Ajax Veterans Street Dedication: Swanston Crescent
- Media Type:
- Street Name: Swanston Crescent
Name of Veteran: William Swanston
Sept. 3, 1918 - June 29, 2013
Rank: Leading Signalman
Ship Served: HMS Ajax
Date of Service on Ship: 1938 to 1942
Year of Visit/Dedication: September 1992
Veteran or Family Visit: William (Bill) Swanston
Veteran of the Battle of the River Plate: Yes
Died at Battle: No
William Swanston was born in Eyemouth, Scotland on September 3, 1918. He joined the Royal Navy in 1934 at the age of 16. He trained on HMS Renown for two years, 1935 to 1936 and first served on HMS Resolution from 1936 to 1937.
Bill served four years on HMS Ajax as an Ordinary Seaman before leaving in 1942 for HMS Eskimo. After a year on the Eskimo he joined HMS Nairana which was involved in Atlantic convoy missions and was part of a Medic Fleet.
After the War, from 1945 to 1947, Bill served on the Donibristle. He then attended Chatham Signal School from 1947 to 1948. From there it was on to FO Air Med in Malta, from 1948 to 1949, HMS Mercury in 1950, RNA Lossiemouth from 1950 to 1952, and 3rd Destroyer Squadron from 1952 to 1954.
Bill left the Navy in 1959 and worked twenty five years in the Wine Trade. He enjoyed many years with his wife until she died in 1992. He had two daughters, four grandchildren and one great grandson, and lived at home in Edinburgh, Scotland. Bill visited Ajax in 1992 for his street dedication and again in 1999 with other veterans of the Battle of the River Plate for the 60th Anniversary.
Bill Swanston received the Arctic Convoy Star on June 28, 2013 along with several other men. This medal was awarded to those who had taken part in the Arctic campaigns during World War Two. More than 3,000 British naval and merchant seamen died between 1941 and 1945 on the convoys, risking their lives braving sub-zero temperatures, ferocious seas and a gauntlet of German warplanes and U-boats. It was not until December, 2012 that the British Government announced that the men involved would be honoured for their role.
William Swanston died after a short illness on June 29, 2013, the day after receiving the Arctic Convoy Star.
Source: Express & Star, July 2, 2013, ‘War Veterans 70-Year Wait for Medal of Honour’
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- Location of Original:
- Original document and image located in the Ajax Archives.
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