british MOWT - Ministry of War Transport (WWII) SS Empire Lake (+1943)
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nationality british
purpose transport
type cargo ship
subtype/class coal cargo ship (collier)
propulsion steam
date built 1941
is nickname no
weight (tons) 2852  grt
dimensions 97.8 x 13.5 x 5.9 m
material steel
engine 1 x 3 cyl. triple expansion engines, single shaft, 1 screw, machinery aft.
power 255  n.h.p.
speed 9.5  knots
yard no. 1114
IMO/Off. no. 160791
about the loss
cause lost torpedo
date lost 15/07/1943  [dd/mm/yyyy]
casualties  max.31rank: 616
about people
William Gray & Co., Ltd., West Hartlepool (Sunderland)
engine by
Central Marine Engineering Works Ltd., Hartlepool
MOWT - Ministry of War Transport (WWII), London
captain Richard John Sprout
complement 8
no. of crew 29
about the wreck
depth (m.)
war grave
[1] Lloyd´s of London, Lloyd's Register of Shipping
entered by Allen Tony
entered 20/12/2007
last update Vleggeert Nico
last update 22/08/2013
Allen Tony20/12/2007
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Allen Tony20/12/2007Empire Lake SS was a British Cargo Steamer of 2,852 tons built in 1941. On the 15th July 1943 when on route from DURBAN for ADEN & MIDDLE EAST she was torpedoed by German submarine U-181 and sunk. 31 crew lost from a tota crew of 38.
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About Builders
 William Gray & Co., Ltd., West Hartlepool (Sunderland)
William Gray and Company of Central Marine Engineering Works, West Hartlepool, was a shipbuilding firm from 1874-1963. They were the largest firm of shipbuilders in the Hartlepools and also lasted longer than any other local shipbuilding firm. For a hundred years the company ensured the towns’ prosperity by giving jobs to thousands of local people.

William Gray and Co always maintained its reputation for being in the vanguard of technological and technical innovation. The company regularly topped the output for British shipyards in the last decade of the nineteenth and early 20th century. Between 1883 and 1887 the yard expanded through the acquisition of one ten acre site (Central) and a three berth shipyard (Jackson).

Towards the end of the 19th century, demand was for bigger ships which could carry more cargo. This led to the opening, in 1887, of another Gray shipyard at the end of the Central Dock. In 1890 William Gray was knighted. He was active in the civil life of Hartlepool having been the first mayor of West Hartlepool among many other achievements.

In 1896 Matthew Gray died in 1896, followed two years later by both Sir William Gray, and Thomas Mudd. This left Sir William’s younger son, William Cresswell Gray, as Chairman of the company. In 1898 Sir William Gray died. His surviving son William Cresswell Gray became director of the yards.

During WWI output was 30 cargo-liners and tramps built to private order, 13 vessels built to Admiralty order and 30 standard "WAR" tramps built for the Shipping Controller. King George V and Queen Mary visited the yard to boost morale. The yard had a 100-ton hammer head crane which was a Hartlepool landmark until it was demolished in the 1960s.

The Company went into voluntary liquidation in 1962. The various yards were either acquired, auctioned or demolished in 1963.

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Central Marine Engineering Works Ltd., Hartlepool
Central Marine Engine Works of West Hartlepool and Hartlepool
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