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A Merchant Seaman from Whitehaven, Cumbria

by BBC Cumbria Volunteer Story Gatherers

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Archive List > United Kingdom > Cumbria

Contributed by 
BBC Cumbria Volunteer Story Gatherers
People in story: 
Alan Dougherty, George Acton, William Acton ‘Billy’, William Scott Truett (known as ‘Billy’ or ‘Biff’).
Location of story: 
Whitehaven (Cumbria)
Background to story: 
Civilian Force
Article ID: 
A7004837
Contributed on: 
15 November 2005

Sunday 13.11.2005: Former Merchant Seaman Alan Dougherty from Whitehaven. On this day Alan took part in the services for Remembrance Sunday at Whitehaven Cenotaph and Civic Hall. [Photograph by Joseph Ritson].

Introduction

This article was submitted to the BBC “People’s War” website by Joseph Ritson, a volunteer story-gatherer for the BBC Radio Cumbria CSV Action Desk group of volunteers. The author has read and understood the terms of the BBC “People’s War” website.

It is submitted on behalf of Alan Dougherty from Whitehaven, Cumbria who served in the Merchant Navy, which included the war years of World War Two. Alan’s story was obtained on Remembrance Sunday, 13 November 2005.

Alan’s story

In World War Two, Alan was in The Merchant Navy. During the war years, Alan served in a number of different vessels and was on several different supply routes. In particular, Alan worked on the important Mediterranean supply route.

Alan had many good friends who were in the Merchant Navy. He especially remembers three good friends from Whitehaven who lost their lives when their ship was sunk in the North Atlantic: brothers George and Billy Acton and Billy Truett.

On Friday 11 November Alan marked the anniversary of Armistice Day by attending a Memorial Service at St Nicholas’s Church Gardens, Lowther Street, Whitehaven. Two days later, Alan took part in the Remembrance Sunday commemorations in his hometown, attending the wreath laying by the Mayor at the Cenotaph, an inter-denominational service at the Civic Hall, and another short service in the town later in the afternoon.

Conclusion

Alan told me his story following the Remembrance Sunday Service at the Civic Hall. The Civic Hall was kindly made available by Copeland Borough Council.

It was interesting to hear that Alan had known George and Billy Acton and Billy Truett, whose ship was torpedoed on 2 November 1942. Billy Truett’s full name was William Scott Truett and he was also known as ‘Biff’ by many of his friends. Billy Acton had only been married about a week before going to sea on what turned out to be his final journey. I have previously written about these three other Merchant Seamen for the BBC “People’s War” project.

Thank you very much for sharing some of your memories, Alan.

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