- Surnames starting with the letter M. 

William Marsland

Ship/Rgn/Sqn No:991st Docks Operating Coy
Name of Rgt or Ship:Royal Engineers
Country of burial:Lost at Sea
Cemetery or Memorial:Brookwood Memorial
Town Memorial:Sale
Extra Information:
Born during the December quarter 1921 in the Bucklow R.D. - ref: 8a/313,
the eldest son of William & Catherine Marsland (nee Lowe).

Attended Worthington Rodd School, Sale Moor.   Member of Sale Boys' Club
and a keen footballer.   Employed by Mr.R.E. Wood, Dairyman, Sale Moor and
later by Boots the Chemists at Altrincham.

Volunteered for the Territorials in 1937 and was called up in September

1939 Natioanal Registration - 21 Croft Road, Sale.   William Marsland (Snr)
- Married - born: 25th March 1898 - occ: Corporation Refuse Worker. 
Catherine Marsland - Married - born: 3rd June 1902 - 0cc: Unpaid Domestic
Duties.   There is now one reacted record.  Derek Marsland - Single - born:
4th April 1929 - At School.  Joseph Marsland - Single - born: 25th October
1923 - occ: Milling Machinist.   William Marsland (Jnr) - Single - born:
22nd October 1921 - occ: Sapper in Royal Engineers No. 2053867.

During his service, he had undertaken several sorties with the Commandos.

He was killed aboard the S.S. Yoma, a British passenger ship that waas
being used as a Troop Carrier.   Wikipedia states that:- On the 13th May
1943 Axis forces in Tunisia surrendered, ending the North African Campaign
and opening the way for the Allied Invasion of Sicily. Yoma was transferred
to the Mediterranean, and on the 17th May she sailed with Convoy KMX 14X
from Gibraltar to Alexandria.

On the 8th June she again left Gibraltar for Alexandria, this time in
Convoy GTX 2.  She called at Sfax in Tunisia and Tripoli in Libya, leaving
the latter on the 16th June.   She left Tripoli carrying 134 officers and
994 other ranks of the British Army and 22 officers and 643 ratings of the
Free French Naval Forces.   Many of the British troops were Royal
Engineers, including 994 Dock Operating Company and 1010 Dock Operating
Company, who were going to Alexandria to be kitted out and were then to
operate port facilities for the Sicilian campaign.

On the morning of the 17th June the convoy was northwest of the port of
Derna, Libya.   At 0733 hours many of the men were below decks having
breakfast when German submarine U-81 commanded by Oberleutnant zur See
Johann-Otto Krieg fired two torpedoes.   Accounts differ as to what
followed. U-boat historian GuĂ°mundur Helgason states that one torpedo hit
Yoma, but Second World War blogger Martin Cherrett states that both of them
hit her, one in her engine room and the other in her number 4 hold, sinking
her within five minutes.   Either way, the Chief Officer, A Olding,
reported that she sank rapidly.    Olding stated that the explosion
destroyed the after engine room bulkhead, rapidly flooding the engine room,
boiler room and no. 5 hold and blowing the hatches of nos. 3 and 4 holds.  
 As men scrambled for safety, the ladders on No. 2 mess deck collapsed,
trapping many men below decks.

Yoma settled rapidly by her stern and was shrouded by escaping steam and
clouds of coal dust.    Her Master, George Patterson ordered "abandon ship"
and Chief Officer Olding was among those who made for their boat
stations.[31] Olding and his lifeboat crew succeeded in releasing their
boat so that it floated as the ship went down.   The ship sank stern first,
and as she did her bow rose more steeply.

The 20/08/43 edition of the local newspaper reports that he is missing
presumed drowned.  A total of 451 lives were lost in this incident.

The records show his age as being 22 when he was killed.  It was, in fact,
just 21.   The reason is that when he enlisted into the Territorial Army in
1938, he was only 17 years of age, so he upped it by one year so that he
could qualify to enlst - the minimum age for enlistment being 18.

CWGC - Son of William and Catherine Marsland, of Sale Moor, Cheshire.

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