Kennedy, John Joseph

Kennedy, John Joseph

Able Seaman

SS Empire Attendant (Glasgow), Merchant Navy

Died as the result of enemy action on Wednesday 15 July 1942 (aged 32)

No known grave


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Tower Hill Memorial, London, England (Panel 38)


John Joseph Kennedy was born on 26 November 1909 in the Midnight Mission, 29 Malone Place, Belfast and he was a son of Frances Kennedy who worked as a servant.

John Joseph Kennedy and Hannah Quigley were married on 14 February 1942 in St Columcilles Roman Catholic Church, Belfast.  John Joseph Kennedy was a labourer from Hill Street, Holywood (father unknown).  Hannah Quigley, a domestic servant from Craigavad, was a daughter of Joseph Quigley, a labourer.

John Joseph Kennedy and Hannah Kennedy (nee Quigley) lived in Glen Cottages, Craigavad.

During the Second World War John Joseph Kennedy served with the Merchant Navy aboard the SS Empire Attendant.  This passenger cargo vessel was launched in December 1920 as Magnava and completed as Domala in 1921 by Barclay, Curle and Company, Whiteinch, Glasgow.  She was owned by the British India Steam Navigation Company.  Following damage sustained in an air attack in 1940, Domala was requisitioned by the Ministry of War Transport, rebuilt, and renamed SS Empire Attendant.  She was placed under the management of Andrew Weir and Company (Bank Line).  On 1 July 1942 she sailed from Liverpool as part of Convoy OS-33 with a cargo of stores, vehicles and a quantity of explosives bound for Freetown in Sierra Leone.  On 10 July 1942 the escort vessel, HMS Pelican, signalled the Admiralty that SS Empire Attendant had broken down for the seventh time and was out of contact.  At 3.30 am on 15 July 1942, when she was south of the Canary Islands and off the west coast of Africa, she sank after being torpedoed by the German submarine U-582.  All 59 men aboard the SS Empire Attendant were presumed drowned; there were no survivors.  In addition to Able Seaman John Joseph Kennedy, Fifth Engineer Officer Thomas McMahon Houston and Sailor Patrick Joseph Gibson also died.  Able Seaman John Joseph Kennedy was 32 when he died, and he is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial in London.