Martin, Ronald Victor Joseph (No. 2602715)

Martin, Ronald Victor Joseph

Signalman

No. 2602715, 1 Radio Security Company, Royal Corps of Signals

Accidentally drowned on Monday 12 November 1945 (aged 20)

No known grave

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Rangoon Memorial, Myanmar (Face 4)

Donaghadee and District War Memorial (as Martin, R.)

Regent House School, Newtownards (as Martin J.W.)

Stewart family grave headstone in Donaghadee Parish Church of Ireland Graveyard (as Ronald Martin)

BIOGRAPHY

There is compelling evidence to suggest that Ronald Victor Joseph Martin was enrolled at Regent House School, Newtownards as Joseph Wesley Martin and was there from 19 September 1939 until 31 January 1941.  After leaving school he went to work in an insurance office and later studied wireless communications.

Ronald Victor Joseph Martin was born in Donaghadee on 4 February 1925 (not 4 February 1926 as recorded for Joseph Wesley Martin in the Regent House School Register).  He was a son of William James Martin of 8 Broadway, Bangor, and Florence (Flossie) Martin (nee Stewart) of 14 High Street, Donaghadee who were married on 4 December 1924 in Bangor Abbey Church of Ireland Church.  They had two children:

Ronald Victor Joseph (born 4 February 1925)

Margaret Elizabeth Stewart (born 28 December 1926)

On 28 January 1927 Flossie Martin died accidentally as the result of a domestic gas cooker explosion and she was buried in Donaghadee Parish Church of Ireland Graveyard.  Baby Margaret Elizabeth, who was just one month old, remained with her father William who moved from Donaghadee to 34 Bingham Street, Bangor.  William Martin operated a charabanc service between Bangor and Donaghadee and Baby Margaret Elizabeth was brought up by the Martin family.  Margaret Elizabeth Stewart Martin’s first marriage was to David McKenna and her second marriage was to William Calhoun Talley.

Margaret Talley (formerly McKenna, nee Martin) died on 24 September 2005 in Bangor.

Ronald Victor Joseph Martin was less than two years old when his mother Flossie died and he was adopted by his maternal grandmother, Anna Stewart (nee McCaw), who lived at 2 High Street, Donaghadee.

Anna McCaw (originally from Groomsport) and William Stewart were married on 5 October 1898 in Groomsport Parish Church of Ireland Church.  Together they ran a fruiterer and florist business in Donaghadee.

Ronald Victor Joseph Martin is remembered as an accomplished boogie-woogie piano player and he joined the Royal Corp of Signals on 10 April 1943.  His first posting was to the Special Communications Unit (SCU) at Whaddon Hall, Whaddon, Buckinghamshire (now in Milton Keynes).  In 1945 he was posted to Colombo in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and on 12 November 1945, just a few days after he arrived, he was accidentally drowned in a swimming accident.

In a letter from his Commanding Officer, which was addressed to Ronald’s father, it was initially reported that Ronald was missing believed drowned and later it was officially confirmed that he must be presumed dead.  His body was never recovered.  On 9 January 1946 Lieutenant-Colonel Pring wrote to Anna Stewart expressing his sympathy on the death of her grandson.  In her reply, Anna Stewart pointed out that she had adopted her grandson after his mother died and she asked for Ronald’s personal belongings to be sent to her so that she could ‘treasure them as keepsakes’.  She specifically mentioned the gold wristwatch that she had given him and his new cigarette lighter.

Signalman Ronald Victor Joseph Martin (No. 2602715) is commemorated on Donaghadee and District War Memorial (as Martin, R.); in Regent House School, Newtownards (as Martin J.W.) and on the Stewart family grave headstone in Donaghadee Parish Church of Ireland Graveyard (as Ronald Martin).

Ronald’s uncle, Wilbert Stewart, died on 26 December 1941 (aged 26); his grandfather, William Stewart, died on 17 January 1955 (aged 77) and his grandmother, Anna Stewart, died on 12 February 1956 (aged 75).