HMS PRINCE OF WALES – December 10, 1941

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On this day in 1941 the battleship HMS PRINCE OF WALES and the battlecruiser HMS REPULSE were sunk by Japanese bombers off Malaya. They were the first British capital ships lost to air attack and the last RN battleship and battlecruiser lost in action. Six men from Northern Ireland were amongst the 840 who died in HMS PRINCE OF WALES. Several survivors were to die on other ships later in the war and others were to die whilst prisoners of war of Japan.

For account of ship and action CLICK HERE – remembrance ni – Force Z POW 10-12-1941


ATKINSON, Edward William
RN. Leading Torpedo Operator. In HMS Prince of Wales when it was sunk. Prior to joining Prince of Wales in December 1941, he had served as a machine gunner at a FAA aerodrome. He was picked up by a destroyer an hour after the sinking. He and another Derry sailor, Leading Seaman Kilgore, were part of the guard at the naval base in Singapore before it was captured. He received head and leg injuries and whilst aboard the ship taking him away from Singapore he had an attack of appendicitis and a consequent stay in a Columbo hospital. After recovering he served three months in an Australian naval ship before volunteering for submarine service. Third son of Mr. And Mrs. F Atkinson, Foyle Rd., Londonderry. Educated at Bennett St., Carlisle Rd., and First Derry PE schools. Prior to enrolling, he was employed by Messrs. Bigges, Foyle St. His two elder brothers served in the Royal Artillery and the Irish Fusiliers. (Derry Standard 31/03/1944).

+BOYD, David Wilson
RM. Marine. PLY/X10030. Member of Marines’ detachment in HMS Prince of Wales when it was sunk10/12/1941. Having survived that tragedy, Marine Boyd died 16/02/42 during the battle for Singapore. Age 21. Listed as missing, presumed dead, during the evacuation of Singapore. Husband to Charlotte Boyd, Belfast. Plymouth Naval Memorial, Panel 102

In HMS Prince of Wales when it was torpedoed. Then to Singapore just before its fall. Served in tank landing craft. Son of Mr and Mrs JE Kilgore, Belview Ave., Londonderry. (Derry Standard 09/10/1942).

RN. Leading Seaman. D/JX218782. HMS Prince of Wales. Died 10/12/1941. Age 26. Force Z. Son of David and Mary Kirkpatrick, Belfast. Husband to Margaret Kirkpatrick. Memorial Kranji War Cemetery, Singapore

+MAGAHY, Thomas John
RN. Petty Officer. D/JX 133634. HMS Prince of Wales. Age 29. 13 years service. Son of Mr and Mrs R Magahy, Strandburn Parade, Sydenham, Belfast. Husband to B. M. Magahy, Lipson, Plymouth. Father of one child. (Belfast Weekly Telegraph 04/09/1942). Plymouth Naval memorial, Panel 45

McCALL, James A
RN. Telegraphist. Enlisted January 1940. HMS Prince of Wales. Malta. Aboard ship which took Winston Churchill to meet President Rooseveldt off Newfoundland. Scapa Flow to Ceylon and Singapore on Repulse with four destroyers. In HMS Sultan on lead up to evacuation and fall of Singapore on Friday 13/02/1942. Then in HMS Kuala which was sunk by Japanese aircraft. 200 of 300 on board killed including women, children and nurses. Machine gun fire. Eventually became Japanese POW. One of 1,000 taken. Made to work on the notorious Burma ‘Death Railway’, where thousands of allied soldiers were starved and worked to death by the Japanese. The Thailand–Burma Railway was a 415 kilometres (258 mile) railway between Bangkok, Thailand, and Rangoon, Burma (now Yangon, Myanmar), built by the Japanese Empire during World War II, to support its forces in the Burma campaign. Eventually brought to Saigon. Member of the Belfast Branch of the Burma Star Association. James Mccall passed away on 13/02/2013 , the same date as he was captured by the Japanese, He had just celebrated his 91st birthday. (Photo Newtownabbey Times 15/11/2012, Belfast Weekly Telegraph 10/09/1943). From Mossley.


