b. 13/05/1916 Newton-le-Willows, Lancashire. d. 31/05/1941 Alexandria, Egypt.
DATE OF AM ACTION: 31/05/1941 Alexandria, Egypt.
Son of Charles and Christina Russell Finlayson, of Newton-le-Willows, Lancashire. Joined the Merchant Navy at a young age, and was unmarried at the time of his death. He is commemorated on a family headstone in Newton-le-Willows.
Their vessel was in port undergoing repairs and two members of the crew were engaged in removing plugs from the bulkhead of the port deep tank, when both suddenly collapsed, having been overcome by unsuspected gas which had generated from damaged cargo in the hold. The Second Officer, Mr. Robert Allan Finlayson, observing the occurrence and realising the immediate need for assistance, promptly fastened his shirt around his nose and mouth and, with Able Seaman Richard Hamilton, entered the tank with a rope in an attempt to save the two men. This brave action on the part of Second Officer Finlayson and Able Seaman Hamilton unfortunately cost them their lives. Mr. Finlayson was just able to make the rope fast around the body of one of the men before he himself collapsed and died. Able Seaman Hamilton, who had immediately followed him, did not reach the bottom of the tank but collapsed off the ladder when about half way down.
Although they must have known the very great risk they ran in entering the tank, Second Officer Finlayson and Able Seaman Hamilton completely disregarded their personal safety in their gallant endeavour to save the lives of their shipmates.
BURIAL LOCATION: ALEXANDRIA (CHATBY) BRITISH CEMETERY, ALEXANDRIA, EGYPT.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: PRIVATELY HELD.
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