Sunday, December 18, 2011

"Peace - Forever in our thoughts"




Photographs:
(Top): Commemoration of George Acton & Billy Acton
WW2 Whitehaven 'Book of Remembrance'.

(Bottom): Acton family headstone (Parents & 2 sons),
Whitehaven Cemetery, Cumbria [Grave Ref. 5/J/44]
John, Evelyn, George and William Henry Acton


Brothers George Acton and William Henry ('Billy') Acton were lost at sea on 2 November 1942. On that day, their vessel, the SS 'Empire Leopard', was sunk by a German U-Boat.

For additional information click on 'Comments' below.

3 Comments:

Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Additional information

(a) Introduction

George Acton and William Henry ('Billy') Acton from Whitehaven, Cumberland (now Cumbria) were two brothers serving together in the Merchant Navy during WW2. George and Billy Acton were lost at sea due to enemy action when their vessel, the SS 'Empire Leopard' was sunk by a German U-Boat on 2 November 1942.

Although George and Billy have no known grave, they are remembered in the WW2 Borough of Whitehaven 'Book of Remembrance' and on the headstone of their parents, John and Evelyn Acton (as seen above). John Acton died in 1945 and Evelyn ('Lena') Acton in 1956. They are also commemorated on the War Memorial of their Parish Church, St Nicholas' Parish Church, Whitehaven.
--------------------------

(b) These are the CWGC citations for George Acton and William Acton:

(i) George Acton:
Casualty Details
Name: ACTON, GEORGE
Initials: G
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Able Seaman
Regiment/Service: Merchant Navy
Unit Text: S.S. Empire Leopard (London)
Age: 23
Date of Death: 02/11/1942
Additional information: Son of John and Evelyn Acton, of Whitehaven, Cumberland.
His brother William also fell.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 43.
Memorial: TOWER HILL MEMORIAL, London (U.K.)
************************

(ii) William Henry ('Billy') Acton:
Casualty Details
Name: ACTON, WILLIAM
Initials: W
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Able Seaman
Regiment/Service: Merchant Navy
Unit Text: S.S. Empire Leopard (London)
Age: 27
Date of Death: 02/11/1942
Additional information: Son of John and Evelyn Acton.
Husband of Mary Acton (nee Nulty), of Whitehaven, Cumberland.
His brother George also fell.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 43.
Memorial: TOWER HILL MEMORIAL, London (U.K.)
**************************

The original CWGC listing for Billy Acton did not include his next of kin details, his hometown or the fact that George Acton was his brother. After previous articles written for the BBC "People's War" website, supported by some original documents, the Commission updated Billy and George's citations to the ones listed above. To read the BBC "People's War" articles about Billy and George refer to section (d) below.
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Sunday, 18 December, 2011  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

(c) Whitehaven headstone transcription

John and Evelyn Acton's headstone in Whitehaven Cemetery, Cumbria reads as follows:

"Treasured memories of
JOHN ACTON
Died Dec. 17th 1945
Aged 77 years.
Also his dear wife
EVELYN (LENA)
Died Oct. 12th 1956
Aged 79 years.
Also their sons
BILLY, Aged 26 years
and GEORGE Aged 23 years
Drowned on Active Service
Nov. 2nd 1942"

At the top of the headstone is the one word 'PEACE'.
On the base of the headstone the following phrase is written:
"FOREVER IN OUR THOUGHTS".

George and Billy Acton died because of the war. They remained forever in the thoughts of their parents John and Evelyn - until their dying day, and beyond. The parents and two sons are now reunited. May they all rest in peace.
------------------------------

(d) Further reading

To read the BBC "People's War" articles about George and Billy Acton, click on the following links:
Torpedoed by a German U-Boat, 2 November 1942

George and William Acton, Merchant Seamen with the SS Empire Leopard

An Unwanted Letter from the Minister of War Transport in London
************************

Two further Merchant Navy seamen from Whitehaven were lost when the SS 'Empire Leopard' was sunk on 2 November 1942: William Scott Truett and Thomas William Walters Cradduck. Articles about these two have also been posted to this website (2WW Blogspot).

To read the story of William Scott Truett, click on the following link:
Able Seaman William S. Truett, M.N.
************************

To read the story of Thomas William Walters Cradduck and his son Ronald who also died in WW2, click on the following link:
A Father and Son of the Sea.
==========================

Sunday, 18 December, 2011  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

(e) "Never forgotten"

George and Billy Acton - and their pals Tom Cradduck and 'Biff' Truett - were never really forgotten by their family and close friends. Time may pass but the memories linger on. These are the memories that are often passed on from one generation to the next.

In November 1944, Joseph (Joe) Acton, brother to George and Billy Acton placed a tribute to them in the 'Family Notices' section of 'The Whitehaven News' (Thursday 2 November 1942). Joe and his family also remembered Tom Cradduck and 'Biff' Truett who were also lost with the sinking of the SS Empire Leopard.

The tribute reads as follows:

ROLL OF HONOUR

Acton - Treasured memories of my dear brothers, William and George, also their shipmates, Tommy and Biff, M.N., lost through enemy action, November 2nd (1942).

No green grass grows above their heads,
Nor o'er their graves a tear we'll shed;
In heroes' graves they lie asleep
Far out on the ocean, wide and deep.

"Never forgotten":

From Joe, Bell and all at No 8 Senhouse Street.
----------------

Tuesday, 20 December, 2011  

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