Friday, 26 August 2011

Found floating

This is the gravestone for Seaman Herbert Charles Hill, who, according to the gravestone, died on 18 January 1941 at the age of 19. The clipped edges of the stone signal that this is a non-world war gravestone in the care of the Commonwealth Wargraves Commission. Hill served in the Merchant Navy on SS Eaglescliffe Hall. The Stornoway Gazette of 21st March 1941 picks up the story:

A body was seen floating in Stornoway Harbour near Number One Wharf on Wednesday afternoon of last week. When recovered, the body was found to be that of Herbert Charles Hill, a seaman, of Port Talbot, Glamorgan. Hill went missing about two months ago from a merchant ship then lying in Stornoway Harbour. It was thought at the time that he might have left the port on board a trawler with whose crew he was on friendly terms.

[Edit]. Seaman Herbert Charles Hill was the son of crane-driver Henry Hill (himself deceased) and Sarah-Ann Hill of 18 Pendarvis Terrace, Aberavon, Port Talbot, Glamorgan [Wales].
The certifying doctor wrote: "As the body has been immersed in the sea for some weeks, it was not possible to ascertain the cause of death". The death was registered for the information of the Procurator Fiscal on 12 April 1941.

Meanwhile, I have contacted CWGC to request that Seaman Hill's full first names be inscribed on the gravestone. I shall report any progress on this issue.

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