SS Empire Blanda
|Port of registry:|
|Builder:||Lithgows Ltd, Port Glasgow|
|Launched:||30 September 1919|
|Out of service:||19 February 1941|
|Fate:||Torpedoed and sunk by U-69, 19 February 1941|
|Length:||423 ft 5 in (129.06 m)|
|Beam:||56 ft (17.07 m)|
|Depth:||28 ft 7 in (8.71 m)|
|Propulsion:||Triple expansion steam engine|
|Speed:||11 knots (20 km/h)|
|Crew:||37 plus 3 DEMS gunners (Empire Blanda)|
Empire Blanda was a cargo ship which was built in 1919 by Lithgows Ltd, Port Glasgow as Nile. She was sold to a Yugoslavian company in 1930 and renamed Sokol in 1933, serving until 1939 when she was sold to a Panamanian company and renamed Rio Grande. In 1940, she was requisitioned by the Ministry of War Transport (MoWT) and renamed Empire Blanda. She was torpedoed and sunk by U-69 on 19 February 1941.
The ship was a 5,593 GRT cargo ship. She was built by Lithgows Ltd, Port Glasgow, as yard number 715. The ship was launched as Nile on 30 September 1919 and completed in November. She was 423 feet 5 inches (129.06 m) long, with a beam of 56 feet (17.07 m) and a depth of 28 feet 7 inches (8.71 m). The ship was powered by a triple expansion steam engine which had cylinders of 27 inches (69 cm), 45 inches (110 cm) and 75 inches (190 cm) diameter by 48 inches (120 cm) stroke. It was manufactured by J G Kincaird Ltd, Greenock. The ship could make 11 knots (20 km/h).
Nile was owned by the Nile Steamship Co Ltd and operated under the management of Glen & Co Ltd. Her port of registry was Glasgow. In 1930, Nile was sold to Jugoslovenska Plovidba DD, Susak. She was renamed Sokol in 1933.
In 1939, Sokol was sold to Compagnia Panamena de Vapores Ltda and renamed Rio Grande. She was operated under the management of T & N Coumantaros Ltd, Greece. In June 1940, Rio Grande sailed from Bermuda to Halifax, Nova Scotia to join Convoy HX 51, which arrived at Liverpool on 2 July. She was carrying a cargo of lumber and sulphur. On arrival, Rio Grande was requisitioned by the MoWT and renamed Empire Blanda. She was operated under the management of the Larrinaga Steamship Co Ltd. Her port of registry was London.
Convoy HX 107 departed Halifax on 3 February 1941 and arrived at Liverpool on 28 February. Empire Blanda was carrying a cargo of steel, bound for Glasgow. At 08:18 on 19 February 1941, Empire Blanda was torpedoed and sunk by U-69 south of Iceland with the loss of all 37 crew and three DEMS gunners, having straggled from the convoy. Those lost on Empire Blanda are commemorated at the Tower Hill Memorial, London.
Official Numbers and Code Letters
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