Cully, John Hughes

Cully, John Hughes (Jack)


SS River Humber (Bristol), Merchant Navy

Died as a result of a collision at sea on Tuesday 4 June 1940 (aged 33)

No known grave


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Tower Hill Memorial, London, England (Panel 87)

Cully family grave headstone in Ballyhalbert Cemetery

Portavogie Loyal Orange Lodge (LOL) No. 552


Jack Cully was born on 20 October 1905 in Portavogie and he was a son of Samuel and Margaret (Maggie) Cully (nee Hughes) who were married on 8 May 1899 in Glastry Presbyterian Church.  Samuel Cully from Portavogie was a son of Hugh Cully, a fisherman.  Maggie Hughes from Potavogie was a daughter of James Hughes, a fisherman.

Samuel Cully worked as a fisherman and he and Margaret had at least eight children, all of whom were baptised in Cloughey Presbyterian Church:

James Hughes (born 4 July 1901 in Portavogie)

Hugh (born 6 November 1903 in Portavogie)

John Hughes (Jack, born 20 October 1905 in Portavogie)

Kathleen (born 4 May 1907 in Portavogie; died of measles 28 February 1909)

Kathleen Isabella (born 27 June 1910 in Portavogie)

Bertha Kennedy (born 1 July 1913 in Portavogie)

Samuel (born 5 May 1916 in Portavogie)

Alice Kirkpatrick (born 2 July 1919 in Portavogie)

Jack Cully and Martha Stevenson of Belfast were married on 16 May 1928 in St. John’s Church of Ireland Church, Laganbank, Belfast.

Jack Cully’s father Samuel died on 9 July 1929 (aged 56) and his mother Margaret died on 22 August 1941.

During the Second World War Mate Jack Cully served with the Merchant Navy aboard the SS River Humber.  Built in 1920 by Hepple and Company Ltd., South Shields and owned by Charles Neill Ltd., Bangor, the SS River Humber was on passage from Dublin to Preston in ballast when she sank after a collision with HMS Folkestone in the Irish Sea east-north-east of Skerries, Dublin.  Ordinary Seaman James McMaster and Fireman Frank Maginnis died in the same incident.  The fourth man who died was Chief Engineer Officer John Gibson (aged 32) from Gardenstown in Banffshire, Scotland.  John Gibson was born in Pennan, Aberdeenshire in Scotland although he did live for a time at 26 Primrose Street, Bangor.  Jack Cully’s shore address at the time of his death was 77 Roseberry Road, Belfast.

After Mate Jack Cully died, the Worshipful Master of Portavogie LOL 552, John McMullan, and the Secretary, W.H. Mawhinney, placed a notice in the 8 June 1940 edition of the County Down Spectator:  ‘The officers and members of Portavogie LOL 552 desire to tender sincere and heartfelt sympathy to the relatives of Brother Jack Cully and Mr John McMaster who lost their lives in the sinking of the SS Humber.’

Mate Jack Cully was 33 when he died, and he is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial in London; on the Cully family grave headstone in Ballyhalbert Cemetery and in Portavogie Loyal Orange Lodge No. 552.

In 1942 Jack’s brothers and sisters in Portavogie placed an In Memoriam notice in the County Down Spectator and it contained the verse:

Shall we meet in that blest harbour

When our stormy voyage is o’er

Shall we meet and cast the anchor

By the fair celestial shore.

In 1944 Jack’s brothers and sisters in Portavogie placed an In Memoriam notice in the County Down Spectator and it contained the verse:

The sea shall soon give up the dead,

When the last trump shall blow,

And on that resurrection day,

We shall His purpose know.