Able Seaman John McGuckin, was born on 23rd Feb 1914 and was the son of Michael McGuckin, Ballinderry Bridge, Cookstown. Prior to joining the Navy he was serving his apprenticeship as a tailor. He died whilst serving on H.M.S. Jupiter on 27th February 1942. During the battle of the Java Sea the ship struck a mine and sank shortly afterwards.
John McGuckin, was born on 23rd Feb 1914 and was the son of Michael McGuckin, Ballinderry Bridge, Cookstown. Prior to joining the Navy he was serving his apprenticeship as a tailor.
Able Seaman John McGuckin died whilst serving on HMS Jupiter.
HMS Jupiter (Lt.Cdr. Norman Vivian Joseph Thompson Thew, RN) was sailing near the northern coast of Java in the beginning of the evening of the 27 february, just before the beginning of the final stage of the battle of the Java Sea, when she was struck by a violent explosion in position 06ļ45'S, 112ļ06'E.
At the time they thought that she had been torpedoed by Japanese forces. Later it was found that she had struck a mine in a Dutch minefield. There where no Japanese forces in striking distance at the time of the explosion.
The following are extracts from 2 letters from John McGuckin to his mother on 6th December and 28th December, though the year is not specified:
Dear Mother, Just another chance of wishing you all the best for Christmas. This is supposed to arrive before then if nothing untoward happens it on the way. I have the privilege to get to let you know some of the places we have visited since leaving, they are, Azores, St. Helena, Freetown, Capetown, Durban, from there to the Mediterranean and as far as Columbo. No further information can be given. Could you in some way let Mrs. Curry know that her letter has been delivered though I have not met him yet, but I will in a few days from now. The weather is very warm here though it is the cool season, in fact the sweat is dropping from my nose at present. Never the less, I feel good and am as brown as a berry all over, the fair skin has to go first. I would like to send Maureen a cable for Christmas but I couldnít be sure whether she is at the same address or not. I hope to be free to get to Mass, and receive Holy Communion. If I am so unlucky as to not, I hope you will all remember me that morning. All the best for now and donít worry, I couldnít be better. Your loving son, Johnny.
Dear Mother, This is supposed to be the best chance for sea mail we have had in the last 5 or 6 weeks so I am hoping it gets to you in a shorter time than the others. I have just been wondering how you all spent Christmas. Personally I have had a very good one, perhaps I had something you hadnít, that was sunshine. Sorry to say I didnít hear mass that day though no fault of my own.
John McGuckin is commemorated on Plymouth Naval Memorial, Panel 65, column 3, and the family headstone in Ballinderry Roman Catholic Cemetery.