Published By John Davies
John Stubbs was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1854, the son of David Stubbs and Elizabeth Burnyeat. John’s father had emigrated to Australia just before his son’s birth. Nothing can be found of his early life; however, probably about 1865 he had gone to sea and had headed for the UK. He gained his Second Mates Certificate at Liverpool in February 1872, at that time he gave his address as 88 Pitt Street Liverpool. He then returned to Australia and served on coastal ships and passages to New Zealand. In 1875 he married Agnes Perkins at Melbourne. They would have 3 children Mary, born in 1876 and, David, born in 1877, both would die in 1878. The third child, Joseph was born the next year. Two years later Agnes would die. John then returned to the UK taking Joseph with him. He based himself in Liverpool and spent the next years on Atlantic sea routes. He gained his Masters Certificate at Liverpool in September 1884, giving his address as 88 Pitt Street and later 163 Oakfield Road, Anfield, Liverpool. He had family connections in Liverpool which was where his mother’s family lived, his son Joseph would also go to sea and base himself in Liverpool.
After this time John is difficult to trace. He cannot be found in UK census so was probably at sea. However, at sometime he remarried and came to live at Oswestry. His entry on CWGC records him as – ‘Son of David Stubbs; husband of Sarah Mary Matilda Stubbs, of Underhill Farm, Racecourse, Oswestry’. Also, his Will records him as of Cryn y Burch Farm, Racecourse, Oswestry. By the time of the war John was Master of the SS Mariston . He was lost at sea on 10 July 1917. The SS Mariston was en route from Almeria, Spain to Glasgow with a cargo of copper ore when she was torpedoed by U45 about 80 miles west of Fastnet at the southern tip of Ireland. He likely went down with his ship, other crew who survived were then attacked by sharks. John Stubbs is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London for merchant seamen and also at St Oswald’s Church and Rhydycroesau war memorials. John, at 63 years, is the oldest ‘Man on the Gates’.