SS Empire Arnold

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Name: Empire Arnold
Owner: Ministry of War Transport
Operator: Sir R Ropner & Co Ltd
Port of registry: United Kingdom West Hartlepool
Builder: William Gray & Co Ltd, West Hartlepool
Yard number: 1127
Launched: 6 March 1942
Completed: May 1942
Out of service: 4 August 1942
Identification: UK Official Number 168939
Code letters BDSV
Fate: Torpedoed and sunk by U-155, 4 August 1942
General characteristics
Tonnage: 7,045 GRT
Length: 431 feet 5 inches (131.50 m)
Beam: 56 feet 3 inches (17.15 m)
Depth: 35 feet 2 inches (10.72 m)
Propulsion: 1 x triple expansion steam engine (W Gray & Co) 510 horsepower (380 kW)
Complement: 51 crew (plus 8 DEMS gunners)

Empire Arnold was a 7,045 ton cargo ship which was built in 1942 for the Ministry of War Transport. Launched in March and completed in May, she was torpedoed by U-155 on 4 August 1942.


Empire Arnold was built by William Gray & Co Ltd, West Hartlepool.[1] She was yard number 1127 and launched on 6 March 1942 and completed in May 1942.[2] Empire Arnold was built for the Ministry of War Transport and managed by Sir R Ropner & Co Ltd.[1]

Empire Arnold was a member of Convoy ON 99, which sailed from Liverpool on 29 May 1942 and arrived in Boston on 12 June. Empire Arnold was in ballast for this journey. On 11 June, Empire Arnold lost the convoy in thick fog at 05:30, regaining the convoy at 17:00.[3]


On 4 August 1942, Empire Arnold was a member of Convoy EF 6, which was sailing from New York via Trinidad and Cape Town and then through the Suez Canal to Alexandria. She was carrying 10,000 tons of cargo including aircraft and tanks.[4] At 16:15 hrs CET,[5] Empire Arnold was torpedoed and sunk at in the Atlantic off the South American coast (10°45′N 52°30′W / 10.75°N 52.5°W / 10.75; -52.5) by U-155, captained by Adolf Piening. Nine crew members were killed and the captain (Frederick Tate) was taken prisoner. The 49 surviving crew members and two passengers were rescued by the Norwegian ship SS Dalvanger. They were landed in Georgetown, British Guiana on 14 August. Tate was landed at Lorient on 15 September and interned at Milag Nord POW camp, Westertimke.[4] During his time as a POW, Tate was a signatory to a document praising the Pilots of the Panama Canal system for their efficiency, courtesy and reliabiliy in assisting ships passing through the canal.[6]

Official number and code letters

Official Numbers were a forerunner to IMO Numbers.

Empire Arnold had the UK Official Number 168939 and used the Code Letters BDSV.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "LLOYD'S REGISTER, STEAMERS & MOTORSHIPS". Plimsoll Ship Data. Retrieved 7 January 2008. 
  2. ""1168939"" (subscription required). Miramar Ship Index. R.B. Haworth. Retrieved 7 January 2008. 
  3. "CONVOY ON 99". Warsailors. Retrieved 7 January 2008. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Empire Arnold". Retrieved 7 January 2008. 
  5. "EMPIRE ARNOLD".;nr=17. Retrieved 7 January 2008. 
  6. "Tribute to Panama Canal Pilots by Allied Master Mariners held as Prisoners of War at Marlag and Milag Nord during World War II by Nazi Germany". United States Merchant Marine. Retrieved 7 January 2008.