HMT Empress of Japan

From Our Contribution

HMT Empress of Japan
Empress of Japan.jpg
Empress of Japan in Vancouver harbour. Courtesy City of Vancouver archives CVA 371-1264
Empress of Japan stern US3.jpg
Stern view of Empress Of Japan,3rd Convoy
Name HMT Empress of Japan
Builder Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Company, Govan, Clyde, Scotland
Launched 1930
In service 1931
Out of service 1966
Fate scrapped
General characteristics
Type Ocean Liner
Tonnage 26,032 tons
Length 666 feet (203m)
Beam 83 feet, 8 inches (25.50m)
Depth 30 feet, 7 inches (9.31m)
Propulsion Twin Turbine
Speed 22 knots
Capacity 5,300 passengers


Built for Canadian Pacific Steamships, and used on the trans Pacific routes between Canada and the Far East (Vancouver-Yokohama-Kobe-Shanghai-Hong Kong). In 1942 after the Japanese attacks of December 1941, she was renamed HMT Empress of Scotland, and when the Hamburg Atlantic Line purchased her in 1957 they renamed her TS Hanseatic. Despite being 'renamed' in early 1942, she was still known as Empress of Japan during the 3rd Convoy as told in Peter Plowman's book 'Across the Sea to War'.

Following WW2, the Empress of Scotland returned to service but this time on the other side of Canada, in the Atlantic. She was rebuilt between 1948 and 1950 at Fairfield in Glasgow to suit Atlantic weather, and completed her last trans-Atlantic run in 1957.

As the TS Hanseatic, she was larger and able to carry more passengers on the Hamburg - New York route. On 8 Sep 1966 she caught fire in New York, gutting 5 decks and the engine room. Not commercially repairable she was scrapped soon after.

Soldiers carried

Melbourne to Kantara, Egypt 11 January - 14 February 1940 (Convoy US1)

Fremantle to Cape Town 11 - 30 May 1940 (Convoy US3)

Gourock, Scotland to Middle East 15 Nov - 30 Dec 1940