Trimble, William Edward

Trimble, William Edward (Billy)


MV British Dominion (London), Merchant Navy

Died as the result of enemy action on Sunday 10 January 1943 (aged 17)

No known grave


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Tower Hill Memorial, London, England (Panel 19)

Bangor and District War Memorial

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


William Edward Trimble was born in 1925 and baptised in Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Comgall’s) on 27 September 1925.  He was the elder son of George Grant Trimble, a civil servant, and Elizabeth Trimble (nee Wilson) who lived at 60 Grove Park, Bangor.

His paternal grandparents were Edward and Mary Jane Trimble of Portadown, and his maternal grandparents were William Wilson AIMCE who had been Town Clerk and Surveyor in Portadown and Mrs Wilson who lived at Ben-Hurst, Brunswick Road, Bangor.

George Grant Trimble and Elizabeth Wilson were married on 25 February 1923 in Portadown Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Mark’s).

William Edward Trimble’s sister, Sheila Wilson Trimble, married Cameron Stuart Malcolm on 24 February 1945 in the Church of Ireland Church of St. Columbanus at Ballyholme, Bangor; they later moved to Berkeley, California, USA.

William Edward Trimble’s brother, George Trimble, moved to Australia in 1963 with his wife Muriel and their four children.

During the Second World War, Apprentice William Edward Trimble served with the Merchant Navy aboard the ship SS British Dominion.  This British Motor Tanker was built in 1928 by Swan, Hunter and Wigham Richardson Ltd., Wallsend-on-Tyne and was owned by the British Tanker Company Ltd.  On 10 January 1943, the MV British Dominion was on route from Curacao (Lesser Antilles) to Gibraltar via Trinidad.  Carrying 9,000 tons of aviation spirit, she and eight other tankers were in Convoy TM-1 when she was torpedoed and damaged by the German submarine U-522.  Thirty-seven men were killed, and 16 survivors were picked up by HMS Godetia.  The abandoned wreck was sunk by the German submarine U-620.  Of the nine tankers in Convoy TM-1, seven were sunk – 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 aboard the SS Empire Lytton in the same convoy was killed on 9 January 1943.

Apprentice William Edward Trimble was 17 when he died, and his body was never recovered.  He is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial in London; on Bangor and District War Memorial and in Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Comgall’s).  A text was included with his Death Notice published in the 1 May 1943 edition of the County Down Spectator:

Greater love hath no boy than this

That he lay down his life for that of his friends