CWGC Places Information Panels at The Merchant Navy Memorial, London
08 May 2013
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has placed two sets of
information panels at The Merchant Navy Memorial at Tower Hill,
London. The panels are in place ahead of the 70th Anniversary
Commemorations of the Battle of the Atlantic, taking place at the
memorial on 11 May 2013.
The panels, covering both the First and Second World War, are
part of a drive to provide more information for the public. More
than 100 of the panels are being erected at sites in the United
Kingdom, to provide information about the many thousands of First
World War casualties, from all parts of the Commonwealth, who are
buried or commemorated here.
The Second World War panel at The Tower Hill Memorial
reveals the story of 19-year old Donald Owen Clarke who served as
an apprentice on board The San Emiliano. The vessel was struck by a
German U-boat on 6 August 1942. Of the crew of 46, only 6
Clarke rowed solidly for two hours to clear his comrades from
the burning ship. It was not until after the boat was clear that it
was realized how badly he had been injured. His hands had to be cut
away from the oar as the burnt flesh had stuck to it. He had pulled
as well as anyone, although he was rowing with the bones of his
hands. Clarke died the next day and was posthumously awarded the
George Cross for his efforts.