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John Hamblin's Research: Surnames F-G

Fairie, Thomas Wyllie Howie Captain 226311 RE

77th Assault Squadron, 5th Assault Regiment, Royal Engineers
Killed in action on the 9th of February 1945 aged 23
Thomas Wyllie Howie Fairie was born at Edinburgh on the 7th of February 1922 the younger son of Alexander Knox Fairie, a commercial traveller, and Bethia Wyllie Howie Fairie of 191, Braid Road, Edinburgh. He was educated at George Watson's College from 1927 to 1940. He entered the Faculty of Arts at Edinburgh University before joining the Royal Engineers in August 1941. He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant on the 15th of February 1942 and was promoted to Lieutenant on the 1st of October 1942. He was posted to the 77th Assault Squadron, 5th Assault Regiment on the 24th of October 1943 and was promoted to temporary Captain on the 22nd of April 1944.
At 2pm on the 3rd of June 1944, the 77th Assault Squadron, 5th Assault Regiment, Royal Engineers began loading their vehicles at Portsmouth for the invasion of Normandy, with embarkation being completed by 5.30pm. Thomas Fairie embarked on board Landing Craft Tank 947 (101), under the command of Lieutenant Lambton Burn RNVR, in command of the two tanks and four armoured vehicles on board. They were due to leave their moorings at 11.30am the next morning but news came through that the invasion had been delayed for 24 hours due to the weather. They slipped their moorings at 12.35pm on the 5th of June and travelled through very rough seas but without incident.
On D-Day, the 6th of June 1944, the 77th Assault Squadron, 5th Assault Regiment, Royal Engineers was detailed to land at Queen Red Sector of Sword Beach. They were equipped with a variety of specialist tanks which had been modified for beach clearance work and were to come ashore in specialised tank landing craft. They landed on Sword Beach at 7.35am on the morning of D-Day under heavy fire from enemy rockets ,which were being fired from houses onshore and with a neighbouring LCT on their port side being hit and going up in flames. As soon as the ramp dropped at the water’s edge, the first "Crab" tank, "Stornoway", under the command of Lieutenant Donald Robertson, drove down it and on to the beach. Colonel Arthur Denis Bradford Cocks, commanding officer of the Royal Engineers that day, leaned out of the turret of his AVRE, "Plough", and waved at the next tank to drive onto the beach. As the next vehicle, Crab tank "Dunbar" began to disembark, the ship received three direct hits. "Dunbar" lurched sideways and stopped, blocking the exit from the landing craft. As engineers and the LCT's crew frantically tried to clear it out of the way a large explosion occurred when Bangalore torpedoes, pipes packed with dynamite, which were on board Thomas Fairie's AVRE "Barbarian", detonated. The blast killed Colonel Cocks and three others. Tom Fairie moved his AVRE forward in an attempt to clear "Dunbar" from the ramp but failed to do so. Badly damaged, LCT 947 was forced to withdraw from the beach some four hours later and returned to Portsmouth with the remaining tanks, their crews and their casualties on board.
The 8th of February 1945, was the opening day of Operation Veritable, the northern part of a pincer movement by Allied forces during the final days of the war. XXX Corps was to advance through the Reichswald Forest with the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division, some of who were mounted on amphibious vehicles, having orders to clear German positions on the flooded Rhine plain with the 77th Assault Squadron in support. They began their advance in the area of Nijmegen at 11.15pm that night carrying Canadian assault infantry on their vehicles to protect the infantry advancing along Ouerdam. Tom Fairie was last heard on the radio at 12.15am on the second day of the battle.
At 1.45am, Tom Fairie was driving along a road at Niel in his Buffalo LVT 4 amphibious vehicle when it was struck by two direct hits from a Panzerfaust manned by four of the enemy. The vehicle caught fire, killing him and Sapper Reginald Davis from his crew, with Sapper Pearce, also from his crew, being wounded.
He is buried at Jonkerbos War Cemetery Plot 21 Row D Grave 7

Falconer, George Campbell Sergeant 1126920

No. 20 Operational Training Unit, Royal Air Force
Killed in action on the 2nd of June 1942 aged 21
George Campbell Falconer was born Broxburn, West Lothian on the 11th of January 1921 the only son of George Muirhead Falconer and Flora Falconer of "Bonnyview", 5, Strathbrock Place, Broxburn. He was educated at George Watson's College until 1936 when he left to join the staff of the British Linen Bank.
He volunteered for service with the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve on the 1st of November 1940 where he trained as an air gunner and rose to the rank of Sergeant.
On the night of the 1st/2nd of June 1942, Bomber Command dispatched 545 Wellingtons, 127 Halifaxes, 77 Stirlings, 74 Lancasters, 71 Hampdens 33 Manchesters and 29 Whitleys for a raid on Essen, in what was to be a repeat of the first "1,000 Bomber Raid" which had occurred two nights previously on Cologne. In the event, despite including crews from Operational Training Units to make up the numbers, 956 aircraft took part. Due to low cloud across the target area most crews had great difficulty in locating the city, in spite of the flares dropped by the leading aircraft. The result was that the bombing was very scattered with the Essen authorities reporting that 11 houses were destroyed and 184 damaged, mostly in the south of the city. Casualties in the city were 15 dead and 91 injured. Bombs also hit Oberhausen, Duisburg and Mulheim with a further 150 people killed on the ground in those towns.
George Falconer and his crew took off from RAF Stanton Harcourt at 10.53pm on the 1st of June 1942 in Wellington Mk 1C X9975 JM-P for the operation. At 2.53am the aircraft came under fire from the enemy Lightship "Brunhilde" and crashed into the North Sea some eight kilometres off Haamstede, Holland with the loss of the entire crew.
The crew was: -
Sergeant Thomas William Belton (Observer)
Flight Sergeant Bernard Joseph Daley RNZAF (2nd Pilot)
Sergeant George Campbell Falconer (Rear Gunner)
Pilot Officer Stanley Sinclair Martin RCAF DFC (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Albert Marvell DFM (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner)
Sergeant Thomas Inglis MacKenzie (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner)
Theirs was one of thirty one aircraft which failed to return on the raid.
The body of Albert Marvell was washed ashore on the 6th of August 1942 and he was buried at Bergen General Cemetery but his was the only body from the crew to be recovered.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records his death as having taken place on the 1st of June 1942 but all other sources record it as the 2nd of June 1942.
He is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial Panel 82

