ROLL OF HONOUR OF THE MERCHANT NAVY AND FISHING FLEETS 1939-1945
The Tower Hill memorial in London commemorates the men from the Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleets who have no known grave and died during the two world wars. The memorial can be found close to the Tower of London on the south side of Trinity Square.
The men who died during the WW1 are listed in the covered, vaulted corridor. The men who died during WW2 are listed on bronze panels in a sunken garden. All names are arranged in alphabetical order under the names of the ships that they were lost on.
In 1958 the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation published a Roll of Honour which was printed under the authority of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office. It contains the names of those members of the Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleets who lost their lives in WW2 through war service in ships registered in the United Kingdom or on charter to the United Kingdom Government.
This Roll of Honour is in three Volumes. Volumes I and II contain the names of those who are commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial and details the number of the panel on which they are listed, as well as Name, Rank, Ship, Date of death, Age and brief family details, where known. Volume III contains the names of those commemorated by War Memorials at Bombay, Bourail, Chittagong, Halifax, Hong Kong, Port Moresby and Sydney, and also of those with known graves throughout the world.
There are copies in St. Paul’s Cathedral and Winchester Cathedral and now the SMMC is proud to display a copy in the Club room which is available for inspection by members. It will also be available to other interested parties by appointment.
FOREWARD (To the Roll of Honour)
This Roll of Honour records the names of more than 33,000 merchant seamen and fishermen who lost their lives while serving in British merchant ships or fishing vessels or in foreign ships chartered by the Government of the United Kingdom in the world war of 1939-1945.
This bare statement of fact conceals an epic of sustained heroism unsurpassed in the annals of war. At no time were there more than 200,000 officers and ratings serving in these ships: yet the dead numbered over 33,000. In no other field of war did so high a proportion of those engaged lose their lives. This is the measure of a sacrifice which has laid our country and the whole British Commonwealth and its allies in their debt for ever.
They were civilians without the support of military discipline and training, yet they faced mortal danger in the service of others, and they did not waver. Never, even in the darkest days, was there any lack of willing hands to man the ships however hazardous the voyage, though the seamen knew, often from bitter experience, the horrors which followed enemy attack at sea. They took the troops to the scene of battle and sustained them while they fought. They carried the food without which whole populations would have perished and the supplies without which the needs of the fighting forces and the civilian economy which
nourished them could not have been met. They made victory possible.
The Memorials which record their sacrifice and the headstones that mark their resting places are scattered throughout the world, some at home, some far overseas. But it is fitting that the names of all the great company who gave their lives should be recorded together in one place.
This book is the record.
It is dedicated to them in humble gratitude.