Allen, 7012090 Corporal John Maybin, 1st Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles, died as a consequence of a motorcycle in Birmingham on 24th July 1941 and he is interred in Gravesend Cemetery, Kent. This death occurred before the battalion was declared an airborne unit.
Allen, 521623 Corporal Samuel, Royal Air Force, died on the 9th November 1942 and he is commemorated on Singapore Memorial, Column 426. He was said to be aged 28 and his next of kin was Samuel and Annie Allen, Cullybackey Road, Ballymena.
Soldier Samuel Allen, Clandeboye Camp and son of farmer W J Allen, married Annie Taylor, Fenagh, in Wellington Street Presbyterian Church, Ballymena on the 4 September 1915, and their son, named Johnston until renamed Samuel on the 8 November 1916, was born at Fenagh on the 13 November 1915.
Allen, Thompson McWhirter, Merchant Marine, was aged 31 and Third Engineer Officer aboard M.V. Eulima (London) when his ship was sunk with all hands in 22nd February 1943. He was born on the 3 October 1911 at Crumkill, Kells and he was the son of Samuel James Allen and Hannah Jane Allen, nee McCartney, of Tullynamullen, Kells, Ballymena, Co. Antrim. The farmer couple had married in 1st Ballymena Presbyterian Church on the 21 December 1910. He is remembered on Panel 48 of Tower Hill Memorial.
The ‘MV Eulima’ was a fuel tanker owned and operated by Anglo-Saxon Petroleum Co. She was sailing from Liverpool to New York in ballast as part of convoy ON166 when she was torpedoed at around 0700 on 23 Feb 1943 by U-186, commanded by Kapitan Leutnant Siegfried Hesemann. In the same attack, the submarine sank a freighter.
'Eulima' did not sink immediately, and was finished-off by a second torpedo from U-186 at about 10.30 the same morning. She went down north-west of the Azores. All the 54 crew and nine gunners were lost.
U-186, commissioned in July 1942, was herself depth-charged and sunk with all 53 hands by the RN destroyer HMS 'Hesperus' on 12 May 1943, north of the Azores.
Allen, 14358464 Gunner William, Royal Artillery and attached to 301st Field Regiment, East African Artillery, was lost at sea on the 12 February 1944 while serving on the SS Khedive-Ismail (London) He was aged 30. His next of kin and wife was Fanny Jane Allen.
He was born on the 16 July 1913 at Kildrum, Kells and he was the son Samuel, originally Tullynamullan, Kells, and Elizabeth Allen, nee Witherspoon and of Kildrum, Kells, later of Shankbridge, Ballymena. He is commemorated on Column 4 of the East Africa Memorial, Nairobi.
SS Khedive Isma’il was a steamship sunk by a Japanese submarine and there was great loss of life. The vessel had been launched as ‘Aconcagua’ by Scotts of Greenock in 1922 but passed into Egyptian ownership in 1935 and was renamed after Isma'il Pasha, a former Khedive of Egypt. She was requisitioned as a British troopship by the Ministry of War Transport In 1940.
On 6 February 1944 Convoy KR-8 of five troop transports sailed from Kilindini Harbour at Mombasa, Kenya to Colombo, Ceylon. It had a naval escort led by the heavy cruiser HMS Hawkins. In the early afternoon of Saturday 12 February 1944, the Japanese submarine I-27, commanded by Lt-Cdr Toshiaki Fukumura, attacked the convoy south-west of the Maldives. Khedive Ismail was struck by two of four torpedoes launched, she broke in two, and it took two or three minutes for her to sink; almost no one below decks could have survived.
The ship was carrying 1,511 personnel including 178 crew, 996 officers and men of the East African Artillery's 301st Field Regiment, 271 Royal Navy personnel, and a detachment of 19 Wrens. Also on board were 53 nursing sisters accompanied by one matron, and 9 members of the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry. Only 208 men and 6 women survived. 1,297 people, including 77 women, lost their lives.
The sinking was the third worst Allied shipping disaster of World War II and the single worst loss of female service personnel.
