Fathers War Service WW2-Merchant Navy


Just joined this site and need help finding information on the movement of a merchant ship the HMT Empire Pride.

This was a troopship registered in UK,Bibby Brothers Liverpool,its ID was 168687,I have found its service history via the

British National Archives,Kew,Surry England but it stops at 1945,my fathers Cessation of Sea Service and Termination of

War Service was on 9th April 1948.

He was in and out of Australia during the war trooping and I am looking for information on this ships movements after 1945 and I know it went to Japan in 1946 with NZ J Force members,he signed on in Liverpool 10/01/1947 and discharged on 13/02/1948.

He told us he was in Hiroshima and Nagasaki at some point,he had photos and lots of Japanese souvenirs,it must of

been with the Empire Pride and need help on where to look in Australia,UK has no record after 1945.But I have his

discharge book,but not destinations or ports of call,can anyone direct me where to look please.

Kind Regards Bill Bennett

Views: 562

Comment by Debra on May 9, 2013 at 19:09

Hi Bill,

For obvious reasons, ship movements were not reported during the war, but there are a number of articles here which are post-war  http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/result?q=%22empire+pride%22&l...

Scroll down past the first five articles as they are not applicable.  In the left hand menu you can refine your search to specific years.


Comment by William Bennett on May 10, 2013 at 17:22

Hello Debra,

Thank you for answering my post,my problem is that British War Service Records stop in 1945,my father was still on active service until 1948,i need the 3 year gap,he died in 1987 and was getting the War Veterans Pension which was taken from my Mother,it went to the High Court in UK and they said there was no evidence he was in Japan,he was'ent until he signed on theHMT Empire Pride from the HMT Georgic,the fact it was HMT and not MV means he was still on War Service until 1948.

The only troops in Japan were the Americans and the BCOF including J Force from NZ and the Australians,the record must be in Australia,its not in the UK or NZ.

Kind Regards Bill

Comment by William Bennett on May 10, 2013 at 17:24

Sorry but forgot to say that I tried the link you gave me but it just confuses me not knowing where to look.

Regards Bill

Comment by William Bennett on May 12, 2013 at 12:40


Looks like it could of been on the HMT Georgic when he visited Japan,maybe not the HMT Empire Pride?

He was on the Georgoc from 30/07/1945 until 09/12/1946,then,the Empire Pride from 10/01/1947,may be looking at the wrong ship,all i know is that it was after the A Bomb was dropped.

Regards Bill

Comment by Debra on May 18, 2013 at 23:32

Hi Bill,

Trove has a few mentions of the 'Empire 'Pride', of most interest is this one - first British troops to return to England in June 1946 on the Empire Pride - but as you say, a little early for your father.


I suggest that for movements of these ships that you have a look at the British newspapers.  This site is subscription based but you get some free credits when you sign up http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/

'The Times' archived newspapers and Gale databases of regional UK newspapers can be accessed at many libraries in the UK and Australia and some provide online access at home for library members. Here is an article about getting access in the UK with examples of some of the libraries http://www.uk-family-history.com/TheTimes.html  or just have a chat to your local library.

Just having a quick look at the shipping columns, I can see mentions of the Georgic:

August 1945, Liverpool to Port Said

Sep 1945, 6000 troops arrive at Liverpool from the Middle East and Central Mediterranean

Oct 1945, troops arrive in Liverpool from India and Burma

Dec 1945, troops arrive in Liverpool from the Far East

Mar 1946, 5000 troops from Bombay in quarantine at Liverpool due to smallpox onboard

Aug 1946, troops for Bombay from Liverpool

Nov 1946, Liverpool to Singapore and Bombay

Dec 1946, Bombay to Liverpool, then Liverpool to Durban


Comment by William Bennett on May 19, 2013 at 8:50

Hello Debra,

Thank you for taking the time and trouble looking into this,I spend a good 12 to 15 hours on this at any given time,just trawling through Google and the archives for every newspaper i can find in Aus or NZ,i dont look into UK news archives much,but,i will now.Thank You.

Regards Bill

Comment by Amanda Bennett on November 8, 2013 at 1:11
Hey Uncle Bill :)

What are the chances of my finding this post?! Was chatting to my Dad about Grandad's war and post war service as studying WWI & II as part of my History degree. Thought I'd do a bit of searching to see if I could find any more info and this was the first thing that popped up on Google. I have access to quite a few records archives through my course so I will have a trawl through them for any more info when I have a spare moment. Hope you're well, all good here in the UK. Love Manda xx
Comment by William Bennett on November 8, 2013 at 10:17

Hello Amanda,

Yes,what a coincidence,I have been looking into Dad's War Service since he died in 1986?

Mum was very upset with the British Government when they told her there were no records of his trooping in Japan after the war.Mum always thought his cancer was radiation related,I'm not so sure though.

But it was either the Empire Pride or the Georgic,they were the only two ships he served on after the atom bombs were dropped.

Obviously he was not there before that or it would of been as a POW,so it was one of these two,I suspect the HMT Georgic,he told me he was there and I believe that before I believe the British Gov,he was a POW once, but by the allies, after he was sunk in the Mediterranean,he was on a Polish or Dutch registered ship,it was a formality.

Was the Costa Rica sinking off Crete I think,not sure,but could of been the Kosciusko as his discharge papers show him being discharged in Oman for that one??

There maybe some photos of Dad as a teenager on the Costa Rica,he signed up for that one on 13/12/40 out of Liverpool so he was 18 yrs old,this was Stuka Divebombed during the evacuation of Crete and sunk on 27/7/41 when he was 19 yrs old.

There is a nice archive photo of the HMS Hereward,a convoy destroyer coming alongside the Costa Rica and getting the troops (Australian/NZ) off with no loss of life.It is also a tale of an Australian soldier and his dog Horrie,they too were saved although "Horrie the Wog Dog" was injured by shrapnel,thats a ripping yarn about Horrie,you should read it in the Australian War Archives website.

I asked dad if he ever fired a gun,he said only once on the Costa Rica,he said they were hit by wave after wave of Stuka's and all crew members were on deck firing at the Stuka's,here is a link to that story.


And you really should read about Horrie the Wog Dogs escapades in post war Australia,its a beauty this story,if it wasen't true you woulden't believe it!..here is a link.


Nice to hear from you mate,I'm alright too,but my cat Moggs caught a snake a few weeks ago,only a baby Guarda,he chewed its tail off while it was trying to bite him,he's a bugger of a cat,very feral,like its owner!

Regards Uncle Bill


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