Beckett, Thomas Smith

Beckett, Thomas Smith (Thomas)


SS Troutpool (West Hartlepool), Merchant Navy

Died as a result of enemy action on Saturday 20 July 1940 (aged 32)


Bangor Cemetery, Co. Down (Section 5.X. Grave 21)         


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Tower Hill Memorial in London


Thomas Smith Beckett was born on 19 July 1908 and he was a son of Archibald and Margaret (Minnie) Beckett (nee Smith) of 2136 Dumbarton Road, Yoker, Glasgow.  Archibald Beckett worked as a rigger and he and Minnie Smith were married on 14 August 1903 in Nitshill, Glasgow.  During the Second World War Thomas Beckett served in the Merchant Navy as a Carpenter aboard the SS Troutpool.  Owned by the Pool Shipping Company, the SS Troutpool was built in 1927 by William Gray and Company Ltd., West Hartlepool and in 1940 she was on a voyage from Rosario in Argentina to Great Britain with a cargo of grain when she sank in Belfast Lough after being struck by a magnetic mine.

The SS Troutpool had put into Belfast Lough for degaussing – a process involving the passing of an electric current through a cable round the ship’s hull (designed to reduce the possibility of magnetic mines in the water being attracted by the ship’s hull).  After re-starting her engines, the SS Troutpool was struck by two mines around 2.00 pm on 20 July 1940 and sank about a mile off the coast near Bangor.  Eleven crew members were killed in the explosions.  At low tide the superstructure was visible and, because it was a hazard to shipping, the wreckage was dispersed with explosives.  At the time it was speculated that the mines which sank the SS Troutpool were laid by a long range Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor aircraft known to have been operating in the area.

Carpenter Thomas Smith Beckett died the day after his 32nd birthday and he was buried in Bangor Cemetery, as was Shief Ahmed who was the Ship’s Fireman and Trimmer.

There is an inscription on Carpenter Thomas Smith Beckett’s CWGC headstone:


Three unidentified sailors from SS Troutpool were buried in Movilla Cemetery, Newtownards – one on 1 August 1940, another on 24 August 1940 and the third on 26 August 1940.  Able Seaman John McGrath from Portaferry, whose body was never recovered, is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial in London.