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Roll of Honour

Hartlepool seafarers lost at sea

Murphy, John Thomas

Wells St Hartlepool

Lost on the battlecruiser HMS Queen Mary.
John Thomas Murphy was born in Hartlepool on September 10th, 1884, and was the second youngest of the 7 children of Nicholas Murphy (originally from Cork), and his  wife Jane, nee Cox.  The couple had married in St Mary's Catholic Church in Stockton and at the time of their marriage on Feb 6th 1869, both lived in Shoulder of Mutton Yard. Jane had been born in Alnwick around 1852 and her parents were both Irish having lived briefly in Alnwick before moving to Stockton.

Following the marriage, Nicholas and Jane had their first child in Middlesbrough, the next two in Darlington, the next in Middlesbrough again and around 1884, they finally settled in Hartlepool. Nicholas was at first a puddler in the ironworks, but later became a dock labourer in Hartlepool. In 1901, the family were living in Ropery Lane, Hartlepool, with 16 year-old John Thomas also listed as a dock labourer.

Nicholas Murphy died in 1908 at Howbeck Workhouse, Throston aged 65 years.

John Thomas Murphy died during the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916, whilst serving on HMS Queen Mary. His widowed mother, by then living in Wells Street with her married daughter Mary Jane, was informed of her son's death.

The following is a story about her ancestor told by the great, great grandaughter of Jane Murphy, Beverley Peel.

John Thomas Murphy, a young Navy lad, a crew member on board the battle-cruiser HMS Queen Mary 1- was about to return to his ship after a spell of  home leave. as he was about to depart and leave his mother (my Great Great grandma) and his sister, he came out with a strange remark, he didn't want to go to war,, "what" said his mother " and be branded a coward", he had a premonition that the ship would not return from its next trip to sea.  "you're talking silly, said his mother,  "alright , I'll go, but I wont be coming back, replied John Thomas.  "of course you will" she shouted after him  as he walked sadly away--shaking his head.

MAY 31st 1916

Two great Navies met, and the Battle of Jutland  began-the prize?? who was to be master of the seas. The Queen Mary, according to all accounts-was punishing the enemy with her super gunnery,so much so, two of the enemies capital ships were brought in to concentrate their fire on her alone-and the result-   the end of the Queen Mary with very few survivors. the premonition of John Thomas had come true.  His mother and sister were heartbroken....