Donald Haigh (c.1893-1917)

An ongoing project to commemorate and research the lives of those who appear on war memorials and rolls of honour in the local area, who served in the military, or whose deaths were linked to conflict.
Donald Haigh

Huddersfield's Roll of Honour: 1914-1922

The following extract is from Huddersfield's Roll of Honour: 1914-1922 (2014) by J. Margaret Stansfield:

HAIGH, DONALD. Able Seaman. No J/50850. Royal Navy. HMS Partridge. Son of William and Ann Haigh, 22 Union Street, Slaithwaite. Employed as a weaver by Messrs W. and E. Crowther at Crimble Mills, Slaithwaite. Was a member of Slaithwaite Liberal Club and the Slaithwaite Swimming Club. Enlisted in the Royal Navy in March, 1916. 'The destroyer Partridge was a unit of the force based on Lerwick, Shetland Isles for the purpose of escorting convoys to and from Scandinavia. On December 11th, 1917, the destroyer left the port in company with the destroyer Pellew and the armed trawlers Livingstone, Commander Fullerton, Lord Alverstone and Tokio, escorting a convoy of six ships. At 11.45am on the 12th the convoy was S.W. of Bjorne Fjord when enemy ships were sighted to northward. After signalling the merchant ships to scatter, Lt. Commander J.R.C. Cavendish, of Pellew, commanding the convoy, went into action followed by Partridge, and a wireless signal was sent to the Commander-in-Chief. The enemy raiders, consisting of four destroyers, commanded by Captain Hans Kolbe, formed in one line of three ships with a fourth detached for the purpose of sinking the merchantmen. In a very few minutes Partridge was hit by a shell which severed her main steam-pipe and left her helpless. Her after gun was knocked out and she was struck forward by a torpedo. Under these conditions her Captain, Lt. Commander R.H. Ransome, gave orders to abandon ship. She was hit by two more torpedoes and sank. The losses were heavy, Partridge going down with five officers and 92 ratings, while three officers and 21 ratings became prisoners.' (Extract taken from Dictionary of Disasters at Sea during the Age of Steam'). Reported missing at sea, 12.12.1917, aged 24 years. Commemorated on PORTSMOUTH NAVAL MEMORIAL TO THE MISSING.
On the 1.2.1918 his parents received official information from the Accounts Department of the Royal Navy in London to the effect that Able Seaman Donald Haigh must now be presumed to be dead, 'With reference to the communication from this department on the 17.12.1917 respecting Donald Haigh, Able Seaman of HMS Partridge I deeply regret to inform you that his name does not appear in the list of prisoners of war captured from the vessel received from the German authorities through the International Red Cross Committee of Geneva. The list is believed to be complete and in these circumstances it is my painful duty to state that no doubt is now entertained that your son lost his life when his ship was sunk.'
ROH:- St. James' Church, Slaithwaite; Slaithwaite War Memorial.
Three other men from Huddersfield were aboard HMS Partridge and were drowned when the ship was sunk on 12.12.1917. They were Ordinary Seaman FRED DRANSFIELD, Able Seaman WALKER BAMFORTH and Ordinary Seaman SHEARD WINDLE.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

  • Able Seaman DONALD HAIGH
  • regiment: Royal Navy
  • died: Wednesday, December 12, 1917
  • age: 24 years
  • record ID: 3041035