McMeekin, Harold (No. C/SSX 27721)

McMeekin, Harold

Ordinary Seaman

No. C/SSX 27721, HMS Duchess, Royal Navy

Killed in an accident at sea on Tuesday 12 December 1939 (aged 18)

No known grave

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent, England (Panel 33. 2)

Bangor and District War Memorial

Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Comgall’s)

BIOGRAPHY

Harold McMeekin was born in Belfast on 27 April 1921 and he was a son of Mr and Mrs J. McMeekin who lived in Beechwood Gardens, Bangor and later in Hazley’s Estate.  Described as ‘a bright, intelligent youth’ Harold McMeekin joined the Royal Navy in November 1938 and was posted to HMS Duchess in August 1939.

Ordinary Seaman Harold McMeekin died on 12 December 1939 when his ship, HMS Duchess, was in collision with the battleship HMS Barham in thick fog some nine miles off the Mull of Kintyre.  HMS Duchess, a small D-class destroyer, was commissioned in 1933 and built by Palmers Shipbuilding and Iron Company in Jarrow.  She was one of four ships assigned to escort HMS Barham from Gibraltar to Greenock and after the collision HMS Duchess capsized, blew up when her depth charges exploded and sank.

Ordinary Seaman Harold McMeekin (No. C/SSX 27721) was one of more than 130 crew members who died.  The other three ships escorting HMS Barham were HMS Dainty, HMS Delight and HMS Duncan.

Ordinary Seaman Harold McMeekin (No. C/SSX 27721) was 18 when he died and he is commemorated on Bangor and District War Memorial and in Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Comgall’s).