William Becker AM

b. 17/11/1891 ? d. 17/02/1970 Bridlington, Yorkshire.

DATE OF AM ACTION: 06/12/1917 Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Very little is known about the life of William Becker. Following the award of the Albert Medal, he returned to Yorkshire. He became a member of the Albert Medal Association on its formation in 1966. Sadly, he died less than a year before the exchange was offered for a George Cross.



On the 6th December, 1917, the French steamer ” Mont Blanc,” with a cargo of high explosives, and the Norwegian steamer “Imo,” were in collision in Halifax Harbour . Fire broke out on the ” Mont Blanc” immediately after the collision, and the flames very quickly rose to a height of over 100 feet. The crew abandoned their ship and pulled towards the shore. The Captain of H.M.S. “Highflyer,” which was about a mile away, at once sent off a boat to see if anything could -be done to prevent loss of life, and Commander Triggs, volunteering for this duty, immediately got into the ship’s whaler and pulled to the scene. A tug and the steamboat of H.M.C.S. “Niobe” were seen going there at the same time. Commander Triggs boarded the tug, and finding it was impossible to do anything for the ” Mont Blanc,” decided to endeavour to get the “Imo” away, giving directions accordingly to the tug. He returned to the whaler, and was pulling towards the bows of the ” Imo,” which was aibout 300 yards from the “Mont Blanc,” to pass a line from herto the tug, when a tremendous explosion occurred. Of the seven people in the whaler, one, Able Seaman Becker, was rescued alive on the Dartmouth shore, whither he had swum; the remainder perished. It is clear that after communication with the tug, Commander Trig’gs and the rest of the boat’s crew were fully aware of the desperate nature of the work they were engaged in, and that by their devotion to duty they sacrificed their lives in the endeavour to save the lives of others.