Page last updated at 11:43 GMT, Monday, 6 July 2009 12:43 UK

War grave unveiled for WWII boy


Reginald Earnshaw's final resting place is at Comely Bank in Edinburgh

A memorial to one of the youngest British service casualties of the World War II has been unveiled by his former friend and shipmate.

Reginald Earnshaw was "about 15" when he died under enemy fire aboard the SS North Devon exactly 68 years ago.

It is widely believed he lied about his age in order to serve his country - and evidence suggests he may been just 14.

Former machine gunner Alf Tubb unveiled a headstone in his memory at Comely Bank Cemetery in Edinburgh at 1100 BST.

It still upsets me to think of a young lad trapped inside that engine room and I couldn't save him
Alf Tubb

Mr Tubb was 18 years old when their ship was bombed by German aircraft on its way to Tyneside.

He continued to return fire before rushing to the engine room to try and find his friend, but was beaten back by steam.

Mr Tubb, now aged 86, said: "I only knew young Reggie for a short time, but we were good friends.

"It still upsets me to think of a young lad trapped inside that engine room and I couldn't save him."

Also attending the ceremony was Catherine Corse, 90, from Edinburgh, whose brother Douglas Crichton was among the six men to die in the attack.

SS North Devon
Reginald Earnshaw died after the SS North Devon came under fire

The location of Mr Earnshaw's grave was never reported to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission or marked with a headstone until recently, when a simple wooden cross was erected as a temporary marker.

It has since emerged that he was born in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, but his last known address was in Edinburgh.

His final resting place at Comely Bank is close to where he lived in the Granton area of the city.

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War grave officially identified
25 Jun 09 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife


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