Farquharson, Ian Stewart 2nd Lieutenant 105769

B Company, 6th Battalion, Gordon Highlanders
Killed in action on the 16th of May 1940 aged 29
Ian Stewart "Farquhy" Farquharson was born at Edinburgh the only son of William Farquharson, a mathematics master at Daniel Stewart's College, and Annie Farquharson of Edinburgh. He was educated at the senior school at George Watson's College from 1922 to 1928 where he was awarded a bursary in the fifth form. He became a Chartered Accountant in 1934 and joined the staff of Messrs. Brown, Fleming & Murray, Chartered Accountants of London.
On the outbreak of war he enlisted as a Private in the London Scottish Regiment and transferred to the Gordon Highlanders before being commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Regiment on the 2nd of December 1939. He was posted to the 6th Battalion of his Regiment based at Keith and later at Aldershot. He embarked for service in France with his Battalion at Southampton at 7.30am on the 30th of January 1940 and berthed at Le Havre at 5pm that afternoon before disembarking at 7.30am on the 31st of January 1940.
On the morning of the 10th of May 1940, the Germans launched their invasion of France and the Low Countries. The 6th Battalion, Gordon Highlanders was in the area of Lille when the attack began and the battalion was immediately ordered to advance into Belgium to meet the German threat. They entered Belgium at 6pm on the 11th of May as part of column made up of some 330 vehicles and stretching for 33 miles in length. Later that day they reached the village of Ninove on the outskirts of Brussels when they dismounted and marched five miles to a rest camp where they arrived in the early hours of the next morning. Later that day they marched to the River Dyle where they took up positions around a blockhouse in the centre of the Brigade line on a front of 2,000 yards. The Battalion was deployed with C Company on the right, with A Company in support and with B Company on the left with D Company in support. The Anti Tank Platoon set up in positions to cover the local bridges which Royal Engineer sappers were already preparing for demolition as refugees from the fighting streamed across them. The 13th of May passed quietly with the men spending their time strengthening their defences.
On the 14th of May German air activity increased with reconnaissance flights being seen and a strafing attack was made by enemy fighters on the anti tank positions. At about noon that day British light tanks and armoured vehicles began falling back across the bridges.
At 9pm on the evening of the 15th of May heavy mortar fire dropped across the Battalion front line and the Germans attacked the positions of the North Staffordshires on the left of the Gordons. B Company reported that the Germans had crossed the river and were working their way around the Company’s flank. An exchange of fire took place and the German troops were driven off without casualties on either side.
On the morning of the 16th of May 1940, the Germans began a heavy bombardment of the Gordon’s positions with artillery and mortars during which one of the mortar positions received a direct hit. At 7pm that evening the Brigade received orders to withdraw with the verbal message that they should dump anything they couldn't carry as there was no transport available. At 10pm that night the Highlanders began their withdrawal under occasional shell fire. As he led his Platoon away, Ian Farquharson was shot and mortally wounded by an enemy sniper and died a short time later. He was one of seven casualties suffered by the Battalion during their withdrawal.
The surviving members of the Battalion reached the outskirts of Brussels at 5am the following morning and later marched back to the beaches at Dunkirk from where they were evacuated by destroyers on the 1st of June 1940.
He is buried at Neerijse Cemetery Grave 1

Foot, William Easton Pilot Officer 131123

353 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Killed in action on the 15th of December 1942 aged 25
William Easton Foot was born at Bo'ness, West Lothian on the 1st of October 1917 the younger son of James Frederic Foot, a surveyor for HM Customs and Excise, and Jean Robertson (nee Easton) Foot of Graemesdyke, Bo'ness, later of Corstorphine, Edinburgh. He was educated at George Watson's College until 1935. On leaving school he joined the staff of the National Bank of Scotland and worked at the Head Office in Edinburgh.
By the outbreak of war he had already completed pilot training with the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve prior to hostilities and had reached the rank of Flight Sergeant. He was posted to Gibraltar where he joined a squadron of Catalina flying boats operating over the Atlantic. Thereafter he was posted to Singapore and on its fall escaped via Sumatra to Java. Although the island was in Japanese hands, he managed to procure petrol and took on board a number of Dutch women and children whom he flew safely to Broome in northern Australia. Subsequently his flying-boat was destroyed at its moorings by the Japanese.
Following a short recuperation he returned to active service in India and was posted to 353 Squadron, which had been formed at Dum Dum on the 1st of June 1942. He was commissioned as a Pilot Officer on the 9th of July 1942 and was attached to a crew from 194 Squadron which was itself attached to 31 Squadron as part of a detachment based at Tezpur in Assam. The Squadron was primarily operating over Burma.
On the 15th of December 1942, William Foot and his crew took off in Hudson Mk IIIa FH431 for a supply dropping mission to troops in the Fort Hertz area of north eastern Burma. The aircraft was shot down by Japanese fighters with the loss of the entire crew.
The crew was: -
Flight Sergeant William Caverhill Cameron RCAF (194 Squadron)
Pilot Officer William Easton Foot (Pilot)
Warrant Officer Second Class Giles James Daniel Kerswill RCAF (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Ralph MacLean RCAF (194 Squadron)
Sergeant Leonard Keith Tempest RNZAF (194 Squadron)
He is commemorated on the National Bank of Scotland war memorial at Gogarburn Campus, Edinburgh and on the Roll of Honour of the Royal Bank of Scotland.
He is commemorated on the Singapore Memorial Column 413

