World War 2 (1939 - 1945)


Image reproduced by permission of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Robert Galbraith Young

Service: Merchant Navy
Unit: SS Empire Engineer - Steam Merchant 5,358 tons.
Rank: Second Radio Officer

Robert Young was born in Glasgow on 19 May 1920, son of James Stevenson Young and Christina Witherspoon Young of 11 Larchfield Avenue, Newton Mearns.
He was second radio officer on the SS Empire Engineer. The ship was built in 1921 for the Canadian Government and was originally named Canadian Commander. In 1928 she was transferred to the Canadian National Steamships Ltd, Montreal and in 1932 was sold to an Italian ship owner, Achille Lauro of Naples and renamed Gioacchino Lauro (his fifth son). On 10 June 1940 she was seized as a prize of war at West Hartlepool and was renamed Empire Engineer by the Ministry of War Transport.

SS Empire Engineer was a member of Convoy SC 20, which departed from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada on 22 January 1941 and arrived at Liverpool on 8 February. She was carrying a cargo of steel ingots bound for Newport, Monmouthshire. Empire Engineer straggled behind the convoy. At 16:44 German time on 4 February, she was hit by a torpedo fired by U-123 and sank within four minutes. Although some survivors were seen to have taken to life rafts, all 39 crew were lost.* They are commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London (Panel 40). Robert was 20 years of age and is also commemorated on Jordanhill College School and Newton Mearns Parish Church War Memorials.



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