Tower Hill Memorial New Addenda Section

Discussion in 'Non-Commemorated War Dead' started by Billy McGee, Nov 25, 2018.

  1. Billy McGee

    Billy McGee Senior Member

    Just how many of our Merchant Navy war dead are still forgotten?

    In 1940 the Norwegian Merchant ship Nina Borthen sailed from Southampton bound for the Persian Gulf. The ship was last seen leaving her convoy in a severe storm off the west coast of Ireland and the ship and her thirty-five crewmembers were never heard from again. An empty lifeboat eventually drifted ashore off Dunmore Ireland on the 19th December 1940. Amongst the missing were seven British Merchant Seamen of which six of them were only 16 years old. Eventually German U-boat records revealed the ship had been struck by four torpedoes from U-103 on the evening of 6th October 1940 and sank in approximate position 53° 00'N, 26° 00'W. The names of all the dead were recorded by the Norwegian Maritime Archives, but the British Seamen had somehow been overlooked by the British Registrar of Shipping & Seamen of the day.

    I first became aware of the missing British Seamen as early as 2012 when I made contact with a Norwegian historian living in the USA asking how she had details of these men, yet reference with the British CWGC database showed no trace of them. I passed on the information she had to the CWGC in the hope they would be given official recognition, but it was denied, stating there was not enough evidence to have them commemorated. I was eventually supplied with documents from The National Archives at Kew showing compensation was paid by the Norwegian Government to some of the families of those lost, but this was still rejected by the CWGC. I then made contact with the National Maritime Museum of Norway who produced copies of official deceased record cards for all seven and sent them to me free of charge, but again this was rejected by the CWGC as not enough evidence. I had a feeling that I was the only one who cared and was sick of all the red tape. I made one last contact with the Norwegian Archives asking if they held any other records, which may help get these boys the official recognition they rightly deserved. Finally I was sent seven identical letters. In 1946 the families of these seven were still trying to find what had happened to their loved ones and a reply to all the families was sent to them explaining the facts held by the Norwegian Shipping & Trade Mission, through the Norwegian General Consulate of the day. In August 2016 the CWGC relented and they were finally officially accepted as war dead. I also managed to extract a further fifty odd letters from Norwegian archives for similar cases I was working on and after four years since the research started all were finally accepted.

    This set a new problem for me as the Tower Hill Memorial to honour our dead was full. After bombarding the CWGC with emails and finding family members of those lost to contact the CWGC, with our combined efforts, the CWGC eventually applied for planning permission to have the memorial extended. Finally after another two years of waiting I have been informed the new bronze panels are under construction in Australia of all places and are awaiting shipping to the UK to be in place the end of 2018 or the beginning of 2019 . The boys are finally coming home.

    BUTLER, Deck Boy, NORMAN, age 16 of 15 Norwich Road, Southampton
    HASLAM, Oiler, HENRY, age 16 of 15 Silent St. Ipswich
    RICHARDSON, Deck Boy, JAMES, age 16 of Boundary Annan Road, Dumfires
    SELF, Cook, GEORGE, age 43 of Poundtree Road Park End, Southampton
    TAYLOR, Deck Boy, HORACE, age 16 of 133 Regent Park End, Southampton
    TIMMS Galley Boy, RONALD, age 16 of 36 MacNaughton Road, Southampton
    WILSON, Deck Boy, GEORGE, age 16 of 1 Oaktree Road, Southampton

    Lest We Forget!

    Attached Files:

    dbf, chrisharley9, Roy Martin and 5 others like this.
  2. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

  3. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Blimey Billy fantastic work
    Good for the Norwegians to supply the information.

    Roy Martin and Recce_Mitch like this.
  4. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Hello Billy,
    I passed by Tower Hill Memorial today and the panel was not in place yet.
    I called CWGC and they said it has still not arrived from Australia and would more likely be in place by the summer of 2019.

  5. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    Billy great work, thank you.
    But can't we even cast a bit of bronze in this country anymore?
  6. Billy McGee

    Billy McGee Senior Member

    Just been informed the new panels are in the UK and are to be treated and erected at Tower Hill in the next couple of weeks. Seven years since I first started this research and campaign to get these names added. Job done. Photo of a couple of the panels before they get treated.

    Lest We Forget!!

    Marks, ramacal, Roy Martin and 2 others like this.
  7. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    Well done Billy
  8. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Excellent work Billy

    Thank you

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