John Edward Masterton (1879-1914)

John Edward Masterton (1879-1914)

John Edward Masterton and Florence Ling, with their children Florence and Doris. Taken approx 1906. (image provided by John Masterton, Guernsey).

Guernsey mariner, drowned at sea

John Edward Masterton, seaman, was born in St Peter Port, Guernsey, His career was split between time at sea, serving on brigantines and barques, then 8 years with the Guernsey Gaslight Company. Ships he served on included the "Watch", the "West Australian", the "Gladestry", the "Lady Iveagh" and the "Sam Weller". But his life ended tragically when the SS Turret Hill, carrying coal from Goole, Yorkshire to Poole, Dorset, sunk off the coast of Suffolk in May 1914. John Edward had returned to sea only a year earlier and was second mate on the Turret Hill. He left a wife and four children.

Genealogy

John Edward Masterton was the second, and eldest surviving, of nine children born to James Masterton, master mariner, and Louisa Amy Loveridge, who had married in 1876 in Guernsey. The first Masterton to relocate to Guernsey was captain John Masterton (1815-1892), eldest son of a butcher in Montrose, who married Jane Symes and then Mary Phillips, both from Bridport, Dorset. John moved to Guernsey with Mary and two children in 1849 or 1850. John Edward Masterton belongs to the large group of Mastertons that flourished in the Forfar and Montrose area. He married Florence Ling in 1903 in Guernsey, and they had four children. Fuller details of his extended family can be found at this link.


SS Turret Hill. (image provided by John Masterton, Guernsey).


STEAMER CAPSIZED
CHIEF ENGINEER RESCUED
REMAINDER OF CREW MISSING.
SECOND MATE A GUERNSEYMAN.

As the result of a collision early this morning the steamer Turret Hill, of Newcastle, has capsized off Aldeburg, the scene of the recent Coastguards disaster.

The chief engineer was found alone in a boat, and after being rescued by a Belgian steamer, was placed on board a lightship.

Grave fears are entertained for the remainder of the crew, and two lifeboats are searching the vicinity of the disaster.

A telegram to Aldeburgh this morning states that the Shipwash light vessel reports that the steamer Turret Hill capsized off Southwold at 2.30 a.m. to-day. The chief engineer and a boat were picked up by the Belgian steamer Kremlin. The chief engineer is on board the Shipwash lightvessel.
The Turret Hill was a steel screw steamer of 691 tons gross, built in 1895 and is owned in Newcastle.
An Aldeburgh telegram states that the Aldeburgh and Southwold lifeboats have been launched to search for the crew of the Turret Hill.
The chief engineer alone in a boat was picked up by a Belgian steamer and placed on the Shipwash lightvessel.
Grave fears are entertained regarding the safety of the remainder of the crew.
A Lowestoft telegram states that the skipper of the mackerel boat Primrose on arrival at Lowestoft this morning, reported that about five o'clock that morning he was about 9 miles south of Lowestoft, when he was spoken by the Newcastle steamer Wearside, and informed that the steamer had been in collision with another steamer which had sunk, and that one of the crew was on board. The steam drifter Zealot later brought in a pair of oars and a ladder.
We are informed that the Turret Hill was in St. Sampson's Harbour last week, and left here on Wednesday. Among the crew are:
Captain Thompson, of Goole.
Second Mate, J. Masterton, Surprise House, Salerie, Guernsey.

Guernsey Evening Press
13th May, 1914


MARITIME DISASTER
THE SS "TURRET HILL" SUNK
IN COLLISION
FEARED LOSS OF A GUERNSEYMAN
LIFEBOATS SEARCH FOR STEAMER'S CREW.

