Born: 12th April 1916, Ipswich.

Died: 11th June 1941; age: 45; killed as a result of a torpedo in the engine room where he was on duty.

Residence: 620, Foxhall Road, Ipswich.

Occupation: Insurance Clerk.


On the 12th June 1939, Philip became an Acting Sub Lieutenant for the R.N.V.R. on board H.M.S. ‘St. Vincent’ – Air Branch Officers’ training establishment, Forton Barracks, Gosport.


Rank: Able Seaman.

Regiment: Merchant Navy, S.S.’Havtor’ (Norwegian).


Memorial Reference:

Panel 56.

Tower Hill Memorial,



Father: William Frederick Cairnes, born July, 1892, Athlone, Ireland. An Agricultural Engineer’s Progress & Sales Clerk.

Mother: Daisy Cairnes (nee Pay), born 1894, Ipswich – died June 1939, at East Suffolk Hospital, of 620, Foxhall Road, Ipswich.



Philip was an Insurance Agent he was living with his widowed father and their housekeeper at the family home – 620, Foxhall Road, Ipswich.

William, An Agricultural Engineer’s Progress & Sales Clerk.

Hilda May Carrington (nee Fenn), born November 1898, Ipswich.


In 1949, Ipswich, William Cairnes and Hilda Carrington married.


Probate to William Frederick Cairnes – father, a Commercial Clerk.


11th June 1941


S.S. ‘Havtor’ was a steam merchant ship, built in 1930, by Porsgrund Mek Verksted, Porsgrunn, Norway, she was delivered in April 1930 to her owner P. Meyer, Oslo. On the afternoon of the 11th June S.S. ‘Havtor’ with a crew of 20, departed from the Port of Reykjavik, Iceland, unaccompanied, with a cargo of Ballast on route to Pictou, Nova Scotia. At 20:51hrs she was struck by a torpedo from U-79 (Wolfgang Kaufmann) in the engine room, port side. Those present on the bridge had seen the torpedo 20 seconds before it hit. S.S. ‘Havtor’ did not sink, giving Master Kjell Bugge enough time to throw overboard secret papers, and order the lifeboats launched. The 2nd Mate/Radio Operator sent out an S.O.S.

As the 14 survivors set off back to Iceland in a starboard lifeboat they could hear 50-60 shells being fired. At 23:05hrs S.S. ‘Havtor’ finally went down.

Able Seaman Philip Cairnes was on duty in the engine room and was believed killed there when the torpedo struck.

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