Cadet Officer Johnnie Simpson

Cadet Officer Johnnie Simpson, Merchant Navy. He was lost at Sea, aged 18, on the 7th January 1943 and is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London. He had been born at Borthwick Hall, Heriot and was the son of Alexander and Maggie Simpson of Borthwick Hall and Tranent, East Lothian. He was lost aboard the S.S. “Benalbanach” when the vessel was struck by two air launched torpedoes about 150 miles north of Algiers. The ship caught fire, exploded and sank almost immediately with the loss of 410 passengers and crew. There were only 53 survivors. The ship had been carrying troops, mostly 585th Coy., Royal Engineers and equipment to North Africa in support of ” Operation Torch”, the Allied landings in North Africa. The ship was a 7,152 ton passenger/cargo vessel launched in June 1940 at Scotstoun, Glasgow for the Ben Line Company.

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