Altrincham WW1 

Sidney Morgan (Billy) Cruickshank

Rank:Apprentice Seaman
Ship/Rgn/Sqn No:Merchant Navy
Name of Rgt or Ship:S.V. Inveramsay
How Died:Died at Sea
Country of burial:Lost at Sea
Cemetery or Memorial:Tower Hill (Merchant Navy) Memorial, London
Town Memorial:Altrincham
Extra Information:
Born during the June quarter 1901 in the Bucklow R.D. - ref: 8a/185, the
second son of George Nicholson & Kathleen Cruickshank (nee Muldowney).

1911 Census - 23 Cedar Road Hale.     Son - aged: 9 - born: Altrincham.  
His father - George Cruickshank was a Joiner - aged: 40 - born: Scotland. 
Kathrine was aged: 41 and born: Dublin.

Member of the 1st Altrincham Scout Troop.

Hale lads - Cecil Hammond BOWLAND, aged: 17 and his shipmate Sidney Morgan
CRUICKSHANK (Billy), aged: 16, were killed on the Sailing Vessel –
“S.V. Inveramsay” on the 27th April 1917.

Cecil and Billy were at school together and were members of the same 1st
Altrincham Scout Group.  They joined the Mercantile Marine Service soon
after each other to go to sea together and they died together.  They were
just two more names out of hundreds of Altrincham and District men that
were lost in this conflict.  Until now the difference has been that most of
the others were commemorated by the CWGC, Cecil and Billy were not.

Cecil, of Clapham House, 121 Hale Road, Hale was an Apprentice Seaman on
only his second voyage, sailing from Gulf Point, U.S.A. on the 21st March
1917 aboard the “S.V. Inveramsay", laden with pitch Pine bound for
Fleetwood, Lancashire.  Billy, also an Apprentice Seaman, of Sunny Bank, 17
Hale Road, Altrincham was on his first and, as it turned out, his only
voyage.  The ship was reported as missing with all hands in August 1917. 
[NB: The border between Altrincham & Hale ran between their two addresses. 
For that reason one is commemorated on the Hale Town War Memorial, the
other on the Altrincham Town War Memorial]. 

Launched in 1891, the Inveramsay was a 1,438 ton, three masted steel
barque.  Propelled only by sail, it was 236 feet long by 36 feet wide with
a draught of 23 feet.

I believe that the main reason these two lads, plus the other 21 crew
members were consigned to national anonymity was due to a dispute between
the British Government’s Insurance Company and the Vessel Insurers.  The
Government insisted that it was an ordinary marine loss, whereas the
ship’s Insurers contested that there were no storms reported at anytime
across the Atlantic during the period of their sailing.  Also the ship was
only 26 years old and was in a good state of maintenance.  It therefore had
to be a war loss.

It was not until well after the close of WW1 that the German submarine
records became open for inspection that the dispute was solved.  See -

The S.V. Inveramsay was sunk by German U-Boat gunfire on the 27th April
1917 from U-Boat U.62 (Captain Ernst Hashagen) in position 56.00 N –
11.30 W (about 200 miles north-west of Ireland).  A total of 23 men were
lost, including Cecil & Billy.

Their deaths were reported in the 22/01/1918 edition of the Altrincham
Guardian and photos of them appeared in the 25/01/1918 edition of that
newspaper.  They are commemorated locally on the Hale Methodist Church
Memorial and the Altrincham & District Roll of Honour.  Cecil’s name is
recorded on the Hale Town War Memorial and Billy on the Altrincham Town War
Memorial.  And………as from January 2014, they are now commemorated
nationally by the CWGC, as are all 23 of the crew that went down with their

Memorials found on:
Altrincham & District Roll of Honour
Hale Methodist
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