Duncan Cenotaph – Charles Hoey Park

As part of our project to document the names on the Cenotaph in Charles Hoey Park, here is a page about Acting Lieutenant William McKinstry Maitland-Dougall, who was killed in action on 15 March, 1918, aged 23, when H.M.S. D.3, the submarine on which he was serving and commanding, was lost at sea.

The sinking of D.3 was a case of “friendly fire.” The British submarine was attacked off Le Havre, France on 12 March 1918 [note: the Commonwealth War Graves Commission shows the date as 15 March 1918. The 12 March 1918 date is taken from the CFB Esquimalt Museum website] by a French airship, which did not know the Allied submarine recognition signals and bombed the submarine while it was on the surface. British divers discovered the wreck of D.3 in 2007.

Acting Lieutenant William McKinstry Maitland-Dougall has no known grave but is commemorated on the Halifax Memorial, Halifax, Nova Scotia. His parents, James St. Leger Maitland-Dougall and Winnifred Maitland-Dougall, are buried in St. Peter’s Quamichan Anglican Cemetery, North Cowichan.

Here are the reports of his death in the local Cowichan Leader newspaper:

“HEROIC END

Tribute To A Gallant Officer Of The “Silent Service”

Many people are asking for further particulars regarding the death of the sailor son of Mr. James Maitland-Dougall, Duncan. He has recently received a copy of a letter written to his sister by Capt. Alexander Quicke, R.N., H.M.S. Dolphin, submarine depot, England, who was his son’s senior officer.

Extracts from this letter are appended. Capt. Quicke writes:-

“It is my very sad duty to write to tell you that I fear there is no hope whatever but that your nephew and my very dear friend, William Maitland-Dougall, has been lost. I brought your nephew across from Canada with me and he was my friend; professionally he was in the very front rank of our young submarine captains.

As regards your question as to how your nephew’s submarine came to grief, it is not one of those things one may talk about. [Note: the sinking of D.3 was a case of “friendly fire by a French airship. The details were not released until several years after the war.] It is not the easiest part of such a position as mine that one must send these good fellows and splendid officers out to their difficult work, and say nothing to their relatives when something happens to them. Thank God it does not happen more often than it does.

I can at least tell you that there was no question, so far as one knows, of their having any long period of suspense for those in the boat. Their end came quickly and there is no question as to how they would meet it in any vessel commanded by your nephew, and if the loss of his submarine could have been averted by any exercise of professional judgment and skill, then with your nephew in command it would have been so averted.”

(Source: Cowichan Leader, 18 April 1918, from Cowichan Valley Museum & Archives collections)

Here are some websites with more information on William McKinstry Maitland-Dougall

 

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