Nicholson, John Gilkeson
SS Gatun, Merchant Navy
Died at sea on Friday 31 December 1943 (aged 74)
Family grave headstone in Bangor Cemetery, Newtownards Road, Bangor
In the Maritime Register of Deaths of Passengers and Seamen at Sea it is recorded that the ship which reported John Gilkeson Nicholson’s death was the SS Gatun.
John Gilkeson Nicholson was born on 16 October 1869 in Bangor and he was the eldest son of John and Ellen Nicholson (nee Campbell). John Nicholson Senior was also born in Bangor and he and Isabella Neill were married in Bangor on 14 February 1860. After Isabella died, John Nicholson and Ellen Campbell from Cottown were married in Ballygrainey Presbyterian Church on 19 December 1865. They had at least seven children:
Sarah (born 27 September 1866 in Cottown)
John Gilkeson (born 16 October 1869 in Bangor)
James Campbell (born 26 July 1872 in Bangor; studied medicine in Edinburgh and, after qualifying as a doctor, practised in the New Hebridies – now Vanuatu – in the South Pacific, married Anna Isabel Campbell of Bangor on 31 December 1902 in Hamilton Road Presbyterian Church Bangor, lived at 30 Hamilton Road, Bangor and died on 29 October 1934)
Louis (born 29 September 1874 in Bangor; worked as a carpenter and with his wife Elizabeth lived at 62 Raby Street, Belfast)
William Patterson (born 3 April 1876 in Cottown; moved to the USA, and lived in Los Angeles)
Eleanor Mary (born in Conway, Caernarvonshire and married foreign missionary James Bowman Hanna on 22 November 1904 in Helen’s Bay Presbyterian Church)
Janet Marion (sometimes Maria, born in Conway, Caernarvonshire in 1881; died on 11 May 1940 aged 59)
John Nicholson Senior was a seaman, and he was described as a retired sea captain when he died on 19 April 1918 (aged 88). At the time of his death, he was living at Ellenville, 106 Princetown Road, Bangor, and he also owned 100, 102 and 104 Princetown Road as well as 37/39 Main Street, Bangor. His widow Ellen died on 3 January 1931 (aged 90) and she and John were both buried in Bangor Abbey Graveyard.
John Gilkeson Nicholson was a marine engineer and he and Jane (Jeannie) Craig from Bangor were married on 26 July 1905 in Helen’s Bay Presbyterian Church. They had two children:
Marie (born 28 April 1906 in Bayview, Bangor)
Eleanor (born 17 October 1907 in Bayview Terrace, Bangor)
During the Great War John Gilkeson Nicholson served with the British Mercantile Marine and the Nicholson family lived in Bangor at 198 Ballyholme Road before moving to 37 Ballyholme Esplanade.
When John Gilkeson Nicholson died at sea (aged 74) he was Chief Engineer aboard the SS Gatun, sailing in Latin American waters while on active service with the United States Navy.
His widow Jane died on 14 September 1953 in the Musgrave Clinic Belfast (aged 78). Her home address was 37 Ballyholme Esplanade, Bangor.
John Gilkeson Nicholson is commemorated on the family grave headstone in Bangor Cemetery (Section 4N Grave 153A):
NICHOLSON, JOHN GILKESON
DIED AT SEA ON ACTIVE SERVICE, 31ST DECEMBER 1943
ALSO HIS WIFE JANE, DIED 14TH SEPTEMBER 1953
AND THEIR YOUNGER DAUGHTER
WHO DIED 29TH MARCH 1999
‘SUNSET AND EVENING STAR
AND ONE CLEAR CALL FOR ME!
AND MAY THERE BE NO MOANING OF THE BAR
WHEN I PUT OUT TO SEA’