It appears that I-27 tried to hide from the victim’s escorts after the attack by staying below survivors. While HMS Paladin lowered boats to begin rescuing survivors, HMS Petard released depth charges that had to be set to detonate in shallow water and so were lethal to survivors; sadly, the destruction of a dangerous submarine took precedence over their lives. I-27 under Commander Fukumura had a history of success and of machine-gunning survivors of ships anyhow.
On Petard's third run, her depth charges again forced I-27 to the surface, and unable to sink her with shellfire, Paladin rammed the submarine and caused considerable damage to her own hull. A torpedo from Petard, the seventh she had fired, destroyed I-27.
Percival Crabb was Chief Petty Officer, Stoker on the SS Khedive Ismail:
I was in the POs mess with seven other petty officers when the troopship was torpedoed between 1400 and 1500. By I believe two tin fish, one in the engine room and one aft under the counter, I was asleep at the time. Immediately she listed over; everyone made a dash for the companionway except yours truly and PO Harper; we both made for the two portholes, which were open.
I remember scrambling through and hobbling down the ship’s side, stepping over the rolling chock and diving into the sea, by the time I surfaced the ship had gone. I swam to a green smoke canister some thirty yards away, hanging on to this I looked around me, there were several survivors either swimming or hanging on to whatever floated.
The convoy had dispersed by this time and it seemed we were left to our own devices; some 200 yards away were two lifeboats from the ship, one upside down, survivors were all making for them so I decided to do the same.
I am almost certain the submarine passed under me, as there was quite a turbulence of water and a wake left behind. This was the scene when the destroyers Petard and Paladin arrived at high speed, the submarine must have been picked up on their asdics, because they started depth charging some 300 yards away. I distinctly remember one charge from the thrower exploding just above the surface of the sea. It was a very strange experience to feel the shock waves coming through the water and the almighty thump in the stomach. Luckily, I was still hanging on to the smoke float, which took most of the concussion.
Paladin had dropped off a motor boat and sea boat to pick up survivors. I eventually made it to the troopship’s lifeboat and got aboard, we managed to row the boat towards Paladin, which was slowly circling us, while Petard was still depth charging further away. We got alongside Paladin and hastily scrambled aboard, among us were three nursing sisters, two wrens and one South African WTS; this was all that was left of their contingents. I remember a seaman throwing me a pair of sandals, as I was barefoot, because the steel decks of the destroyer were very hot.
At that moment a large Japanese submarine came to the surface and both ships opened fire and then Paladin started to increase speed, she was going in to ram. We were told to hang on to something solid, as the ship closed the submarine at high speed, the submarine veered off and Paladin struck her a glancing blow, the submarine’s hydroplanes tore a hole from the forward boiler room right aft to the engine room, putting the ship out of action, and flooding the boiler and engine rooms.
Survivors and crew went about the ship throwing everything moveable over the side to lighten her. I dumped loads of 4-inch shells from ready use lockers. Both sets of quadruple torpedo tubes were turned outboard by hand and fired to lighten ship. On board Petard, six torpedoes were fired at the Japanese submarine, but they all missed, the seventh was fired by local control and did the trick. It blew the submarine in half; I watched the two halves upend and sink with no survivors.
The next job was to remove everyone except essential personnel from Paladin to Petard, a tricky manoeuvre, but successfully done and now the job of all jobs, to take Paladin in tow and get her back to safety. After 36 hours of towing we arrived at Addu Atoll where the cruiser Hawkins was waiting with everything from pumps, collision mats, shoring and personnel to get Paladin seaworthy for the long trip to South Africa for essential repairs.
Anderson, 192396 Senior Commander Marjorie Wilson, died aged 41 on the 15 November 1943. Her parents were Samuel Wilson Anderson, Chairman of the Braidwater Spinning Co. Ltd., and Edith Maude Monroe Anderson MBE, JP, Coleraine.
The couple had married in St John’s Parish Church, Malone, Belfast on the 2 December 1896. Samuel of Ballee House, Ballymena was described as a gentleman, and the parents of the bride, Edith Maude Munroe Alderdice of Alston, Malone, and groom are described as merchants. Marjorie Wilson Anderson was born at Ballee House, Ballymena on the 12 March 1902, her father then being referred to as a tax collector.
Senior Commander Marjorie Wilson Anderson served in the Women's Transport Service during World War Two, was a member of the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry and Senior Commander of an Auxiliary Territorial Service Camp in Ballymena, Co. Antrim. She was well-known in the area and was Assistant Commissioner of the local Girl Guides.