Ford, Francis Orme Captain

A Troop, No. 41 Royal Marine Commando
Killed in action on the 17th of July 1943 aged 22
Peter Roger Anson Ford was born in London on the 16th of October 1920 the third son of the Reverend Roger Anson Ford BA and Kathleen Orme (nee Morris) Ford later of The Parsonage, St John’s Road, Corstorphine, Edinburgh and of 23,
Buccleuch Place, Edinburgh. He was educated at George Watson's College from 1930 to 1939. On leaving school he entered the insurance business. He joined the Royal
Marines in 1940 and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant on the 25th of February 1941. He was posted to No. 41 Commando and was promoted to Acting Captain on the 25th of January 1942 and to Lieutenant on the 25th of August 1942.
At noon on the 16th of July 1943, troops from No. 40 Commando boarded Royal Marine transport ship HMS Queen Emma at Syracuse for an operation to land behind enemy lines following the invasion of Sicily. Also on board were men from No. 41 Commando, including Francis Ford. Collectively they formed part of "Force 11". The ship set sail at 2pm and arrived at Augusta Harbour at 4pm where the men received the news at 6pm that the operation had been cancelled. At 2am the following morning the port came under attack from enemy aircraft and at 2.10am the Queen Emma suffered a near miss from a bomb which sprayed the ship with shrapnel and caused the explosion of a box of grenades which were on the mess deck where B and P Troops of No. 40 Commando were concentrated. Peter Ford was killed and nine other ranks from No. 41 Commando were wounded during the attack.
Also on board at the time was Ordinary Seaman Peter Stevens RN, who later wrote the following on the attack: -
"On 17th July 1943 we were anchored in Augusta Harbour Sicily with the Royal Marine Commandos on board, waiting at night to sail to land them behind the German lines. The Germans were heavily bombing in the harbour using flares to identify the ships. HMS Queen Emma suffered two very near misses by fragmentation or anti personnel bombs. These caused considerable damage on board as the grenades carried by the Commandos were detonated by shrapnel. We suffered 102 casualties including 15 killed in the stern of the ship. We had three RN doctors aboard, two were killed outright. I was on the bridge at the time, which was undamaged, but I still have vivid memories of this terrible night in Augusta. The following morning we sailed for Malta. As an able seaman I helped to clear up the debris which in practical terms meant using a bucket and cloth to clean up blood, human brains and flesh from the deck and bulkheads. The dead were sewn into hammocks by the Boson and buried at sea on the way back to Malta."
His brother, Peter Roger Anson Ford DFC OW, 180 Squadron, Royal Air Force, was killed in action on the 20th of June 1944.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records his unit as No. 40 Commando but this is incorrect.
He is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial 73.2

Ford Peter Roger Anson Squadron Leader 40816 DFC

180 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Killed in action on the 20th of June 1944 aged 27
Peter Roger Anson Ford was born in London on the 8th of May 1917 the eldest son of the Reverend Roger Anson Ford BA and Kathleen Orme (nee Morris) Ford later of
The Parsonage, St John’s Road, Corstorphine, Edinburgh and of 23, Buccleuch Place, Edinburgh. He was educated at George Watson's College from 1925 to 1931 when he won a bursary to Glenalmond College where he was in Patchell's House from 1931 to 1936. He achieved a Lower Certificate in September 1933 and gained Sixth Form Privileges in December 1934. He took part in drama as well as singing in the school concert and was a member of the College Officer Training Corps in which he was promoted to Lance Corporal in December 1935. He shot for the College VIII in 1936 and was a member of the Rugby XV. He also took part in the Golf Medal competition and was appointed as a House Prefect in April 1936.
He was awarded a scholarship by both Keble College, Oxford and Worcester College, Oxford. He chose the latter as it was the more valuable of the two and matriculated for Worcester College on the 9th of October 1936 as a Modern History Scholar. He was a member of the Worcester College Boat Club where he rowed for the 2nd Torpid and the 2nd Rowing VIII in 1937. He left before graduating to join the Royal Air Force in 1938 and was commissioned as an Acting Pilot Officer on a short service commission in the Royal Air Force on the 4th of June 1938. He was confirmed in his rank on the 4th of April 1939. He was promoted to Flying Officer on the 3rd of September 1940 and to Flight Lieutenant on the 3rd of September 1941 when he was serving with 113 Squadron in Malta. He was promoted to Acting Squadron Leader on the 20th of September 1941.
At 6.45am on the morning of the 28th of September 1941, Peter Ford and his crew, Sergeant J. E. Scottchar (Observer) and Sergeant E. A. Hodson (Air Gunner), took off from RAF Luqa in Blenheim Mk IV V5866 along with another Squadron aircraft in search of enemy E Boats off the port of Trapani in Sicily. They arrived in the search area at low level and saw an Italian destroyer which they circled, and which then opened fire on them. A shell exploded under the aircraft which was hit by shrapnel and caused the port engine to catch fire. As the two aircraft set off for the return to base at 8.30am they were attacked by two Messerschmitt Bf109s, but these were driven off by fire from the gunners with one being seen to be trailing smoke. When the two aircraft landed safely back at Luqa Peter Ford’s boot was found to be "full of blood" as he’d been hit in the foot by shrapnel from the enemy shell burst. He was taken to hospital and was released a short time later when he went on seven days leave before returning to the Squadron.
His mother received the following letter from the Director of Personal Services, Royal Air Force dated the 6th of October 1941: - "Madam, I am directed to inform you that your son, Acting Squadron Leader Peter Roger Anson Ford, Royal Air Force, was wounded in the foot as the result of air operations on 28th September 1941. The telegraphic report from Headquarters, Royal Air Force, Middle East, does not indicate that his condition is serious. Any further information received in this department will be communicated to you as quickly as possible."
He saw service in Malta, Cairo, India and in Burma where he won the Distinguished Flying Cross, which was announced by the Air Ministry on the 24th of March 1942. The citation read: - "This officer has carried out a large number of operational flights against the enemy including successful attacks on Bangkok. Squadron Leader Ford has displayed fine qualities of leadership and has consistently shown great keenness and devotion to duty."
He and was promoted to Squadron Leader on the 29th of December 1942 and returned to the UK in 1943.
On the 20th of June 1944, Peter Ford and his crew took off from RAF Dunsfold in B-25 Mitchell Mk II FV998 EV- for a mission to bomb the V1 flying bomb site at Bois Coquerelle, near Abbeville. Seventeen Mitchells from 180 and 320 Squadrons were detailed for the attack. At 9am, his aircraft was leading the formation over the target area when it appeared to the pilot of the aircraft behind, to have missed the opportunity to drop its bombs until it was too late to attack and the aircraft began a turn to the left away from the target. At that moment it was hit in the nose by a burst of flak which perforated the nose area, after which Peter Ford and his Navigator, George Lister, were seen to be slumped forward in the cockpit. The port engine caught fire immediately after this and the aircraft dived to the left, increasing in speed and steepness until it exploded on the ground at Liercourt at 9.05am with a full bomb load on board; there were no parachutes seen and the entire crew was killed.
The crew was: -
Squadron Leader Peter Roger Anson Ford DFC (Pilot)
Pilot Officer James Kelso Stenhouse RCAF (Air Gunner)
Flying Officer William Kirk RAAF (Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Reginald Arthur Newham (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner)
Pilot Officer George Lister DFM (Navigator/Air Bomber)
His brother, Captain Francis Orme Ford, No. 47 Royal Marine Commando, was killed in action on the 17th of July 1943.
He is commemorated on the war memorial at Glenalmond College and on the memorial at Worcester College, Oxford.
He is buried at St Pierre Cemetery, Amiens Plot 2 Row B Grave 13

