August 14, 2010
I am a 17 year old girl living in England and I am doing some research on a long lost relative.
This man is my Great Grandfather and I really hope you can help me to gain some information in him. Whilst doing this I came across your site and a particular letter written to you by a man named Arthur Burland. ("April 1945, aboard Rangitata in the convoy HX-348")
In your reply you mentioned the Empire Gold and told of it's attack by a U-1107 on 18/04/1945. The Empire Gold HX-348 was the ship my great Grandfather was on, as the ship was Torpedoed and sunk I assumed he had gone down with it, but I noticed you mentioned four survivors. I am hoping maybe you have some information on the people onboard and who survived so I can finally put my mind and my families mind at rest. My grandfather was Able Seaman Leonard Tucker of the Royal Navy- P/JX 334738. I would be so very grateful if you could help me learn more of what happened.
I am sorry, but Able Seaman Leonard Tucker was amongst the DEMS ( Defensively Equipped Merchant Ships ) gunners who was lost when Empire Gold as part of Convoy HX 348 was sunk by U-Boat U-1107. Here is that list and the four survivors. Leonard is recorded on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.
HMS President was a shore establishment near London that carried the pay records of DEMS gunners serving in their various Merchant Ships, they manned a gun on board and a few Anti Aircraft guns.
DEMS gunners Portsmouth Naval Memorial
HALSEY, Petty Officer, HARRY FRANCIS, P/JX 228240. H.M.S. President III. Royal Navy. (lost in S.S. Empire Gold). 18th April 1945. Age 29. Son of Francis William and Harriet May Halsey, of Tooting, London.
HARDCASTLE, Able Seaman, RONALD, P/JX 395577. H.M.S. President III. Royal Navy. (lost in S.S. Empire Gold). 18th April 1945. Age 21. Son of Crabtree and Eliza Hardcastle, of Thornhill, Yorkshire.
JONES, Able Seaman, ARTHUR HENRY, P/JX 396492. H.M.S. President III. Royal Navy. (lost in S.S. Empire Gold). 18th April 1945. Age 36. Son of Evan David and Mary Jones; husband of Violet Jones, of Walton, Liverpool.
TUCKER, Able Seaman, LEONARD, P/JX 334738. H.M.S. President III. Royal Navy. (lost in S.S. Empire Gold). 18th April 1945.
TYERS, Able Seaman, JOHN KENNETH, P/JX 443856. H.M.S. President III. Royal Navy. (lost in S.S. Empire Gold). 18th April 1945. Age 20. Son of Ernest and Agnes Tyers, of Broxtowe, Nottinghamshire.
DOBSON, Chief Officer, GEORGE. Age 32. Amble.
KAY, Third Engineer, DENIS. Age 24. Hartlepool.
SCHOFIELD, Fifth Engineer, HERBERT. Age 25. Halifax.
SLATER, Junior Ordinary Seaman, TERENCE. Age 17. Whitby.
Convoy HX338, and U-Boat U-1107,
Some details for you about Convoy HX 348, and U1107.
Convoy HX 348 departed from New York on the 3rd. of April and arrived in Liverpool on the 20th. of April 1944.
It was a large convoy of about 82 ships.
On the 18th. of April, at 1015 in the morning U-Boat U-1107 under the command of Kptlt. Fritz Parduhn, 70 miles west of Brest France, attacked Convoy HX-348, he fired a spread of three torpedoes, to sink two ships, the Cyrus H. McCormick and Empire Gold. Cyrus H. McCormick in station #101 was hit by one torpedo on the starboard side between the #1 and #2 holds. Both holds flooded rapidly, the ship settled by the head and sank in less than four minutes. Most of her crew of eight officers, 32 men, 12 armed guards (the ship was armed with one 3in and nine 20mm guns) and one US Army security officer abandoned ship on two of four rafts or jumped overboard. One officer, three men and two armed guards died. An hour later they were picked up by the British rescue ship Gothland and were taken to Gourock.
EMPIRE GOLD tons 8,028 type Motor Tanker nationality BR built 1941 - Furness Shipbuilding Ltd, Haverton Hill-on-Teescompany Ministry of War Transport - Common Brothers - Newcastle upon Tyne voyage Philadelphia and New York to Antwerp convoy HX-348 cargo 10278 tons of white spirits.Master Capt. Henry Cecil Cansdale. Casualties 43 lost from a complement of 47.
Attacker U 1107 date 18.04.1945 time 1015 fate torpedoed position 47.47N/06.26W. Notes. Technical tanker - motor.
8,028 GRT - 464' x 61'
The 4 survivors were picked up by the rescue ship Gothland ( Captain James Murray Hadden OBE ) and landed at Gourock Scotland on the 21st. of April.
U-1107 received her comeuppance on the 30th. of April 1945, sunk with all 37 crew killed, in the Bay of Biscay was an American Catalina aircraft.
The cargo of Empire Gold was 10,278 tons of white spirit, very combustible indeed.
Laid down 20 Aug, 1943 Nordseewerke, Emden .
Commissioned 8 Aug, 1944 Oblt. Fritz Parduhn. Commanders 8 Aug, 1944 - 30 Apr, 1945 Kptlt.
1 patrol 8 Aug, 1944 - 15 Feb, 1945 8. Flottille (training)
16 Feb, 1945 - 30 Apr, 1945 11. Flottille (front boat )
Successes.2 ships sunk for a total of 15.209 GRT.
Fate. Sunk 30 April, 1945 in the Bay of Biscay west of Brest, in position 48.00N, 06.30W, by
retro bombs from an American Catalina aircraft (VP-63/R). 37 dead, unknown number of
14 Aug 2010
Dear Mackenzie Gregory,
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my e-mail and get back in touch. It means a lot to me and my family to know exactly what happened to him. If you dont mind me asking what is your link to these events? I find it
fascinating that you know so much. I also wondered if you had any idea on why my great granddads age and family details were not recorded on his documents?
Unlike the rest of the men he was onboard with. I find it very puzzling. I was also wondering if there were any pictures of the Empire Gold?
The URL: to Empire Gold on AHOY is:
Able Seaman Leonard Tucker of the Royal Navy lost on Empire Gold
I regret I cannot turn up a photo of SS Empire Gold, and also find it strange that there is no age or family details recorded for your grand father.
Here is your Grandfather's Certificate from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission site.
Name: TUCKER, LEONARD
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Able Seaman
Regiment/Service: Royal Navy
Unit Text: H.M.S. President III
Date of Death: 18/04/1945
Service No: P/JX 334738
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 89, Column 2.
Memorial: PORTSMOUTH NAVAL MEMORIAL
He is listed on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial on Panel 89 Column 2, but yet again no age or family details.
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