Miss Anderson died at Waveney Hospital, Ballymena, Co. Antrim at 1930 hrs on 15th November 1943, despite treatment by Dr. John Armstrong. On the evening of 14th November, Marjorie Anderson spent the evening socialising with Junior Commander Evelyn Knox Hird. The two had attended a course in England, returning only on the Sunday evening.
The two ladies went to bed around 2330 hrs, and Hird thought she heard Miss Anderson stumble on the stairs, and also noted that she had dropped her cigarette case. Miss Hird brought the case to Anderson’s room.
ATS Private Betty Russell went to Miss Anderson’s room at 0800 hrs on Monday 15th November, got no response to a knock, and Subaltern FG Mayne and Junior Commander Ann Caroline D Hind subsequently found Senior Commander Anderson lying in bed, dressed in pyjamas. Believing her to be ill, Private Russell telephoned Captain Eileen Gibson, Officer in Command of the ATS Reception Station. She was based at the nearby Adair Arms Hotel. However, Miss Anderson was actually dead and Mid-Antrim Coroner Mr. George B Carruth confirmed cause of death to be suicide.
She is interred in Ballymena New Cemetery, Cushendall Road. The headstone reads as follows: ATS. Senior Commander M W Anderson Aux. Territorial Service 15th November 1943 age 41. In ever loving memory.
Marjorie Wilson Anderson resided at Ballee House, County Antrim, one-time home of Thomas Casement, JP (1799-1874), High Sheriff of County Antrim.
Angus, 2718810 Lance Serjeant George, 1st Battalion Irish Guards, died aged 21 of unknown causes on the 26 November 1941. He was the son of Robert and Agnes Angus, of Shankbridge, Kells, also Lisnawhiggle, Kells. Robert, from Craigs, Cullybackey, had married Agnes Orr, Lisnagarron, Portglenone in 2nd Portglenone Presbyterian Church on the 15 March 1905. Their son George was born on the 11 October 1913 at Lisnawhiggle. George was the husband of Ivy Violet Angus. He is buried in Broughshane First Presbyterian Churchyard though his name does not appear on any of the several local Angus headstones.
Armstrong, 134072 Pilot Officer (Navigator) Thomas, 57 Squadron RAF Volunteer Reserve, died on the 5 May 1943. His parents were Mr. and Mrs. R. H. Armstrong of Lisnafillan, Ballymena. He is buried in Plot: 15, row F, grave 15, Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany.
On Tuesday, 4 May 1943, aircraft of the 57 squadron, set out for Dortmund, Germany from RAF Scampton, their base from September 1942 to August 1943, and Avro Lancaster III, with serial ED390 and code DX-V, Armstrong’s plane, was one of these.
On that night Bomber Command was making its largest raid yet, apart from the thousand bomber raids which had in 1942 also included training aircraft. Dortmund, a steel and engineering centre in the Ruhr, was attacked by 596 aircraft, 255 Lancasters, 141 Halifaxes, 110 Wellingtons, 80 Stirlings, 10 Mosquitos.
The initial Pathfinder marking was accurate but some of the backing-up marking fell short. A decoy fire site also attracted many bombs, but half of the large force did bomb within 3 miles of the aiming point (This was ‘precision bombing’ in 1943) and severe damage was caused in central and northern parts of Dortmund, over 1200 buildings in the industrial centre of the city being damaged or destroyed.
Thirty-one aircraft - 12 Halifaxes, 7 Stirlings, 6 Lancasters, 6 Wellingtons were lost, 5.2 per cent of the attacking force; a further seven aircraft crashed in bad weather at their bomber bases on return. Armstrong’s aircraft went down at Brandlecht, east of Nordhorn and all seven of the crew perished. They were, in addition to 134072 Pilot Officer Thomas Armstrong, 158305 Pilot Officer Victor Douglas Farmer, 1178891 Sergeant/Flight Engineer Albert W James, Airgunners 1600961 Sergeant Leonard H Leaney, 988528 Sergeant Norman Long, and 1319816 Sergeant Lawrence A W Sanders, and 751507 Flight Sergeant (Wireless Operator/Gunner) John T Taylor.
