Non Commemorated Merchant Navy WWII War Dead

Discussion in 'Non-Commemorated War Dead' started by Billy McGee, Dec 23, 2010.

  1. Billy McGee

    Billy McGee Senior Member

    It is unknown by many that the commemoration of Merchant Navy war dead has long been overlooked due to the rules and regulations the CWGC are governed by.

    Hopefully this can now be rectified in the near future. In 2008 the National Merchant Navy Association purchased digital copies of the Deaths at Sea Register 1939-1945 and I volunteered to transcribe these files and compile the names of all those Merchant Seamen who died during the war years who are not commemorated to gain a more precise figure and more importantly have all those commemorated in some form no matter how they lost their lives while fighting for the freedom so many now take for granted.

    After two years and reading through 4,716 digital pages, I have found the names and documented nearly five and half thousand men from all corners of the British Commonwealth who have up until now been forgotten and have no official commemoration. Their deaths range from various illnesses to being washed overboard, falling down hatches, murder, suicide, drowning or just recorded as "disappeared at sea" These names are now to be submitted by the National MNA, who have contacts with the MOD and CWGC in the hope they will now gain some sort of recognition for their sacrifice.

    Below is the full list of pages researched and the number of individuals found, this also included the 314 pages from the 1946 & 1947 register as I found names of individuals recorded from the war years in these files.

    1939-1940 Register 734 pages. 1,033 names found
    1941 Register 1,233 pages.1,035 names found
    1942 Register 884 pages.1,031 names found
    1943 Register 1,183 pages. 946 names found
    1944 Register 395 pages 839 names found
    1945 Register 297 pages. 477 names found

    "We will remember them" :poppy:
     
    Chris C and dbf like this.
  2. chrisharley9

    chrisharley9 Senior Member

    Billy

    I know how much hard work that you have put into this project.

    What proportion of these casualties are actually lost through enemy action as opposed to other causes.

    About time all of those who died in the service of the Merchant Navy in wartime received their due recognition.

    Chris
     
  3. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    About time all of those who died in the service of the Merchant Navy in wartime received their due recognition.

    Chris

    Agreed.


    Billy you should be congratulated on this epic project. Well done and good luck with the submissions
     
  4. Billy McGee

    Billy McGee Senior Member

    Every single one died from circumstances other than enemy action. That is why I had to go through the full register to seperate those lost to enemy action and those by other causes. The idea to have some sort of official commemoration given to these men to show they were serving in theatres of war at the time of their deaths and should be remembered as such.
     
    ramacal likes this.
  5. chrisharley9

    chrisharley9 Senior Member

    Cheers for the answer Billy; I wish you well with this & hope to see more news from you soon

    Chris
     
  6. liamduggan

    liamduggan Junior Member

    Excellent project Billy

    I had been trying for years to track down my great grandfather who died of disease in 1944 but was not commemorated any where becasue he was not killed as a result of enemy action. All we knew was that he was buried in Sierra Leone.

    A friend of my father's was going to Sierra Leone to do some work for their local church and offered to have a look for us. Against all of the odds she found his grave in the care of the CWGC at 'King Tom' commonwealth cemetery in Freetown, Sierra Leone

    His name was John Young and he was a Radio Officer on the SS Bourbonnais and died on the 10th January 1944 aged 44.


    Liam
     
  7. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit

    Name: YOUNG, JOHN
    Initials: J
    Nationality: United Kingdom
    Rank: Radio Officer
    Regiment: Merchant Navy
    Unit Text: S.S. "Bourbonnais II"
    Date of Death: 10/01/1944
    Casualty Type: Non World War Dead
    Grave/Memorial Reference: Plot 4 Row E Grave 13.
    Cemetery: FREETOWN (KING TOM) CEMETERY
     
  8. liamduggan

    liamduggan Junior Member

    That's my great grandad Geoff

    Where did you find that?


    Liam
     
  9. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    That's my great grandad Geoff

    Where did you find that?


    Liam

    :: CWGC ::
     
  10. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit

    :: CWGC ::

    Won't find him there.

