Merchant Navy Graves Ta'Braxia Cemetery, Malta

Discussion in 'Non-Commemorated War Dead' started by Billy McGee, Feb 12, 2010.

  1. Billy McGee

    Billy McGee Senior Member

    Thought this one would fit in this category. I have informed the CWGC

    There are four Merchant Seamen buried at Ta'Braxia Cemetery at Malta. Three are recorded as official war dead by the CWGC, though two of them do not actually fall into this category under the Commissions rules and guidelines for commemorating Merchant Seamen. My concern is for the one that has been overlooked altogether.

    SMITH, Chief Steward, WILLIAM JOHN, S.S. Princess Kathleen. Merchant Navy. 15th April 1943. Age 53. Husband of Dorothy Ann Smith, of Knotty Ash, Liverpool. Div. 2. Grave 25. (Recorded in the Deaths at Sea Register April 1943, p.24. Cause of death. Labor Pneumonia)

    WARRACK, Able Seaman, J, S.S. Essex (London). Merchant Navy. 3rd February 1941. Age 27. Son of William and Helen Warrack, of Kenilworth, Warwickshire. Div. 9. Grave 32. (Recorded in the Deaths at Sea Register March 1941, p.26. Cause of death. Injuries received by enemy action)

    WILLIAMS, Able Seaman, CLARENCE RICHARD, S.S. Don. Merchant Navy. 17th May 1945. Age 51. Son of Richard and Selina Williams, of Goole, Yorkshire. Div. 6. Grave 8. (Recorded in the Deaths at Sea Register June 1945, p.20. Cause of death. Heart failure)

    The fourth Merchant Seaman Raymond Banner is buried underneath Clarence Williams of the SS Don and has not been recorded by the CWGC in any shape or form. The only reason why I found he is there is because a photograph I received shows a separate plaque bearing his name and is placed at the head of the CWGC headstone with the following inscription.

    Raymond Banner
    Born in Scotland
    on the 26-02-1917
    died 28-09-1942

    Remembered by his
    Twin brother

    In November 2008 I was contacted by Allan Shaw a member of the crew from the SS Ohio involved in Operation Pedestal who told me that he and the rest of Ohio's crew attended Raymond Banner's funeral in 1942. His death was confirmed in the December 1942 Deaths at Sea Register for Ohio and a Steward named Raymond Banner from Methil is recorded as dying on the 26th September 1942 at Malta from Peritonitis.

    I think it would be fitting if his name was also accepted for official commemoration as have the other three

    Attached Files:

  2. chrisharley9

    chrisharley9 Senior Member

    United Kingdom
    Civilian War Dead
    Date of Death:
    Additional information:
    Engineer Officer, Merchant Navy.
    Casualty Type:
    Civilian War Dead
    Reporting Authority:
    MALTA, G.C.

    do you have anything on this chap

  3. Billy McGee

    Billy McGee Senior Member

    Hello Chris,

    He is one of nine Merchant Seaman buried at the Capuccini Naval Cemetery, Malta who are recorded as "non war dead" whose graves are looked after by the CWGC. His ship is not recorded.

    AH KWONG, Sailor, Merchant Navy. 12th December 1946. Grave 714.

    CUMMINGS, Able Seaman, R, SS Rallus. Merchant Navy. 20th January 1943. Collective Grave 14

    DINIZ, Chief Steward, MAURIUS, S.S. Derwent Dale. Merchant Navy. 28th January 1944. Collective Grave 26

    DIXON, Ordinary Seaman, ALEXANDER, SS 'Empire'. Merchant Navy. 22nd February 1944. Collective Grave 26

    KENNEDY, Fireman, P, S.S. Brittany Coast. Merchant Navy. 18th July 1944. Collective Grave 29

    LYNCH, Engineer Officer, JAMES, Merchant Navy. 1st March 1942. Plot E Grave 17

    McDOWELL, Cook, WILLIAM, S.S. Avon Coast. Merchant Navy. 24th December 1943. Grave 26

    SLEIGHT, Chief Steward, FRANK, Blue Ranger. Merchant Navy. 5th May 1947. Grave 161

