December 17. Battle of the River Plate. Roll of Honour

On this day in 1939, the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee – heavily damaged after the Battle of the River Plate – was scuttled off Montevideo, Uruguay. The captain, Hans Langsdorff, destroyed his vessel rather than surrender it to the Allies. He later shot himself.Two NI men were serving on Achilles – a New Zealand ship. Samuel Trimble, a Sergeant in the Royal Marines won the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal. William Freeman from Cookstown received a hero’s welcome when he returned to the town. Robert Caldwell from Newry was in a group from Exeter who were received by the Prime Minister for NI at Stormont. A presentation was made to William Moffatt at a midnight matinee in a Lisburn cinema. The local community made a presentation to David Withers at Killyleagh Castle.

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