Hugh Wathew Taggart, R.N.R. died from Voltaire

August 02, 2009

Hello Mac

Up to now I have known little of my uncle "Woffie", my late father's brother, other than that he was lost at sea before I was born. I knew nothing of his ship, it's name, or when it went down, until this morning when I was looking at a book (a slim volume!) written by my late aunt and found in my father's effects. The little book's dedication was "In joyful memory of Lieutenant-Commander Hugh Wathew Taggart, R.N.R. who did not return from convoy duty in the South Atlantic." 

A scribbled note written below by my Dad reads "Woffie his ship Voltaire (armed merchant cruiser) lost in S.Atlantic".

A few minutes later I found your wonderful website! So now you know why I've made contact!

I'm interested to know if anyone remembers anything of my uncle, or is it just too long ago?

What would have been his job on the Voltaire?

Was he the highest ranking person to be lost in the action of April 4th 1941?

Etc. Etc.

As you can imagine, I was initially dumfounded to find so much interest on your website about a vessel that, a
few hours ago, I didn't even know had existed!

What a wonderful resource your website is, you and your colleague are to be congratulated.

All the best,
Steve Taggart
Rutland UK

Hello Steve,

Thank you for your kind words about AHOY, we do get a great deal of satisfaction from being able to help relatives find details of their loved ones lost at sea in the world wars.

Letters such as yours spur us on to keep trying.

Your Uncle was certainly the most senior officer of the 11 who died from Voltaire, as a Lieutenant Commander he could have been her Gunnery Officer or even the ship's First Lieutenant, a Commander survived who was most likely the second in command.

From the Commonwealth War Graves Commission site here is his Certificate of Service, and Memorial details.


His name is on Panel 60 in Column 1 at the Portsmouth Naval memorial.

Casualty Details

Initials: H W 
Nationality: United Kingdom 
Rank: Lieut-Commander 
Regiment/Service: Royal Naval Reserve 
Unit Text: H.M.S. Voltaire 
Age: 34 
Date of Death: 09/04/1941 
Additional information: Son of Hugh Selwyn Taggart
and Emma Taggart; husband of Florence Ruth Taggart,
of Douglas, Isle of Man. 
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead 
Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 60, Column 1. 

In Memory of 
H.M.S. Voltaire, Royal Naval Reserve
who died age 34
on 09 April 1941
Son of Hugh Selwyn Taggart and Emma Taggart;
husband of Florence Ruth Taggart, of Douglas,
Isle of Man.

Remembered with honour


Commemorated in perpetuity by
the Commonwealth War Graves Commission 

August 02, 2009

Hello Mac

Many thanks for your most interesting reply to my request for information concerning my late uncle Lieutenant Commander H.W. Taggart lost on the Voltaire. If it's OK I will forward this on to my cousins in New Zealand and UK and to my sister in Canada.

I have several photos of my uncle, both in and out of uniform, one of the latter in what appears to be a duffle coat. Atlantic convoy issue perhaps? Are these of interest to any one, other than myself, and if so where do I send them?

He was Merchant Navy, old Conway, apparently went at 12 years old, so could he still have been a Gunnery

All the best
Steve Taggart


Its certainly alright to send any details to whomever you please.

I realise that Hugh was MN, I was only surmising he might have been Gunnery Officer in Voltaire, but as an RNR officer he could have been trained for that position.

You can mail any photos to me and we will add them to Ahoy.


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