William 1908
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William Francis Maxwell Dumbreck was born on the 10th January 1908 and in 1933 he met Lily Gertrude Clark, wife of John James Miller.  William and Gertrude had a son James Frances Maxwell Dumbreck born 9th August 1934, Camlachie Glasgow.

William then married Edith Clark on the 24th March 1937 at Bridgeton, Glasgow. They had a daughter Irene Margaret McLeod Dumbreck born 7th September 1937.

William joined the Royal Navy when only a young boy and a newspaper cutting tells a story about how he became known as Torchy.

William died on the 3rd January 1975 at the Royal Infirmary, Glasgow, aged 66.

This is the story as to why William became known as  "Torchy" Dumbreck
Transcribed from a newspaper cutting

Floating torch saves

"Luckiest Man Alive"

Express Staff Reporter

Nov 1941

In the darkness of a North Atlantic night four survivors in a lifeboat saw a speck of light flashing. "It's a floating torch," said one of the men in the boat, "and we could do with one."

They pulled towards the light - and that is how William Dumbreck of 7 Pentland Place, Bridgeton, Glasgow, is able to be with his wife and four-year-old daughter today.

"I am the luckiest man alive," he told me when he landed with the other survivors from a torpedoed ship at a Scottish port last night.

"Immediately before the ship was torpedoed," he told me, "I decided to have a stroll on deck. My watch was ended and I went up on deck to get the air. No sooner had I got on deck than I heard a terrific explosion as a torpedo struck the ship.

"When I came to my senses, I was struggling in the sea. I had no idea where I was trying to swim to."


"My strength was giving way when I saw a light near me. I made for it and found that it was an electronic torch attached to a lifebuoy."

"I managed to get my arms and shoulders through the buoy and took the torch in my hands and held it as high as I could. That is all I remember." One of his mates Walter Edwards, who lives at 12 Milton Avenue, North London, said:- "There were four of us in the lifeboat. We could not understand the light at first, because it seemed to be going out and in.

"We decided to recover it as it would be useful if we had to signal to passing ships. When we got to where the torch was floating we found Dumbreck. The torch was still in his hand, and it was with great difficulty that we managed to loosen his grip and take it from him. An hour later we were all rescued by a naval vessel."

Said Dumbreck:- "My neck was sore for days but the choking was worth it."

Dumbreck has been at sea since he was a boy. He was for years in the Royal Navy.




William Dumbreck (aka Torchy)