RN. Boy 1st Class, D/JX 180543. HMS Prince of Wales. Age 27. Son of Charles and Sara McClintock, of Belfast. Plymouth Naval Memorial, Panel 49

McIVOR, Alan
Ordinary Seaman. 29451. in the November 1997 issue of the Desertmartin Parish News: ‘The Story Behind the Hymn’ featured Onward Christian Soldiers. Mrs Joan Hill from Carrickfergus, whose mother is Mrs R McIvor. Formerly from Ballynagowan Lane, Desertmartin has written to us with an interesting story, she writes, “My brother Alan McIvor was one of the crew of HMS Prince of Wales and well remembers that day in August 1941. He was there on the quarter-deck, standing right beside Churchill and Roosevelt. On that day, he and the rest of the crew little knew what was in store for them a few months later and that the hymn sheets they were singing from and worse, a large number of they themselves, would end up on the bottom of the South China Sea. On 10th December 1941 the Prince of Wales was torpedoed by the Japanese and sank a short time later with great loss of life.” Alan survived and kept faith with his shipmates who did not. In December 2006 he travelled to Liverpool to attend the yearly memorial service in the cathedral for those who went down with HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse. He also laid a wreath at the Belfast Cenotaph on the anniversary of the battle of the Somme in July 2006. The Royal Navy affords all the veterans of the sunken ships the honour of scattering their ashes over the site in the China Seas. On the 10th December 2007, the anniversary of the sinking of the ships, Alan’s ashes were scattered there. Alan was named after an uncle who was lost in World War I. Born Desertmartin 14/06/1923. Died 29/07/2007. Buried Desertmartin Parish Church

RN. HMS Prince of Wales. Twin brother of William (see below). Son of Mr and Mrs A Megarry, Lisnoe House, Lisnoe, Lisburn

MEGARRY, William A
RN. Seaman. Reported missing. Nothing was heard of him for two and a half years when his parents received two postcards from him stating he was a prisoner of the Japanese, and that he was in the best of spirits and fit. He joined the navy as a boy when he was 15 along with his twin brother Samuel. They were in the Prince of Wales when she was sunk. Both were saved. William was taken to Singapore and his brother went to serve on a minesweeper. Another brother serving in the Irish Guards was in hospital in England recovering from wounds received in the Mediterranean theatre. William worked formerly in the GNR traffic manager’s office. He was born on July 12. Son of Mr and Mrs A Megarry, Lisnoe House, Lisnoe, Lisburn. (Belfast Weekly Telegraph 14/07/1944).

RN. Boy 1st Class. D/JX 184634. Died 05/04/1942. Age17. HMS Cornwall. The Derry Standard 01/05/1942 reported that he was a survivor of HMS Prince of Wales and was evacuated from Singapore. Son of Archibald and Annie E. Millar, Newmarket St., Coleraine. Plymouth Naval Memorial, Panel 67

MILLAR, Robert Robinson
RN. Ordinary Seaman. D/JX 170164. HMS Prince of Wales. Enlisted aged 16 and assigned to Prince of Wales in 1941. Died 6/02/1942. Age 17. Presumed killed. Missing after the invasion of Singapore. Son of James and Agnes Millar, Carrickfergus. Plymouth Naval Memorial, Panel 101. Carrickfergus Town Hall plaque

+PORTER, Henry Wilson
RN.Telegraphist. D/EX155258. HMS Prince of Wales. Died 10/12/1941. Age 19. Son of William and Arabella Porter, Annalong. Plymouth Naval Memorial, Panel 50. Newcastle WM

+RANKIN, Albert
RN. Stoker 2nd Class. D/KX 126888. H.M.S. Prince of Wales. Died 10/12/1941. Age 26. Son of Mr. and Mrs. F. Rankin, Londonderry. Plymouth Naval Memorial, Panel 54

+SMITH, Samuel
RN. Able Seaman. D/JX 198146. HMS Prince of Wales. Died 10/12/1941. Age 21. Son of Hamilton and Margaret Smith, Newtownards. Plymouth Naval Memorial, Panel 48

+STEWART, William
RN. Stoker 2nd Class. D/KX 126893. HMS Prince of Wales. Died 10/12/1941. Age 35. Previously employed by Belfast Corporation. Son of Andrew and Annie Stewart, Belfast; husband of Jane Stewart, Foyle St., Oldpark Rd., Belfast. Father of five young children. (Belfast Weekly Telegraph 05/061942). Plymouth Naval Memorial, Panel 54

+SUGDEN, Horace Thomas John
RN. Stoker 1st Class. D/KX 83968. HMS Prince of Wales. Died 10/12/1941. Age 28. Son of Robert and Lily Sugden; husband of Margaret E. Sugden, Londonderry. Plymouth Naval Memorial, Panel 53

USHER, William
RN. AB. MiD for distinguished services in HMS Prince of Wales in the battle with the Bismarck. He had survived three sinkings when ships he was serving in were torpedoed. Served off Malaysia, India and Middle East. Took part in Dunkirk evacuation. Local community presentation on Central Pier, Bangor. Son of Mr and Mrs. William Usher, Victoria Rd., Bangor. A brother in law Frank Douthart, from Ballycastle, also served in the RN.

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