Forrest John Dodds Pilot Officer 62022

214 (Federated Malay States) Squadron, Royal Air Force
Killed in action on the 25th of June 1941 aged 27
John Dodds Forrest was born at Ratho, Midlothian on the 9th of August 1913 the only son of John Forrest, a quarry manager, and Emily Ross Reid (nee McPhee) Forrest of "Hillfoot", Ratho Station, Midlothian. He was educated at George Watson's College where he attended the senior school from 1924 to 1929. On leaving school he decided to pursue a career in accountancy and, while serving his apprenticeship, he attended Edinburgh University where he distinguished himself as a boxer. He later entered the Civil Service as an accountant.
Following the outbreak of war, he enlisted in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve where he trained as a pilot and was commissioned as a Pilot Officer on the 10th of March 1941.
On the night of the 24th/25th of June 1941 Bomber Command dispatched 25 Hampdens 23 Wellingtons to attack the docks at Keil. The German authorities later described the raid as "light" with 11 people injured on the ground.
John Dodds-Forrest and his crew took off from RAF Stradishall at 11.59pm on the night of the 24th of June 1941 in Wellington Mk 1C R1609 for the operation. At 1.40am the following morning the aircraft was flying at a height of 4,800 metres when it was attacked and shot down by a Dornier 215 night fighter flown by Oberleutnant Helmut Woltersdorf of 4./NJG 1. The aircraft crashed into the North Sea some 10 kilometres to the southwest of Petten in North Holland with the loss of the entire crew. Theirs was one of an eventual twenty four victories for Helmut Woltersdorf before he was killed in action on the 2nd of June 1942.
The crew was: -
Pilot Officer John Dodds-Forrest (2nd Pilot)
Sergeant Godfrey Tegid Jones (Pilot)
Sergeant George Thomas Hunt (Observer/Air Bomber)
Sergeant John Charles Eric Black (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner)
Sergeant Godfrey Allenby Douglas Cotton (Air Gunner)
Sergeant Kenneth Judson Barton RCAF (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner)
Theirs was the only aircraft lost on the raid.
He is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial Panel 32

Forrester, David Marshall Captain 132465

Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) attached to the 8th Battalion, 6th Rajputana Rifles, Indian Army
Killed in action on the 16th of March 1943 aged 24
David Marshall Forrester was born at Strachur, Argyllshire on the 21st of January 1919 the only son of James Forrester and Janet Forrester of Muirkirk, Ayrshire. He was educated at Lanark High School and at George Watson's College from 1927 to 1937. He was a member of the 1st Rugby XV, the 1st Hockey XI and 1st Cricket XI and was Captain of the Tennis VIII. He entered the Faculty of Arts at Edinburgh University in 1937 with a view to study for the Ministry but on the outbreak of war he enlisted as a combatant in the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) and, after attending an Officer Cadet Training Unit, he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Regiment on the 25th of May 1940. He was promoted to Lieutenant on the 25th of November 1941 and was later attached to the 8th Battalion, 6th Rajputana Rifles, Indian Army.
He was killed during the fighting in the Arakan in Burma.
He is commemorated on the war memorial at Muirkirk and on the memorial at Broughton.
He is commemorated on the Rangoon Memorial Face 10

Fotheringham, John Clark Captain 200890

6th Battalion, Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment)
Killed in action on the 30th of July 1944 aged 24
John Clark Fotheringham was born in Fife in 1919 the elder son of John Hogarth Fotheringham and Mary Helen (nee Bisset) Fotheringham of 2, Lochies, Burntisland, Fife. He was educated at George Watson's College from 1931 to 1935. On leaving school he joined the staff of the National Bank of Scotland and gained his Banking Institute membership with distinction in 1939. He was a keen rugby player and golfer.
He volunteered for service in January 1940 and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) on the 9th of August 1941. He was posted to Gibraltar, but later returned to the UK and was promoted to Lieutenant on the 1st of October 1941.
At 2pm on the 6th of March 1944, the 6th Battalion, Black Watch docked at Naples harbour for service in Italy, where they disembarked at 6pm before marching to a transit camp. John Fotheringham joined the Battalion in the field on the 16th of May 1944.
On the 30th of July 1944, the Battalion was ordered to advance across country in the area of Conn. In preparation for the advance the commanding officer went forward to make a reconnaissance of the ground during which he was wounded by artillery fire and was evacuated to the rear. The Battalion was to wait for an attack by the 1st Battalion, Royal West Kent Regiment on enemy positions codenamed "Corbett" before the Battalion was to attack an enemy held position known as Point 781. In the early afternoon the West Kent’s attack was repulsed but it was decided that the Black Watch would attack Point 781 regardless. C Company led the attack and they advanced under mortar fire which caused several casualties. They were within 500 yards of their objective when they came under heavy fire from three sides and were forced to go to ground. After a time their commanding officer managed to extricate his men and they fell back to the reverse slope which they were ordered to hold at all costs. Casualties were very heavy with none of the wounded being able to be evacuated until after dark. The Battalion suffered casualties of five officers and forty six men during the fighting. John Fotheringham was among the dead.
He is commemorated on the war memorial at the National Bank of Scotland.
He is buried at Florence War Cemetery Plot X Row D Grave 9

