Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Leading Seaman William McMillan

NAME; McMillan, William (reported locally as McMillen or McMullen)
RANK; Leading Seaman
SERV. NO; 2855C
UNIT/SERVICE; Royal Navy Reserve
REGIMENT; S.S “Henry R James”
BORN; Carrickfergus 30th November 1881
LIVED; Schomberg Street
FATE; Died at Sea 16th July 1917 aged 39
CEMETERY; Body never recovered
CHURCH; Unknown
MEMORIAL; Portsmouth Naval Memorial – Panel 27
REMARKS; William was born in Carrickfergus on 30th November 1881, theson of Annie M McMillan of Schomberg Street, Carrickfergus and husband of Sarah McMillan - William was lost at sea on board S.S "Henry R James" on 16th July 1917 following a torpedo attack by German submarine UC-48 captained by Kurt Ramien.  The Henry R James was on a voyage from Bilbao via Brest to Middleborough with a large cargo of iron ore when it was sunk 10 miles east by north of Ile de Batz (Brittany) France.  The cargo of iron ore made the ship particularly heavy and when struck by the torpedo it would have sunk in a matter of a few minutes, in all 24 men were lost on board.  A report in the local paper after new of his death cited William was a “young and competent seaman, and bore a high character in his native town”.  This story is particularly tragic owing to his wife Sarah dying just 5 days previously leaving 4 young children to grow up without father or mother.  

S.S Henry R James.

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