John Wilson Thomson Duncan

Date of birth: 1874
Place of birth: Kinghorn, Fife
Regiment / Division: Mercantile Marine
Vessel: HMT Aragon
Rank / Service No: 2nd Engineer
Died: 13th June 1917, aged 42 years
Buried: Port Said War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt (Q.12)


John was the oldest of 8 siblings born to David and Sarah Duncan (nee Donaldson), who married in Dundee on 30 August 1869.

Both parents were born in Scotland in 1845, and records show that the family was living in Southampton by the 1881 Census.


Sarah passed away in the city in 1894, with George surviving until 1925.



John Wilson Thomson 

Emily Jane   b. 1875 Scotland   d. 1928 Southampton   Married Alfred Palmer in Southampton in 1903.

David   b. 1876 Scotland   d. ??

Sarah   b. 1878 Scotland   d. 1909 Portswood

James A.   b. 1879 Scotland   d. ??

Alexander   b. 1882 Southampton   d. 1967 Southampton   Married Emmie Cotton in Southampton in 1910.

Robert   b. 1882 Southampton   d. 1970 Southampton   Married Rose Monger in Southampton in 1913.

Elizabeth   b. 1884 Southampton   d. ??


John was twice married, firstly to Olive Pryce, whom he married in Southampton in 1898.

He then appears to have married Olive’s older sister, Ada Jane, in Southampton in 1915….they lived at 18 Shakespeare Avenue, Portswood.


It must be presumed that John died of illness whilst in Egypt, because Aragon was not lost until the last day of 1917.


Aragon was originally a Royal Mail ship, built in Ireland in 1905 and worked routes between Southampton and South American ports.

In 1913, Aragon became Britain’s first “Defensively Armed Merchant Ship” (DAMS) of modern times. She took part in the Gallipoli campaign in 1915, used as a troop ship, prior to working in the Indian Ocean until late 1916.


The trail goes cold until later in 1917, but Aragon must have been in Egypt in mid 1917 because John is buried there.



Researcher: Mark Heritage
Published: 12th July 2016


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