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William (Bill) Gamble Tipping

Able Seaman


William Gamble Tipping whilst serving on HMS Windsor

A newspaper article about William Gamble Tipping (Click for a larger view in a new window) (51306 bytes)

An article about William Gamble Tipping

Able Seaman W. G. Tipping survived the sinking of HMS Peterel and was incarcerated as a POW by the Japanese for the remainder of the war.

The text below is from the above newspaper article about Bill:


The Mid-Ulster Mail, Thursday, January 25, 1990.
Castledawson man was Japanese prisoner of war

When news of the death of Mr William (Bill) Gamble Tipping in Canada, reached the South Derry town of Castledawson, many in the district recalled his harrowing experiences as a Japanese prisoner of war.
Born in Castledawson on June 14th 1914, son of the late David and Minnie Tipping of main street, Bill joined the Navy in 1937-38 and went to sea to do his bit for King and Country unaware of the horrific events that he and his comrades were to witness first hand
during the years of the second world war.
It was during the Japanese intervention in the war that Bill was captured when his ship 'The Stormy Petrel' was hit during that enemy's terrible bombing of Pearl harbour.

(Actually it was HMS Peterel in Shanghai harbour, but on the same day as the Pearl Harbour attack on Hawaii - Webmaster).
Indeed, reports were to filter back home to Castledawson that William G. Tipping was reported missing and presumed dead, thus causing great sorrow to his family and friends in the district.
To this end, a Memorial service was held in Castledawson Presbyterian Church by the late Rev. W. Gaston at which many attended and paid tributes to the brave young man.
Just how brave Bill was to be did not come to light until some time later.
For one year after this service, his aunt Margaret Jane Tipping, who many will recall was schoolteacher in Castledawson for some considerable years, received startling confirmation through the Red Cross that Bill was alive and now held as a prisoner of war by the Japanese.
It was to be four years before the Castledawson man was set free.
Four years during which he witnessed many atrocities on many of his comrades and was badly treated himself.
His release came after the Americans took the drastic step of dropping the atomic bomb on Japan, a sight which Bill witnessed, albeit from a considerable distance.
On his release from the camp, he returned to Castledawson a mere shadow of his former self. years of neglect and ill treatment had taken a heavy toll on his now skeletal like body, the full horrors of what occurred revealed for the first time to the local people.
Bill told tales of how they had to sleep with their heads at the centre of their accommodation for fear of the Japanese bayoneting them during the night.
For the next 10 1/2 months he stayed in Castledawson before removing to America and eventually to Canada to his sister Betty, later marrying, and in latter years settling in Ontario.
It was here, in Rexdale, that William Gamble Tipping was to lose a long battle against cancer on Christmas eve.
Service was conducted at Ward Funeral Home, "Weston Chapel" on Thursday, 28th December, conducted by Rev, Andrew Duncan, interment taking place at Brampton Cemetery, Ontario.
He leaves a widow, Ida tipping, with relatives in this country and still in his home town of Castledawson.
The Canadian Legion 210 held a special service for Bill Tipping, who for many years played down his role in the war and the treatment he, and many others, were subject to during captivity.
Castledawson mourned his premature "passing" some 40-odd years ago, and many do so now in a time of great sadness for a young man who overcame so much in the most tortuous conditions possible, to come home to his loved ones in peaceful surroundings of picturesque South Derry.
Footnote -
The family name of Tipping is noted as being of great architectural significance in the district as one of Bill Tipping's forefathers, one G. R. Tipping, was a highly regarded contractor and indeed has left us such fine legacies as Union Road Presbyterian Church, built in 1867, and the Old Courthouse, 1869, both in Magherafelt.
These are just two of many fine edifices that G. R. Tipping constructed and stand the test of time still today.

Please contact Andy (webmaster) with any information.

Andy Wade (Webmaster)

Information provided by Karen McDowell