John Hepburn Brown

RankMaster John Hepburn Brown
MedalsNone known
regimentMercantile Marine
Military Service

JH Brown seems to have spent his whole working life at sea, first of all on sailing ships before transferring to steam.
The first record for him shows that by 1889 he had already obtained his 3rd Mates’ Certificate and during the 1890s he passed the exams for his 2nd and 1st Mates’ Certificates and finally his Masters’ Certificate in 1897. During these years he sailed mainly on 4-masted barques which were used as long distance cargo ships sailing to Australia, New Zealand and South America.
Brown joined the Donaldson line in 1900 and by 1913 he was Master of their steam ship Marina which he commanded until his death in 1916. In January 1914 he was instrumental in saving the 13 members of the crew of the five-masted American schooner Fuller Palmer 154 miles southeast of Cape Cod. In recognition of this he was awarded a gold watch and chain by the President of the United States, Woodrow Wilson.


10th December 1869 Pittenweem, Fife

Death28th October 1916
Circumstances of Death

Drowned in the aftermath of the torpedoing of SS Marina by German submarine U-55 30 miles west from Fastnet. It was reported by eyewitnesses that, after seeing the surviving crew safely into boats, Brown jumped for a boat, missed, and was drowned.
The Marina was on passage from Glasgow to Baltimore with a cargo of 50 American horses and 49 American grooms. 18 men were lost out of a total of 104 onboard including 6 Americans. In 1917 when the United States entered the war against Germany, the loss of American citizens to hostile action by German submarines was one reason for this.

MemorialTower Hill Memorial
CWGC Information



William Brown (c1836-1914) & Ann Hepburn (c1840-) mar. 1867

Father's Occupation

Joiner & carpenter; Town Councillor


William (1867-), Robert (1871-), Thomas (c1876-), George (1880-1923)


Ann W Brown (c1873-), mar. 1906 Glasgow


Not known


Merchant Navy

1871 Census

Charles Street, Pittenweem, Fife

1881 Census

Charles Street, Pittenweem, Fife

1891 Census

At sea

1901 Census

Not known

1911 Census

49 Clifford Street, Ibrox – wife only at home, JH Brown at sea?

Home Address

49 Clifford Street, Ibrox

Glasgow NecropolisCompartment Sextus Lair 336
Other Memorials

Scottish National War Memorial

Other Information

Member of St Adrian’s Freemason Lodge (as was his father)
Will date 23rd April 1914 at Glasgow

Acknowledgements and Sources

Much of the information on which this profile is based is drawn from various internet sources which are listed below.  The Friends of Glasgow Necropolis also wish to make full acknowledgement and thanks for the permitted use of any information or images generously supplied specifically for exhibition, publication or display in connection with The Roll of Honour and accompanying profiles to Ancestry, and Find my past.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Family Search

Scotlands People

The Scottish War Memorials Project

Various newspaper reports.



Compiled by Morag Fyfe, Historical and Genealogical Researcher for The Friends of Glasgow Necropolis.

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