William Martin, 1875-1940
Biographical notes

Able Seaman - Scottish Antarctic Expedition 1902-04

The Scotia at Laurie Island

William Martin was 29 at the start of the Scotia expedition. he was engaged as an Able Seaman and was part of the scientific staff.

born: 22nd June 1875 at Miller's Wynd, Dundee, Scotland.
address: 42 Step Road, Dundee
died: 19th September 1940 by enemy action (probably his ship hitting a mine) while with the Royal Fleet Auxiliary in the Moray Firth.

My great grandmother's brother, William Martin, was on that expedition. I thought I would share what I know about him, and have attached a copy of his obituary. William's full name was William Adams Martin*. He was named after his uncle, Captain William Adams of the Dundee whaling ship Arctic. His father, also named William, was in the crew of his brother-in-law's ship..

He was the master of the tanker Shelbrit 1, which exploded and sank just off the Cromarty Firth, on the 19th of September 1940, probably as a result of hitting a mine.

His wife's name was Ann Alexander and they were married on 17/06/1919.

The obituary notice mentioned a son and a daughter, but I haven't any information about any living descendants he might have. My grandfather (William's nephew) died when my father was very young and we have very little information passed down about the family. Most of what I know is the result of research, and I'm pleased that I can now share his story with some of his great nieces and nephews.

- Heather Connie Martin

*His name is sometimes given as William Adams Martin though there is no middle name on his birth certificate.

Transcript of newspaper biography:




Lieut.-Commander William Martin, of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, who lost his life by enemy action in the North Sea in September, belonged to Dundee, and was well known in the city.

Until his marriage, when he made his home in Edinburgh, he resided at 3 Union Place Dundee.

Lieut.-Commander Martin went to sea at the age of 16, and had just completed 50 years as a sailor. He was due to retire in the near future.

Before the outbreak of war he served as a ship captain with the Shell-Mex Company. As a naval officer in the last war he saw service at Gallipoli, where he took part in the Suvla Bay landing: in anti-submarine work in the Irish Channel, in the famous "mystery ships," and as icemaster and pilot at Archangel in 1915.

His career had taken him to most parts of the world, and for his Arctic and Antarctic exploration work and his achievements in oceanographical and meteorological surveys he received distinctions. He was a Fellow of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society.

He leaves a wife and a son and daughter, who reside in Edinburgh. Lieut.-Commander Martin was the eldest brother of Mrs. Dargie, 51 Erskine Street, Dundee.

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