I’ve just had a photo pop up on Facebook reminding me of a trip to London a number of years ago and I briefly visited Tower Hill to find my Great Uncles name on the monument there to all the merchant seamen that died in World War II.

I thought I would share the story on here as it’s probably not written down anywhere.

Its safe to say we have quite a large family, my Grandmother was one of 26 children, so they were quite well known in the Preston area. As fleetwood is not far away, fishing was an obvious career choice for some of her siblings. Two of her brothers were due to sail in the early stages of the war. One of them, Patrick, was due to go on a merchant navy boat, whilst his brother was due to set sail on the Wellvale fishing.

Patrick didn’t feel comfortable going out on the Merchant boat as there were U-boats waiting to sink them and cut off supply lines so he asked his brother if he would swap, which he did.

the night before they sailed the two brothers went out and got drunk and it ended up with them falling out, so the next day they travelled to fleetwood on the train in silence. They went on their respective boats and never spoke again. The Wellvale was sunk on the 12th of September 1939 of the Island of Mull, with all hands lost.

The memorial on Tower Hill, London

It is presumed it was sunk by U-35, a German U-Boat, which was in the area at the time.