Merchant seamen did a difficult and dangerous job during the war, trying to maintain essential supplies of food and resources. During the war the Wilson Line, the biggest private shipping company in the world, lost about 50% of its fleet. One of those ships was the SS Dido, sunk by a German mine in the north sea while travelling from Middlesbrough to Bombay.
Second Officer Jack Altoft was one of those who lost his life on board the Dido. The Marine Superintendent’s Office sent his parents, James and Ada, a telegram with news that the Dido had been sunk, and they later discovered that their son had been killed. The following year James was also killed on the minesweeper Martin II which sank after a collision at the mouth of the Humber.