Fulton, John Wilson Lieutenant 307798

A Squadron, 2nd Lothians and Border Horse Yeomanry, Royal Armoured Corps
Died of wounds on the 20th of June 1944 aged 21
John Wilson Fulton was born at Edinburgh on the 3rd of October 1922 the younger twin son of John Fulton, Deputy Secretary of the Prisons Department for Scotland, and Edith A. M. C. Fulton of Napier House, Colinton Road, Edinburgh.
He was educated at George Watson's College from 1927 to 1935 and at Strathallan School from 1935 to 1940 where he gained his school colours for the 1st Rugby XV and the 1st Cricket XI. In 1940 he was apprenticed to the firm of Messrs. Chiene & Tait, Chartered Accountants of Edinburgh. He and his twin brother volunteered for the Royal Armoured Corps in September 1941 and enlisted in the December. He served as a Trooper in the North African campaign in Egypt and was wounded at the Battle of El Alamein. He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Armoured Corps on the 31st of October 1943 and was posted to the 2nd Lothians and Border Horse Yeomanry, where his older twin, David, was already serving. He joined them in the field in Italy on the 3rd of February 1944 and in March 1944 the Regiment sailed for Naples and saw action at the battle of Monte Cassino in May 1944.
On the 19th of June 1944, the 2nd Lothians and Border Horse Yeomanry were in the area of Pila when they crossed the River Ely at 4.50am and moved up the road to Perugia on the far bank in a north easterly direction. This road and the road which ran from Perugia to Maggionne had been scouted the night before by tanks of the 17th /21st Lancers. Using the intelligence gathered the night before they dispatched tanks from the main road up the adjacent high ground in order to reach the Perugia to Maggionne road, but three of their tanks became bogged down and the move was abandoned. By the time they had reorganised news came though that Perugia had been captured by troops from the Guards and by tanks of the 16th/5th Lancers. They then skirted the village and headed west towards Maggionne. When they reached the town they found that the road split into two branches with A Squadron sending one Troop up each road while B Squadron headed for the high ground to the south of the town and C Squadron climbed the slopes of Monte Malbe to the north.
At 12.30pm both of A Squadron’s Troops came under fire with one tank being knocked out, killing Trooper Douglas Mackie. Both Troops opened fire and then withdrew, causing one of the enemy’s anti tank crews to abandon their gun under the fire from the Lothians tanks. Seeing this, John Fulton dismounted and formed a foot patrol in order to destroy the abandoned enemy gun but he and his men came under machine gun fire from a Spandau, wounding him and one of his men. He died from his wounds the following day.
He is commemorated on the war memorial at Strathallan School.
He is buried at Assisi War Cemetery Plot IX Row G Grave 7

Garden, Harald Dennison Second Radio Officer

SS Baron Semple, Merchant Navy
Killed in action on the 30th of October 1943 aged 20
Harald Dennison Garden was born at Kirkwall on the 21st of March 1923 the youngest son of William Garden and Robina "Ina" Garden of "Mayfield", Musselburgh, East Lothian, later of 110, Polwarth Terrace, Edinburgh. He was educated at Melville College, Edinburgh from October 1928 to the 31st of July 1935 and at George Watson's College from 1935 to 1941. On leaving school he attended the Edinburgh Wireless College and after qualifying he entered the Merchant Navy in 1942. He served in the Atlantic and on the Russian convoys.
The 4,573 ton steam merchant SS Baron Semple, under the command of Master Philip Jarvis Carnie, set sail from Rio de Janeiro on the 25th of October 1943 bound for the UK via Freetown with a cargo of iron ore. She was travelling unescorted. On the 30th of October 1943 she was to the northwest of Ascension Island when she was attacked by the U-Boat U-848, under the command of Fregattenkapitän Wilhelm Rollman. The entire ship's complement of fifty six crew and six gunners were lost in the attack. U-848, which was on its maiden voyage, was still in the same area when it was attacked by three American Liberator B-24 aircraft on the 5th of November 1943 and was destroyed with the loss of all hands.
He is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial Panel 14

Gibson, Arthur Keith Major 114838

No. 21 General Hospital, Royal Army Medical Corps
Died on the 7th of December 1941 aged 48
Arthur Keith Gibson was born at Leith on the 9th of August 1893 the son of Peter Gibson, a 2nd Division Clerk in the GLO, and Elizabeth D. Gibson of Clunie Cottage, Viewpark Gardens, Leith. He was educated at George Watson's College from 1901 to 1911. He went on to Edinburgh University where he read medicine from the 3rd of October 1911, and served as a Private in the Edinburgh University Officer Training Corps from November 1914 to July 1916. He graduated MB ChB in 1916. On leaving university he was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Royal Army Medical Corps, (Special Reserve of Officers) on the 24th of July 1916, and was posted to Salonika, landing there on the 9th of August 1916. He was promoted to Captain on the 24th of January 1917. After the war he worked as House Surgeon and House Physician to the gynaecological wards of the Royal Infirmary Edinburgh.
He was married to Jean and they lived at 34, Corniston Drive, Edinburgh. He went into practice at Nottingham and later at St Ives. He was later appointed as a Regional Medical Secretary to the British Medical Association in London, when he and his wife lived at 34, St Mark's Road, North Kensington.
On the outbreak of war, he rejoined the army and was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Royal Army Medical Corps on the 11th of December 1939. He went out to France where he served at No. 21 General Hospital at Boulogne. He was captured there on the 24th of May 1940 and was interned at Oflag IXA at Spangenberg in north eastern Germany.
He was promoted to Captain on the 20th of August 1940 and to temporary Major on the same date. He contracted typhus while working at a prison hospital but insisted on continuing his work to relieve the suffering of the Russian prisoners there. He died from typhus and was buried with full military honours. After his death, the Germans sent a message to the International Red Cross in Switzerland praising his great sacrifice.
He is buried at Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery Plot 10 Row A Grave 4

Gilbert, Ronald Reid Pilot Officer 156089

78 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Killed in action on the 24th of August 1943 aged 21
Ronald Reid Gilbert was born at Edinburgh the son of Edward Gilbert and Catherine Ann Gilbert of 44, Viewforth Terrace, Edinburgh. He was educated at George Watson's College from 1934 to 1938 when he went on to Skerry's College, Edinburgh. He volunteered for the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve in 1941 and in August that year he was posted to the United States for pilot training. He returned to the UK as instructor the following year and was later posted to 78 Squadron for operations. He rose to the rank of Flight Sergeant before being commissioned as a Pilot Officer on the 6th of August 1943.
On the night of the 23rd/24th of August 1943, Bomber Command dispatched 335 Lancasters, 124 Stirlings, 251 Halifaxes and 17 Mosquitos for an operation on Berlin. The Pathfinders were not able to mark the centre of the city and so instead marked an area on the southern outskirts. Opposition from anti aircraft guns and night fighter defences were described as "fierce". In spite of the scattered bombing, some of which fell on the open country to the south of the city, Berlin suffered its worst raid in the war to date with 2,611 buildings being damaged or destroyed. Heavy damage to residential property was recorded in the suburbs of Lankwitz and Lichterfelde with Mareindorf and Mareianfelde seeing the worst damage to industrial buildings. Casualties on the ground were 854 people killed and 83 missing. The high casualties were due to a relatively high number of the population not taking cover during the raid.
Ronald Gilbert and his crew took off from RAF Breighton at 8.12pm on the 23rd of August 1943 in Halifax Mk II BB373 EY-K for the operation. Having completed their mission, they were returning to base when they received orders to divert to RAF Leconfield but were later diverted again, to Hutton Cranswick. While circling the airfield they collided with Halifax Mk II JB874 EY-E from the Squadron over Hull Bridge and both aircraft crashed some two miles to the north east of Beverley in Yorkshire at 4.30am. Ronald Gilbert and his crew were all killed as were six of the crew from the other aircraft, with one member surviving although badly injured.
The crew was: -
Sergeant George Goodall Bell RNZAF (Pilot)
Pilot Officer Ronald Reid (2nd Pilot)
Sergeant Albert Eric Lester (Flight Engineer)
Pilot Officer Edward Platt (Navigator)
Sergeant William Leslie Clarke (Air Bomber)
Sergeant Arthur Lee (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner)
Sergeant David Claude Melville Walton RAAF (Air Gunner)
Sergeant Robert Bernard Fletcher (Air Gunner)
Theirs was one of fifty six aircraft lost on the raid.
His funeral and cremation took place on the 28th of August 1943.
He is commemorated at Warriston Crematorium, Edinburgh Panel 2

