Chief Steward Robert Corbett Boyle (1781309) served in the Merchant Navy during World War Two. Born in 1917, he was the son of William John Rush Boyle and Wilhelmina Boyle of 43 York Road, Belfast, Co. Antrim.
At his time of death, his next of kin was listed as a sister living at Ashfield House in the Castlereagh area of East Belfast.
Sinking of SS Refast
He died on board SS Refast on 26th January 1942 aged 25 years old. U-582, captained by Werner Schulte, torpedoed the steam tanker.
The Refast was part of convoy ON-56. The steamer left London, England on 3rd January for Loch Ewe, Scotland on 12th January and onwards to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA. The ship carried a ballast cargo.
At 1858hrs, Master Arthur Ernest Wilson’s vessel took a direct hit from a torpedo south of St. Johns’, Newfoundland, Canada. The Refast sank by the stern at 1915hrs following two more torpedo strikes at 1907hrs and 1908hrs.
Ten of the crew of 42 died in the attack. The British steamer SS Mariposa picked up 32 survivors including Wilson, 27 crew members, and 4 gunners. The survivors landed at Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Remembering Robert Corbett Boyle
His name is on the family headstone in Dundonald Cemetery, Belfast, Co. Antrim. Panel 86 on the Tower Hill Memorial, London, United Kingdom also commemorates the Belfast seaman.