Known to me as Uncle Jim, James was born on Saturday, 15 July 1905, the third child and second son of Harry and Maggie, in Belfast, Antrim, Ireland. He died in September 1979.
He made the sea his career, working in the Merchant Marine as a Ship's Engineer. During World War II, Jim served on ships running across the North Atlantic Ocean. These ships delivered much needed supplies to the war effort.
On one occasion the ship Jim was serving on was damaged during an attack by enemy aircraft. The smoke stack was hit and split down one side. The plane was driven off by the anti-aircraft guns on board and the ship continued on its way to England. One of the men serving on the ship was an artist. Unknown to anyone but Jim, who was Chief engineer, (and probably at Jim's instigation) the artist climbed the stack and painted blood coming from the damage. He then painted a Purple Heart Medal on the side of the stack. The art work was covered with a canvas.
When the ship approached England, Jim had the canvas removed. Cheers resounded from every ship sailing alongside when the crews saw the medal.
Jim had attained the rank of Captain in his long and distinguished career. He only served as a captain once, much preferring the work of the Chief Engineer.
Jim's first marriage was to a woman named Marie and they had one child, a daughter, also named Marie. The daughter died at a young age, around twenty or twenty-one, shortly after she had married. This was approximately 1962 or 1963. Jim and Marie had divorced prior to the daughter's death.
Jim's second marriage was to a lady named Emily. They had no children.