Maginnis, Francis

Maginnis, Francis (Frank)

Fireman

SS River Humber (Bristol), Merchant Navy

Died as the result of a collision at sea on Tuesday 4 June 1940 (aged 30)

No known grave

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Tower Hill Memorial, London, England (Panel 87)

Family grave headstone in Ardkeen Parish Church of Ireland Graveyard

BIOGRAPHY

In different records Frank’s surname is spelt Magennis, McGinness, Maginess, Maginness (CWGC) and Maguinness.

Francis (Frank) Maginnis was born on 8 March 1909 and he was a son of Francis (Frank) and Mary Maginnis (nee Bryce) who lived in the townland of Kirkistown, Ardkeen, Kircubbin, Co. Down.  Frank Maginnis Senior worked as a labourer and he and Mary Bryce (aged 17) were married on 12 May 1905 in Ardkeen Parish Church of Ireland Church (Christ Church).  They had at least six children:

Robert J. (died 7 November 1954)

Francis (born 8 March 1909 in Kirkistown)

Thomas H. (died in infancy)

Alexander (Alex, served during the Second World War with the RAF)

Jane (died in infancy)

Sarah Ann (born 3 July 1915 in Kirkistown; died 26 July 1990)

Frank Maginnis Senior died on 9 February 1940 (aged 72), some four months before his son, Frank Junior, was killed.

Frank Maginnis Junior worked as a labourer and he and Ellen Thompson, a daughter of Andrew Thompson, Ballyhalbert, were married on 3 September 1929 in Glastry Presbyterian Church.  Frank and Ellen Maginnis lived in Kirkistown and it was reported in the Press that they had six children – named in the Press as Thomas (lived with his grandparents), Frances, Ellen, Andrew, Francis Isobel, and Cecil.  In one of the death notices after Frank died a daughter named Jean was also mentioned.

During the Second World War Frank Maginnis served with the Merchant Navy aboard the SS River Humber.  Built in 1920 by Hepple and Company Ltd., South Shields and owned by Messrs Charles Neill and Sons Ltd., Bangor, the SS River Humber was on passage from Dublin to Preston in ballast when she sank on 4 June 1940 after a collision with HMS Folkestone in the Irish Sea east-north-east of Skerries, Dublin.  Mate Jack Cully and Ordinary Seaman James McMaster 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 reside for a time at 26 Primrose Street in Bangor.  Fireman Frank Maginnis was 30 when he died, and his body was never recovered.  He is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial in London and on the family grave headstone in Ardkeen Parish Church of Ireland Graveyard.  Frank’s mother Mary died on 24 March 1968.

An In Memoriam notice from his family published in June 1943 contained the verse:

We were not there at time of death

To hear his last faint sigh;

We only know he passed away

And never said good-bye.

An In Memoriam notice from his family published in June 1944 contained the verse:

Four years have passed since that sad day

When our great sorrow fell;

The shock that we received that day,

We still remember well.

Your end came suddenly, Frank, dear,

You made us weep and cry,

But, oh, the saddest part of all,

You never said good-bye.

An In Memoriam notice from his family published in June 1945 contained the verse:

Your end came sudden, Frank dear,

You made us weep and cry,

But oh, the saddest part of all,

You could not say ‘Good-bye.’