Deveney, John Ferris

Deveney, John Ferris (Jack)

Able Seaman

SS Victoria City (Bideford), Merchant Navy

Died as a result of enemy action on Monday 2 December 1940 (aged 35)

No known grave


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Tower Hill Memorial, London (Panel 114)

Bangor and District War Memorial (as Devenney J.)

Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Comgall’s)


John Ferris (Jack) Deveney was born on 14 June 1905 in Castle Street, Bangor and he was a son of George and Mary Ann Deveney (nee Ferris) who were married on 13 April 1899 in St. Thomas’s Church of Ireland Church, Belfast.  George Deveney, a ship’s steward from 187 Snugville Street, Belfast was a son of Walter Deveney, a labourer.  Mary Ann Ferris from 61 Castle Street was a daughter of John Ferris, a labourer.

George and Mary Ann Deveney (nee Ferris) had five children:

Walter (born 3 August 1901 at 4 Martin Street, Belfast)

John Ferris (twin, born 8.00 am 14 June 1905 in Castle Street, Bangor)

Elizabeth (twin, born 8.30 am 14 June 1905 in Castle Street, Bangor)

Margaret (Peggy, born 15 September 1907 in Castle Street, Bangor)

Martha (born 11 January 1910 at 15 Moorgate Street, Belfast; married Allen Hedley)

John Ferris (Jack) Deveney was baptised on 9 July 1905 in Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Comgall’s).  The Deveney family lived at 94 Castle Street, Bangor.

Jack’s father, George Deveney, was a seaman for over 30 years and for part of that time he worked as a cook on various ships belonging to Messrs John Kelly Ltd.  George Deveney died on 6 February 1925, Mary Ann died on 17 July 1966, Peggy died on 22 April 1999 and they are all commemorated on the family grave headstone in Bangor Cemetery.

Jack Deveney served in the Merchant Navy for more than ten years and, before going to sea, he worked as a haulage contractor between Bangor and Belfast.

Jack Deveney of 70 Castle Street, Bangor and Anne (Annie) Orchard of Osborne Drive, Bangor were married on 4 July 1929 in Ballygrainey Presbyterian Church.  Both of their fathers were deceased sailors.

Jack and Annie Deveney had four children:


John Ferris



Able Seaman Jack Deveney served aboard the SS Victoria City and he died on 2 December 1940 when this ship was torpedoed by the German submarine U-140 in the North Atlantic during a voyage from New York via Halifax in Nova Scotia to London.  At the time, the SS Victoria City was a straggler in Convoy HX-90.  The SS Victoria City was a cargo steamer built in 1929 by William Gray and Company Ltd., West Hartlepool (Sunderland) and owned by Sir William Reardon Smith and Sons Ltd., Cardiff. More than 40 men died, including Able Seaman Douglas Collister who also lived in Bangor.

At the time of Jack’s death, his wife Annie and their children lived at Upper Balloo, Bangor and his mother Mary Ann, his sister Peggy and his aunt, Ellie Alexander, lived at 70 Castle Street, Bangor.  During the First World War Jack’s brother Walter served as an Air Mechanic 2nd Class in the Royal Air Force.  Walter joined the Royal Naval Air Service on 29 January 1917 and on 1 April 1918 this service was merged with the Royal Flying Corps to form the Royal Air Force.  Walter and Annie Deveney lived at 29 Castle Mount, Bangor and Allen and Martha Hedley (nee Deveney) lived at 8a Thomas Street, Newtownards.

After Able Seaman Jack Deveney died, several family members placed Roll of Honour notices in the County Down Spectator and these included the following verses:

Not just today, but every day,

In silence we remember.


Dear Son of my bosom you sleep with the brave

Where no tears of your Mother can fall on your grave;

Unknown to the world you stand by my side

And whisper, ‘Dear Mother, Death cannot divide’.


Not dead to those who loved him,

Not lost but gone before;

He lives with us in memory

And will for evermore.


He answered his country’s call

Too good in life to be forgotten now


Tis God that draws the curtain

That shades him from our sight,

He knows the whys and wherefores,

And all His ways are right


Some may forget you,

But we never will

As long as life and memory lasts

We’ll remember you still.

Able Seaman John Ferris Deveney was 35 when he died, and he is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial in London; on Bangor and District War Memorial (as Devenney J.) and in Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Comgall’s).