1. Memorial:Tower Hill MemorialPier 4 Course 2 Col. B London
2. Book:The (1921) Masonic Roll of Honour 1914-1918Pg.115
3. Memorial:The (1940) Scroll - WW1 Roll of Honour39A GQS

Awards & Titles:


Early Life :

Born in Christ Church, Gateshead, Durham, England to James and Eleanor (nee Lang) and baptised on 3rd July 1878. Lived at 2 Radbourne Terrace, Durham, the oldest of 5 children. He is named Thomas R. on the 1881 & 1891 census, but probate and other source list his name as Thomas Relph and Abbott with a t dropped.

He was awarded his competency certificate of 1st Mate of a foreign-going ship on 23rd November, 1900.

In 1904 he was living at 7 Ravensbourne Terrace, South Shields and 1911 living at 2 Reading Road, South Shields.

Service Life:


Unit / Ship / Est.: SS Lorca 

The SS Lorca was a Steamer of 4,129 tonnes, built in 1910 by Mssrs. J. Readhead & Sons, Ltd., South Shields. It was owned by the English & American Shipping Co., Ltd. (C. T. Bowring & Co., Ltd.), London.

Action : Naval Campaign 

Naval Campaign is defined as to include all sea operations where attrition rates are in ones and twos and which do not fall within specific naval battles such as Jutland, Coronel, Falklands etc. This includes Merchant Navy losses.

Detail :

Thomas ABBOT was the Master of the SS Lorca which was torpedoed by the German U Boat U-49 captained by Kapitaenleutnant Richard Hartman, 200 hundred miles from Ushant on a voyage from Gulfport, Norfolk, Virginia. It was carrying timber en route to Calais/Cherbourg. 32 souls lost at sea. Thomas was the only Freemason recorded in this action and eventually one of five brethren from his Lodge who lost their lives during the war.

U-49 met its end nearly two years later when it was rammed in the Bay of Biscay and sunk by gunfire from SS British Transport. All 43 crew were lost.

Probate ABBOTT Thomas Relph [sic] of 2 Reading-road South Shields died on or since 29 October 1916 at sea Probate Durham 24 July to John George Abbott mineral water manufacturer's manager. Effects £3567 6s. 2d.

His body was not recovered for burial and he is remembers on the Mercantile Marine Memorial at Tower Hill, London.

Masonic :

TypeLodge Name and No.Province/District :
Mother : Hedworth No. 2418 E.C.Durham

17th March 1904
15th April 1904
28th March 1907

Thomas was listed as a 25 year old Master Mariner resident of 7 Ravensbourne Terrace, South Shields, in 1904 at the time of his initiation in to Hedworth Lodge No. 2418. In the ledger records of the lodge at the United Lodge of England Registers it shows in the contribution register that he "Drowned 1916."

Discrepancies (Require checks, clarity or further research) :

Some sources say date of death is 15th November 1916 and some 29th October 1916. In Thomas' case the CWGC source is used; the ship sailed from Norfolk on 29th October and was torpedoed, per German history, on 15th November.

Source :

The project globally acknowledges the following as sources of information for research across the whole database:

Additional Source:

Last Updated: 2023-09-23 11:05:57