SS Empire Webster


From an email by Mrs Kate Scott April 2006
Update: 11 April 06

Name: Empire Webster

Type: Steam merchant 7.043 tons

Completed: 1942 - Short Bros, Sunderland

Owner: Hall Brothers, Newcastle-upon-Tyne

Homeport: London

Date of Attack: 7 Feb, 1943

Nationality: British

Sunk by U Boat U-77

Position: 36.47N, 01.37E Grid CH 8190

Hartmann U-77

63 (4 dead and 59 survivors). At 02.00 hours on 7 Feb, 1943, U-77 fired a spread of four torpedoes at the convoy KMS-8 80 miles west of Algiers and sank the ships in station 13 and 14, the Empire Webster and Empire Banner.  The master Alexander Roderick Duncan, 49 crew members, one gunner and eight Army personnel from the Empire Webster were picked up by the Canadian corvette HMCS Camrose (K 154) (Lt L.R. Pavillard) and landed at Algiers. Three crew members and one gunner were lost. Many years ago, an old friend now deceased, managed to get a copy of the crew records for me however, sadly they were passed on to a distant relative and never returned to me.


My father, Mr James Cunningham ( younger brother of Gunner George Cunningham) died several years ago and he was always sad that nothing was done to recognise the loss of his brother and the thousands of others who lost their lives in these dangerous missions.  My interest has been rekindled by the Arctic Emblem which has been cast for the men of the Arctic convoys and as far as I believe, Uncle George was also on these prior to his last mission.


George was actually in the Royal Artillery and chose to go on the convoys as a Lewis Gunner. I seem to remember from the papers which are now lost, that he was on the crew list as a deckhand although I am led to believe that this was common practice. The story is told that he had just come off his watch when the ship was hit and the odd thing was that there were actually 2 George Cunningham's on board and both from Dundee, Scotland. The other crew members were made up of Glaswegians, Londoners and Maltese in the main and after he returned to Dundee, the other George Cunningham came to visit my Grandmother as naturally, she always hoped that some error had been made about her sons' death. Nothing was found of George as he had gone to his quarters and as far as I know, no effects belonging to him were found either.


There is another site but I refuse to give them any credits in here due to a dispute over alleged copyright.
They claimed it over an item I received from a member of the ship. His copyright, not theirs, but they would not budge so they are no longer welcome on my pages.


Listed as killed on board Empire Webster


Allen. Walter Thomas. Aged 45. Able Seaman. Tower Hill Memorial Panel 47.
Hutchcraft. Frederick Victor. Aged 24. Sailor. Tower Hill Memorial. Panel 47

Williams. Leslie Clifford. Aged 22. Fireman and Trimmer. Tower Hill Memorial panel 47.