The ship was 427 feet 5 inches (130.28 m) long, with a beam of 57 feet (17.37 m) and a depth of 34 feet 3 inches (10.44 m). She was propelled by a triple expansion steam engine which had cylinders of 24 inches (61 cm), 39 inches (99 cm), and 68 inches (170 cm) bore by 48 inches (120 cm) stroke. The engine was built by North East Marine Engine Works, Newcastle upon Tyne.
Empire Burton had a short career. She was completed in August 1941 and placed under the management of Common Brothers Ltd, Newcastle upon Tyne. Her port of registry was Sunderland. Empire Burton was a member of two convoys.
Convoy SC 44 departed from Halifax, calling at Sydney from where the convoy departed on 11 September bound for Liverpool. She was carrying a cargo of 9,106 long tons (9,252 t) of wheat. At 01:13 (German time) on 20 September 1941, U-74 fired four torpedoes, one of which hit Empire Burton and sank her with the loss of two of the 60 crew. The ship was east of Cape Farewell at the time (Coordinates: ). The 58 survivors were rescued by HMS Honeysuckle and landed at Reykjavík, Iceland. Those lost on Empire Burton are commemorated at the Tower Hill Memorial, London.