They made the Ultimate Sacrifice
LUCAS, William Eldon, OS, Stwd, V19180, RCNVR, MPK - 19 Jan 1942, HMCS VISON / RMS LADY HAWKINS - Son of Thomas Henry and Lily May Lucas, of Sarnia, ON.
William Lucas was born on October 29, 1918, the son of Thomas Henry Lucas (born in Camlachie, Ontario) and Lillian Mae (nee Martin, born in Sarnia) Lucas, of 368 Shepherd street, Sarnia. William had three siblings: James Wesley (born 1912); Helena Mae (born 1906, later becoming Mrs. Edmund Mackey); and Shirley Catherine (born 1924, later becoming Mrs. Charles Demars). William, single at the time, and recording his occupation as a chauffeur, enlisted with the Canadian Navy. In mid-November of 1940, he would begin his training at the Royal Canadian Naval depot in Windsor. One month later, Ordinary Seaman Eldon Lucas, still in training, would return to Sarnia from the barracks at Windsor, to assist two recruiting officers of the Windsor depot, in the interviewing of recruits for the Royal Canadian Navy. Recruiting in Sarnia for only one day, William Lucas explained to the young men that if they were accepted, they would be given a medical examination before going to Windsor. At the Windsor barracks, they would undergo training for a six-week period and then be transferred to one of the coastal naval bases. At that one day recruitment, more than one hundred young men from Sarnia, Petrolia, Wyoming and Courtright presented themselves at the armory for enlistment in the Royal Canadian Naval detachment. The average age of those accepted was 18 to 20 years, many of high school age.
William would become a member of the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve. In May of 1941, Eldon Lucas, who had been stationed at a Windsor training depot, was transferred to an Eastern Canadian naval training centre. He would become a part of the crew of HMCS VISON, with the rank of Steward. HMCS VISON (S11/Z30), formerly the Avalon, was an armed yacht of 181 feet in length and a displacement of 422 tonnes, launched in 1931 and commissioned by the RCN in October 1940. In December 1940, she was sent from Halifax to operate out of Trinidad and Bermuda. William, a former scoutmaster, had been home on leave Christmas and New Year’s of December 1941/January 1942.
On January 19, 1942, William was aboard the steamship RMS Lady Hawkins on its way to Trinidad, en route to join his ship. The Lady Hawkins, a Canadian luxury liner, had 109 crew and 212 passengers, mostly civilian, on board. The ship had no escort, only a small gun for defence, so it travelled in a zig-zag pattern for defence. On that date, at about 2:00 am in the morning, the unescorted Lady Hawkins was hit by two stern torpedoes from German U-66 and sank after 30 minutes approximately 150 miles from Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. One lifeboat, built for 63, escaped the scene with 75 persons on board. Five days later, the steamship Coamo picked up seventy-one survivors, four unfortunately having died during the five days at sea. The Coamo landed at Puerto Rico on January 28. Two hundred fifty crew and passengers were lost in the sinking of the Lady Hawkins, including William Lucas. Steward William Lucas would later be officially listed as, Missing, believed lost at sea on war services.
On October 29, 1944, two and a half years after Eldon Lucas was reported missing, the Remembrance Book at Devine Street Church was opened at the photograph of Eldon William Lucas in honour of his 26th birthday. Twenty-three year old William Lucas has no known grave. His name is inscribed on the Halifax Memorial, Nova Scotia, Canada, Panel 9. (Source: Sarnia Historical Society)
Ships served in:
WINDSOR DIVISION RCNVR - Enlisted 18 Nov 1940. Commenced Active Service 19 Nov 1940 as a Prob. Steward, RCNVR
HMCS VISON - Drafted to Vision 12 Jan 1942 as a Steward, RCNVR.
* Lost at sea while on passage to Trinidad aboard RMS LADY HAWKINS to join VISON.
(WL01) Portrait of Steward William Lucas (WL02-WL03) Certificate of Service - pages 1 and 2 (WL04) Report of Death