Robert Wilson

Military Information

  • Date of enlistment:
  • Place of enlistment:
  • Service no:
  • Rank: Artificer Engineer
  • Service Occupation:
  • Awards:
  • Regiment/Service: H.M.S. Candytuft
  • Unit/Ship: Royal Navy
  • Place of Death: Lost at sea
  • Age at Death: 43
  • Date of Death: 18.11.1917
  • Burial Country:
  • Cemetery: Plymouth Naval Memorial
  • Grave/Mem Ref no: Panel 20

Personal Information

  • Date of Birth:
  • Place of Birth: Dundee
  • Address: 40 Dallfield Walk, Dundee
  • Occupation:
  • Mother:
  • Father:

    Alexander Wilson, 185 Princes St, Dundee

  • Siblings:

    Mary, Alexander & 1 other brother (name unknown)

  • Spouse:

    Elizabeth Wilson, 25 Livingston Rd, Gillingham, Kent

  • Children:

    1 daughter (name unknown)

More about Robert Wilson

Robert Wilson was born in Dundee and was the husband of Mrs Elizabeth Neil Wilson of 40 Dallfield Walk, Dundee and 25 Livingstone Road, Gillingham, Kent. He was employed as a Fitter when he volunteered to join the Royal Navy as an Acting Engine Room Artificer Fourth Class in July 1899. After training at HMS Pembroke, the Naval Barracks at Chatham in Kent he was confirmed as ERA4 and drafted to the cruiser HMS Amphitrite and sailed for the Far East carrying replacement crews for ships on the China Station. On returning the ship grounded at Suez but came off without damage. He left the ship and returned to Chatham to qualify as an ERA3. His next draft was the battleship HMS Venerable in November 1902 and he remained in this ship until July 1905. Other sea drafts were to HM Ships Ramillies, Africa, Tenedos, Actaeon, Royal Arthur and Clio. In 1912 he was selected for Officer training and promoted to Artificer Engineer. After a few months at Chatham he was appointed to HMS Blenheim, a Destroyer Depot Ship in the Home Fleet and, later in December 1913, based in Malta. In March 1915 the Blenheim was sent to Mudros to support the Gallipoli campaign and Robert Wilson left the ship to return to the Britain. He took courses in Internal Combustion Engines, Turbines and Oil Fuel and was appointed to the newly built cruiser HMS Canterbury from July 1915 to June 1917. He took part in the Battle of Jutland on 31 May 1916. His next appointment in July 1917 was to the newly built sloop HMS Candytuft. The Candytuft was disguised as a Q-ship and was escorting the SS Tremayne from Gibraltar to Malta when both vessels were attacked by a submarine. A torpedo was fired at the Tremayne by the German submarine U-39 but missed but struck the Candytuft on the starboard quarter, blowing off her stern and killing or wounding all the officers except the Captain and one other. A second torpedo, fired about 30 minutes later, struck the sloop as she was slowly heading for the beach near Bougie and blew a hole just forward of the bridge, causing her to break in two, the bow portion sinking immediately. The remnant of the ship then grounded near Bougie in Algeria. Nine men died in the sinking and Robert Wilson is named on the Plymouth Naval Memorial on Plymouth Hoe, in Devon. has no known grave but is remembered on the Plymouth Naval Memorial.

H.M.S. “Candytuft” was a British Navy Sloop disguised as a “Q” Ship and was escorting the S.S. “Tremagne” from Gibraltar to Malta when she was stuck by 2 torpedoes from German Submarine U-39 on 18th November, 1917. The torpedoes blew off her bow and stern but she remained afloat and was subsequently blown ashore at Algeria becoming a total loss as of 18/11/1917.

Robert Wilson   Artificer Engineer   Royal Navy

WILSON—Killed on the 18th November, in the Mediterranean, Robert Wilson, artificer-engineer, R.N. aged 43 years, dearly beloved husband of Elizabeth Neil, 25 Livingstone Road Gillingham. Present address, 40 Dallfield Walk, Dundee. – Inserted by his sorrowing wife and daughter.  Also his sister Mary and brother-in law, Mrs and Mr T. Page (in France), and brother Alex.

Dundee People’s Journal 1st December 1917

WILSON—Killed in the Mediterranean, Robert Wilson, artificer-engineer, R.N., dearly beloved husband of Elizabeth Neil, 40 Dallfield Walk, third son of Alexander Wilson, 185 Princess Street, Dundee.

Dundee People’s Journal 8th December 1917

Information supplied by Gary Thomson, additional information kindly supplied by Michael Caldwell

Further information supplied by Iain Stewart and Iain Birnie

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