John Turner on the Chemical Weapons carrier - The Empire Glade



The story of the voyage of the 'Empire Glade', owned by the Ministry of War Transport and managed by Head Line Company of Belfast. Most of the crew were from the North of Ireland with Captain Black and Chief Engineer Hugh Carson.


The ship left Port Tewfik, Suez, Egypt on the south end of the Suez canal in mid November 1943 for an unknown destination with an unknown cargo - the route was; Gulf of Suez red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean and Australian Bight, Bass Strait and Sydney arriving the first week in January being over a month at sea, without escort all the way.

The ship was ordered to anchor on the seaward side of the boom. This boom was placed across the harbour to prevent Jap[anese] submarines from entering the inner harbour and was therefore still exposed. After tens days at anchor we were ordered to proceed to White Bag. When we approached the wharf we were astonished by the preparation for a cargo we knew nothing about. The dock workers were clothed in protection suits and gas masks. The crew on board ship were still wearing shorts and shirts as we had done during then voyage.

I assume that the gas sent to Australia was gas that was to be used in the Middle East campaign but was never used in the desert, but was intended for the Japs eventually.