Engine Room Artificer 4th Class
No. C/MX 50923, HMS Naiad, Royal Navy
Killed in action on Wednesday 11 March 1942 (aged 23)
No known grave
Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent, England (Panel 60. 2)
Bangor and District War Memorial
First Bangor Presbyterian Church
Bangor Grammar School
Family grave headstone in Bangor Cemetery
Norman Crothers was born on 21 February 1919 at 12 Crosbie Street, Bangor and he was the only son of Josiah and Agnes Graham Crothers (nee Kerr) who were married on 19 February 1908 in Belmont Presbyterian Church, Belfast. Josiah Crothers, an Army Sergeant serving in Alexandria, was a son of John Crothers, a sailor. Agnes Graham Kerr from 1 Gawn Street, Belfast was a daughter of Thomas Kerr, a boilermaker.
Later the Crothers family lived at 99 Victoria Road, Bangor and they had at least four children:
Margaret Kerr (born 16 January 1909 at 1 Gawn Street, Belfast when her father was stationed in Enniskillen)
Catherine (Kathy, born 12 April 1910 in Coleshill Terrace, Enniskillen; her father was a Sergeant in the 4th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers)
Agnes May (Peggy, born 1 May 1913 in Castle Street, Enniskillen; her father was a Colour Sergeant in the 4th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers)
Norman (born 21 February 1919 at 12 Crosbie Street, Bangor; his father was a barrack warden)
Josiah Crothers died on 2 November 1930 and at the time of his death he was working as a barrack warden.
Having gained a Junior Down Regional Scholarship, Norman Crothers attended Bangor Grammar School from 1931 until 1934. He obtained one distinction and six credits in the Junior Certificate examination. His ambition was to join the Royal Navy and he was successful in passing the special Royal Navy examination. Described by the headmaster as ‘tall and straight and strongly built with a grave expression and the unusual combination of dark eyes with curling fair hair’, he played rugby for the school.
During the Second World War Engine Room Artificer Norman Crothers (No. C/MX 50923) served aboard the Dido-class light cruiser HMS Naiad in the Royal Navy. Prior to that there had been two other ships bearing the name HMS Naiad, the first having been commissioned in 1798 (the name comes from Greek mythology where the Naiads were water nymphs) and seeing action in the Napoleonic wars. The second HMS Naiad saw action in the Great War. The third HMS Naiad was laid down in 1937 by R. and W. Hawthorn, Leslie and Company Ltd., Hebburn-on-Tyne, launched in 1939 and completed on 24 July 1940. Completion was delayed because of damage from air raids. On 9 March 1942 HMS Naiad sailed from Alexandria as flagship of an attack force and it was during the return voyage on 11 March that she sank in the eastern Mediterranean, north of Sidi Barrani in Egypt, after being torpedoed by the German submarine U-565. More than 80 members of the crew were lost. Norman’s last shore address was 46 Lawson Road, Colwyn Bay, Denbighshire. His effects amounted to some £262 and probate was granted to his widowed mother.
Engine Room Artificer Norman Crothers (No. C/MX 50923) was 23 when he died and he is commemorated on Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent; on Bangor and District War Memorial; in First Bangor Presbyterian Church; in Bangor Grammar School and on the family grave headstone in Bangor Cemetery.