Reid, Donald Gordon

Reid, Donald Gordon (Don)


SS Empire Lytton (Middlesbrough), Merchant Navy

Died as the result of enemy action on Saturday 9 January 1943 (aged 23)

No known grave


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Tower Hill Memorial, London (Panel 43)

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


Donald Gordon (Don) Reid was born in Colchester, Essex on 18 August 1919 and he was a son of William and Margaret Reid (nee Welham) of 14 St. Mary’s Road, Colchester.  William Reid worked as a butcher and their marriage was registered in the fourth quarter of 1918.

William and Margaret Reid (nee Welham) had a daughter named Constance whose birth was registered in the first quarter of 1919.  In April 1920, the Reid family moved to London, Ontario in Canada; they sailed aboard the SS Haverford.

After leaving school Don Reid served in the Canadian Army and after that he moved to Bangor, Co. Down.  During the Second World War he served with the Merchant Navy and his wife, Sadie Reid, lived at 65 Ballymaconnell Road, Bangor.

Don Reid served as a Fireman aboard the SS Empire Lytton, a British steam tanker built in 1942 by the Furness Shipbuilding Company Ltd., Middlesbrough for the Ministry of War Transport (MOWT).  On 9 January 1943, the SS Empire Lytton was in Convoy TM-1 on route from Trinidad to Gibraltar (carrying a cargo of 12,500 tons of benzene) when she was hit by torpedoes fired from the German submarine U-442.  The SS Empire Lytton sank in the North Atlantic to the west of the Canary Islands and around a quarter of the 48 men on board died.

Apprentice William Edward Trimble who was serving aboard the MV British Dominion in the same convoy was killed on 10 January 1943.  Of the nine tankers in Convoy TM-1, seven were sunk by a German Wolfpack – MV Albert L Ellsworth, MV British Dominion, MV British Vigilance, SS Empire Lytton, MV Minister Wedel, MV Norvik and SS Oltenia II.  Only MV Cliona and SS Vanja reached port safely.

Fireman Donald Gordon Reid was 23 when he died, and he is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial in London and in Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Comgall’s).