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Thread: Looking for a Merchant seaman registered with Canadian Pacific - but claimed to be lost at sea in ap

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    Thumbs up Looking for a Merchant seaman registered with Canadian Pacific - but claimed to be lost at sea in ap

    My grandfather - William John Murray - from Liverpool, according to the 1921 census was employed as a "shipwright Liverpool Packer" with Canadian Pacific Ocean Services. It was on a casual "journeyman" basis.
    I have a couple of questions which I hope BMN members might be able to help with;
    1. Any ideas what "Liverpool packer" means? Is it to do with loading or - as on the railways at the time, concerning the packing of steam valves (Could be anything?).
    2. I have been advised by an experienced researcher that regardless of employment contract all those working on the ship would be considered registered members of the Merchant Service and therefore would have had a service number. Where are the records agains service numbers for those previously employed by Canadian Pacific.
    3. Did Canadian Pacific have offices in Liverpool?
    4. The story that emerged about our William Murray - resulting from some of the helpful responses from members of BMN to a previous set of questions I posted some time ago- is that he suffered an unexplained death during a voyage - to where is not known. The failure to locate any credible evidence of his death led a number of peole to suggest that if he did not orchestrate a well-hidden jumping of ship he may well have been a victim of the lawlessness that could prevail on some ships. Apparently it was not unknown for crew members to fight, kill each other and the crime never to be revealed when a port was reached. I do not in any way want to cause any upset, but in the 1920s and 30s was there such a high level of bad behaviour on some ships? Does anyone know of anything which has been written about this?

    I have posted a question about William Murray before and i received some very helpful replies. Thes questions are a bit different, though as this time I am looking for a definite service record.

    Thanks in advance
    Last edited by John Powdrill; 30th November 2022 at 09:47 PM.

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    Default Re: Looking for a Merchant seaman registered with Canadian Pacific - but claimed to be lost at sea i

    Hello John
    I am just adding your last Thread here , so as not to cause too much confusion, so the Lads can read all and take it from there!

    I hope that your new Questions may be able to be answered in a Likewise manner!
    Cheers

    William John Murray - lost at sea or absconded c 1927? (merchant-navy.net)

    I have again read the Transcript on him, was he then Born in Liverpool??? Just checking!



    I would also try and Email the Archives in Southampton Maritime Section, and ask if there may be any other records of his held there??
    Cheers

    Central index of Merchant Seamen (southampton.gov.uk)
    Last edited by Doc Vernon; 1st December 2022 at 01:29 AM.
    Senior Site Moderator-Member and Friend of this Website

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    Default Re: Looking for a Merchant seaman registered with Canadian Pacific - but claimed to be lost at sea i

    Quote Originally Posted by John Powdrill View Post
    2. I have been advised by an experienced researcher that regardless of employment contract all those working on the ship would be considered registered members of the Merchant Service and therefore would have had a service number. Where are the records agains service numbers for those previously employed by Canadian Pacific.
    John, I will try answer some of your questions.

    Anyone employed aboard a merchant ship in the capacity of crew would sign the Articles of Agreement. You would sign on and off the ship and if you did not complete your voyage, the Agreement would reflect that with a note stating something like "deserted", "did not appear", words to that effect. Seamen passengers or DBS could also work their passage home if the master needed an extra hand for any reason. In that case, the passenger would work his passage as a supernumerary and would also sign the Articles of Agreement. So what I am saying is anyone employed by the master would have to sign the Articles. Any other persons on board the ship would be fare paying passengers or stowaways.
    With regard to service numbers, when refering to merchant seamen, I would suggest you use the term discharge numbers (Dis.A).

    Records of Dis.A numbers are not held with individual companies. For the time period you are interested in the only place you will find them is in the Central Index Register (Fourth Register of Seamen), this register ended, December 1940 and was replaced by the Fifth Register of Seamen in Jan, 1941. The Fourth Register of Seamen have a card index based system, the original cards are held at Southampton City Archives, copies are also held at TNA Kew and on £paysite, FMP.
    3. Did Canadian Pacific have offices in Liverpool?
    Almost certainly they would have. The original company was Canadian Pacific Railway Co. incorporated in 1882 as a Canadian company. In 1901, Canadian Pacific Navigation Co. was bought. In 1915, Canadian Pacific Ocean Services Ltd. was formed in Liverpool. In 1921 the name was changed to Canadian Pacific Steamships Ltd. Source wrecksite: https://www.wrecksite.eu/ownerbuilderview.aspx?3936
    4. questions I posted some time ago- is that he suffered an unexplained death during a voyage - to where is not known. The failure to locate any credible evidence of his death led a number of peole to suggest that if he did not orchestrate a well-hidden jumping of ship he may well have been a victim of the lawlessness that could prevail on some ships. Apparently it was not unknown for crew members to fight, kill each other and the crime never to be revealed when a port was reached. I do not in any way want to cause any upset, but in the 1920s and 30s was there such a high level of bad behaviour on some ships? Does anyone know of anything which has been written about this?
    It is true that there were discipline problems aboard some ships and indeed some died, either through illness, accident and yes even murder. But, I would suggest that for any of that to be covered up would require collusion among crew members and a not so thorough chief officer and master. Don't forget all crew members signed on the ship and they would be missed if they did not sign off and the master would have to record that.


    I have posted a question about William Murray before and i received some very helpful replies. Thes questions are a bit different, though as this time I am looking for a definite service record.
    As stated previously, service of MN personnel (1918-1940) is recorded on cards in the Central Index Register, the easiest way to search them is on FMP. Sometimes the information is easily identifiable but, on some others, maybe there is just one card surviving with very little information. You can also use Crew Agreements/lists to confirm or rule out a seaman. Problem with crew lists is most for that period are held in Canada and although their service is good you just can't walk in there and spend time trawling through them unless you live there of course.

    The only contender I can see at the moment is a W.J. Murray no dob, was engaged, 132022, DESEADO signing on at Canning Place, Liverpool on 3 January 1922. He has a CR1 card which also indicates to me that he was no longer a registered seaman after 1923. It may or may not be him but as you are clutching at straws, a check of that ship's crew listings may help rule him in or out but that appears to be the brick wall you are operating in at the moment.

    Regards
    Hugh
    "If Blood was the price
    We had to pay for our freedom
    Then the Merchant Ship Sailors
    Paid it in full”


    www.sscityofcairo.co.uk

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    Default Re: Looking for a Merchant seaman registered with Canadian Pacific - but claimed to be lost at sea i

    Many thanks for your help on this, Doc - and also Hugh - WJM was certainly born in Liverpool and he worked out of Liverpool. However, I take the point that he may have sailed on occasion via S'ton. The record given above describes William Murray as a Fireman. This was not the case as we know it and the birth place - I think it says Waterford - is not correct in this case.
    Anyway it's s a good starting point so thanks for reposting it.

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    Default Re: Looking for a Merchant seaman registered with Canadian Pacific - but claimed to be lost at sea i

    Thank you very much, Hugh, for your thorough treatment of my questions. It has provided a number of excellent leads and has improved mu knowledge greatly. I will certainly follow up with So'ton City Archives. I will attempt to keep you posted on developments.

    Many thanks
    John P

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