Tom Victor Jopling

Date of birth: 12th January 1892
Place of birth: Southampton
Service No.: Not known
Rank: Marine Engineer
Vessel: SS Lake Owens
Service: Mercantile Marine
Died: 3rd September 1918 aged 26 years
Death location: At sea off the Cornwall coast


Life before the War
Tom was the third of 9 siblings born to George Thomas and Amy Sophia, nee Barrett, with one of the children dying very young (unknown).

George was born in Durham in 1861, Amy in Warminster in 1862, they married in 1886.  George died in Southampton in 1926 with Amy passing away in the city in 1942.

Tom married Violet Mary Parmiter in Southampton on 20 June 1915.  They moved into a house in West Road, Woolston.

Violet gave birth to 2 children, both in West Derby, Liverpool – Victor T, born in December 1917, and Dorothy M in December 1918.

It can only be hoped that Tom met his son, because he was dead by the time his daughter was born.

The family were in Liverpool in the period because Tom was sailing regularly from the port, he made many trips to and from New York between 1917 and the time of his death.

All George and Amy’s children were born in Southampton; Tom’s 7 surviving siblings were:

Joseph Edward   b. 31.3.1887 and d.1974 Utah.   Married Ethel Gertrude Short in Southampton in 1916.
Records show that they left Southampton on 3 January 1948 to set up home in the US.  Strangely, there is also a record to show Ethel leaving Southampton on 28 August 1953 bound for Quebec, as a “housewife” and as a US citizen.

George Sidney   b.1889 and d.1955  Southampton.   Married Violet’s sister, May Parmiter, in Southampton in 1915.

Dorothy Amy   b.1894 and d.1986 Southampton.   Married Garnet M Baker in Southampton in 1918.

Hilda Sophia   b.1895 and d.1985 Southampton.   Married Charles L Fitzgerald in Southampton in 1917.

Evelyn Rebecca   b.1898 and d.1999 Romsey.   Married Douglas G Phillips in Southampton in 1923.

Jessica Miriam   b.1900 and d.1987 New Forest.   Married William C Fulton in Southampton in 1927.

Sarah Emmie   b.4.11.1901 and d.1996 Portsmouth.   Married Percy R Compton in Southampton in 1928.


War Service
Tom would crew on any ship that paid him, hence why he found himself on the recently built American armed merchant vessel Lake Owens.

On 3 September 1918 Lake Owens left Nantes bound for Barry Roads in South Wales, only laden with ballast (to keep her upright).  Three miles off Trevose Head in Cornwall she was torpedoed by UB-125 on the orders of its captain, Werner Vater.  Of the crew of 681, only 5 people lost their lives.  Tom was very unlucky.

He is commemorated on the Memorial at Southampton Old Cemetery.


Researcher: Mark Heritage
Published: 8th May 2015
Updated: Insert dates here

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