No. D/JX 138939, HMS Whitaker, Royal Navy
Killed in action on Wednesday 1 November 1944 (aged 26)
No known grave
Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon, England (Panel 86 Column 2)
Stanley Geddis was born on 23 January 1918 at 30 Springfield Road, Bangor and he was a son of James and Jeannie (sometimes Jeanie) Berry Geddis (nee Johnstone, sometimes Johnston). James Geddis was an electrician and he and Jeannie Berry Johnston were married on 4 February 1911 in St. Clement’s Church of Ireland Church, Knockbreda, Belfast. James Geddis (aged 21) from 1B Sintonville Avenue, Belfast was a son of David John Geddis, a shipwright. Jeannie Berry Johnstone (aged 21) from 1 Crossley Street, Belfast was a daughter of George Johnstone, a traveller.
James and Jeanie Berry Geddis (nee Johnstone) had at least two children:
Sarah Sheila (born 27 February 1912 at 13 Victoria Road, Sydenham)
Stanley (born 23 January 1918 at 30 Springfield Road, Bangor)
The Geddis family lived at 1 Glendower Street, Belfast and then for a time in Bangor with Jeannie’s mother at 4 Fourth Avenue, Baylands. On 1 July 1922 they sailed from Liverpool to New York aboard the SS Cedric and they lived there before moving to Manasquan, New Jersey in the United States of America and it was there that James Geddis died on 11 May 1930. In June 1930, the widowed Jeannie Geddis and her two children, Sheila and Stanley, returned to Belfast aboard the SS Samaria and they moved back to 4 Fourth Avenue, Baylands, Bangor.
During the Second World War Stanley Geddis served with the Royal Navy aboard HMS Whitaker and when he was killed in action on 1 November 1944 his mother was living in Beeston, Nottinghamshire. Under the headline Local Family Bereaved, the death of Able Seaman Stanley Geddis was reported in the 2 December 1944 edition of the County Down Spectator.
HMS Whitaker was a frigate of the Captain class and she was built by the Bethlehem-Hingham Shipyard Inc., Hingham, Massachusetts, USA. The Captain class was a designation given to 78 frigates of the Royal Navy constructed in the United States of America, launched in 1942/1943 and delivered to the United Kingdom under the provisions of the Lend-Lease agreement – the programme under which the United States of America supplied the United Kingdom and other Allied nations with military material between 1941 and 1945. Commissioned by the Royal Navy on 28 January 1944, HMS Whitaker was torpedoed off Malin Head, Co. Donegal some nine months later when Convoy SC-159 was attacked by the German submarine U-483. Hit by two torpedoes shortly after 2.00 am on 1 November 1944, her whole bow section was destroyed due to an explosion in the forward magazine. More than 90 men were killed. Surviving crew members extinguished the fires and stopped the ship from flooding. HMS Whitaker was towed to Londonderry, and subsequently to Belfast. She was returned to the US Navy in March 1945, sold for scrap in 1947 to John Lee, Belfast and broken up in 1948.
Initially Able Seaman Stanley Geddis (No. D/JX 138939) was reported as missing in action and then it was reported that he must be presumed to have been killed. His body was never recovered, and he is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial in Devon. He was 26 when he died.
The death of his mother, Jeannie Berry Geddis, was registered in the third quarter of 1964 in Nottingham.