Section 2L

Greenock Cemetery WW1 Memorials Walk

Section 2L

Scotland PA15 1BQ, United Kingdom

Created By: Cartsburn Publishing


You are now in Section 2L. We will start heading back down the hill from now on. Memorialised here are Alex Brown, William Hyde, David MacKail, Stewart Munn, Donald Smith, Samuel Urie, and Douglas Young

Alex Brown, aged 41, was the husband of Elizabeth Diamond Brown, of High Street in Kilmacolm. Alex enlisted in August 1914 and was discharged in June 1916 with wounds. He died in Greenok Infirmary after a lingering illness. The funeral took place with full military honours from his sisters house at 15 Crescent Street in Greenock.

William Hyde is remembered at Tower Hill. William was the son of William and Charlotte. He was First Mate on the British steamship Moresby, which was torpedoed without warning on the 28th November, 1916, by the German submarine U-39 . This ship at once settled down by the stern, and as she disappeared in 12 minutes there was no possibility of getting any of the boats out or doing anything to save life. The submarine was not seen. The chief officer, his wife, one A.B. and 29 crew were lost. The master, second mate, second and third engineers, one A.B. and seven crew were saved.

David McKail is remembered at Portsmouth Naval Memorial. David served with SS Sarnia as Engineer Sub-Lieutenant. It was sunk by the German submarine U-65 off Alexandria. He had originally signed up with the 5th Argylls but transferred to the Northamptonshire Rifles, and he served in France for two years. Unusually he was transferred to the RNR in June 1918, and posted to the SS Sarnia. David was the son of John Gibbs MacKail and Johanna George Fleming MacKail, 4 Sandringham Terrace, Esplanade in Greenock. He had served an apprenticeship with Caird & Co. Shipbuilders.

Stewart Munn is remembered at Thiepval Memorial. Stewart fought with the South African Scottish, and was killed in action at Bernafay Wood, Somme. Aged 36. He was a joiner in Johannesburg and his parents lived at 67 Nicolson Street in Greenock. ‘It’s more than a dozen years since I saw him last: but, when at home for a few days early in the year, he was still the same canny-thinking Scot; more solid than ever, and in his kilt, such a presentation of heftiness - he turned the scale at about sixteen stone - that one friend turned to me and said ‘How would you like to meet that in a bayonet charge? Standing close upon six feet, Private Stewart Munn, South African Infantry, was a soldier who attracted attention even in a company of soldiers. His powerful, well-built body swung with an impressive rhythm so that in the busiest quarter of London, the cockney would draw him up on the footpath, ask the privilege of shaking his hand, then say ‘And are you a real Scotsman?’ The lure of the veldt came upon Stewart Munn when he was doing his bit as one of Fincastle’s Horse during the Boer War. He never again settled at home, but at the conclusion of the war, made the Transvaal his adopted country. A joiner to trade he became a well known figure in the mining quarters of the Vaal. Keen as junior footballer at home he soon made his mark in the land of his adoption and year after year found him chosen in the premier eleven of South Africa. When war broke out, he was one of the first to volunteer for service under General Botha in the German West African Campaign and at the conclusion of that adventure he immediately enlisted for service in Europe - at one shilling per day! When he thought of his soldiers pay he smiled. The few days of leave in January of this year were spent in his native town of Greenok. It was his first visit for over twelve years, and he felt the inevitable sense of loneliness which is the experience of all exiled Scots upon their return home. Private Stewart Munn regarded the West African campaign as a Sunday school picnic - he made light of the intense thirst and other privations, but made much of the motoring of the infantry all over the country - that was alright. This, he would say, speaking of the European battlefront, is different. We know what we are going to: the chances are that we won’t return. Without a quiver yet with a far-away look in his eye, he would speak in the spirit of a soldier-martyr. He seemed to think that his time had come - that was all. He had had a good time, had made mistakes, but there was no mistake in this - he was prepared to pay the price, to make the supreme sacrifice. And he did. On the 10th July this fearless Greenockian fell in action: his presage has been fulfilled, and now, those who, six months ago, heard him speak so quietly of what awaited him in France, are left to mourn the loss of a kind–hearted son, a loyal friend and a true soldier”

Donald Smith is remembered at Tower Hill. Donald was the First Engineer on SS California. He was the only son of Finlay and Mary Smith, 49 Kempock Street in Gourock. On the morning of 7th February 1917 when homeward-bound and approaching Ireland under full steam, she was attacked by SM U-85 in a surprise attack. The German submarine, under the command of Kapitanleutenant Willy Petz, fired two torpedoes at California; one struck the ship squarely on the port quarter near the Number 4 hatch. Five people were killed instantly in the explosion; thirty-six people drowned either as the ship went down or when one filled lifeboat was swamped in the wake of the burning vessel, which plowed ahead losing little headway as she went down. She sank in nine minutes, 38 miles off Fastnet Rock, Ireland with a loss of 41 lives. Though Captain John L Henderson stayed on the bridge through the entire incident, and subsequently went down with the ship, incredibly he made his way to the surface and was rescued.

Samuel Urie is remembered at Portsmouth Naval memorial. Samuel was born in Greenok on 27th October 1875. He was married to Bessie. He was a Stoker and was killed during the Battle of Jutland, on board HMS Invincible

Douglas Young is buried at Mendinghem Military Cemetery. Douglas was the son of Mr & Mrs James Young, 8 Wellington Street in Greenock. He died of acute appendicitis, aged 30

We are now going to follow the path down the hill, heading back to the Esplanade, and going past section 2H

This point of interest is part of the tour: Greenock Cemetery WW1 Memorials Walk


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