Gillies, John Hunter Paymaster Lieutenant Commander RNR

RMS Carthage, Merchant Navy
Died on the 2nd of March 1945 aged 36
John Hunter Gillies was born in Argyllshire on the 24th of November 1908 the youngest son of Dr Patrick Hunter Gillies MD, Medical Officer for the County of Argyll, and Mary Davinia Gillies (later McIntyre) of Dargo Villa, Connel, Argyllshire. He was educated at George Watson's College where he was a member of the Rugby XV in 1926/27 and gained his 1st Cricket XI colours in 1927. He was a member of the Shooting VIII from 1925 to 1927 and was a member of the Officer Training Corps, where he served as Pipe Major from 1924 to 1926 and was promoted to Company Quartermaster Sergeant in 1927. He went on to St Andrews University on a Scholarship and had originally intended to study for the ministry but instead he joined the staff of the Peninsular & Oriental Steamship Company and was later appointed as the Chief Purser of the ocean liner RMS Carthage. Following the outbreak of war he was commissioned as a Paymaster Lieutenant Commander in the Royal Naval Reserve on the 30th of September 1939.
RMS Carthage was commandeered by the Royal Navy in January 1940 and was converted into an armed merchant cruiser with eight six inch guns and two three inch anti aircraft guns. In 1943, she was disarmed and converted into a troopship.
John Gilles died suddenly when returning from the United States and was buried at sea. He is commemorated on a gravestone at Kilbrandon Old Churchyard at Balvicar, Argyll and Bute.

Glennie, George Crombie Surgeon Lieutenant RNVR

HMS President III, Royal Navy attached to SS Toward
Killed in action on the 7th of February 1943 aged 34
George Crombie Glennie was born on the 6th of October 1908 the eldest son of Captain George Glennie, Merchant Navy, and Margaret Crombie Glennie of 25, Park Avenue, Edinburgh. He was educated at George Watson's College from 1918 to 1927. He went on to Edinburgh University to read medicine, commencing his studies there on the 11th of October 1927. He graduated in 1933 with M.B and Ch.B and went into practice firstly at Chesterfield and later in Nottinghamshire. He was married to Sadie and the couple lived at "Kohanga", Clipstone Road, Forest Town, Mansfield Woodhouse in Nottinghamshire.
On the outbreak of war he became a lecturer in first aid for the local ARP service and later joined the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. He was commissioned as a Surgeon Lieutenant on the 1st of April 1940. He was attached to the 1,571 ton cargo steamer SS Toward on the 24th of October 1941 which had been commissioned as a convoy rescue ship. By February 1943 the SS Toward had completed forty three convoys and had rescued three hundred and thirty seven survivors of enemy attacks.
The SS Toward, under the command of Master George Keir Hudson, set sail from Halifax, Nova Scotia at 4.45pm on the 27th of January 1942 bound for Greenock as the rescue ship for Convoy SC-118.They were joined by other ships, which had sailed from New York, at 10am the following day bringing the total number of ships in the convoy to fifty nine. On the 4th of February the U-Boat Wolfpack "Pfeil" found the convoy and the destroyer HMS Beverley sunk the U-Boat U-187 during the day. At 3.47am on the morning of the 7th of February 1943 SS Toward was to the southeast of Cape Farewell when she was hit by a torpedo fired by the U Boat U-402, under the command of Kapitänleutnant Siegfried Freiherr von Forstner. The torpedo struck the aft end of No. 2 Hold, forward of the bridge on the port side. The ship listed 10-15 degrees and was rolling heavily in the rough seas when the order went out to abandon ship. Some lifeboats managed to launch but, with the ship sinking fast, some men had to jump over the side into the icy waters. She sank fifteen minutes after being hit with the loss of forty three of the crew from a ships complement of sixty seven. Twenty two of the survivors were picked up by the corvette HMS Migonette (K38) and were landed at Londonderry on the 10th of February. The U-402 hit six other ships from the convoy during the day and another the next day.
He is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial Panel 80 Column 2

Gordon, Arthur Currie Chaplain 4th Class 91866

Royal Army Chaplains Department attached to the 1st Battalion, Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment)
Killed in action on the 8th of June 1940 aged 36
Arthur Currie Gordon was born at Aberdeen in 1904 the only son of the Reverend William Gordon BD and Alison Gordon of Barrhill, Ayrshire. He was educated at George Watson's College from 1915 to 1920. He went on to Edinburgh University from where he graduated MA and BD. On leaving university he assisted the Reverend Albert A. Diack at St Bernard's Church, Edinburgh and later held positions at Kells Parish Church, Kirkcudbrightshire and at Foveran Parish Church at Newburgh in Aberdeenshire. He was married to Agnes Doreen (née Mathers) of Drainie Manse, Kinneddar, Morayshire.
He volunteered for service in 1939, was commissioned as a Chaplain 4th Class in the Royal Army Chaplains Department on the 8th of February 1939 and was attached to the 1st Battalion, Black Watch. The Battalion landed in France in September 1939 and all members were killed or captured at St Valery-en-Caux in June 1940.
He is commemorated on a bronze plaque at Foveran Parish Church.
He is buried at Blagny-sur-Bresle Communal Cemetery Grave 3

