Greaser Thomas Phillips

Merchant Navy,

Lost at Sea (Drowned), 26th January 1918,

From  Dublin, Aged 33












Thomas Phillips was born in Dublin in 1885, son of the late Thomas and Catherine Phillips and Husband of Christine Phillips of 30 Lower Gardiner Street, Dublin. Serving as a Greaser aboard the Cargo Ship SS Cork on a journey to Liverpool with a general cargo, she was torpedoed by the German Submarine U-103 on 26th January 1918, nine miles North East off Lynas Point, Anglesey, Wales.

1916 illustration by Willy Stöwer of a German submarine destroying an English fishing steamer. The SS Cork was a victim of Germany’s naval blockade. Photo:

On this occasion, two torpedoes were fired and both struck the port side of the vessel over the water line. The first entered the engine-room and the second, immediately after, struck near the foremast. Within five minutes, the ship had sunk.

Two lifeboats, containing 30 survivors, were launched. They were located and picked up a couple of hours later by a passing steamer and, after being transferred to another ship, were brought to the nearest port.

12 crew were lost including Thomas Phillips from a ship’s company of 42.

Thomas is remembered on the Tower Hill Memorial, in London. It commemorates the men of the Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleets who have no grave but the sea.

Tower Hill Memorial, London Photo:



Able Seaman John Allen

Royal Navy

From Kingstown, (now Dun Laoighre), Dublin

Scan_20140529 (10)John Allen was born on the 24th September 1879 in Kingstown, near Dublin. He joined the Royal Navy on his eighteenth birthday in September 1897.

At the time he is described as being 5ft5 in height with brown hair, blue eyes and a fair and freckled complexion with various tattoos on his left forearm.

He began his career on board two training ships, HMS Curacoa & HMS Vivid 1, both at his home base of Devonport near Plymouth.

He goes on to serve on the following ships over the next number of years. Hermione, Arrogant, Tamar, Spartiate,Repulse and Carnarvon.

This brings us to 1911 where John was serving on board HMS Defence till September 1913 and it was on board this ship that he was awarded his Long Service & Good Conduct medal (LSGC), pictured above, after 16 years service in the Royal Navy.

John’s Great War service was primarily aboard the Destroyer HMS Albatross. He took his discharge on January 20th 1916. His character & ability rating during his 19 years service, earned him the above, LSGC Medal.  He earned three Good Conduct badges during his time, the last being in September 1910, with his character being listed on the ships on which he served as being very good.

Further notes from his service papers indicate that he received a pension from the Navy in September 1919 and that he had been paid a war gratuity whilst on board HMS Defiance.

John Allen













In addition to his LSGC Medal, John was awarded the 1914/15 Star trio for his service in the Navy during the Great War.

John lost two brothers during the war. Daniel who was also in the Royal Navy, was killed on board HMS Hawke when she was sunk on the 15th October 1914 & Stephen of the 2nd Leinsters, killed in action 20th October 1914, just five days after his brother Daniel

Stoker Hugh Byrne

Royal Naval Reserve, from Dublin

Killed In Action on board H.M.S. “Indefatigable.” 31st May 1916

At the Battle of Jutland


Around 4:00pm, on Wednesday afternoon, May 31st, Indefatigable was hit around the rear turret by two or three shells from the German battlecruiser Von Der Tann. She fell out of formation to starboard and started sinking towards the stern and listing to port. Her magazines exploded at 4:03 after more hits, one on the forecastle and another on the forward turret. Smoke and flames gushed from the forward part of the ship and large pieces were thrown 200 feet (61.0 m) into the air.

Of her crew of 1,019, only two survived. Hugh Byrne’s body was never recovered. He is remembered with honour on the PORTSMOUTH NAVAL MEMORIAL

Hugh left behind a widow, Isabella, of 27 Fishamble Street, Dublin

Portsmouth Naval Memorial Photo from
Portsmouth Naval Memorial
Photo from
Photo from

“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.”

George S.Patton