Military Wiki
SS Empire Conveyor
Name: Farnworth (1917–24)
Illinois (1926–34)
Mount Pentelikon (1934–39)[1]
Gloria (1939)[1]
Empire Conveyor (1939–40)[1]
Owner: R S Dalgleish Ltd (1917–24)
Harlem Steamship Co Ltd (1924–26)
CGT (1926–34)
Kulukundis Shipping Co SA (1934–39)
Orion Schiffahrts GmbH (1939)
Ministry of War Transport (1939–40)[1]
Operator: R S Dalgleish Ltd (1917–24)
F Newson (1924)
Brown, Jenkinson & Co Ltd (1924–26)
CGT (1926–32)
Rethymis & Kulukundis Ltd (1934–39)
E Behnke (1939)
H Hogarth & Sons Ltd (1939–40)[1]
Port of registry: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Newcastle upon Tyne (1917–23)
United Kingdom Newcastle upon Tyne (1923–26)
France Le Havre (1926–34)
Greece Piraeus (1934–39)
Nazi Germany Rostock (1939)
United Kingdom London (1939–40)
Builder: Richardson, Duck & Co[1]
Yard number: 651[2]
Launched: 1917
Completed: June 1917[1]
Out of service: 20 June 1940
Identification: code letters OTRW (1926–34)
ICS Oscar.svgICS Tango.svgICS Romeo.svgICS Whiskey.svg
call sign SVAV (1934–39)
ICS Sierra.svgICS Victor.svgICS Alpha.svgICS Victor.svg
call sign DHBB (1939)
ICS Delta.svgICS Hotel.svgICS Bravo.svgICS Bravo.svg
call sign GLTN (1939–40)
ICS Golf.svgICS Lima.svgICS Tango.svgICS November.svg
UK official number 140672 (1917–26, 1939–40)
Fate: Torpedoed and sunk
Status: wreck
General characteristics
Class & type: Cargo ship
Tonnage: 5,911 GRT;[1]
tonnage under deck 4,589;[1]
NRT 3,682[1]
Length: 400.3 ft (122.0 m)[1]
Beam: 51.6 ft (15.7 m)[1]
Draught: 26 feet (7.9 m)[1]
Depth: 32.9 ft (10.0 m)[1]
Installed power: 440 NHP[1]
Propulsion: 3-cylinder Triple expansion steam engine; screw[1]
Speed: 10 knots (19 km/h)
Crew: 41 (Empire Conveyor)
Notes: Laid up 1932–34

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Empire Conveyor was a 5,911 GRT shelter deck cargo ship that was built in 1917 as Farnworth by Richardson, Duck and Company,[1] Thornaby-on-Tees, England. After a sale in 1924 she was renamed Illinois. In 1926, she was sold to France, and in 1934 to Greece and was renamed Mount Pentelikon. In 1939, she was sold to Germany and was renamed Gloria.

At the outbreak of the Second World War she was in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She tried to return to Germany but was captured by the Royal Navy, passed to the Ministry of War Transport (MoWT) and renamed Empire Conveyor. She served until 22 June 1940 when she was torpedoed and sunk by U-122 off Barra Head.


The ship was 400 feet 3 inches (122.00 m) long, with a beam of 51 feet 6 inches (15.70 m). She had a depth of 32 feet 9 inches (9.98 m) and a draught of 25 feet 11 12 inches (7.912 m).[3] She was assessed at 5,711 GRT, 3,589 NRT.[3]

The ship had nine corrugated furnaces with a combined grate area of 192 feet (59 m) heating her three single-ended 180 lbf/in2 boilers, which had a combined heating surface of 7,171 square feet (666 m2).[3] The boilers fed a 440 NHP triple expansion steam engine that was built by Blair & Co Ltd of Stockton-on-Tees.[3] It had cylinders of 27 inches (69 cm), 44 12 inches (113 cm) and 74 inches (190 cm) diameter, by 48 inches (120 cm) stroke[3] and could propel the ship at 10 knots (19 km/h).[4]


Richardson, Duck and Company of Thornaby-on-Tees built Farnworth was built for R.S. Dalgleish Ltd, Newcastle upon Tyne and completed her in June 1917.[3][5] She was allocated the United Kingdom Official Number 140672.[1] Farnworth was used on routes serving the east and west coast of the United States, the Caribbean and West Indies.[6] In 1924, she was sold to the Harlem Steamship Co Ltd, Newcastle upon Tyne and was renamed Illinois.[5] She was initially operated under the management of F Newson. Later in 1924, management was transferred to Brown, Jenkinson & Co Ltd. In 1926 she was transferred to Compagnie Générale Transatlantique.[7] Her port of registry was Le Havre and the Code Letters OTRW were allocated.[8] On 17 March 1932, Illinois was laid up at Roscanvel.[7] In 1934, Illinois was sold to Kulukundis Shipping Co, Piraeus, Greece and renamed Mount Pentelikon.[2] She was placed under the management of Rethymnis & Kulukundis Ltd. Her port of registry was changed to Piraeus and the Code Letters SVAV were allocated.[3]

In 1939, Mount Pentelikon was sold to Orion Schiffahrts GmbH, Rostock, Germany.[5] She was operated under the management of E Behnke.[7] The Code Letters DHBB were allocated.[9] At the outbreak of the Second World War Gloria was at Buenos Aires, Argentina. She departed Buenos Aires on 6 October,[5] bound for Hamburg.[10] On 21 October she was captured south-east of Iceland (65°30′N 22°05′W / 65.5°N 22.083°W / 65.5; -22.083) by HMS Sheffield, escorted into Kirkwall and then taken to Leith.[5] During the voyage into Kirkwall, three of her crew attempted to escape by lifeboat but were recaptured and taken to Methil, Scotland.[11]

Gloria was passed to the MoWT and renamed Empire Conveyor.[2] Her port of registry was changed to London, and the Code Letters GLTN were allocated.[1] Empire Conveyor regained her Official Number 140572. She was placed under the management of H Hogarth & Sons Ltd. On 20 June 1940, Empire Conveyor was torpedoed by U-122 50 nautical miles (93 km) south west of Barra Head, Scotland at 56°16′N 8°10′W / 56.267°N 8.167°W / 56.267; -8.167. Her radio aerials were damaged in the attack and Empire Conveyor was unable to call for assistance. She was spotted by a Royal Air Force Sunderland aircraft, which attacked U-122 and drove her away. The crew of the Sunderland raised the alarm, and the tug HMS Amsterdam was sent to her aid, escorted by HMS Atherstone and HMS Campbell. Empire Conveyor sank before the ships reached her. The crew took to the lifeboats and liferafts but one of them was swamped at launch, killing the captain and two crew. Thirty-eight survivors were rescued by HMS Campbell and landed at Liverpool on 21 June.[5] Empire Conveyor was the only ship sunk by U-122.[12] Those lost on Empire Conveyor are commemorated at the Tower Hill Memorial, London.[13]


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 "Lloyd's Register, Steamships and Motor Ships". London: Lloyd's Register. 1940. Retrieved 30 March 2013. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Mitchell, W.H.; Sawyer, L.A. (1995). The Empire Ships. London, New York, Hamburg, Hong Kong: Lloyd's of London Press Ltd. ISBN 1-85044-275-4. [page needed]
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 "Lloyd's Register, Steamships and Motor Ships". London: Lloyd's Register. 1934. Retrieved 30 March 2013. 
  4. "FARNWORTH". Ellis Island. Retrieved 26 October 2010. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 Helgason, Guðmundur (1995-2010). "Empire Conveyor". Guðmundur Helgason. Retrieved 26 October 2010. 
  6. "Captain George Rochester, 1874-1950". Brinkster. Retrieved 26 October 2010. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 "cargo ILLINOIS" (in French). French lines. Retrieved 26 October 2010. 
  8. "Lloyd's Register, Steamships and Motor Ships". London: Lloyd's Register. 1930. Retrieved 26 October 2010. 
  9. "Lloyd's Register, Steamships and Motor Ships". London: Lloyd's Register. 1939. Retrieved 26 October 2010. 
  10. "21.Oktober 1939". WWII day by day. Retrieved 26 October 2010. 
  11. Kindell, Don. "Naval Events, October 1939, Part 2 of 2, Sunday 15th-Tuesday 31st". Naval History. Retrieved 26 October 2010. 
  12. "U-122 Type IXB". Ubootwaffe. Retrieved 26 October 2010. [dead link]
  13. "Ship Index A-F". Brian Watson. Retrieved 20 May 2011. 

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