Highlighted today is the loss in WW2 of three men from NI in HMS Broadwater, a former US destroyer. Today’s veteran representative is Baron Cooke of Islandreagh, Muckamore, who served in RN and was President of the Belfast Branch of the Burma Star Association. Three NI infanteers represent their WW1 comrades.
Representing their comrades who died on this day
Royal Irish Fusiliers, 2nd Btn. Private. 8064. Died 18/10/1914. Ploegsteert Memorial, Hainaut, Belgium
Royal Irish Fusiliers, 1st Btn. Private. 6733 .Died 18/10/1914. Born in Randalstown. Ploegsteert Memorial, Hainaut, Belgium
Royal Irish Rifles. 11th Btn. Rifleman. 18196. Died 18/10/1917. Age 27. Born in Moy, County Tyrone about 1888. Son of Henry and Jane McCabe. By 1901 the family were living near Lisburn. Robert worked as a linen weaver. He died at home. Lambeg Church of Ireland Churchyard.
1941 HMS BROADWATER
HMS Broadwater was one of 50 older destroyers handed over to the Royal Navy by the United States Navy on 8th October 1940. This was in exchange for use of British bases in the Caribbean. It completed as USS Mason (DD191) in February 1920 at Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co. in Newport News, Virginia.
On 15/10/1940 HMS Broadwater (H 81) departed Halifax for the British Isles, via St. John’s, Newfoundland, arriving in the Clyde River, Scotland, the 26th for service with the 11th Escort Group, Western Approaches Command. During the early part of 1941 the indispensable destroyer escorted convoys, carrying troops and military supplies, around the Cape of Good Hope to the Middle East. She spent May and June at Southampton, England. Assigned to the Newfoundland Escort Force in July, the ship patrolled the North Atlantic and guarded convoys against the German submarine wolfpacks into the autumn of that year. Early in the morning of 17 October she attacked a U-boat, one of a pack assaulting the convoy SC-48 some 400 miles south of Iceland. Twenty four hours later HMS Broadwater (Lt.Cdr. William Maurice Lloyd Astwood, RN) herself fell victim to torpedoes of U-101 (Mengersen) and sank at 1340 hours the same day in position 57º01’N, 19º08’W.
HMS Angle rescued 60 men, transferring 7 to HMS Cape Warwick. This included Broadwater’s commander and chief engineer. HMS Cape Warwick picked up a further 28 men at 1420hrs before both ships made their way to port in Derry City, Co. Londonderry. HMS St. Apollo remained by the Broadwater wreck until it sank bow first with a starboard list into the North Atlantic waters.
RN. Steward. P/LX 24854. HMS Broadwater. Died 18/10/1941. Son of Robert A. and Isabella J. Buchanan, Artigarvan, Co. Tyrone. Plymouth Naval Memorial, Panel 55
RN. Able Seaman. D/SSX 27141. HMS Broadwater. Died 18/10/1941. Aged 21. On convoy duty in the Atlantic. The Lisburn Standard of 30/08/1940 reported that he was in the carrier Courageous when she was sunk in the early months of the war. He was injured in the evacuation of Dunkirk. He was hospitalised after the RN destroyed the greater part of the French fleet which was lying in Oran harbour. All this was before his 20th birthday. Son of William and Elizabeth Cree, Wesley St., Lisburn. Plymouth Naval Memorial, Panel 46. Lisburn WM
+MORRISON, Samuel Rutherford
RN. AB. D/JX 198134. Died 18/10/1941. Aged 29. HMS Broadwater . Son of Mr. and Mrs. William Morrison; husband of Kathleen Morrison, of Maymore Toye, Co. Down. Plymouth Naval Memorial, Panel 48. Killyleagh WM
Royal Artillery, 29 Searchlight Regt. 314 Bty. Gunner. 1488896. Died 10/10/1943. Banbridge Town Cemetery. Banbridge Parish WM
COOKE, Victor Alexander
RN. Lieutenant (E). Baron Cooke of Islandreagh, OBE, DL. Appointed Lieutenant (E) 1940. Served 1940 – 46. He was President of the Belfast Branch of the Burma Star Association. Educated at Marlborough, and Trinity College, Cambridge. Member of Senate for Northern Ireland 1960 – 68. He was registered as a Chartered Engineer (C.Eng). He was a director of Northern Ireland Airports, 1970 – 1985. He was a director of Harland & Wolff Ltd between 1970 and 1987. He was chairman of Henry R Ayton Ltd, Belfast, 1970 – 1989. He was invested as an Officer, Order of the British Empire, in 1981. He was created Baron Cooke of Islandreagh, of Islandreagh in the County of Antrim on 11/08/1992. He was invested as a Fellow, Institute of Mechanical Engineering (F.I.Mech.E.). He lived at Islandreagh House, Dunadry. Born on 18/10/1920. He was the son of Norman Victor Cooke and Alice Harman Peavey. Husband to Alison Sheila Casement, daughter of Maj – Gen Francis Casement and Mabel Frances Harrison. Died 13/11/2007.
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