    SUMNER, Quartermaster, NELSON, City of Canterbury. Merchant Navy. 7th November 1943. Grave 106
  4. Hugh MacLean

    Hugh MacLean Senior Member

    Billy, Chris,

    4th engineer James Lynch died of injuries sustained in an air raid at No.2 Strada San Tomaso, Floriana. He was a 26 year-old New Zealander serving on ss ESSEX.,

    ESSEX official number 165362 was bombed a year earlier and I wonder if engineer Lynch was wounded in the bombing attack on this ship in 1941. He must have had reason to still be in Malta over a year after the attack.

    **According to information from glosterman he was injured in the raid on 16 Jan 1941:

    And below from this link:

    Now that ship came in at the time of the Illustrious, fully loaded with ammunition and potatoes and everything. S.S. Essex. It got hit. And 25 of its crew, 18 crew and 7 Maltese stevedores were killed on that day. Obviously if 25 were killed, somebody must have got injured. But what happened? This chap who was on board this ship, James Lynch, died, but he died on 1 March 1942. How do you explain that from January 1941 to 1 March 1942, where was he, what was he doing? My contention is that he got multiple injuries and as a result he could have stayed in hospital for a long time. He is a New Zealander. He couldn’t have gone back to England and then New Zealand, so he may have lingered quite a long time in hospital. If he was steady on his feet, they used to delay, because there weren’t so many planes in those days to leave Malta, and he was living in Floriana, that’s outside Valetta, and he died in a big air raid on 1 March 1942. So the first thing I did was I went to the Public Registry and asked for a death certificate. “Birth not known, 26, died of general injuries sustained on an air raid at No.2 Strada San Tomaso, Floriana, on 1 March 1942 at 2.45pm. Buried in the Royal Navy Cemetry at Calcarro.” So the school he went to, a boys high school, wrote to a friend of mine in Malta, a lady who puts flowers on the war graves every year, and she received a letter from them which said he is one whom we know nothing about, can you give us details. Immediately she rang me up. She said, here you are John, can you answer this letter? And I answered it to the best of my ability. They have 255 names who went to this New Plymouth Boys High School, New Zealand, 227 men, and they don’t know anything about Lynch. And I told them what I assumed happened.

  5. Billy McGee

    Billy McGee Senior Member


    The Essex did not leave Malta until August 1943. After the first attack on the 16th January 1941 the ship was again damaged on the 8th March 1941. On the 12th April 1942 whilst awaiting repairs the ship was again bombed and eventually beached at Rinella. On 21st August 1943 the ship was towed to Algiers and then on to Gibraltar. Left Gibraltar 2nd November and arrived under tow at Falmouth 11th December 1943.
  6. chrisharley9

    chrisharley9 Senior Member

    Billy & Hugh

    thanks very much for all of the info

  7. chrisharley9

    chrisharley9 Senior Member

    I really should have added that as he was killed in an air raid shore there is very little hope of getting recognised as a war grave; however he does have a proper grave maintained by the CWGC
  8. Billy McGee

    Billy McGee Senior Member


    The "non war graves" headstones looked after by the Commission are exactly the same as those official war dead.

    HARRIS, Galley Boy, RONALD JAMES, S.S. Empire Osborne. Merchant Navy. 2nd March 1945. Age 16, of 11 St. Teilo Ave. Barry, Glamorgan. Buried Ste Marie Cemetery. Sec. K. Grave 132. Div. 67. Row L. Grave 7. (Perforated appendix)

    MOORE, Cabin Boy, GEORGE THOMPSON, S.S. Laurent Meeus (Belgium) Merchant Navy. 21st June 1944. Age 16, of Belfast. Buried Dely Ibrahim War Cemetery. Plot 4 Row A Grave 12. (Murdered)

    WATSON, Engineers' Boy, THOMAS, S.S. Bialystok (Poland). Merchant Navy. 16th June 1944. Age 14, of 9 Cavendish St. Glasgow. Buried Bone War Cemetery. Plot VIII. Row F. Grave 9. (Drowned)

    Attached Files:

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