1. Memorial:Tower Hill Memorial London
2. Book:The (1921) Masonic Roll of Honour 1914-1918Pg.128
3. Memorial:The (1940) Scroll - WW1 Roll of Honour9D GQS

Awards & Titles:


Family :

Son of Mary Ann Laing and the late Robert Laing; husband of Mary Laing (nee Dowson), of 37, Trevor Terrace, North Shields. Born at North Shields.

Military :


Unit :SS Northumbria 
Attached : 
Action :Post War 

Detail :

The SS Northumbria when it struck a mine off Middlesbrough on 8th January, 1919. Despite the Armistice having ceased hostilities the previous November, clearly the danger of war at sea was still present. The SS Northumbria was the second vessel to bear that name during the war, the first having been lost in December 1915 (which incidentally was skippered by Thomas Stafford ROBASON of St John's Lodge No 80). It has been suggested that only one lifeboat got clear of the vessel and it was washed ashore on the Northumberland coast. Only two of the fourteen men in the lifeboat survived; First Engineer James LAING was lost with the vessel. Also on board the SS Northumbria was Pilot Charles Alan BRUHN who was a member of HADRIAN LODGE No 1970. He also lost his life and his body was possibly one of those recovered from the life raft as he was buried in South Shields.

The NORTHUMBRIA was a steel screw steamer, of 4,215 tons gross, owned by the Westminster Shipping Company (Limited), of London. ref. used:The Times Read more at Wrecksite EU:

Scarborough Mercury of the 10th January, 1919 reports:- "STEAMER MINED. - Captain a Whitby Man. - Feared Loss of Thirty Lives. - Lloyd’s agent at Newton Signal Station, telegraphing on January 10th, says: Steamer NORTHUMBRIA of London, Baltimore for Sunderland, mined off Middlesbrough at 3 a.m. January 9th. The boat went ashore at Newton with two survivors and eight dead. Four boats are still missing. Lifeboatmen are out searching for them. The survivors names are William Patterson, steward, and Michael Royd, seaman. A Pilot from Yarmouth Roads was on board. The survivors believe the other boats were swamped. The NORTHUMBRIA is a steal screw steamer of 4,215 tons gross, owned by the Westminster Shipping Co. of London. - COMPANY, WHICH HAS BEEN HARD HIT.- The press Association was informed by Sir John Jackson, Head of the Westminster Shipping Co., this morning that the loss of the NORTHUMBRIA would, according to the information at hand, involved the live of 30 men. The captain’s name adds the Press Association, is Mr. Harry Thomson, of Whitby. The company has been particularly hard hit during the war. At the commencement of hostilities the fleet consisted of five vessels, two were sank by submarines, and one, the WESTMINSTER, will still be in the mind, as great indignation was caused by the shelling of the ship’s boat after the WESTMINSTER had been torpedoed, the captain and the chief being killed. Now that the NORTHUMBRIA has been sunk, only two vessels of the fleet remain."

The Times of the 11th January, 1919 also picks up the story:- "STEAMER MINED IN THE NORTH SEA.- The steamer NORTHUMBRIA, of London, Baltimore for Sunderland, struck two mines in the North Sea off Middlesbrough early on Thursday morning, and sank. The crew got clear away in the boat before the vessel went down, but were driven north by a strong wind. In the evening signals of distress were observed, and were responded to by the Newton Life Saving Apparatus Brigade, who proceeded along the coast to render assistance. Nothing, however, could be traced, but on their return to Newton beach a ship’s lifeboat was found washed up with two men alive in it. Twelve bodies of the crew were later washed ashore on the North, Northumberland coast. The vessel had a crew of between 50 and 60 hands. There were originally 17 men adrift in the lifeboat washed ashore at Newton, and only two are alive: three of the 17 men, including the pilot, are missing. Nothing is known of the remainder of the crew."

Post War includes all operations in all theatres up to 31st August 1921. This excludes the campaign in Russia against the Bolsheviks. It also includes men who succombed to wounds post war and who died from various causes whilst still in the services but post war.

Masonic :

TypeLodge Name and No.Province/District :
Mother : St George's No. 431 E.C.Northumberland

2nd December 1907
24th January 1908
5th March 1908

The lodge register held at the United Grand Lodge of England shows that, upon his initiation in 1907 he was employed as a Marine Engineer from Newcastle. The annotation against his contribution record shows that he was "drowned 7th Jan, 1919."

Source :

The project globally acknowledges the following as sources of information for research across the whole database:

Additional Source:

Last Updated: 2020-10-11 08:41:19