Gordon, Samuel Alexander Bruce Flying Officer 47474

1445 (Ferry Training) Flight, Royal Air Force
Killed on active service on the 6th of November 1942 aged 21
Samuel Alexander Bruce Gordon was born in 1921 the only son of Robert Gordon and Margaret Mackenzie Gordon of 4, Hartington Place, Edinburgh. He was educated at George Watson's College from 1926 to 1934 after which he joined the staff of the Post Office Engineering Department.
He was a member of the Territorial Army and was mobilised on the outbreak of war. He transferred to the Royal Air Force with the rank of Leading Aircraftman in May 1941, trained as a pilot and was commissioned as a Pilot Officer on the 29th of November 1941. He served at Gibraltar, Malta and Egypt before returning to the UK for home service. He was promoted to Flying Officer on the 1st of October 1942.
Samuel Gordon and his crew took off from RAF Prestwick in Liberator Mk II AL595 for a ferry flight to RAF Lyneham. The aircraft had been fitted with upgraded turrets and guns by Scottish Aviation Ltd at Prestwick and was being returned to its base. While making its approach to Lyneham after dark and in very poor weather conditions, the aircraft crashed at high speed into high ground about half a mile to the south east of the airfield where it exploded and caught fire, killing the entire crew.
Crew was: -
Flying Officer Deiniol Davies (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner)
Flying Officer John Henry Fuller (Navigator)
Flying Officer Samuel Alexander Bruce Gordon (2nd Pilot)
Flying Officer Gilbert Henry Gregg (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner)
Flight Lieutenant George John Le Mar (Pilot)
An accident report concluded that the pilot was not watching the flare path or using his instruments but was relying instead on his knowledge of the local area to fly his approach. The crash site was excavated in 2012
He is buried at St Michael's Churchyard, Lyneham

Gorrie, Peter Surgeon

SS Madura, Merchant Navy
Killed in action on the 3rd of February 1942 aged 60
Peter Gorrie was born at 12, Rosehall Terrace, Edinburgh on the 7th of August 1881 the son of Daniel Gorrie, a pharmaceutical chemist, and Janet Bisset (nee Maclagan) Gorrie of 12, Rosehall Terrace, Edinburgh, later of 7, Priestfield Road, Edinburgh. He was educated at George Watson's College from 1889 to 1898. On leaving school he worked as an apprentice chemist before entering Edinburgh University where he graduated MB, ChB in 1906 and MD in 1908. He was registered as a chemist and druggist by the Pharmacy Society of Great Britain on the 2nd of July 1908 and was registered as a Medical Practitioner by the General Medical Council on the 28th of July 1908. He worked with Frank Dawson MD as his assistant at his practice in Corbridge, Northumberland for six months before becoming Resident Surgeon at Essex County Hospital at Colchester. From April 1909 he worked as House Surgeon at the Cancer Hospital in the Fulham Road and from September 1909 he worked as House Surgeon at the Temperance Hospital at Hampstead Road, London. In around 1910 he went to Australia, probably working his passage as a surgeon on board the SS Priam which travelled there via the Far East. He made his way to South Australia and registered as a medical practitioner at Cummins in 1911. He was married at North Adelaide on the 15th of April 1912 to Janet Howatson (nee Young) and the couple relocated to Port Ellison. They moved to Peterborough in May 1913 where he was Officer of Health for the district. They had four children, Robert Maclaggan, born on the 21st of January 1913, Elizabeth Nancy, born on the 26th of June 1914, Peter Creighton, born on the 6th of June 1918 and Janet Howatson, born on the 1st of May 1922.
Following the outbreak of the Great War, he enlisted in the Royal Army Medical Corps and was commissioned as a Lieutenant on the 14th of May 1915. He embarked on board the ocean liner RMS Omrah on the same day, arriving in England on the 20th of June 1915 where he went into camp at Aldershot. On the 29th of September 1915 he embarked on board the Hospital Ship Panama bound for Malta, where he served until 1916. He is thought to have seen service on board the ship at Suvla Bay off the Gallipoli peninsula in late 1915.
He relinquished his commission on the 27th of June 1916 and met his family at Colombo before returning to Australia where they landed on the 19th of July 1916. Shortly afterwards he took over a general practice at Port Augusta where he became Medical Officer for the local hospital and for the Railways Department. In July 1923 the family moved once again, to Mount Lofty where he purchased a practice at St Anne's, Avenue Road and later established a hospital in the town. In October 1933, he sold his practice and returned to Scotland, leaving his family at Mount Lofty. His wife died at a hospital in Adelaide in early June 1936. He remained in Scotland and was remarried at St Ninian's Church, Linlithgow on the 23rd of November 1940 to Agnes Euphemia "Effie" (nee Baird).
On the 12th of December 1940 he signed on as Ship's Surgeon on board the 9,875 ton merchant ship SS Madura and he spent the first two years of the war on convoy duty. It was during one of these voyages that the ship's company was informed on the 7th of December 1941 that the Japanese had entered the war. She spent Christmas 1941 in port at Colombo before sailing to Batavia where she was docked from the 4th to the 11th of January 1942. The ship arrived at Singapore on the 14th of January but could not unload its cargo due to the bombing raids and a lack of available labour on the docks. The crew was eventually able to offload the cargo, but by this time Singapore was cut off from the mainland. On the evening of the 2nd of February 1942, 200 passengers were embarked on board and the ship set sail at 7am the following morning to return to Batavia.
At 5.49pm on the 3rd of February the SS Madura was sighted by Japanese aircraft which attacked in three waves. The first two waves dropped four bombs, all of which missed but the third attack saw a bomb score a direct hit on the after part of the starboard side at 6.03pm. A fire was started in the after part of the engine room which spread to the dispensary, the medical locker and the Surgeon's cabin. The ship was also found to be taking on water. The fires were extinguished by 8.30pm and the flooding was kept down with a water pump. The ship set a course for Palemburg in Sumatra to offload its casualties. Peter Gorrie and four other crew members were killed in the attack with a further fourteen members of the crew seriously wounded. There were no casualties among the passengers. The dead were buried at sea early on the 4th of February 1941.
His son, Flying Officer Peter Creighton Gorrie, A Flight, 2 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force, was killed in action on the 12th of January 1942.
He is commemorated on the family grave at Newington Cemetery, Edinburgh.
He is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial Panel 66

