MV Empire Bede
Empire Bede was a 6,959 GRT cargo ship which was built by G M Harland & Wolff Ltd, Glasgow in 1942 for the Ministry of War Transport (MoWT). She had a short career, being damaged by a torpedo and then sunk by gunfire on 18 August 1942.
|Class and type:||Cargo ship|
|Owner:||Ministry of War Transport|
|Operator:||Hain Steamship Co Ltd|
|Port of registry:||
|Builder:||Harland & Wolff Ltd, Glasgow|
|Launched:||6 January 1942|
|Completed:||31 March 1942|
|Fate:||Torpedoed, then sunk by gunfire on 18 August 1942|
|Length:||432 ft 7 in (131.85 m)|
|Beam:||56 ft 3 in (17.15 m)|
|Depth:||34 ft 3 in (10.44 m)|
|Propulsion:||One 4SCSA oil engine, 490 hp (370 kW)|
|Speed:||14 knots (26 km/h)|
|Crew:||37, plus 6 DEMS gunners and 2 signalmen|
Empire Bede was built by Harland & Wolff Ltd, Glasgow. She was yard number 1049. Empire Bede was launched on 6 January 1942 and completed on 31 March. She was 432 feet 7 inches (131.85 m) long, with a beam of 56 feet 3 inches (17.15 m) and a depth of 34 feet 3 inches (10.44 m). Her GRT was 6,959 with a NRT of 4,201.
Empire Bede had a short career, she was a member of two convoys.
- OS 25
After leaving the convoy off Freetown, Empire Bede delivered her cargo to Aden and Port Said, Egypt. She then sailed to Port Sudan where a load of cotton was taken aboard. Empire Bede sailed to Cape Town and then departed for New York. On 1 August she picked up 25 survivors from the Clan Line ship SS Clan MacNaughton, which had been torpedoed and sunk by U-155. They were landed at Port of Spain, Trinidad on 5 August.
- TAW 13
Convoy TAW 13 departed from Trinidad on 12 August 1942 and arrived at Key West, Florida on 23 August. Empire Bede carried the Vice-Commodore. The convoy headed for the Panama Canal at 5 knots (9.3 km/h) to rendezvous with other ships that were to join the convoy there. At 04:00 British Double Summer Time (06:00 German time) on 12 August, Empire Bede was struck by a torpedo fired by U-553, under the command of Kapitänleutnant Karl Thurmann. Two crew were killed. Her position was 19°35′N 76°25′W. The other 35 crew, six DEMS gunners and two signalmen were picked up by HMS Pimpernel, which later sank Empire Bede by gunfire at 19°41′N 76°50′W. The rescued crew were landed at Santiago de Cuba. Those lost on Empire Bede are commemorated at the Tower Hill Memorial, London.
Official Numbers and Code Letters
Official Numbers were a forerunner to IMO Numbers. Empire Bede had the UK Official Number 1687091 and the Code Letters BCVC.
Empire Bede was propelled by a four-stroke Single Cycle, Single Action diesel engine which had six cylinders of 29 3⁄8 inches (750 mm) diameter by 59 3⁄16 inches (1,503 mm) stroke. It was built by Harland & Wolff. The engine could propel the ship at a speed of 14 knots (26 km/h).
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