William Ernest Clow

Date of birth: 1891
Place of birth: Wickham Market, Suffolk
Regiment / Division: Mercantile Marine
Vessel: SS Normandy
Rank / Service No: Able Seaman
Died: 25th January 1918, aged 26 years
Commemorated: Tower Hill Memorial


William was the youngest of 6 siblings born to Henry and Laura Clow (nee Swan), who married in Plomesgate, Suffolk in 1873.

There is actually a seventh sibling, but she was born well after Henry had died….the father remains a mystery.

Henry was born in Marlesford, Suffolk in 1851 and he died in Wickham Market in 1886.

Laura was born in 1855 in Wickham Market and she passed away in Plomesgate in 1914.


William married Dora Ethel Cook in Southampton in 1915, and they had one son…..

William Ernest   b. 1917 Southampton   d. 1997 Southampton   Married Marie T. Manning in Gosport in 1973.



Alan William   b. 1875 Wickham Market   d. 1885 Plomesgate

Henry George   b. 1878 Wickham Market   d. 1951 Poplar

Alfred Charles   b. 1880 Wickham Market   d. 1950 Mansfield   Married Ada Elizabeth Smith in Bury in 1906.

Arthur Walter   b. 1884 Wickham Market  d. 1963 Braintree  Married Sarah L. Cook in Plomesgate in 1914.

Ellen (Nellie) Violet  b. 1886 Wickham Market   d. ??   Married John Mahoney in Southwark in 1910. Married Richard Huertson in Southwark in 1914. Married Alfred H. Johnson in Southwark in 1923.

William Ernest

Laura Jane   b. 1896 Wickham Market   d. 1975 Lewisham   Married William G. Josling in Lewisham in 1947.


William was one of 27 people (14 crew and 13 passengers) who lost their life on the Normandy as it made its way from Southampton to Cherbourg.

It was a merchant ship, carrying general cargo and mail to the troops in France.

8 miles of Cape La Hague, the vessel was torpedoed by U-90….only 13 passengers survived.


U-90 is also known as the submarine that sank the 32,500 tonne USS President Lincoln off Brest, an American military transport ship.


Researcher: Mark Heritage
Published: 23rd June 2016


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