Where there’s a Will…

I came across an article published in the Sunday Post on July 23 2006. It was headed “Where there’s a will…there’s a lawyer like Alastair.” Alastair Campbell Head of our Private Client Department was asked “The Honest Truth about Wills.” One of the questions he answered was “What is the most unusual bequest you have encountered?” It is quite a tale. Here it is. A Glasgow man called John Wilson died in 1989 leaving money to a Royal Navy Captain. All the Will said was “To Captain Donald Macintyre RN, former commander of the destroyer Hesperus who sank U-Boat 186.”John had attached a letter to the Will explaining that his brother James was Chief Radio Officer on the SS Ocean Vagabond part of a convoy sailing from Newfoundland to Hull. In January 1943 a storm scattered the convoy and The Vagabond sailed on her own for five days before being hit by four torpedoes fired from U- Boat 186.The Captain of The Vagabond gave orders to abandon ship. James was never seen again after the second torpedo hit the ship. John’s letter explained that “The radio was out of action after blast damage by the first torpedo and the radio room was in darkness. But my brother fixed the radio.” James had stayed behind and sent out an SOS. The distress call was picked up by a British Destroyer which then made its way to the scene and saved the men in the life rafts. In May 1943 U- Boat 186 was sunk by the Hesperus captained by Donald Macintyre who earned John Wilson’s everlasting gratitude. Alastair checked naval records and discovered that Captain Macintyre had died two years before John but Captain Macintyre’s son and daughter were successfully traced and given the bequest. A happy ending.