On this day in 1941, a German mine exploded in the Humber and sank the drifter Joan Margaret. Five Filey fishermen lost their lives and only Jimmy BRIGHT survived.
I wrote two posts about the tragedy for the old Looking at Filey and when I have tidied them up I will reprint them here. Heritage Gateway is worth a visit. The article suggests the fishing boat struck the mine but there is a different narrative. (Isn’t there always?)
The lost fishermen are remembered on family stones in St Oswald’s churchyard and at Tower Hill.
When he married Ann Eliza COOPER in the Church of St Lawrence, York, in 1847, William GREEN gave his address as “on the river”. Within three years the couple had registered the births of three boys but the 1851 census did not record the family as a single unit. Two of the boys, Thomas and Ernest, were with their Cooper grandparents (and Aunt Juliann) at 13 Aldwark in the centre of York. The third boy, William Henry, had died aged about six months in 1850. The boys’ parents had vanished.
I knew William was a waterman and of full age when he married. I knew his father was William, and also a waterman, but a long search for this family failed completely. Yesterday’s post revealed that Ann Eliza lived to a great age and was married to Richard GEOGHAN when the 1861 census was taken. So, I made an assumption that young William Green was the same full age as his wife – 21 – and looked for his death in the 1850s. Several possibilities, based on geography, didn’t work out.
I turned to newspapers and found William in next to no time – on the river.
The mention of oil cake was particularly poignant for me. My childhood was spent in Stoneferry, Hull, where the smell from the oil cake mills was ever-present.
The next report gave the Green family’s address in York. Oh, the irony.
I didn’t find Ann Eliza at this address in 1851. Thomas was with his mother and stepfather in Scarborough in 1861. Ernest was enumerated at the Bluecoat School in York. I may follow his fortunes later.
The fourth child (of the first newspaper snippet) is a mystery.
It is thought that HMT D. V. Fitzgerald triggered an enemy mine in the River Humber on this day, 1941. The explosion sank the motor fishing boat Joan Margaret, and the herring drifter Gloaming, with the loss of eight lives.
There are two posts about this event on the archived Looking at Filey:-
Wreck Site gives the location of the event, details about the vessels and their crews. Joan Margaret, Gloaming.
Below is a list of those killed with links to their Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) web pages and, for the Filey men, links to their pedigrees on Filey Genealogy and Connections (FG&C). At the time of writing, only George WILLIS can be found on FamilySearch Tree. (I haven’t looked for the Gloaming men on FST.)