Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Ordinary Seaman Samuel Hilditch S.S "Bray Head"

NAME; Hilditch, Samuel
RANK; Ordinary Seaman
UNIT/SERVICE; Mercantile Marine
REGIMENT; S.S. “Bray Head”
BORN; Carrickfergus, 1896
LIVED; North Street, Carrickfergus
FATE; Died 14 March 1917 aged 21
CEMETERY; Body Never Recovered
CHURCH; Presbyterian
MEMORIAL; Tower Hill Memorial – London
REMARKS: Samuel was born in Carrickfergus in 1896 the son of Robert and Sarah Hilditch (nee Ross) of North Street Carrickfergus and brother of Sara, Maggie, John, Robert, William, Edgar, Lenord and Wisnom.  During the war Samuel served as an Ordinary Seaman with the Mercantile Marine on-board S.S “Bray Head”.  The S.S “Bray Head” was a steamer ship built in 1874 by C.S Swan and Hunter, Newcastle and operated by the Ulster Steam Ship Company Ltd.  On 14 March 1917 while en route from St Johns, New Brunswick to Belfast with a general cargo she was attacked and sunk by gunfire from U-Boat U-44 commanded by Kapitanleutnant Paul Wagenfuhr.  She was sunk 375 miles NW by W of Fastnet, 21 souls were lost including Samuel Hilditch, Captain John Currie Hoy from Whitehead and six other men from Carrickfergus.  20 of the crew survived and were finally picked up by H.M.S Adventure having been adrift in their lifeboat for five days.  Samuel’s body was never recovered from the sea and he is forever remembered on the Tower Hill Memorial London. 

That day Carrickfergus lost; James Atkinson, James Cameron, William Carroll, Thomas Dalton, Samuel Hilditch, John C Hoy (Captain), Joseph Stewart and Thomas McQuitty Todd.  This was one of the greatest loses off life in one day for Carrickfergus and further evidence of the often forgotten sacrifice of the Merchant Mariners during the Great War.

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