Apprentice S. Cowell

FIRST NAMES: Sylvester

UNIT: Merchant Navy

NUMBER: 106417

STATUS: Killed in Action

DATE OF DEATH: 29th March 1918

CEMETERY OR MEMORIAL: Tower Hill Memorial, London

AGE: 17 or 18

Sylvester Cowell was born in Northallerton and was educated at Northallerton Grammar School, having won a North Riding County Council Scholarship to do so. He lived with Mr & Mrs W Hunton, at Brompton, while he was at school, after which he joined the Merchant Navy. Sadly, William Hunton was also destined to die of wounds received during the Battle of the Somme and his name is recorded on the Brompton Memorial.

He was killed when his ship, the S.S. T.R. Thompson was torpedoed, without warning, on Good Friday 1918, with the loss of 33 lives including that of the Captain. The S.S. T.R. Thompson was a merchant vessel of 3538 tons, registered in Sunderland, though it did carry a gun for defensive purposes. The ship was approximately 7 miles South of Newhaven when it was attacked and sunk.

Sylvester has no known grave but the sea and he is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial in London, which is dedicated to all those officers and men who were killed while serving with the Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleets and who have no known grave. The memorial is situated next to the Tower Hill Underground station.

He was either 17 or 18 when he was killed, the former being his age according to the Register Of Shipping and Seamen and the latter that recorded in the register of the Tower Hill Memorial.

The site of the wreck of the S.S. T.R. Thompson has been located and adopted by the Newhaven Sub-Aqua Club who are logging the wreck and researching its history and crew.