SILSDEN sailor John Clark was one of the chosen few who served on Britain’s top-secret sub-hunting Q ships.

He served on Glenfoyle which was disguised as the harmless bulk freighter HMS Stonecrop as it patrolled waters off the southwest coast of Ireland.

John, a peacetime painter and decorator, and his comrades must have been jubilant when they sank German submarine U-151 on September 17.

But their triumph was short-lived, for the next day the Glenfoyle was torpedoed and sunk by U-43.

The Royal Navy told John’s mother Belina that her son had gone down with the Glenfoyle, but the official British Army and Navy Death Records state Ordinary Seaman Clark died of pneumonia.

Men of Worth Project volunteers believe the pneumonia must have been reported by a survivor of the sinking, and assume this means John made it a liferaft but died shortly afterwards.

John was born in Silsden in 1890 and grew up in Tufton Street, serving his apprenticeship with Messrs Smith and Pickles, painters and decorators of Kirkgate.

He attended Silsden Primitive Methodist Church and Sunday School and, prior to enlisting, was employed by Ilkley painter and decorator Mr C Carter.

John is remembered on the Silsden War Memorial and in the town’s main role of honour book.