John May

Military Information

  • Date of enlistment:
  • Place of enlistment:
  • Service no: 1963U
  • Rank: Leading Stoker
  • Service Occupation:
  • Awards:
  • Regiment/Service: H.M.S. Bulwark
  • Unit/Ship: Royal Naval Reserve
  • Place of Death: Lost at Sea
  • Age at Death: 37
  • Date of Death: 26.11.1914
  • Burial Country:
  • Cemetery: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • Grave/Mem Ref no: Panel 6

Personal Information

  • Date of Birth:
  • Place of Birth:
  • Address: 10 Dens Brae, Dundee
  • Occupation: Fireman, Anchor Works, Dundee
  • Mother:
  • Father:

    John May

  • Siblings:

    Mary Harrison, sister

  • Spouse:

    Mary Catherine Patterson (formally May) 15 Hunter St, Dundee

  • Children:

    2 Boys & 1 Girl

More about John May

John has no known grave but is remembered on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial. He was serving on H.M.S. Bulwark which was attached to the Channel Fleet, conducting patrols in the English Channel. On 26 November 1914 while anchored at Sheerness she was destroyed by a large internal explosion with the loss of 736 men. There were only 14 survivors of the explosion and of these, 2 died later in Hospital. The explosion was believed to have been caused by the overheating of Cordite charges that had been placed adjacent to a boiler room bulkhead.

John May   19634   Royal Navy


Another Dundee man lost his life in the Bulwark disaster.

Mrs John May, Hunter Street, has received intimation that her husband was killed in the explosion on board the battleship at Sheerness.  May, who was 36 years of age, was a reservist, and reported himself for his training period three days before war was declared.  He held the rank of chief stoker.  For the past four years he was fireman at Anchor Works.

Dundee Courier 2nd December 1914

Tragedy has followed tragedy in this home circle.  About a fortnight ago Mrs Harrison learned that her brother John May, a leading stoker on H.M.S. Bulwark, had lost his life when that vessel was wrecked by an explosion. May, who was also a reservist, and was employed as a fireman in Anchor Works (Messrs D. M’Master & Co.).  His wife, who resides in Hunter Street, has three young children–one boy and two girls.  This double blow has made the families the object of considerable sympathy in the neighbourhood.

Dundee Courier 10th December 1914

Information supplied by Gary Thomson, additional information and image kindly supplied by Michael Caldwell

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