Empire Larch was a 487 GRT tug which was built by Goole Shipbuilding & Repairing Co Ltd, Goole. Launched on 30 January 1941 and completed in June 1941. The ship was operated by the Hull-based United Towing Co. on behalf of the owners (MoWT) and was armed under the DEMS programme. Damaged on 30 June 1941 by enemy aircraft bombing off Great Yarmouth, later repaired. Departed Aberdeen on 16 February 1942 with Empire Pilgrim in tow, bound for Blyth, Northumberland. Was towing tug TID 12 on 9 August 1943 when she broke free and went aground at Tarlair Point, Macduff, Banffshire. In April 1944 she was assigned to "Operation Corncob" in preparation for the coming invasion of France and sailed from Hull to join the convoy which collected the vessels which were to be used as blockships to form the breakwater for the Mulberry Harbour. On 6 June 1944 she crossed the channel from Poole to join the Normandy invasion fleet and arrived in the evening off Arromanches (Gold Beach) and assisted in positioning and scuttling the blockships. She ran aground on the morning of 7 June (while still under artillery fire from a German shore battery) and was towed off a sandbar by a US Navy tug. She assisted tug Thames in the tow of Empire Beatrice from Tilbury to Glasgow in April 1945. Sold in 1946 to United Towing Co Ltd (who had managed her under contract from the MoWT during the war) and renamed Masterman. She was sold in 1962 to Brodospas, Yugoslavia and renamed Smjeli. She departed Cape Town, South Africa on 9 December 1962 with Marianella on tow, bound for Genoa to be scrapped. She was scrapped in 1972 in Split. This ship's role in the D-Day landings is the subject of the song 'Shores of Normandy' written by her then Galley Boy (Jim Radford, the youngest participant in the Allied invasion force) and performed by him three times in the Royal Albert Hall in 2014 for the D-Day 70th anniversary commemorations.
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