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Roll of Honour

Hartlepool seafarers lost at sea

Boyce, William Henry

Able Seaman
Stockton on Tees

Lost on the steamship Manchuria.

William Henry Boyce was born at Stockton in 1871, one of seven sons of Marfleet Boyce and his wife Mary(nee Watson). Marfleet (other recorded variations include Marflett and Marfield), and Mary married at St. Hilda's Church, Hartlepool, on March 30th, 1850.

Marfleet was a seaman who had been born in Scarborough and Mary was from Norton. Their first son, John Thomas, was born in Hartlepool around 1854, followed by two more Hartlepool-born sons, Robert and Marflett. However in the late 1860s, the family must have moved to Stockton as the 1871 Census for No.11, Donald Street, Stockton, shows three further sons born in the town, Frank, Albert and William Henry. 

By 1881 the family had returned to Hartlepool and were living at No.15, John Street North, where a further son, Frederick, was born. Marfleet (given as Marfield on the Census) was then 58 years old and a 'sailor working onshore (Docks)'. Only the three youngest sons - Albert, William and Frederick - were living at home at this time.

At the time of the 1891 Census, William Henry Boyce was serving as an Ordinary Seaman on board the vessel Sarah Jane in Southampton harbour. He gave his birthplace as West Hartlepool.

By 1911, William Henry was single and lodging at No.8, Pease Street, Hartlepool, the home of James Highnam and his family. His mother had died in 1901 and his father not long after.

In World War 1, William Henry, aged 46, was on board the steamer Manchuria, a Hartlepool ship carrying iron ore, when it was sunk by the German submarine U53 (Hans Rose), north of Ushant, with the loss of 60 lives including that of William himself. His name is recorded on the Tower Hill Memorial.