William Alexander Dempster

Leading Stoker William Alexander Dempster served in the Royal Navy on HMS Cleopatra and died in Valetta, Malta as a 500kg bomb struck the British cruiser.

Leading Stoker

William Alexander Dempster

C/KX 79089

Leading Stoker William Alexander Dempster from Killyleagh, Co. Down served in the Royal Navy. He saw action in the Mediterranean during the Second World War.

Leading Stoker William Alexander Dempster (C/KX 79089) served in the Royal Navy during World War Two. Born on 16th January 1910, he was the son of Frederick James Dempster and Elizabeth Jane Dempster of Ballymaccarron, Killyleagh, Co. Down.

On 2nd April 1911, his name appears on the Irish census living at 1 Pawle Island, Killyleagh, Co. Down. His father Frederick James was 34 years old, mother Eliza Jane 31. The family were Presbyterian and had a 19-year-old servant living with them called William Green.

HMS Cleopatra in Malta

Imperial War Museum Photo: A 9515 (Part of the Admiralty Official Collection). The Royal Navy battleship HMS Cleopatra and destroyer HMS Fortune return to port in Malta after being bombed by a Junkers JU-88 on 11th February 1942. Photo taken by Lieutenant JE Russell.

Dempster died on 15th February 1942 on board HMS Cleopatra in Valetta, Malta aged 32 years old. The cruiser Cleopatra and destroyer HMS Fortune came under attack from Luftwaffe JU-88 bombers near the harbour. A 500kg bomb hit HMS Cleopatra, exploding and killing twenty members of the crew. The damaged ship made it to port and underwent repairs.

William Alexander Dempster’s grave is in Protected Section (Men’s) Plot F, Combined Grave 89 of Capuccini Naval Cemetery, Malta. Next to Dempster, lie Able Seaman John William Mills and Ordinary Seaman W Walker of HMS Cleopatra and three men from HMS Maori. His name appears on the Killyleagh War Memorial, Killyleagh, Co. Down.

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