RFA Empire Gull (L3513)

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File:Empire gull 1977 Marchwood.jpg
Empire Gull (L3513)
Name: LST 3523 (1944–47)
HMS Trouncer (1947–56)
SS Empire Gull (1956–70)
RFA Empire Gull (1970–80)
Operator:  Royal Navy (1944–56)
Atlantic Steam Navigation Company Ltd (1956-61)
British Steam Navigation Company Ltd (1961-70)
 Royal Fleet Auxiliary (1970–80)
Port of registry:  United Kingdom (1956–70)
Ordered: 24 April 1944
Builder: G.T. Davie Shipbuilding & Repairing Co Ltd., Lauzon, Quebec
Yard number: 970
Laid down: 20 December 1944
Launched: 9 July 1945
Commissioned: October 1945
Decommissioned: 3 September 1978
Fate: Arrived Santander for demolition, 18 March 1980
General characteristics
Type: Landing Ship, Tank
Tonnage: 4,820 GRT
Displacement: 4,980 long tons (5,060 t) full load
Length: 347 ft 6 in (105.92 m)
Beam: 55 ft 1 in (16.79 m)
Draught: 12 ft 2.5 in (3.721 m)
Propulsion: 2 × 4-cylinder triple expansion[1] steam engines
Speed: 10 knots (12 mph; 19 km/h)[1]
Complement: 63, plus accommodation for 80 troops

RFA Empire Gull (L3513) was a landing ship, tank of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. She was familiarly known as the "Black Pig"[citation needed] and was one of the last serving British LSTs. She was built as LST 3523, one of the Empire Ships, and later commissioned as HMS Trouncer.[2] During the Suez Crisis she was pressed into Government service as SS Empire Gull. In 1970 she was transferred to the Royal Fleet Auxiliary as RFA Empire Gull, serving for ten years before being scrapped.


LST 3523 was built by Davie Shipbuilding and Repairing Co Ltd, Lauzon, Quebec, launched on 9 July 1945,[3] and completed in October 1945.[4] In 1947 she was commissioned as HMS Trouncer.

After spending some time mothballed on the River Clyde, she was pressed into service as SS Empire Gull during the Suez Crisis of 1956. She was operated under the management of the Atlantic Steam Navigation Company until 1961, when management passed to the British Steam Navigation Company Ltd. In 1970, she was transferred to the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and was renamed RFA Empire Gull,[1] and allocated pennant number L3513. She served in the Mediterranean and later between Marchwood and Antwerp[1] and also between Liverpool and Belfast. She was scrapped in Santander, Spain in 1980.[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "RFA Empire Gull 1970 - 1978.". RFA ASSOCIATION, Plymouth and District Branch. http://rfaaplymouth.org/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=1243. Retrieved 9 April 2010. "GRT 4258 ... Marchwood -Antwerp/Zeebrugge runs" 
  2. "Landing Ship Gantry/ Tank". RFA ASSOCIATION, Plymouth and District Branch. http://rfaaplymouth.org/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=180. Retrieved 9 April 2010. "RFA Empire Gull. L3513 (Ex LST 3523, Ex HMS Trouncer). RFA Service from 1970 - 1978" 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "LST (Landing Ship Tank/Troop)". Luton Model Boat. http://www.lutonmodelboat.co.uk/history_lst.html. Retrieved 26 February 2009. 
  4. Mitchell, W. H. and Sawyer, L. A. (1995). The Empire Ships. London, New York, Hamburg, Hong Kong: Lloyd's of London Press Ltd. p. 360. ISBN 1850442754. 

External links