
John.
 

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John & Hugh,
I don't want to muddy the waters here, but I seem to recall reading somewhere a description of a number of vessels called "Empire Food Ships", because of their Size, Speed and the ability to carry large tonnages of Frozen/Refrigerated foods to GB from the "Empire" during WW2.
They traded mainly between Australasia and 'Home', and comprised the most modern ships in the fleets of Blue Star. Port Line, Shaw Savill and NZSSCo/Federal, etc.
Could this be the meaning of the "E" word in the posts above, particularly Dom's comment.
Of course the ships sailing for the companies above all were trading under their original names.
David D.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
David, I copied the description in my first post from the History of the Empire Ships and it covered many types and configuration of ships/boats /vessels. Could be a good topic to clear up.
John
 

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dom

without going to far off the subject John it would be good to clear it up,what with all the dfferent types of wartime built,take for instance T2s and victory ships all seem the same but different classs no.s,me i'll just drink to the good old days,cheers, dom
 

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Stuart Smith said:
Hugh
I am reading at the moment the new book out in paperback by Peter Elphick entitled LIBERTY The Ships that won the War. It tells the complete story of the class and is facinating reading. I can highly recommend it.
Stuart Smith
Hi Stuart,

Thanks for the recommendation. I will look into it.

Rgds (Thumb)
 

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david said:
John & Hugh,
I don't want to muddy the waters here, but I seem to recall reading somewhere a description of a number of vessels called "Empire Food Ships", because of their Size, Speed and the ability to carry large tonnages of Frozen/Refrigerated foods to GB from the "Empire" during WW2.
They traded mainly between Australasia and 'Home', and comprised the most modern ships in the fleets of Blue Star. Port Line, Shaw Savill and NZSSCo/Federal, etc.
Could this be the meaning of the "E" word in the posts above, particularly Dom's comment.
Of course the ships sailing for the companies above all were trading under their original names.
David D.
Hi David,

I found this on the net.

Empire Food Ships 1934-1948
by Richard P de Kerbrech

"Empire Food Ships 1934-1948 - A Link with Southern Dominions" describes, in all its aspects, a special era in the shipment of refrigerated produce from the Commonwealth countries of the southern hemisphere to the United Kingdom.
 

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Fort Sandusky

Aldinga said:
Hi John
There is an excellent reference book called “Wartime Standard Ships” “The Oceans The Forts & The Parks” by W.H. Mitchell and L.A. Sayer.
Ron
Ron,

Do you have that book and if so does it by any chance have a photo of the "Fort Sandusky".

Rgds
 

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aleddy

I'm surprised this post has not had a response from any of the Brass with the RFA.
The British Ministry of Defence started building in 1944 replenishment tankers and named the group Empire(something or other), after the war they were retitled and renamed as RFA Wave Class replenishment tankers.
The Empire Herald was renamed as RFA Wave Prince A207, there were at the time and since been some RFA harbour craft with a prefix name of "Empire".
Again during WW2 the MOD purchased from Canada some cargo ships which they named with the prefix "Fort" and titled as Fort Class Stores ships
Regards
Ted
 

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Hello Hugh
Sorry the book is very long on statistics but short on photos. There is an excellent web site on the Canadian built “Forts, Parks” and the American built “Ocean” ships where it gives a comprehensive look at where they came from and where they ended up.

Ron

http://members.tripod.com/fortships/fort_ships.htm

FORT SANDUSKY
Type: Canadian
Tonnage: 7,375grt
Dimensions: 441.5 x 57.2
Builders: United Shipyards Ltd., Montreal
Delivery Date: August, 1945
Owners; Managers: D.O.C.; Ellerman Lines under Admiralty control
Notes: Completed as stores issuing ship for fleet train service and was used a an ammunition carrier.
Post war History: 1949: Admiralty, stores ship;
Broken up Castellon 1973.
 

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Fort Sandusky

Hello Ron,

Thanks for that. I knew about the site but I just wondered if by chance there was a photo. I was thinking about getting the book anyway along with some others about the empire and liberty ships.

Thanks
 

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dom

from www.liberty-ship.com
in the autumn of 1940,britian had placed an order for 60 tramp steamers of about 10,000ton deadweight capacity.the origmal design came from Sunderland,England,and orignated in 1879.this style of vessle had been produced untill the mid-1930s. the last one being the Dorrinfton Court.
the adaptation was from a wartime plan entitled"The northeast coast,open shelter deck steamer",and generally known as "the north sands 9,300 tonner"
the vessles were to be designated as OCEAN CLASS ships.
to much to type.ends.dom
 
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