Crone, Robert (Bobby)
SS Melmore Head (Belfast), Merchant Navy
Died as a result of enemy action on Monday 28 December 1942 (aged 28)
No known grave
Tower Hill Memorial, London (Panel 69)
Bangor and District War Memorial
Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Comgall’s)
Robert (Bobby, sometimes Bobbie) Crone was born on 28 November 1913 at 69 Elizabeth Street, Belfast and he was a son of Robert and Ellen Crone (nee Sinnerton) who were married on 27 January 1909 in St Anne’s Church of Ireland Cathedral, Belfast. Robert Crone (aged 21), a hairdresser from 174 Grosvenor Road, Belfast, was a son of Henry Crone, a hairdresser. Ellen Sinnerton (aged 20) from 6 Ashmore Street, Belfast was a daughter of William Sinnerton, a tenter.
For a time, Robert and Ellen Crone (nee Sinnerton) lived with Robert’s parents, Henry and Elizabeth Crone at 174 Grosvenor Road, Belfast. Later they lived in Elizabeth Street, Belfast, Springfield Road, Belfast and at 34 Albert Street, Bangor.
Robert Crone Senior became a turf accountant and, according to family sources, he and Ellen Crone (nee Sinnerton) had twelve children including:
Henry (Harry, born 24 June 1909 at 174 Grosvenor Road, Belfast)
Herbert (born 30 January 1911 at 174 Grosvenor Road, Belfast)
Robert (Bobby, born 28 November 1913 at 69 Elizabeth Street, Belfast)
William Sinnerton (born 6 December 1914 at 174 Grosvenor Road, Belfast)
Jane (Jenny, born 24 December 1917 at 174 Grosvenor Road, Belfast)
John (born 17 June 1919 at 174 Grosvenor Road, Belfast)
Bobby’s mother Ellen died in November 1971 and his father Robert died in August 1975.
Bobby Crone attended school in Belfast before the family moved to Bangor. In 1929 he was confirmed in Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Comgall’s) and, after he left school, he worked as a cook before going to sea. He completed the Shipping Federation School of Nautical Cookery Course in Glasgow in 1940. On 9 May 1941 Bobby Crone was serving aboard the cargo ship SS Bengore Head and he was rescued after that ship was torpedoed by the German submarine U-110 and sank east of Cape Farewell, Egger Island, Greenland. The SS Bengore Head was built in 1922 by Irvine’s Shipbuilding, West Hartlepool, she was owned by the Ulster Steamship Company, Belfast and was on route from Belfast to Montreal with a cargo of coal and agricultural binder twine when she sank.
In December 1942, with more than ten years of service, Bobby Crone was serving as a Cook in the Merchant Navy aboard the ship SS Melmore Head when this ship was torpedoed. The SS Melmore Head was a steam merchant ship built by Workman, Clark and Company Ltd., Belfast in 1918 and was also owned by the Ulster Steamship Company Ltd. Bobby was lost in the North Atlantic Ocean, north of the Azores, at 10.00 pm on 28 December 1942 when his ship was blown up by two torpedoes fired from the German submarine U-225. Fourteen of the 49 crew members were killed, and Bobby Crone’s body was never recovered. One of the newspaper tributes to Bobby Crone included the verse:
Beyond the sea of death love lives
Yesterday, today and for ever
Cook Robert Crone was 28 when he died, and he is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial in London; on Bangor and District War Memorial and in Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Comgall’s).