Granton War Memorial
William Hughson was a Shetlander from North Unst. Before the war he worked for the Northern Lighthouse Board, serving in one of the Granton based crews which manned the North Carr Lightship. He lived at 25 Lower Granton Road.
He was also a naval reservist and on the outbreak of war in August 1914 he was called up for service in the Royal Navy. He served with the Royal Navy at the Battle of the Falkland Islands in December 1914. He subsequently transferred to what the newspapers of the time referred to as ‘transport work’ – he was responsible for manning a naval gun on board a merchant ship.
In November 1918 the ship on which he was serving, the SS Valverda sailed into the harbour at Boston, USA, He was probably feeling relieved. He had survived the war and the return voyage to Britain would present only the normal hazards of seafaring. There was some delay in discharging the ship’s cargo and in taking on the cargo for the return voyage. He used the time to go round the shops in Boston to buy some presents for his wife and five children.
Unfortunately he was never to make the return journey. He caught influenza and was removed from the ship to the City Hospital in Boston where he died on 22nd December 1918. According to a account given in the Leith Observer his last wish to his departing shipmates was that they should ensure that the presents he had bought reached his family in Lower Granton Road.
He is buried in Fairview Cemetery, Boston. He is also commemorated on the War Memorial of North Unst – the most northerly war memorial in the United Kingdom.