Robert Young


Service: Merchant Navy

Unit: Empire Engineer - Steam Merchant 5,358 tons.

Rank: Second Radio Officer

Robert Young was born in Glasgow on 19th 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 Jun, 1940 she was seized by Britain at West Hartlepool and was renamed Empire Engineer by the Ministry of War Transport.

SS Empire Engineer departed Halifax, Nova Scotia on January 22nd 1941, bound for Newport Monmouthshire. Her cargo was 7,047 tons of steel ingots. She was one of 38 ships in convoy SC-20 but became a straggler. At 16.44 hours on 4th February 1941, the unescorted Empire Engineer, Master John Whiteley, was hit forward by one G7e torpedo from U-123, commanded by Korvettenkapitän Karl-Heinz Moehle and sank by the bow within 4 minutes, about 375 miles west-southeast of Rockall. The Germans observed some survivors on rafts at the sinking position, but all hands, the master, 38 crew members and one gunner were lost. Robert Young was 20 years of age. He is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, Panel 40 and on Jordanhill College School and Newton Mearns Parish Church War Memorials.

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Image reproduced by permission of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission