b. 26/10/1910 Trowbridge, Wiltshire. d. 05/03/1944 off Beirut, Lebanon.
DATE OF AM ACTION: 05/03/1944 off Beirut, Lebanon.
Douglas Mortimer Connor was born in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, on 26 October 1910 and joined the Royal Navy as an Ordinary Seaman on 10 April 1941. Discharged to a commission, he was commissioned Temporary Sub Lieutenant in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve on 14 May 1942, and was promoted Temporary Lieutenant on 14 August 1942. Posted to the command of H.M. Motor Launch 387, whilst borne on the books of H.M.S. Nile, on 1 January 1944, he was killed on 5 March 1944 after an explosion occurred on his vessel whilst she was berthed in Beirut harbour. ML 1007, ML 1143 (Free French), ML 1158 and ML 1164 (Free French) were engaged in the fire fighting. Sadly it was to no avail, as ML 387 blew up killing her commanding officer in the process. Four men were mentioned in despatches, and for his great gallantry Connor was posthumously awarded the Albert Medal. He is buried in Beirut War Cemetery, Lebanon.
On 5th March, 1944, fire broke out in the starboard corner of the engine room of one of H.M. Motor Launches at Beirut. An explosion occurred immediately afterwards and the fire spread rapidly throughout the ship. Lieutenant Connor straightway organised all the fire-fighting gear on board and sent a runner to inform Coastal Forces base and Naval Base so that the civilian and Naval fire-fighting organisation might be got into action as soon as-possible. The heat from the burning ship was intense and it was well known that with the burning high octane petrol the ship was likely to blow up at any moment. The burning ship was a grave menace to other shipping berthed alongside and Lieutenant Connor made valiant efforts to make fast a tow line so that she could be towed out of the port. So -great was the heat, however, that the tow line parted. At about 19.15 a third and more violent explosion occurred -in which Lieutenant Connor lost his life. Lieutenant Connor well knew” the risks involved, but sacrificed his life in an endeavour to prevent the spread of the fire which might well have become a major conflagration involving the loss of many lives.
BURIAL LOCATION: BEIRUT WAR CEMETERY, BEIRUT, LEBANON.
PLOT 7 ROW C GRAVE 1.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: PRIVATELY HELD. (BEING SOLD AT NOONAN’S ON 06/12/2023)
Allan Stanistreet – Image of the Connor AM medal group.