I mentioned in this earlier piece that John Macleod (1879-1911), who became John Kerr when his mother Margaret Maclennan married his stepfather Roderick Kerr, had been a sailor and that he died at sea.
The somewhat scant details are that sometime on Saturday 13th of May 1911, when the vessel Castlefield was in ‘Genoa Harbour’, John was drowned. The circumstances leading to the 31 year-old Able Seaman’s drowning are not recorded.
The 2255 ton (1483 Net Tonnage) Castlefield had been built in Stockton in 1890 and a record of the life of this ‘iron cargo steamship’ from then until her eventual demise in 1958 can be seen here. We can see that from 1906 she was the property of W. S. Miller & Co. of Glasgow whose flag may be seen here.
John’s last place of abode is given on his certificate as 204 Kelvinhaugh Street, Glasgow but this is followed by the word ‘Ship’ in brackets which is a slightly enigmatic addition? What is certain is that he was British and born in Harris for each of these is stated unambiguously.
I can barely begin to imagine the loss felt by his family back in ‘Obbe’, Harris when they received the news of the loss of their son, a term I use because I am sure that Roderick was a loving stepfather (he allowed John to take his name, for example) and, as the wee lad was only in his second year of life when the couple married at Scarista on Tuesday 22nd of February 1881, Roderick would have been the only father that John would have known.
RIP John (Macleod) Kerr 1879-1911