January 25 – Roll of Honour

Today’s Roll contains the names of seven NI crew members of HMS Laurentic mined off Lough Swilly in WW1 and the name of John Beattie Dumigan of Carrickfergus who was lost on a convoy to Murmansk in a U-boat attack in WW2. Samuel Plant, a submariner, was married in Belfast on this day in 1942, he was lost in HM Submarine Olympus 16 months later.

Representing their comrades who died on this day

+McCLEARY, Andrew

Scots Guards, 1st Btn. Guardsman.12428. Died 25/01/1915. Aged 31, he was born at Clough, Co Antrim and enlisted in Bo’ness. He was husband to Annie McCleary, 27, Murrayfield Terrace, West Lothian, Scotland. He is commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial, France. He was possibly Andrew McCleary, son of miner John McCleary and his wife Elizabeth Young of Skerry East, near Clough. There is no record of the family in Ireland in 1901 or 1911 and they may well have emigrated to Scotland long before the Great War.

1917     HMS Laurentic

On this day in 1917 the Laurentic was mined off Lough Swilly

SS Laurentic was a British ocean liner of the White Star Line. She was converted to an armed merchant cruiser at the onset of WW1. On 25/01/1917 she was tasked with delivering 43 tons of gold to Canada to pay for munitions needed on the Western Front.

On the afternoon of 25/01/1917, the ship pulled in to Buncrana to leave off sick sailors and departed after minor maintenance.

At 1755 she was two miles off Fannad Head when she struck a mine on her left side, followed twenty seconds later by a second mine. As the ship began to sink Captain Norton ordered all men to the lifeboats.
The night was bitterly cold with blizzard conditions. Many of the men from the boiler rooms were in light vests. The ship sank beneath the waves in twenty minutes and came to rest sixty metres below sea level.
354 lives were lost including at least seven from Northern Ireland.

71 of dead were buried in one large grave in Fahan churchyard with an ecumenical service. The Admiralty afterward erected a monument over the grave inscribed with the names of the officers and men interred there.
Of the 475 officers and ratings on board, 354 lost their lives. Others are buried in the many graveyards around Lough Swilly and beyond.

All of the dead are commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial in Devon, England.

+LARMOUR, Edward Archibald Rice

RNR. Lieutenant (E). HMS Laurentic. Died 25/01/1917. Age 36. Son of Annabelle Steele (formerly Larmour), and the late Edward Armour, Belfast; husband to Johanna Margrietha Larmour, Streeton Ave., Wallasey, Cheshire. Plymouth Naval Memorial, Panel 23. IMR

+LAVERTY, William Aicken

RN. Leading Seaman. 218192. HMS Laurentic. 25/01/1917. Age 30. Enrolled 04/02/1904 for 12 years. War service in Fantome, Vivid I, Pelorus, Cormorant and Laurentic (01/08/1916 – 25/01/1917). Born Belfast 04/02/1886. Son of James and Jane Laverty, Ravenscroft St., Connswater, Belfast. Plymouth Naval Memorial, Panel 20. McQuiston Memorial – PCI RH. ADM 188/383/218192

+McKEAN, James

RN. Leading Seaman. 209507. HMS Laurentic. Died 25/01/1917. Age 32. Enrolled 13/03/1902 for 12 years. Served to 14/03/1914. Joined RFR 15/03/1919. War service in Laurentic. Born Belfast 13/03/1884. Son of James and Mary Ann McKean, Canning St., Belfast. Plymouth Naval Memorial. York Street – PCI WM. ADM 188/366/209507

+McQUADE, Alexander

RN. Stoker I. 277718. HMS Laurentic. Died 25/01/1917. Age 50. Born Belfast. Son of William and Martha McQuade; husband to Annie Jane McQuade, Wimbledon St., Belfast. Plymouth Naval Memorial. IMR


RNR. Engineer Lieutenant. HMS Laurentic. Died 25/01/1917. Age 32. Son of John and Jane Mitchell, Church Avenue, Holywood. Holywood cemetery. Holywood WM. Holy Trinity, Glencraig Parish, WM

+REID, Robert Anderson

RNVR. Clyde 211969. HMS Laurentic. Died 25/01/1917. Age 22. B Balnamore, Co. Antrim. Son of Robert and Mary Anderson Reid, Earlspark Ave., Newlines, Glasgow. Ballymoney WM. Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Panel 28

+STEELE, Thomas

RNR. Lieutenant. HMS Laurentic. Died 25/01/1917. Age 26. Born Gilford. Son of Alexander Steele; husband to Annie Steele, Hamilton Rd, Bangor. Buried in All Saints Churchyard, Tullylish, Co Down. Bangor Grammar School archives. Trinity Presbyterian Church, Bangor WM. Gilford WM. Gilford – PCI RH.

There are 61 men who died in HMS Laurentic buried in Upper Fahan (St Mura’s) C of I graveyard, and 2 buried in Cockhill Catholic graveyard, in County Donegall.


+ADAMS, Kenneth Duncan
RAFVR. Pilot Officer. 106212. Died 25/01/1942. Aged 31. Son of William George And Mina Adams, of Belfast; Husband to Patricia Adams Of Prestbury, Cheshire. Lisbon (St. George) British Churchyard, Portugal


+DUMIGAN, John Beattie
RN. Convoy Signalman. C/JX 234041. S.S Fort Bellingham. Died 25/01/1944. At 00.16 hours on U-360 (Becker) fired a spread of three FAT torpedoes at the convoy JW-56A in the Barents Sea north of North Cape in 73°45N/24°48E. There were three hits. In fact, the only ship hit was that of the convoy commodore Cmdr I.W. Whitehorn RN, the Fort Bellingham (Master James Ninian Maley). It fell behind the convoy, where she was sunk by U-957 with a T-3 torpedo at 06.53 hours the same day. The master, the commodore, four naval staff members, 22 crew members, and seven gunners were picked up by HMS Offa (G 29) (LtCdr R.F. Leonard, RN) and landed at Murmansk. Two crew members were taken prisoner by U-957. 18 crew members, 16 gunners, and two naval staff members were lost including JB Dumigan. Son of John and Martha Dumigan; husband to Rhoda M. Dumigan, Carrickfergus. Chatham Naval Memorial, Panel 76


+McFARLAND, Samuel
Royal Artillery. Gunner.1486790. Died 25/01/1946. Aged 29. 24 Battery, 9 Heavy Anti Aircraft Regiment. Son of John McFarland and of Martha K. McFarland of Limavady. Aghanloo Church of Ireland Churchyard

NOTE – 16 months of marriage

+PLANT, Samuel
ERA Third Class. Service Number D/MX 56532. Died 08/05/1942. HM Submarine Olympus. Four years’ service. Pre-war he was a coppersmith in Vickers’ Barrow-in-Furness. Husband to Mrs. Ellen Plant (nee Wilton), Linfield Rd., Belfast. They were married 16 months previously on 25/01/1941 at Fisherwick Presbyterian Church. After a four-day honeymoon, the bridegroom had to return to active service. (Belfast Weekly Telegraph 29/05/1942). Plymouth Naval Memorial, Panel 68

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