Goudie, Ernest Albert Sergeant 1563229

76 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Killed in action on the 5th of November 1944 aged 31
Ernest Albert Goudie was born at Leith on the 10th of November 1912 the younger son of Robert John Goudie and Jemima Catherine (nee Tait) Goudie of 127, St John's Road, Corstorphine, Edinburgh. He was educated at Leith Academy and at George Watson's College from 1920 to 1931. On leaving school he was apprenticed to the firm of Messrs. Brown, MacDonald & Fleming, Chartered Accountants of Edinburgh. On qualifying in 1937 he joined the firm of Technicolor Ltd, London. In 1940 he returned to Edinburgh where he joined the staff of Harkness, Beaumont & Co Ltd, manufacturing chemists. He was married on the 27th of July 1940 to Elizabeth Hogg (nee Buchanan) of Edinburgh.
He enlisted in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve in 1942, where he trained as a navigator and rose to the rank of Sergeant.
On the night of the 4th/5th of November 1944, Bomber Command dispatched 384 Halifaxes, 336 Lancasters and 29 Mosquitos for an operation on Bochum. Following good marking by the Pathfinders, the centre of the city was heavily damaged with more than 4,000 buildings being destroyed or seriously damaged. The industrial area was also badly affected with the steelworks being severely damaged. 994 people on the ground were killed in the attack. This was the last major attack on the city of the war.
Ernest Goudie and his crew took off from RAF Holme-on-Spalding Moor at 5.39pm on the 4th of November 1944 in Halifax Mk III LL577 MP-M for the raid, on what would be his first operation. During the mission the aircraft was hit by anti aircraft fire and crashed at Jalhay near Liege, 7 kilometres to the south east of Verviers, in the early hours of the following morning with the loss of the entire crew.
The crew was: -
Flight Sergeant Douglas Neville Cole (Pilot)
Sergeant Thomas Finbar Craddock (Flight Engineer)
Sergeant Walter Frederick Day (Air Gunner)
Sergeant Ernest Albert Goudie (Navigator)
Sergeant David James Dodgson (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner)
Sergeant Edmond Fitton (Air Gunner)
Sergeant Douglas William Plumley (Air Bomber)
Theirs was one of twenty eight aircraft which were lost during the raid.
The crew were buried at Aubel but were later exhumed and moved to their present location.
He is buried at Hotton War Cemetery Plot IV Row E Grave 4

Grierson, Ruby Isobel

Civilian
SS City of Benares
Died on the 18th of September 1940 aged 36
Ruby Isobel Grierson was born at Cambusbarron near Stirling on the 24th of November 1903 the daughter of Robert Morrison Grierson, a school master, and Jane (nee Anthony) Grierson, a suffragette and Labour Party activist, of Malleny Grove, Balerno, Midlothian.
She was educated at Glasgow University where she graduated with a MA, after which she worked as an English teacher at George Watson’s Ladies College from 1928 to 1936. In 1935 she began to enter the film industry when she worked as an assistant on the documentary "Housing Problems", directed by Arthur Elton and Edgar Anstey. She moved to London in 1936 where she lived with her older brother Andrew at 17, Merrick Square, Southwark. She directed "London Wakes Up" for Strand Films in 1936 which was produced by Paul Rotha as one of a series of films about everyday life in London. Still in collaboration with Rotha she made "Today and Tomorrow" in 1936 and "Today we Live" in 1937. In 1938 she made two films entitled "Animal Kingdom – The Zoo and You" and "Animals on Guard". She left Strand Films to join the Realist Film Unit in 1939 and made the film "Cargo for Ardrossan" for them in the same year.
Following the outbreak of war she directed a series of films in 1940 which were commissioned by the Ministry of Food; "Choose Cheese", "Green Food for Health", "Six Foods for Fitness", "They Also Serve", and "What’s for Dinner". Later in 1940 she was commissioned to make a documentary on the evacuation of children to Canada by the Children’s Overseas Reception Boards, which had been evacuating children overseas to escape the bombing and the threat of invasion since July 1940.
On the 13th of September 1940 Ruby Grierson boarded the 11,081 ton steam passenger ship SS City of Benares at Liverpool, under the command of Master Landles Nicholl, which was bound for Montreal with 90 evacuee children amongst the passengers on board. The SS City of Benares formed part of Convoy OB-213 which was made up of 19 ships escorted by the destroyer HMS Winchelsea and two armed sloops, with the convoy commodore, Rear Admiral Edmund Julius Gordon Mackinnon DSO RN, travelling on board the SS City of Benares.
At 10.02am on the 17th of September the convoy was spotted by the U Boat U-48, under the command of Kapitänleutnant Heinrich Bleichrodt. The convoy had been zig-zagging but had stopped doing this due to bad weather. Its escorts had departed earlier in the day which was standard procedure at the time.
At 11.45pm that night, while some 253 miles to the west southwest of Rockall, U-48 fired two torpedoes at the SS City of Benares but both of these missed the ship. At 12.01am on the 18th of September 1940 she fired a single torpedo which struck the passenger ship on the port side of her aft section, just under the children’s sleeping quarters. Six minutes later U-48 fired her fourth torpedo at the steam ship SS Marina. At 12.27am she fired her stern torpedo at a tanker but this missed and the tanker escaped with the rest of the convoy while the U Boat was reloading.
Fifteen minutes after being hit by the torpedo, the SS City of Benares was abandoned and the 12 lifeboats were lowered 40 feet to the water but with great difficulty due to the bad weather which was blowing a Force 10 gale with large waves. Ruby Grierson was last seen boarding a lifeboat with around 20 children but the lifeboat failed to launch properly and was hit by a huge wave which tipped all those on board into the sea. The ship sank by the stern 31 minutes after being hit, a scene witnessed by the crew of U-48 who had surfaced and were moving through the wreckage using a searchlight .
105 survivors were picked up by the destroyer HMS Hurricane (H060) and were landed at Greenock with a further 42 survivors being picked up by the destroyer HMS Anthony (H40) after being adrift for eight days
Casualties were high with the Master, the Commodore, 3 staff members, 121 of the crew and 134 passengers all being killed in the disaster. Of the 90 children on board, 77 had died. As a result of the loss of the SS City of Benares the evacuation of children overseas was stopped. Heinrich Bleichrodt survived war and was charged with war crimes at the Nuremberg trials, which included the sinking of SS City of Benares. He maintained that the ship was a legitimate target and that his actions had been appropriate. Some of his crew expressed their shock at the loss of the children.
A biographical documentary of her life, "Ruby Grierson: Re-shooting History" was made by the BBC in 1994.