Collister, Douglas

Collister, Douglas

Able Seaman

SS Victoria City (Bideford), Merchant Navy

Died as a result of enemy action on Monday 2 December 1940 (aged 29)

No known grave


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Tower Hill Memorial, London (Panel 114)

Bangor and District War Memorial (as Callister D.)

Douglas War Memorial, Isle of Man

Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Comgall’s)


In some records the surname is spelt Callister.

Douglas Collister came from Cronkbourne Village, Douglas in the Isle of Man and he was a son of William Collister (son of Daniel Collister) and Margaret Winifred Collister (nee Teare, daughter of James Teare).  They were married on 1 November 1911 in the Parish of Braddan, Isle of Man.  William Collister worked as a collier in Lancashire before he joined the Army.  Douglas Collister was born on 18 August 1912 in Atherton, Lancashire (in the baptismal register his surname is spelt Callister) and his brother, Daniel, was born on 17 December 1913.

Douglas Collister and Annie Reid McCracken of Bangor were married on 24 February 1932 in Bangor Abbey and they lived at 4 King Street, Bangor.  Maritime records show that Douglas Collister was 5 feet 8½ inches tall with brown hair, grey eyes and a pale complexion.  He had the word Mizpah tattooed on his left forearm.  This Biblical word signifies an emotional bond between people who are separated and comes from Genesis 31:49 – May the Lord keep watch between you and me when we are away from each other (New International Version).

Douglas Collister served in the Merchant Navy aboard the SS Victoria City and he died on 2 December 1940 (aged 29) when this ship was torpedoed by the German submarine U-140 in the North Atlantic during a voyage from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Great Britain.  More than 40 men died, including Able Seaman John Ferris Deveney from Bangor.  The SS Victoria City was a cargo steamer built in 1929 by William Gray and Company Ltd., West Hartlepool and owned by Sir William Reardon Smith and Sons Ltd., Cardiff.

Able Seaman Douglas Collister is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial in London; on Bangor and District War Memorial (as Callister D.); on Douglas War Memorial, Isle of Man and in Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Comgall’s).  Douglas Collister’s wife Annie was 49 when she died of heart disease on 4 October 1959 and she was buried in Bangor Cemetery, Newtownards Road, Bangor.