Henry is not remembered on the war memorial at Christchurch Park.


Born: 1915, Ipswich.

Died: 19th February 1942; age 26; lost at sea on board M.V. ‘Empire Comet.’

Residence: Ipswich.


Rank: Gunner – (DEM’S Gunner); Service Number: 1592911.

Regiment: Royal Artillery, 7/4 maritime Regiment.


Memorial Reference:

Panel 77 Column 3.

Plymouth Naval Memorial,




Mother: nee Cock.


19th February 1942


The ‘Empire Comet’ was a motor vessel (diesel), built in 1940, by Lithgows Ltd., Glasgow. She was placed under the management of Dodd, Thompson & Co. Ltd., London for the Ministry of War Transport. Port of registry – Greenock, Renfrewshire, Scotland. She was a Defensively Equipped Merchant Ship with 8 Royal Artillery Gunners providing protection. On the 7th February 1942 the ‘Empire Comet’ (Master Hector Rayment Willis) sailed from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada in Convoy HX 174 bound for Manchester, U.K. A few days into her journey she became detached from the Convoy due to dense fog. On the 19th February 1942 the German U-boat, U-136 (Kapitanleutnant Heinrich Zimmerman) observed ‘Empire Comet’ for a couple of hours before firing at 22:17hrs and hitting her with two torpedoes, 33 miles north of the uninhabited granite islet, Rockall. She went down within 9 minutes, with her stern uppermost followed by heavy detonations from below. All 38 members of the crew lost their lives, Herbert was 1 of the 8 gunners lost. There were no survivors.



Posted in Second World War

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