I always find it moving to see any sign that there is still a connection between the living and those who sacrificed their lives and are commemorated on memorials, like this memorial to merchant seaman at Tower Hill in London. Second Radio Officer Norman Eric Blyth of the Merchant Navy, whose photograph somebody has thoughtfully affixed to the memorial plaque that bears his name, died on the 30th March 1942 when the SS. Induna, part of Arctic Convey PQ13, on route to Northern Russian, was torpedoed by the U376 and sunk. In the list of the crew lost you will also find Norman Blyth’s colleagues, First Radio Officer Arthur Carpenter of Swanmore, Hampshire and Third Radio Officer Samuel Ezekiel McClure of Cloughmills, County Antrim.
The U376 was lost with all hands in the Bay of Biscay on the 13th April 1943.
On the subject of connections between the living and those members of the Mercantile Marine who made the ultimate sacrifice, my own surname appears on the Tower Hill Memorial amongst the crew of the Steam Trawler Imperial Queen (GY502), which was lost on the 28th July 1920; the victim of a sea mine drifting across the North Sea.
To quote from the memorial itself, “The Twenty Four Thousand of the Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleets whose names are honoured on the walls of this garden gave their lives for their country and have no grave but the sea.“