A telegram to Lloyd's from Aldeburgh, this morning states that the Shipwash Light Vessel reports that the steamer "Turret Hill" capsized off Southwold, at 2.30 a.m. to-day.
The chief engineer and a boat was picked up by the Belgian steamer "Kremlin."
The chief engineer is on board the Shipwash Light Vessel.
Grave fears are entertained regarding the safety of the remainder of the crew.
The Aldeburgh and Southwold lifeboats have been launched, and are proceeding to the Shipwash to search for the crew of the ill-fated steamer.
The "Turret Hill" was a steel screw steamer of 691 tons gross, built in 1895, and owned in Newcastle.
A Lowestoft telegram states that the skipper of the mackerel boat "Primrose," on arrival at Lowestoft this morning, reported that at about two o'clock that morning he was about 9 miles south of Lowestoft, when he was spoken to by the Newcastle steamer "Wearside" informed him that the steamer had been in collision with another steamer, which had sunk, and that one of the crew was on board.

The steam drifter "Zealot" later brought in a pair of oars and a ladder.

The "Turret Hill" has frequently visited Guernsey, where, at St. Sampson's Harbour, she discharged cargoes of coal and returned to England loaded with stone. She was at St. Sampson's last week, which she left on the 6th inst. with a cargo of stone, loaded by Messrs. Manuelle and Co., for King's Lynn. The second mate was Mr. John Masterton, a young Guernseyman, who was formerly on board the SS "London Queen."

We understand that he is married, and had several children.

Guernsey Evening Press (?)


TWO ENGLISH SHIPS SUNK

17 Men Drowned - Captain Rescued After Being in Water for Hours.

LONDON, May 13. - The steam collier Turret Hill has sunk, owing to the shifting of her cargo, off Southwold, in the North Sea.

The chief engineer, who was picked up by a passing steamer, said that the vessel turned turtle, heeling over so rapidly that there was no chance to launch the boats.

The Captain of the Turret Hill was picked up by another steamer after he had clung for several hours to a life buoy. The rest of the crew, numbering twelve, are believed to have been drowned.

A steam pilot cutter was sunk to-day by a steamer in the Bristol Channel. Five men were drowned and sixteen were saved.

The New York Times
14th May, 1914


THE DISASTER TO THE "TURRET HILL."
WRECK LOCATED.

The "Shipping Gazette" of yesterday's date contained the following:-
"London, May 14th - 'Turret Hill,' steamer. A telegram from the Admiralty to-day says that the approximate position of the wreck of the 'Turret Hill' is, Southwold Light, bearing N.W. by 2 1/2 N. magnetic, six miles distant. The depth of water is 13 to 14 fathoms."

Guernsey Evening Press (?)
15th May, 1914


THE "TURRET HILL DISASTER.
(From yesterday's Special Edition.)

Skipper Mewso, of the Lowestoft steam drifter Zealot, who brought the news of the disaster to Lowestoft, said in the course of his statement that he could not quite understand whether those on the "Wearside" told him there had been a collision or whether the steamer had capsized. The news was shouted through a megaphone from the steamer, and he may have been mistaken as to the collision.

Chief-engineer Lewis Evans, of the steamer "Turret Hill," who was picked up by the Belgian steamer, has landed at Aldeburgh from the Shipwash lightship. He states that the "Turret Hill" had shipped ten feet of water, but before Capt. Thompson could beach her the vessel turned turtle. The captain's young son was on board the "Turret Hill." Evans was in the water a long time before he was able to get into the ship's boat. Evans' home is at Goole.

CAPTAIN THOMPSON SAVED.
HIS SON DROWNED BEFORE HIS EYES.

Captain Thompson, when thrown into the water on the ship turning turtle, got hold of a life buoy. Unable to help his seven-year-old boy, he saw him go down before his eyes. He was in the water four hours, and then picked up by a steamer and transferred to the warship "Implacable" and landed at Margate.

CAPTAIN THOMPSON AND LOCAL FREEMASONRY.

Capt. Thompson has many friends in Guernsey, and is a candidate for membership of Fidelis Lodge of Freemasons.

Guernsey Evening Press (?)
May, 1914


THE LOSS OF THE "TURRET HILL."
CHIEF ENGINEER'S NARRATIVE.

