Hawthorne, John

Hawthorne, John (Jack)

Boatswain

SS Glen Head (Belfast), Merchant Navy

Died as a result of enemy action on Friday 6 June 1941 (aged 34)

No known grave

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Tower Hill Memorial, London (Panel 52)

Bangor and District War Memorial

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

BIOGRAPHY

John (Jack) Hawthorne was a son of John and Margaret (Maggie) Hawthorne (nee McCrudden) of Tattybrack, Rockcorry, Co. Monaghan and he was born on 12 August 1906 on the family farm.  John Hawthorne and Margaret McCrudden (daughter of farmer Samuel McCrudden, Limavady) were married on 14 June 1905 in Magilligan Presbyterian Church, Limavady, Co. Londonderry.

John and Margaret (Maggie) Hawthorne (nee McCrudden) had three children:

John (Jack, born 12 August 1906 in Tattybrack)

Wilfred Blackburn (born 14 May 1908 in Tattybrack)

Mary Frances (Frances, born 3 June 1911 in Tattybrack)

Jack Hawthorne followed a seafaring career and on 1 May 1937 he and Gertrude Wilhelmina (Queenie) O’Flaherty were married in Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Comgall’s).  Queenie O’Flaherty was a schoolteacher from the town of Antrim where her father owned a draper’s shop.  Queenie’s father was killed in a road accident when he was knocked off his bicycle by a car.  Jack and Queenie Hawthorne lived at 24 Princetown Road, Bangor.

Frances Hawthorne (Jack’s sister) moved from County Monaghan to County Antrim and on 22 September 1933 she married James Niblock from Islandmagee.  James Niblock was also a seafarer and both he and Jack Hawthorne worked for the Headline Shipping Company.  They often sailed together on the same ship.

James and Frances Niblock (nee Hawthorne) had six children – Billy, Andy, Jimmy, Margaret, Betty and Audrey.  During the Second World War James Niblock served with the Merchant Navy and he was 41 when he died on 18 October 1945.  Captain James Niblock was a son of James and Mary Niblock and, when he died, he had been Captain of the SS Stramore (Belfast).  Captain James Niblock was buried in Islandmagee (Ballyharry) Cemetery, Co. Antrim.  During the Second World War Chief Officer John Niblock, also from Islandmagee, served with the Merchant Navy aboard the SS Inver (Belfast) and he died on 17 December 1940 (aged 52).  His body was never recovered, and he is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial in London.

During the Second World War John Hawthorne served with the Merchant Navy and he died on 6 June 1941 when the SS Glen Head was bombed 100 miles southwest of Cape St. Vincent, Portugal.  Built in Glasgow in 1909, the SS Glen Head was owned by the Headline Shipping Company.  After being bombed, the ship sank within three minutes and 27 of the 36 crew members were lost, including the Master, Robert Dick from Islandmagee.  Third Engineer Officer James Skillen and Chief Steward William McKinley Rae also died that day.  Boatswain John Hawthorne was 34 old when he died and he is commemorated on Bangor and District War Memorial and in Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Comgall’s).  Jack and Queenie Hawthorne’s son, John O’Flaherty Hawthorne, was born on 19 January 1942 (baptised 15 March 1942 in Bangor Abbey).  Jack Hawthorne died on 6 June 1941 not knowing that his wife was expecting a baby.  When Queenie Hawthorne died, she was buried in the O’Flaherty family grave in Antrim Cemetery.