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Cutter, W., 1st Eng., 1917

Photo: Brian Chandler

In Preston Cemetery there is a family headstone for Lightbown. At the bottom is an inscription which reads:

William Cutter
Chief Engineer M.S. Arabis. killed at sea by
enemy action, September 1916, aged 43 years.
and Mary Hannah, his wife
died March 21st 1941, aged 64 years.

Son of the late William Bailey Cutter and Catherine Cutter; husband of Mary Hannah Cutter (nee Lightbown), of 7, Albury Park Rd., Tynemouth, North Shields. Born at North Shields.

Arabis had sailed from Gibraltar on the 8th September 1917 in convoy HG12. The ship had broken down and dropped out of the convoy when torpedoed. She was torpedoed 210 miles WxS of Ushant by U-Boat U-54, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Kurt Heeseler

This date of September 1916 is incorrect. The vessel was sunk in September 1917.

The headstone gives no detail about the relationship of William Cutter to the Lightbowns. It also contains reference to their grandson James William Grey

Rev. David Youngson has supplied the following:

William CUTTER
Mercantile Marine
First Engineer MV Arabis sic [136783] of London

The son of the late William Bailey Cutter and Catherine Cutter. He was Initiated into Yokohama Lodge No 1092, District of Japan on the 24th June 1904; Passed 14th October 1904 and Raised on the 18th January 1905 resigning in March 1905. He Joined the Lodge of Industry No 48, Province of Durham on the 23rd July 1906. He drowned on the 16th September 1917 following an attack by a German submarine. Aged 44 he was the husband of Mary Hannah Cutter (nee Lightbown) of 7 Albury Park Road Tynemouth North Shields. Remembered on the Tower Hill Memorial London.

Editor’s Note: The MV Arabis (3928 grt), 136783, was built on the Tyne by Swan Hunter and Wigham Richardson Limited of Wallsend in 1914 for the Flower Motor Ship Company ( SirMarcus Samuel and Co of London and operated by Smiths Docks Limited of Middlesbrough. She loaded a cargo of phosphates at Sfax, Tunisia and joined a convoy at Gibraltar bound for Garston, Merseyside. She developed engine trouble and being unable to keep up with the convoy she was torpedoed by the German Submarine U54 and sank two hundred and ten miles W x S from Ushant with the loss of 20 lives. Some records indicate the ship as S.S.

William Cutter is remembered at Tynemouth on T36.01 and T36.16 and on our List of Ships’ crews

M.V. Arabis
U-Boat Net
The CWGC entry for 1st Engineer Cutter

If you know more about this person, please send the details to janet@newmp.org.uk