John McVicar


Engineer Sub Lieutenant John McVicar, R.N.R. was born on the 2nd of June 1889, at Port Glasgow, the 4th child of Neil and Isabella McVicar (née McEwan). His parents were both born and grew up in Glassary, Argyleshire and married there in 1878. His father was a Master Seaman who had worked on ships, in various capacities, since the age of 19.

In April 1891 Neil and Isabella were living at 9 Argyle St, Port Glasgow, with their five children. Neil was Able Seaman, working on a tug called Torch but would soon be promoted to Master on the Yacht Selene.

At the time of the census in 1901 Isabella and the children were living at 10 Lumsden Street in Glasgow’s West End and Neil was residing on Islay, working as Master of a ship at Port Ellen Pier.


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Overnewton School, Lumsden St, Yorkhill, Glasgow

John was educated at the Overnewton School, Yorkhill, just along the street from his home, and at Kent Road Higher Grade School. He subsequently joined the Royal Naval Reserve and was granted a temporary commission as Engineer Sub Lieutenant with seniority on the 11th of December, 1916.

Pall Mall Gazette - Friday 05 January 1917
 Pall Mall Gazette – Friday 05 January 1917

We don’t know exactly when John McVicar joined the crew of H.M.S. Laurentic, or if he was on duty or resting when the ship struck the two mines that were eventually to sink her. His body was never recovered.

On the 2nd of November 1917, having survived the disastrous battle at Gallipoli, John’s elder brother Donald was killed in action while serving in Gaza. His mother died just 11 days later, on the 13th of November.

For some reason neither John nor his brother Donald are remembered on the WW1 memorial in Kent Road Higher Grade School, now located at Hillhead High School.

Sources:- – births, deaths and marriages registers
1891 and 1901 Scotland Census. General Register Office for Scotland.
De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour 1914-24. CD-ROM. United Kingdom: Navy & Military Press Ltd.
British Commonwealth War Graves Registers, 1914-1918. London, England: Commonwealth War Graves Commission.


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