    The 'Non World War' dead who are in the care of CWGC are in their database, but not on their search engine. I think they should be. But as their 'charter' does not 'allow' this they don't do it. I have no doubt if you had approached them with an enquiry, they would have responded. But how were you to know they held such records?

    Billy, Good luck with your project. Those who died so far from home, serving in a war zone are not officially commemorated. They have around 500 39-47 Merchant men in such graves in their care.

    geoff
     
  11. liamduggan

    liamduggan Junior Member

    Thanks everyone. It never crossed my mind to even contact CWGC - hopefully there should be some official commemoration at some point


    Liam
     
  12. Billy McGee

    Billy McGee Senior Member

    Geof501,

    I have a full list of all the Non War Dead graves of Merchant Seamen whose graves are looked after by the CWGC. All these graves have official CWGC headstones and are tended to the same as are all commission headstones.

    12thLancer

    Your Great Grandfather is recorded in the register as dying from "Nephritis" a condition which effects the kidneys.
     
  13. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit

    I have a full list of all the Non War Dead graves of Merchant Seamen whose graves are looked after by the CWGC. All these graves have official CWGC headstones and are tended to the same as are all commission headstones.


    Yes, I know, but you cannot find them on their 'Search our records' feature.
     
  14. liamduggan

    liamduggan Junior Member

    Thanks Billy,

    We understood that it was Bright's disease which fits in with that


    Liam
     
  15. Billy McGee

    Billy McGee Senior Member

    Yes, I know, but you cannot find them on their 'Search our records' feature.

    I was merely letting others know what I have on file, if anyone needed a name to look up from this catergory of casualties.

    I am also at present compiling the name of those lost from the DEMS Maritime Regt. and others from HMS President III, whose ships are not listed by the CWGC, which I can find by going through each individual page of the Deaths at Sea Register. I intend to submit this to the Commission when complete and hopefuuly they will update their own search engine.
     
  16. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    Hello Billy,

    I have restarted a history of Buries Markes and have found the following losses from the La Pampa, all due to non-war causes:

    Captain S C Toder - i think you know of this - cause of death stomach ulcers
    Apprentice J E? Lacey cause of death smallpox died about 20 March 1942 'on his nineteenth birthday'.
    Ships Cook Robert Saunders 14 August 1942, found dead in his bunk, cause of death given as 'heat exhaustion'
    Carpenter, I hope to get his name from the Official Log, 17 October 1942. had been 'ill for sometime'.

    I expect you are aware?

    Regards,

    Roy
     
  17. Billy McGee

    Billy McGee Senior Member

    Roy,

    I can only find one of them listed from La Pampa in the files I compiled. James Coulman Lacey an Apprentice from Belfast died in hospital in Bombay form smallpox. He is recorded as being 21 from the records I have. Will have a look through the original documents again when I get chance to see if I can find the others.
     
  18. Billy McGee

    Billy McGee Senior Member

    Roy found Saunders recorded in the 1943 Register. The Carpenter you are looking for the name of from the La Pampa is also recorded in the 1943 Register as having died on the 16th October 1942. His name was Francis George Steele, age 31 from Belfast. He died in hospital in Karachi from "Typhoid Fever"
     
  19. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    James Coulman Lacey in the India, Select Deaths and Burials, 1719-1948
    Name: James Coulman Lacey
    Gender: Male
    Marital Status: Single
    Age: 19
    Birth Date: 1923
    Death Date: 20 Mar 1942
    Burial Date: 21 Mar 1942
    Burial Place: Bombay, Bombay, India
    FHL Film Number: 527409
    Reference ID: 140

    TD
     
  20. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    Empress of Asia, lost off Singapore, from the Master's report:

    On Tuesday 10th February, the Director of Civil Medical Services made an appeal for members of our Catering Department to assist with the medical services in the hospitals. Things were getting desperate in Singapore and it was feared that the native helpers in the hospitals would run away leaving them without assistance. The bombing was severe all this time and my men were really glad to be able to do something, so when the proposition was made to them and the Catering Staff, 147 men, volunteered to help. Unfortunately these men were left behind in Singapore and as far as I know they are still there. I have no information about their having escaped.

    I haven't seen a record of how many of these unfortunates were murdered?
     
    timuk likes this.

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