Lowry, George Victor (No. D/SSX 20899)

Lowry, George Victor (George)

Able Seaman

No. D/SSX 20899, HMS Stronghold, Royal Navy

Killed in action on Monday 2 March 1942 (aged 22)

No known grave

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon, England (Panel 65 Column 3)

Bangor and District War Memorial

Groomsport and District War Memorial

Groomsport Parish Church of Ireland Church

First Bangor Presbyterian Church

BIOGRAPHY

George Victor Lowry was born on 21 August 1919 in Groomsport and he was the second son of William and Violet Lowry (nee Watterson) who later lived at 7 Railwayview Street, Bangor.  William Lowry (whose father was a sailor) worked as a labourer and he and Violet Watterson (whose father was a fisherman) were married on 7 January 1915 in St. Anne’s Church of Ireland Cathedral, Belfast.  Before joining the Royal Navy around 1937, George Lowry was employed by Messrs Ellis and Company in Main Street, Bangor.  He was a member of the Boys’ Brigade Company associated with Hamilton Road Methodist Church, Bangor.  George’s elder brother, William Percival Lowry, who was born  on 19 August 1917 in Groomsport, served in an infantry regiment in Palestine and his sister Minnie was engaged on munitions work in Scotland.

George Victor Lowry served aboard HMS Stronghold which was a Royal Navy destroyer built in 1919 by Scotts Shipbuilding and Engineering Company of Greenock in Scotland.  On 2 March 1942, a Japanese task group comprising the heavy cruiser Maya and the destroyers Arashi and Nowaki was operating south of Java when it discovered and sank HMS Stronghold at around 7.00 pm.  HMS Stronghold was on route from the port of Tjilatjap, Java to Australia.  Around fifty survivors were picked up by the Dutch ship Bintoehan and later they were transferred to the Maya after the Bintoehan was captured by the Japanese.  Thereafter the survivors from HMS Stronghold were held as Prisoners-of-War.

Able Seaman George Victor Lowry (No. D/SSX 20899) was reported missing on 2 March 1942 and it was almost four years before he was officially presumed to have lost his life.  In the 15 December 1945 edition of the County Down Spectator there were three Died on Active Service notices, one from his aunt and uncle Abigail and Hugh Beattie, also his cousin Hugh Beattie and Hugh’s wife Ellen of The Hill, Groomsport; one from his parents, brothers and sisters, also his brother Billy, sister-in-law and niece of Bedford House, Essex and one from his cousin Lena, her husband William Hamilton and their little son George Victor Hamilton of Westbank, Groomsport.  The notice from his parents contained the verse:

Safely, safely gathered in

No more sorrow, no more sin,

God has saved from weary strife,

In its dawn this young, fresh life

Which awaits us, now, Above,

Resting in the Saviour’s love

Able Seaman George Victor Lowry (No. D/SSX 20899) was 22 when he was killed and he is commemorated on Plymouth Naval Memorial in Devon; on Bangor and District War Memorial; on Groomsport and District War Memorial; in Groomsport Parish Church of Ireland Church and in First Bangor Presbyterian Church.