White, John (Jack)

White, John (Jack)

Able Seaman

SS Marcella (London), Merchant Navy

Died as the result of enemy action on Saturday 13 March 1943 (aged 26)

No known grave


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Tower Hill Memorial, London, England (Panel 68)

Donaghadee and District War Memorial

Family grave headstone in Donaghadee Parish Church of Ireland Graveyard

Brother of Pilot Boat Pilot William (Willie) White


John (Jack) White was born on 24 March 1916 in Castle Street, Donaghadee and he was a son of Andrew and Martha White (nee Moore) who were married on 28 December 1907 in Ballygrainey Presbyterian Church.  Andrew (Andy) White, a seaman from Donaghadee was a son of William White, a seaman.  Martha Moore, a minor from Donaghadee, was daughter of Hugh Moore, a labourer.

Andy White worked as a fisherman, and he was Coxswain of the Donaghadee lifeboat.  Andy and Martha had at least ten children:

Isabella (Isabel, born 13 March 1909 in Castle Street, Donaghadee)

William (born 19 August 1910 in East Street, Donaghadee; died of tubercular meningitis 15 May 1912)

Margaret (Maggie born 26 December 1911 in Castle Street, Donaghadee; died of acute laryngitis 5 January 1916)

William (born 14 February 1914 in Castle Street, Donaghadee)

John (Jack, born 24 March 1916 in Castle Street, Donaghadee)

Ilene May (born 4 April 1918 in Shore Street, Donaghadee)

Andrew (born 4 November 1919 in Shore Street, Donaghadee)

Harold Edmond (born 16 February 1924)

Norman D. (born January 1926; died 14 February 1926)

Victor (born 1929; died 20 March 1930)

The White family lived at 25 Mount Street, Donaghadee.

Jack was the first of the two brothers to die in war.

During the Second World War Jack White served with the Merchant Navy aboard the cargo vessel SS Marcella.  The SS Marcella was a cargo ship built by Lithgows Ltd., Port Glasgow in 1928 and was owned by Kaye and Son, London.  The SS Marcella was on route from the Clyde to Capetown, South Africa via Freetown in Sierra Leone when she sank.  At 5.30 am on 13 March 1943 the German submarine U-107 attacked Convoy OS-44 some 190 miles west of Cape Finisterre, Spain.  Four ships were torpedoed and sunk by U-107 – the SS Clan Alpine, the SS Marcella, the SS Oporto, and the SS Sembilangan.

Able Seaman John White was one of 44 men aboard the SS Marcella who were killed that morning.  Another casualty was Able Seaman William John (Willie) Harper from Donaghadee.

Able Seaman Jack White is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial in London; on Donaghadee and District War Memorial and on the family grave headstone in Donaghadee Parish Church of Ireland Graveyard.

Less than two months after Jack died his brother William (Willie) White also died.

Their father Andrew died on 4 October 1969 (aged 83) and their mother Martha died on 22 October 1973.

Their brother Andrew served during the Second World War and their sister Isabel married Herbert Tiffany of Cheswick, Northumberland.