James Barry ?1865- 1914


1865 James Barry was born to a Patrick Barry - Patrick from his 1889 m.c.

1865 According to his Naval Record - lower down this page- James Barry was born Cloyne on 27/5/1866. No such birth exists in Irish Genealogy records, but there is a birth in Cloyne on 29/5/1865 to a Patrick Barry, servant, & Mary Driscoll !


1881 census. A band boy ,aboard HMS St Vincent


this was a training ship for boys


1884. James Barry, b. Cloyne, supposedly on 27/5/1866, joined the Royal Navy on 27/5/1884, signing on for a period of 10 years- see service record below

1889. James Barry, seaman, married Mary Cronin on 22/9/1889 in the R C church of Cloyne. His address was H M S Duke of Wellington, Portsmouth; hers Castlemary, Cloyne .His father Patrick Barry, coachman,deceased probably; hers John Cronin, carpenter


1890. Mary Elizabeth Barry was born 11/7/1890 in Castlemary, Cork to James Barry, sailor, and Mary Cronin - b.c. on her page

1891 census on HMS Vernon at Portsmouth


1892. Son James born to James & Mary in C;oyne

1894. He extended his period with the R.N. - see service record below

~ 1894/5 His wife comes to England: with son James, seemingly leaving their first born, Mary Elizabeth Barry, with her elderly maternal grandparents, John & Mary Cronin, in Cloyne. 2 further children them born in Portsmouth

1895. Margarita Barry was baptised on 6/7/1895 in Portsmouth R C Cathedral . Born 11/6/1895 to Jacobi Barry and Mariae Cronin . Godparents Thomas Duffy & Brigitte Mahoney

1897. John Francis Barry was born Portsea Island Jun 1897 . No baptism found!


1901 census James Barry is a Boatswain and a Patient at Naval Hospital at Alverstoke


1901C. His wife, Mary Barry, 32, and 3 children are living 15, Knox Road, Portsmouth, Hampshire

Mary Barry
Married Female 32 1869 - Ireland
James Barry
- Male 9 1892 - Ireland
Margaret Barry
- Female 6 1895 - Portsmouth, Hampshire, England
John F Barry
- Male 4 1897 - Portsmouth, Hampshire, England



1901. William Herbert Barry born 23/5/1901 Portsmouth. He signed on for 12 years as a boy recruit with the RN in 1914- his service record available on FMP

1903 Nov. . He is court martialled & charged with 1. being absent without leave; 2. smuggling spirits aboard ship; 3. throwing overboard a bottle under the charge of the officer of the watch; 4. being improperly dressed. He was sentenced to being deprived of his seniority of Boatswain and to be dismissed ship. service record below. Seemingly no mention in FMP Newspapers

He was ordered not to be employed other than on quarterdeck duties for a period of 4 months (without pay) . He rejoins the navy 4 mths later - service record dor this time right at bottom of page

1905 Arthur Frederick Barry born Portsmouth Mar 1905

1908. Eileen Beatrice Barry born Portsmouth Dec 1908

Children of James Barry & Mary Cronin

1911C. His wife, Minnie Barry, 32, and 5 children are living 54 London Avenue North End Portsmouth in 4 rooms. Married 22 years, 7 children, all alive . James Barry is registered as the Occupier of this house in FMP Portsmouth Rate books 11/4/1911. the owner a Mr Bone

Minnie Barry
Married Female 42 1869 Housekeeper Cork Ireland
Margaret Barry
Single Female 16 1895 Assistant in house work Portsmouth England
John Francis Barry
- Male 14 1897 Scholar Portsmouth England
William Herbert Barry
- Male 10 1901 Scholar Portsmouth England
Arthur Fradrick Barry
- Male 6 1905 - Portsmouth England
Eileen Beatrice Barry
- Female 2 1909 - Portsmouth England

1914 James Barry died on 26/11/1914 aboard the Bulwark , Isle of Sheppey when the ship exploded with the loss of 788 lives
On Thursday 26 November 1914, HMS Bulwark was moored in the Medway Estuary approximately between East Hoo Creek and Stoke Creek when, at 7.50am a massive explosion ripped through the vessel.  The Times reported

"The band was playing and some of the men were drilling on deck when the explosion occurred. A great sheet of flame and quantities of debris shot upwards, and the huge bulk of the vessel lifted and sank, shattered, torn, and twisted, with officers and men aboard..."

Boats of all kinds were launched from the nearby ships and shore to pick up survivors and the dead. Work was hampered by the amount of debris which included hammocks, furniture, boxes and hundreds of mutilated bodies. Fragments of personal items showered down in the streets of Sheerness. Initially 14 men survived the disaster, but some died later from their injuries. One of the survivors, an able seaman, had a miraculous escape. He said he was on the deck of the Bulwark when the explosion occurred. He was blown into the air, fell clear of the debris and managed to swim to wreckage and keep himself afloat until he was rescued. His injuries were slight.

The CWGC database names 788 men from HMS Bulwark as having lost their lives in this explosion.

A naval court of enquiry into the causes of the explosion that was held on 28 November ruled out external explosions such as a torpedo or a mine because eyewitnesses spoke of a flash of flame near the aft turret and then one or two explosions quickly following, not the towering column of water associated with explosions against the outer hull. The gunnery logbook, recovered partially intact, and the testimony of the chief gunner's clerk, as well as several other survivors, said the six-inch ammunition magazines were being re-stowed to keep the cordite propellant charges together in lots that morning. This meant at least 30 exposed charges had been left in the cross-passages between the ship's magazines with the magazine doors left open when the ship's company was called to breakfast at 07:45. These passages were also used to stow hundreds of six-inch and twelve-pounder shells, and the court concluded that the cordite charges had been stowed against one of the boiler-room bulkheads which was increasing in temperature as the boilers were fired up. This ignited the cordite charges which detonated the nearby shells and spread to the aft twelve-inch magazine, which exploded.

In terms of loss of life, the incident remains the second most catastrophic accidental explosion in the history of the United Kingdom,exceeded only by the explosion of the dreadnought battleship Vanguard, caused by a stoke-hold fire detonating a magazine, at Scapa Flow in 1917.


CWGS does not give a family, but does say Boatswain

No BMD entry for his death

James Barry died in one of the  worst accidents in naval history - the explosion on board HMS Bulwark moored off Sheerness on 26 November 1914.   Just before 8 am there was a huge bang and Bulwark was gone with no apparent warning.   Only 14 men out of the 741 aboard were rescued and two of these died later.  An enquiry later concluded the explosion occurred in the aft magazine.

bul1 .bul2











Keene Index