Baxter, 7019617 Rifleman William, was 22 when he died on the 13 November 1940 while serving with the 7th Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles. He was the son of James and Sarah Baxter, of Glenravel. His headstone in Newtowncrommelin Presbyterian Churchyard reads: ‘Quis Separabit, 7019617 Rifleman W. Baxter, The Royal Ulster Rifles, 13th November 1940, age 22. In God's keeping. "Till we meet again."’
Bell, 140727 Lieutenant David Dunwoody, 148th (The Bedfordshire Yeomanry) Field Regiment, Royal Artillery, died on the 15 December 1942, and was the son of Henry Edward and Mary Bell, of Gracehill, Ballymena. He was one of the poor unfortunates who died in Japanese POW camps along the Burma Siam Railway. He had been educated at Ballymena Academy and Trinity College, Dublin. The building of the notorious Burma-Siam railway, some 424 kilometres long and completed by December 1943, claimed the lives of about 13,000 prisoners of war and an estimated 80,000 to 100,000 civilians. The remains of those who died during the construction and maintenance of the Burma-Siam railway were transferred into three cemeteries at Chungkai and Kanchanaburi in Thailand and Thanbyuzayat in Myanmar. Lieutenant Bell is now buried in Chungkai War Cemetery.
Bell, 1463074 Gunner Henry, 9th Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery, died aged 29 on the 4 April 1944. His wife was Martha Bell of Harryville, Ballymena, his parents William McNiece Bell and Hannah Grace Louisa Bell. He is interred in Ballymena Cemetery, Cushendall Road.
Blacker, 7684102 Corporal David, 508 Provost Company, Corps of Military Police, died aged 27 on the 12 December 1943 and he is buried in Ramleh War Cemetery. He was the son of Jonathan and Elizabeth Blacker, Ballymena, Co. Antrim.
Boal, 37713 Wing Commander Samuel McCaughey, DFC, 217 Squadron, Royal Air Force and the unit’s Commanding Officer after February 1942, died on the 1 April 1942. He was killed whilst flying in Beaufort 1, designation AW196, which plunged into the sea during an attack on shipping in the Skaggerak.
He was the son of Hugh Boal, a farmer of Slatt, Ballymena and Ann (Annie) McCay, daughter of Dr. John McCay, Larchfield, Clough, Co. Antrim, and the husband of Joy Boal, of Leamington Spa, Warwickshire. The couple married in Clough Presbyterian Church on the 14th September 1904, and their son Samuel was born on the 2nd October 1916.
Annie’s family had long been associated with Larchfield, Clough. The McCay family headstone reads:
In loving memory of Doctor Frederick William McCay, late medical officer Northern Nigeria, who died at the residence of his father Dr J McCay, Larchfield, Clough 30th March 1916 aged 38 years. Doctor John McCay, J.P., Medical Officer of Clough Dispensary for 55 years, born 5th August 1845 died 27th February 1927; Louisa McCay wife of the above-named Dr John McCay J.P. who died 9th December 1937 aged 97 years …
Samuel McCaughey Boal is remembered on the Runnymede Memorial.
Bonar, B/82613 Private Samuel, 62 General Transport Company, Royal Canadian Army Service Corps, died aged 39 on the 16 March 1942, and he is buried in Ballymena New Cemetery, Cushendall Road, Ballymena. He was the son of James Boyd Bonar and his wife Jeanie McConnell, of 6, Salisbury Square, Ballymena, and he was the husband of Kathleen Bonar, Toronto, Canada. Samuel Bonar had been born at Henry Street, Ballymena on the 17 April 1902.
Bunting, Chief Engineer Officer Samuel, Merchant Navy, died aged 41 on the 9th August 1941 in the sinking of the S.S. Glendalough (Belfast). He was the son of Samuel Bunting and Anne Jane Bunting, of ‘Hame', Summerfield Street, Ballymena. He is remembered on the Tower Hill Memorial.
During its war service the steamer SS Glendalough was bombed by a Focke-wulf on 9th August 1941. The bomb hit the engine room and severely damaged the ship; at least 8 lives were lost, among them Samuel Bunting. The vessel survived, was towed back to Grimsby, and was repaired only to be sunk in the later mine incident in 1943.