Meek, William Johnston

Meek, William Johnston (William)

Master

SS Hatasu (Liverpool), Merchant Navy

Died as the result of enemy action on Thursday 2 October 1941 (aged 48)

No known grave

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Tower Hill Memorial, London, England (Panel 56)

Bangor and District War Memorial

First Bangor Presbyterian Church

Family grave headstone in Bangor Cemetery, Newtownards Road, Bangor

Bangor Grammar School

BIOGRAPHY

William Johnston Meek was born on 13 January 1893 in Ballymagee Street, Bangor and he was a son of David and Anna Stewart Meek (nee Johnston) who were married on 16 October 1890 in First Bangor Presbyterian Church.  David Meek, a pawnbroker from Belfast, was a son of Charles Meek, a pawnbroker.  Anna Stewart Johnston from Bangor was a daughter of William Johnston, a sea captain.

The Meek family lived at various addresses in Bangor before moving to 71 Clifton Road, Bangor to live with Anna’s widowed father, William Johnston.

David Meek worked in Bangor as a clothier/draper and he and Anna had at least nine children:

Helen Johnston (born 21 December 1891 in Ballymagee Street, Bangor; baptised 7 February 1892 in Trinity Presbyterian Church, Bangor; died of tuberculosis 30 August 1904 in Ardbraccan Terrace, Bangor aged 12)

William Johnston (born 13 January 1893 in Ballymagee Street, Bangor; baptised in Regent Street Presbyterian Church, Newtownards)

Edith Mary (born 14 December 1894 in Ballymagee Street, Bangor; baptised 27 February 1895 in Trinity Presbyterian Church, Bangor)

Vida Stewart (born 15 August 1896 in Ballymagee Street, Bangor; baptised 20 January 1897 in Trinity Presbyterian Church, Bangor)

Eileen Stewart (born 16 October 1898 in Ardbraccan Terrace, Bangor)

John McCracken Locke (Jack, born 4 August 1900 in Ardbraccan Terrace, Bangor; baptised in First Bangor Presbyterian Church)

Mabel Gertrude (born 5 February 1903 in Ardbraccan Terrace, Bangor; baptised in First Bangor Presbyterian Church)

Estelle Stewart (Stella, born 6.00 am 29 October 1908 in Clifton Road, Bangor; baptised in First Bangor Presbyterian Church)

Caroline Johnston (Lena, born 6.15 am 29 October 1908 in Clifton Road, Bangor; baptised in First Bangor Presbyterian Church)

William Johnston Meek attended Bangor Grammar School from 1907 until 1909.

William Johnston Meek was the husband of Elizabeth Johnston Meek of Killinchy and during the Second World War he was Master aboard the SS Hatasu.  The SS Hatasu was a cargo ship built in 1921 by John Bulmer and Company, Sunderland and owned by Moss Hutchison Ltd., London.  On 2 October 1941 when she was on route from Manchester to New York in ballast she was torpedoed by the German submarine U-431 and sank some 600 miles east of Cape Race, Newfoundland.

Captain William Johnston Meek was one of around 40 men who died.  His effects amounted to some £1,361 and probate was granted to his widow Elizabeth who was living at 50 Leamington Road, Ainsdale, Southport, Lancashire.

Captain William Johnston Meek was 48 when he died and he is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial in London; on Bangor and District War Memorial; in First Bangor Presbyterian Church; on the family grave headstone in Bangor Cemetery and in Bangor Grammar School.  There is an inscription on the family grave headstone:

‘HE SHALL GATHER THE LAMBS IN HIS ARMS

AND CARRY THEM IN HIS BOSOM’

William Johnston Meek’s maternal grandfather William Johnston died on 5 September 1912 (aged 87).  His father David died on 18 February 1933 and his mother Anna died on 4 May 1946 (aged 77).