Name: William Glaister Irving
DoB: April 6 1897
Navy: 3rd Mate Mercantile Marine
DoD: August 25 1917
Academic Career: CGS 1909-12 .
Biographical Information: Son of William & Isabella Irving, of Eden Street, Silloth
William Glaister Irving was the only son of William Irving and Elizabeth (née Glaister). He was born and brought up on Eden Street, Silloth. The Irving family roots were in Dumfriesshire. William’s grandfather, Andrew, had settled in Silloth with his wife Grace (née Telford) and their growing family soon after William’s father was born. Andrew and Grace married at Cummertrees in 1854, she was just eighteen, Andrew was described as Master of the Schooner “Carlisle”. Grace was used to large families as she was one of twelve children and she and Andrew had at least eleven children. William senior was their third son. He and his brother Matthew did not follow their father Andrew to sea but became grocers. Two of their brothers became local Harbour Masters at Silloth and Whitehaven and another brother was a Trinty House pilot. William Glaister in turn did not follow his father’s trade but followed in his grandfather Andrew’s footsteps by going to sea. Andrew and Grace’s home in Silloth is still known as the Sea Captain’s House. Andrew drowned in June 1902 whilst boarding his ship the “Jean Anderson” in Londonderry, the ladder broke, he was 73 years old. Grace retired to Dumfriesshire and died at Moniave.
William Glaister had only one sister named Elizabeth. His maternal family, the Glaisters were far less numerous. His mother had only one sibling a sister. His maternal grandfather was a felt hat maker, originally from Cockermouth. Cockermouth was the local centre for hat making.
William was the only member of his family to attend the Grammar School. He attended from 1909-12 as a day student. He played for the school Rugby team. After leaving he was apprenticed to Messers. Charles E Dunn & Co., steamship owners, Liverpool. He travelled to the USA on SS Cymrie in 1915 describing himself as an apprentice.
William received his second mate’s ticket on May 14 1917, and sailed as third mate on the SS Sycamore a 6,550 ton steamship, built on the Clyde and launched in 1917. William was part of a multinational crew. On August 25 1917 SS Sycamore was carrying general cargo from Baltimore to Liverpool when she was torpedoed without warning, sinking 125 miles north west of the north coast of Ireland with the loss of 11 crew members who are commemorated on memorials in the Caribbean, Newfoundland and Cheltenham.
The U-boat which sank them UB-61 commanded by T Schultz was sunk by a mine in the North Sea just a few weeks later on Nov 29 1917.
www.Ancestry.co.uk Passenger List & Mercantile Marine Memorial and Masters & Mates Certificates 1850-1927
1861: RG9/3915/12/18 & RG9 3928/3932
1871: RG10/4078; RG10/5229/79/64
1881: RG11/5159; RG11/5168
1891: RG12/4289; RG12/4298
1901: RG13/4868/144/34; RG13/4876
1911: RG14/31330/0041/03/36750497 & RG14/31382/0071/03/35277138
CGS Memorial Register
Cumberland News Sept 1 1916