John Henry Cresswell D’Arcy

Date of birth: 1886
Place of birth: Southampton
Regiment / Division: Mercantile Marine
Vessel: HMHS Glenart Castle
Rank / Service No: Seaman
Died: 26th February 1918, aged 40 years
Commemorated: Tower Hill Memorial


John was the third of 6 siblings born to George Frederick and Ellen Jane D’Arcy (nee Freak), who married in Portswood on Christmas Day in 1880.

Both parents were born in Southampton, Ellen in 1856 and George in 1858. George died in the city in 1931 and Ellen passed away in 1933.


It is worth noting that their first-born came into the world in 1876, fully 4 years before George and Ellen married !



George E.   b. 1876 Southampton   d. ??

Frederick Bertram   b. 1883 Southampton   d. 1927 Southampton   Married Beatrice G. Hoskins in Southampton in 1914.

John Henry Cresswell 

Beatrice Ellen (Nellie)   b. 1889 Southampton   d. ??

Mary Margaret   b. 1891 Southampton  d. ??

Gladys Mabel   b. 1893 Southampton   d. 1924 Southampton   Married Mark Goff in Southampton in 1920.


John married Edith Lydia Hiscock in Southampton in 1908. They had 6 children but, unfortunately, four of them had passed away before 1923.

The family lived at 21 Prince’s Street, Northam.


Gladys Mabel   b. 1909 Southampton   d. 1991 Southampton   Married Ernest W. Lawrence in Southampton in 1929.

George Frederick P.   b. 1910 Southampton   d. 1953 Southampton   Married Emily Morley in Southampton in 1936.

John Henry Cresswell   b. 1912 Southampton   d. 1913 Southampton

Edith N. K.   b. 1913 Southampton   d. 1914 Southampton

Rhoda R. M.   b. 1915 Southampton d. 1922 Southampton

Dorothy M.   b. 1916 Southampton   d. 1922 Southampton


Edith was born in Southampton in 1887 and, after John’s death, she married Fred Norris in 1920.

Edith passed away in Southampton in 1936.


His Majesty’s Hospital Ship Glenart Castle was originally built as the “Galacian” in 1900….it was renamed in 1914.

The vessel had left Newport (South Wales) on 26 February 1918, bound for Brest in France.

Fishermen in the Bristol Channel at the time remembered that she had green lights all round, plus the obligatory red cross on either side, an international indication of a hospital ship.

When in the neighbourhood of Lundy Island she was hit by a torpedo in the No. 3 hold, fired from U boat UC-56, captained by Kapitanleutnant Wilhelm Kiesewetter.


The blast destroyed most of the lifeboats, while the subsequent pitch of the vessel hindered attempts to launch the remaining boats. In the 8 minutes it took for the vessel to sink, only 7 lifeboats were launched.

162 people were drowned with only 38 survivors. There was evidence that the submarine crew may have shot at those struggling in the water, in an attempt to cover up the atrocity.

The body of a junior officer was recovered with two gunshot wounds…he also wore a lifejacket, indicating he was shot at in the water.


Kiesewetter was arrested after the war and interned in the Tower of London, with the intention of charging him with war crimes.

However, he was released before any trial could take place. Britain was told that it had no right to hold a detainee during the Armistice.



Researcher: Mark Heritage
Published: 29th June 2016


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