Saturday, 25 April 2015

Riley, Maurice - Ordinary Seaman

(No soldier photo available)
S. S. Empire Caribou,
Merchant Navy
Died 10 May 1941
Age 21

The 4,861 ton steamship Empire Caribou left London and then, in convoy, left Loch Ewe, Scotland, for Portland Maine, United States, with a cargo of 2,020 tons of china clay. She was in the North Atlantic when she was caught by the German U-boat, U-556, and torpedoed. The explosion burst her cargo of china clay asunder and she plunged to the bottom in two minutes. Her master and 28 men, including Ordinary Seaman Maurice Riley, went down with her. The remainder of the crew, eleven deck-hands, who clung to life-rafts, were rescued by the destroyer Malcolm 38 hours later.

Maurice was the son of Mrs. and the late Mr. S.B. Riley. He was aged 21. He attended Rising Bridge Methodist Church, where he was a member of the choir. Maurice went to Accrington Grammar School from which he entered the Merchant Navy in 1937.

Maurice's name is on the Tower Hill Memorial, London. The Memorial commemorates the men of the Merchant Navy and the Fishing Fleets who died in both World Wars and have no grave but the sea. The 1914-1918 War section names over 12,000 men and the 1939-1945 War section bears over 24,000 names. Maurice is commemorated on Panel 38.