History of the HMT Empire Clyde:
As “The CAMERONIA” she was built in 1919 by Wm Beardmore & Co Ltd, Glasgow for the Anchor Line of Glasgow. She was a 16,365 gross ton ship, length 552.4ft x beam 70.4ft, one funnel, two masts, twin screw and a speed of 16 knots. There was accommodation for 265-1st, 370-2nd and 1,100-3rd class passengers. Launched on 23/12/1919, the installation of the final parts of her passenger accommodation were delayed due to a strike and she had to be towed to Cherbourg for completion.
(Photos are onboard 1954 North Atlantic shots). She commenced her maiden voyage from Glasgow to Liverpool and New York on 11/5/1921 and between 1921 – 1924 she made several similar Cunard-Anchor Line voyages. In October 1925 she rescued the crew of the burning US Coastguard cutter “CG 128” off New York and in November of the same year collided with the Norwegian steamer HAUK in the Clyde. In January 1926, one voyage had to be abandoned off Ireland due to steering gear failure and she was forced to put back to Glasgow for repair. In August of that year she missed collision with the Cunard liner SAMARIA by only six feet in dense fog. She was refurbished in 1929 to carry 290-cabin, 431-tourist and 698-3rd class passengers. In December 1932 the ship suffered an influenza epidemic and 400 passengers were confined to their beds. It is reported that the ship’s doctor made 500 visits a day to his patients. Between December 1934 and October 1935 the ship was laid up at Glasgow, and from then until April 1936 was used as a troopship to the Far East carrying a total of over 16,000 personnel. In 1936 she was refitted again and on 10/7/1936 resumed the Glasgow – New York service. In 1937 she attended the Spithead Naval Review for the coronation of King George VI and on September 5th 1939 left Glasgow and became the first British ship to enter New York after the outbreak of war. She made 11 unescorted Transatlantic voyages until she was requisitioned as a troopship in Dec.1940. In Jan.1941 she trooped 3,000 men to Suez via the Cape and then shuttled between Alexandria and Greece, mainly with New Zealanders. In 1942 she took part in the training and run up to the North African landings (Operation Torch) and in November took part in the landings. She was hit by an aerial torpedo in December 1942 with the loss of 17 lives, but reached Bone, Algeria. She returned to Gibraltar for repair and thence to the Clyde. In June 1943 she resumed service and participated in carrying the Canadian Tank Division from Malta to Sicily and in June 1944 was the largest troopship to take part in the Normandy landings. In Aug.1945 she was derequisitioned after carrying a total of 163,789 troops over a total distance of 321,323 miles. Laid up as ‘worn out’ at 25 years of age, she was brought out of retirement in July 1948 and refitted by Barclay Curle at Elderslie for use as an Australian emigration ship, with capacity for 1,266 passengers. On 1/11/1948 she commenced the first of 11 UK-Australia voyages. On 21/1/1953 she was sold to the Ministry of Transport and renamed EMPIRE CLYDE and in March 1958 was scrapped at Newport, Mon. Our appreciation to Chris White – for this update published 11th November 2007.
UPDATED 5TH JUNE 2010
Your perusal of this Empire Clyde Association 1954 Blog page will bring you up to date with proposed developments to design, produce and mail (to anywhere on the planet) – an Empire Clyde Commemorative Tankard, that historically records the 1DCLI Regimental Posting to the Caribbean from Liverpool, on the Troopship Empire Clyde in February 1954. The attached image is the latest (5th June 2010) proofing that is underway with badgesonmugs.co.uk Addtional images will be posted when available.
Anyone so interested needs to place a purchase option on this Blog Page. At this time of writing there are approximately 24 Orders that have been indicated (revised 5th June 2010). Many more will flow, as active Association Members advise others who are not internet savvy and are shown prints of the photos on the website.