Friday, November 5, 2010

Hilda May, the SS Lily and a man named Billie...





In the year 1940 on the 26th of April a man named William Frank Markham died shortly after 1:17 AM with 23 other men in the cold and dark seas off of Cape Wrath. The vessel was reported to have vanished in 45 seconds with a loss of all hands. The ship was the SS Lily, a Danish registered vessel, taken as a war prize and William was one 6 Royal Navy men who boarded her at the port of Kirkwall. The ship carried a cargo of China Clay and was lost fully laden.

The final destination was to be a place called Preston of which there are many but the educated guess places the ship going to Preston, Lancashire which is located up the River Ribble which runs in to the The Irish Sea. The ship was sunk by a man named Max-Martin Schulte who was the captain of the U-13 on its ninth patrol of the ten it eventually made.

William was 36 when he died and he had already been pensioned out of the Royal Navy in early 1939 only to be called back to active service after 20 years. He had been taken in by the navy as a runaway and had been inducted into service while still in his teens.

Billie as he was known to the people who loved him was a husband to Hilda May for 11 years and a father to a little girl named Jean. Jean would one day adopt a little boy named David-Sky and Hilda May would be the constant source of love till the day she passed. War destroyed my Grandfather, widowed my Grandmother and left fatherless a little girl who would never know her father so on Remembrance Day I would ask you to remember an ordinary man who was loved by many...


The wedding photo was taken in 1929 and the marriage was a happy occasion but note the flowers, the family legend is that lilies were brought by the florist and the start of the bad omen began. Lilies were known as the flowers of death and many years later Grandfather died serving on a ship called the SS Lily. Grandma Hilda was always adamant about the connection...