My grand father john rourke sailed on ss bendigo to cape town in 1926/7 but on his return journey died and was buried at sea date of death was March 8th 1927 aged 50 years old . please can anyone help me with any information . I am not very good re researching and would welcome any help

Thankyou Stephanie Haigh

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Comment by Debra on March 30, 2015 at 16:06

Hi Stephanie,

I can see his entry on the UK indexes for deaths at sea, is that where you have your info from?  Are you sure he was on the way back to Australia as I can't find any evidence that the SS Bendigo was making that journey in March 1927.  It arrived in London via Cape Town on 20 March and departed London on 28 April.

Deaths at sea were supposed to be registered at the next port of call so if you are looking for that then you need to establish which route he was on.



Comment by Debra on March 30, 2015 at 16:10

Ok, here is the manifest summary page for the journey arriving into London on 20 March:



Comment by Debra on March 30, 2015 at 18:06

Here is the schedule for the voyage, so it appears he died between Cape Town (Feb 28) and Tenerife (March 14).

Just some extra info from The P & O archives website:

Deaths involving P&O passengers as well as crew members are recorded in the Nautical Reports (essentially Log Book summaries) that cover the years 1847 until the First World War and again from 1939 until 1957.  They can be found at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich filed under series P&O/40.  The Nautical Reports are not indexed so it is necessary to know the name of the ship and the approximate date of death before you begin your research.

There is also a volume entitled 'Deceased Passengers Effects' covering the years 1925 to 1990.  This volume, filed under P&O/73/41, gives the name of the deceased, the name of the ship, date of death, cause of death, next of kin and (the reason for the records’ existence) the disposal of his/her effects.

At The National Archives, Kew, series BT 334 records deaths at sea by name between 1891 and 1972 inclusive of the name of the ship, its official number, port of registry, date of birth, sex, name of father, name of mother and the last place of abode for both parents.

Alternatively, one of the best online sources for deaths at sea from 1854 to 1890 is which has digitised and indexed The National Archive’s records so they are searchable by surname.




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