Frank John German

Date of birth: 1885
Place of birth: Portsmouth
Regiment / Division: Mercantile Marine
Vessel: SS Galway Castle
Rank / Service No: 2nd Pantryman
Died: 12th September 1918, aged 32 years
Commemorated: Tower Hill Memorial


Frank was the youngest of 4 siblings born to Charles Walter and Mary Jane German (nee Bennett), who married in Portsmouth in 1879.


Charles was born on the 6 March 1859 in Portsmouth and died in Southampton in 1907.

Mary was born in Portsmouth in 1860 and she passed away in Winchester in 1950.



Albert Charles Henry   b. 1879 Portsmouth   d. 1958 Southampton   Married Daisy Beatrice Golden in Southampton in 1906.

Walter Frederick   b. 1881 Portsmouth   d. 26 February 1918 aboard Glenart Castle (see separate story). Married Annie Elizabeth Cummins in Southampton in 1902.

Nora Teresa   b. 1884 Portsmouth   d. 1955 Southampton   Married Henry H. Newton in Southampton in 1917.

Frank John

Both Mary Jane and her daughter Nora are working as domestics for the Godefroye family in Portswood at the 1911 Census.


Frank married Mary Gladys Frecknall in Southampton in 1910. the couple lived at 70 Sydney Road, Shirley and do not appear to have had any children.

Mary was born in Islington in 1890 and she remarried in Lambeth in 1919, to Thomas O. Mason.

She passed away in Southend in 1947.


The Galway Castle was built in Belfast in 1911, as a passenger steamer. She was requisitioned by the Admiralty in August 1914, and turned into a troop ship.

She was deployed in the German West Africa campaign against Windhoek. After this German colony was seized by the South Africans in 1915, Galway Castle reverted to commercial service.


On 3 August 1916, she was attacked with a bomb from a German aircraft but the device failed to explode.


At 07.30 on 12 September 1918, when 2 days out from Plymouth, she was torpedoed by U-82 and broke her back.

She was carrying 400 South African walking wounded, 346 passengers and 204 crew.


It actually took Galway Castle 3 days to sink ,and this allowed destroyers to save all bar 143 souls.



Researcher: Mark Heritage
Published: 28th July 2016


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