McMullan, William Ian Muir

McMullan, William Ian Muir (William)

Third Officer

SS Calabria, Merchant Navy

Died as the result of enemy action on Sunday 8 December 1940 (aged 34)

No known grave


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Tower Hill Memorial, London, England (Panel 22)


William Ian Muir McMullan was born on 31 October 1906 in Helen’s Bay and he was a son of William Muir McMullan and Euphemia McMullan (nee Hilton) who were married on 3 June 1902 in Elmwood Avenue Presbyterian Church, Belfast.  William Muir McMullan from Adelaide Park, Belfast was a son of Robert McMullan, a tea merchant.  Euphemia Hilton from Sans Souci Park, Belfast was a daughter of Robert John Hilton, a gentleman.

They lived in the townland of Ballygrot, Crawfordsburn and before that in Woodaby, Myrtlefield Park, Belfast.

William McMullan Senior was a tea and sugar merchant and he and Euphemia had at least four children:

Annie Margaret (born 12 March 1903 in Woodaby, Myrtlefield Park, Belfast; died of cerebral meningitis 4 September 1903 in Myrtlefield Park, Belfast)

Robert (born 16 June 1904 in Woodaby, Myrtlefield Park, Belfast)

William Ian Muir (born 31 October 1906 in Helen’s Bay)

Henry Wallace (born 20 February 1909 in Helen’s Bay)

William Ian Muir McMullan and Henry Wallace McMullan were baptised in Helen’s Bay Presbyterian Church.

Four members of William Ian Muir McMullan’s family were buried in Belfast City Cemetery (Grave L1/2/23):

His sister Annie Margaret died 4 September 1903 (aged six months)

His mother Euphemia died 18 January 1945 (aged 66)

His father William died 19 February 1949 (aged 71)

His aunt Florence died 14 June 1949 (aged 56)

In the CWGC Debt of Honour website it is recorded that William McMullan Junior was the husband of E. McMullan of Donaghadee.  In 1935 William married Edna Berrington, the younger daughter of Henry and Susan Berrington, Mullaghboy, Warren Road, Donaghadee.

During the Second World War Third Officer William Ian Muir McMullan served with the Merchant Navy aboard the SS Calabria.  Built in 1923 by Aktein-Gesellschaft Weser, Bremen, Germany for Norddeutscher Lloyd, this German liner was then named SS Werra.  On 11 June 1940 she was seized by Britain while in dry dock in Calcutta and transferred to the Ministry of War Transport (MoWT).

At 8.58 pm on 8 December 1940 the SS Calabria was straggling from Convoy SL-56 (on route from Freetown in Sierra Leone to Britain) when she was torpedoed and sunk off the west coast of Ireland by the German submarine U-103. She was carrying a cargo of iron, tea, and oilcake together with hundreds of Indian seamen who were from other ships.

Around 400 men, including 22 crew members, were lost.  The Indian seamen who were lost are commemorated on the Bombay/Chittagong War Memorial.  Third Officer William Ian Muir McMullan was 34 when he died, and he is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial in London.

After his death Edna remarried and she died in 1986.  She was buried in Donaghadee Churchyard with her parents.