The chief engineer of the "Turrethill," Lewis Evans, who is one of the only two survivors of the crew, gives the following particulars of his experience after the disaster off Southwold:-
"I was the chief engineer aboard the Turrethill, under Capt. Thompson, and we were proceeding from Goole with a cargo of coal. About 2.30 on Wednesday morning the second engineer reported nine feet of water in the well, and that the water was gaining. I called the captain, who decided to beach the steamer, and headed for the shore, about a mile and a half distant. We had only covered half a mile when the vessel turned turtle. I just managed to reach the side and jump clear. At this time the funnel was nearly touching the water. I saw the ship's lifeboat adrift and swam to it, and after a struggle succeeded in getting into it.

"Four other men were struggling in the water and shouting, but I was unable to get the boat turned to them. A steamer bound south passed but although I whistled to them I could not attract their attention. Otherwise these four poor fellows could easily have been saved. About 7 a.m. a Belgian steamer picked me up and put me aboard the lightship."

Guernsey Evening Press (?)
May, 1914


TURRET HILL
CAPSIZED THROUGH CARGO SHIFTING
TWO SURVIVORS
MR. J. MASTERTON MISSING

As reported in yesterday's edition the steamer Turret Hill, which left St. Sampson's on Wednesday afternoon of last week, loaded by Messrs A. and F. Manuelle with stone, for King's Lynn, and owned by Messrs Foster Bros, of Poole, capsized off Southwold, near Aldeborough, off the coast of Suffolk, the scene of the recent Coatstguards disaster.

Yesterday's telegram stated that only one survived, the engineer, who was picked up by a Belgian steamer from a boat, but later .... state that the captain was also saved.

The loss of the steamer Turret Hill was caused through her cargo of coal suddenly shifting, at .... yesterday evening, while on a voyage from Newcastle to London. Of the ship's company of 15, including the captain's little son, who was left asleep in a bunk, and could not be reached, only two, the captain and chief engineer, were saved.

Chief Engineer Lewis managed to swim to the ship's boat, which had drifted clear, but, being ..... and in an exhausted condition, was powerless to help his comrades. He was rescued by a Belgian steamer about 5 o'clock, was transferred to a lightship, and subsequently landed at Aldeburgh.

Captain Thompson, when thrown into the water on the ship turning turtle, got hold of a lifebuoy. Unable to help his 7-year-old boy, he saw him go down before his eyes. He was in the water about four hours, before he was picked up by a steamer and transferred to the warship Implacable, which landed him at Margate.

The Missing Guernseyman

Mr John Masterton, the second mate missing from the SS. Turrethill, is aged 31, and is the eldest of three sailor sons of Captain James Masterton and Mrs. Masterton, of Surprise House, Esplanade. The missing seaman had spent much of his life at sea. For eight years, however, he was employed by the Guernsey Gaslight Co. leaving that firm 12 months ago.

The earlier years at sea were spent with Captain James Masterton on the three-masted brigantine Flora, then on the brigantine Watch, and finally as mate on the brigantine Sam Weller. Mr John Masterton also engaged in the foreign service, and twice sailed from England to Freemantle in the barque West Australian, under Captain ...... Other voyages were to America and China.

On leaving the Guernsey Gaslight Co. Mr John Masterton was engaged on the Algeres and subsequently ....the London Queen as .... and last week joined the Turret Hill as second mate.

The family are naturally prostrated by the sad news. Last evening Mrs. James Masterton sent a telegram to Messrs. Foster Bros., owners, of Poole, asking for my further information respecting the disaster, & reply was received as follows:-

Exceedingly sorry, Understand only captain and engineer saved. Still hope further news of others. - Foster Bros.

Deep sympathy will be felt for the bereaved family.

The deceased leaves a widow and four children, living at Belle Isle, Paris Street, to mourn his loss. The youngest is aged 2 and the eldest 10.

Guernsey Evening Press
19th May, 1914


TURRET HILL DISASTER APPEAL

A fund which the Constables of St. Peter-Port have kindly consented to administer, is being raised on behalf of the widow and four children of the late Mr. John Masterton, who was lost in the disaster which undertook the SS Turrethill off Aldeburgh, on Wednesday, May 13.

Subscriptions forwarded to the Editor of the "Guernsey Evening Press" will be acknowledged in the usual manner, and will be handed to the Constables.

Guernsey Evening Press