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  • Commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London. (www.cwgc.org)
Person Details
CWGC: 'Born Nottingham' There are a number of records of the births of a John White (also with 'middle' names) in Nottingham in about 1898 or living in Nottingham between that date and 1911 (Census). However, none can be firmly identified as this man.
08 Nov 1916
2969968 - CWGC Website
Able Seaman
Mercantile Marine SS Earl of Forfar (Glasgow) John White was serving in SS Earl of Forfar when the ship was extensively damaged by explosion and fire at Bakarista, Port of Archangel, Russia, on 8 November 1916. His body was not recovered for burial and he is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London. SS Earl of Forfar was a steam cargo ship with the Earl of Forfar Steamship Company Limited. A number of awards of the Albert Medal 'for gallantry in saving life at sea' were made to men serving in the Royal Navy, RNVR and Merchant Navy who assisted in the rescue operation, including the captain of SS Earl of Forfar who was ashore at the time of the explosion. According to reports published in newspapers on the occasion of the awards, a series of explosions and fires had occured in both merchant ships and on the wharves - some of the ships had cargos of explosives and ammunition and explosives were also stored on the wharves. One ship, SS Baron Drieson, was blown up forty minutes before the SS Earl of Forfar, which itself had a carge of explosives, was partly destroyed. Records refer to several thousand casualties and the devastation of the area following the explosion of 'thirty thousand tons of munitions.' CWGC - History information (extract): 'In the First World War, the civilian navy's duty was to be the supply service of the Royal Navy, to transport troops and supplies to the armies, to transport raw materials to overseas munitions factories and munitions from those factories, to maintain, on a reduced scale, the ordinary import and export trade, to supply food to the home country and - in spite of greatly enlarged risks and responsibilities - to provide both personnel and ships to supplement the existing resources of the Royal Navy. Losses of vessels were high from the outset, but had peaked in 1917 when in January the German government announced the adoption of "unrestricted submarine warfare". The subsequent preventative measures introduced by the Ministry of Shipping - including the setting up of the convoy system where warships were used to escort merchant vessels - led to a decrease in losses but by the end of the war, 3,305 merchant ships had been lost with a total of 17,000 lives.' (www.cwgc.org)
CWGC: 'SS Forfar' CWGC: 'The Tower Hill Memorial commemorates men and women of the Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleets who died in both World Wars and who have no known grave. It stands on the south side of the garden of Trinity Square, London, close to The Tower of London.' (www.cwgc.org) See www.cnrs-scrn.org/northern_mariner/vol21/tnm_21_377-405.pdf: Paper on 'Wartime explosions in Archangel, 1916-1917'
Remembered on


  • Commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London. (www.cwgc.org)
    John White - Commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London. (www.cwgc.org)