January 09 – Roll of Honour

Trincomalee War Cemetery is to the north of the city in Sri Lanka which was one of the largest RN bases for the war in the Indian Ocean and Pacific. One of the headstones shown is that of a Jewish member of the RAF. Today’s Roll includes NI men lost in HMS Racoon off Ireland in 1918

Representing their comrades who died on this day


During the early morning of 9 January 1918, H.M.S. Racoon, a Royal Navy Beagle class destroyer was on her way from Liverpool to Lough Swilly to begin anti-submarine and convoy duties in the Northern Approaches.  In blizzards and heavy sea conditions, she struck rocks at the Garvan Isles just off Malin Head and sank with the loss of all hands.

The navigational error was revealed in a subsequent enquiry when it emerged that Racoon was taken between the isles, rather than going around, which would have been standard in the weather conditions.  Visibility failed and she ran straight into one of the islands.

96 members of the crew of HMS Racoon died.

+CALLIE, William
RN. Leading Stoker. K14866(Ch). HMS Racoon. Died 09/01/1918. Enrolled 30/05/1912 for 12 years. War service in Newcastle, Pembroke II, Actaeon and Hecla (Racoon) 10/10/1917 – 09/01/1918. Born Belfast 26/04/1894. Brother of Elizabeth Callie, Worcester Terr., Chamberlain St., Belfast. Belfast Telegraph ‘For King and Country’ memoriam, 13/12/1918. IMR. ADM 188/896/14866

+FERRIS, Wesley
RN. Stoker I. SS114263. HMS Racoon. Died 09/01/1918. Age 24. Enrolled 13/06/1913 for 5 and 7 years. War service in Pembroke II, Blenheim and Hecla. Born Belfast 22/01/1894. Son of William J. and Elizabeth Ferris, North Howard St., Belfast. Chatham Naval Memorial. Rosemary St – PCI RH. ADM 188/1120/114263

+GREER, John
RN. Stoker 1st Class. CH/SS/113181. HMS Racoon. Died 09/01/1918. Age 25. Born Belfast. Son of John and Isabella Greer, Ravenhill Rd., Belfast. Commemorated Belfast City Cemetery. Woodstock Road WM. IMR

+HARVEY, John Samuel – alias James Samuel Gibson
RN. Stoker I. K6961. HMS Racoon. Died 09/01/19918. Enrolled 21/06/1910 for 12 years. War service in Pembroke, Tyne (Flying Fish), Hecla (24/02/1916 – 09/01/1918). Born Belfast 08/08/1890. ADM 188/880/6961

+ROBERTS, Edward
RN. Stoker 1st Cl. HMS Racoon. Died 09/01/1918. One of three sons lost in the war. Jack, 71027, Private, North Irish Horse was killed in action on 21/09/1918. William Henry, 34392, Gunner, 107th Bty. 23rd Bde., Royal Field Artillery, was also killed in action. Son of Mrs. Nixon, the Orange Hall, Downpatrick. Downpatrick WM.


RN. AB. D/SSX 16513. HMS Spartan. Died 09/01/1944. Next of kin: Jessie Houston, Belfast. Parents, H and L Houston. Ballymena connection. Plymouth Naval memorial. Panel 86 Col. 3

Royal Artillery. 2nd Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment. 5th Battery. Bombardier. 1467311. Died 09/01/1944. Aged 28. Born in Bangor. Son of William McCutcheon and Margaret McCutcheon (née Strain) of Bangor. 1939-1945 Commonwealth War Cemetery, Charlottenburg, Berlin, Germany.

+SMITH, Donald Hector Tresham
RNVR. Lieutenant. Died 09/01/1944. Age 24. HMS Penn. Served from 18/04/1939, HMS President; Pembroke; 23 Elementary Flying Training School Belfast; Daedalus; King Alfred – volunteered for service in Dunkirk evacuation; Admiralty, Nimrod, Forester – Dakar assault; Foresight – Malta convoys; Chatham; Penn – gunnery officer – landings in North Africa, Sicily, Salerno; Agean late 1943. Died of illness. Son of Robert Fergus Smith and Anna Dora Amy Smith, Ballymena. Alexandria (Hadra) War Memorial Cemetery. Ballymena WM

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One Comment on “January 09 – Roll of Honour

  1. Bdr Thomas ‘Tom’ McCutcheon was a member of the North Down-raised 5 LAA Battery. In November 1939, the Battery deployed to North Africa as part of 9th (Londonderry) HAA Regiment, although its parent unit was 8th (Belfast) HAA Regiment. Tom went ‘into the bag’ when Tobruk fell to Panzerarmee Afrika in June 1942 and died in a PoW camp in Germany.


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