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John McNichol (1887-1916)

Hartlepool man served as a stoker in the Royal Navy Reserve and was lost at the Battle of Jutland

John McNichol was born on 13 June 1887. His father was Malcolm McNichol (1851-1906), a Scottish man who worked as a puddler in an iron works. His mother was Mary Ann McNichol nee Liddle (1858-1928) originally from Cutler’s Hall, Consett. His parents married in 1880 and had 13 children although at least five died in infancy. They started their married life as boarders in 11 Corporation Road, Hartlepool.

In 1891 the McNichol family lived in 17 Malakoff Street, Stockton-on-Tees. In 1901 they lived in 9 Howard Street, Darlington. By the time of the 1911 census John’s father had died and his widowed mother was head of the household living in 1 Regent Street, Darlington. John and two of his brothers were labourers in the iron works at the time of the census. At some time between the 1911 census and 1916 John married a woman named Isabella whose surname cannot be accurately verified.

John joined the Royal Naval Reserve and served with the service number 1583/S. When war broke out, he was mobilised into service as a stoker on the Royal Navy battlecruiser HMS Queen Mary. The ship put to sea on 31 May 1916 to take part in the Battle of Jutland. She came under fire and one shell hit and detonated one or both of the forward magazines, which broke the ship in two near the foremast. A further explosion, possibly from shells breaking loose, shook the aft end of the ship as it began to roll over and sink. A total of 1,266 crewmen including John were lost in the sinking.

At the time of his death John was 28 years old. His body was not recovered for burial and he is honoured on the Chatham Naval Memorial. He is also remembered in his home town on the War Memorial Hospital 1914-18, Darlington.

John McNichol was awarded the Star, Victory Medal and British War Medal for his service in World War One.

Civil Parish: Hartlepool

Birth date: 13-Jun-1887

Death date: 31-May-1916

Armed force/civilian: Navy

Residence: 17 Malakoff Street, Stockton-on-Tees (1891 census)
9 Howard Street, Darlington (1901 census)
1 Regent Street, Darlington (1911 census)

Employment: Labourer in iron works (1911 census)

Family: Parents: Malcolm McNichol (1851), Mary Ann McNichol
Siblings: Hannah Jane (1880), Malcolm (1891), Elizabeth Ann (1894), James Robert (1896), Alfred (1899), Lily May (1905)

Military service:

HMS Queen Mary

Medal(s): Star
Victory Medal
British War Medal

Memorial(s): Chatham Naval Memorial
War Memorial Hospital 1914-18, Darlington

Gender: Male

Contributed by David D, Stanley, Co Durham