Hugh Conway was born in the March quarter of 1883 (Flintshire (Mold) FLNT/28/37) the eldest son of Richard & Annie Conway (nee Shaw), who had married on the 27th August 1879, Richard was of full age and a Master Mariner, his father was Robert Conway, also a Master Mariner, Annie Shaw, also of full age and a spinster, her father Hugh Shaw also being a Master Mariner, both from Connah’s Quay.
The 1891 census shows the little family living in Union Street, Connah’s Quay, Head of the household was Richard Conway, 35, a Mariner (Seas) born in Flint, Flintshire, Annie, 32 had been born in Connah’s Quay as had the three children, Catherine, 10, Hugh, 8 and baby Richard, 3 weeks old.
Hugh passed to go to Hawarden Grammar School, the Admissions Register E/GS/1/10 tells us:-
15 CONWAY, Hugh born 13th January 1883, 4 Albion Terrace, Connah’s Quay, father Sea Captain, Previous school – St. Mark’s ,left July 1897 – Sailor.
By the 1901 census Hugh, now 18 years old and a Cook and Able Seaman, was at sea with his father Richard, 45, who was sadly now a widower, he was Master of the Vessel “Faithful,” a wooden three Masted Schooner. They had been at the Prince of Wales Dock in Swansea on the 23rd March, 1901 as that was when the Schedule for the census had been delivered, but at Midnight on the 31st March 1901 they were in Guernsey and the Schedule was returned to the Customs Officer – St. Lampoms, Guernsey, on the April 1st 1901.
I don’ t know how Hugh met Sarah Jane Bennett but they were to marry on the 5th October 1909, Hugh was a bachelor, now 26 and a Sailor, his address was 7, Waterloo Street, Connah’s Quay and his father was Richard Conawy, Master mariner, Sarah Jane, 26 and a spinster tells us that her address was 362, High Street, Connah’s Quay, her father, Benjamin Bennett, Master Mariner. The witnesses were Jonathan Frederick Bennett , Sarah Jane’s youngest brother & Catherine Conway, Hugh’s elder sister.
By the 1911 census Hugh & Sarah Jane were living far away from Connah’s Quay, at 3, Clarence Place, Docks, Cardiff (6 rooms), they were in the household of Joseph CORNS, his wife Mary Jane, 1 son and 2 daughters were HUGH CONWAY, Boarder, 29, (Married 2 years), Mariner (Ship’s Officer), born Pen-y-llan, Connah’s Quay, Flintshire. Sarah Jane CONWAY, Boarder, 28 (1 child born, still living), born Connah’s Quay Flintshire and Annie CONWAY, Daughter of above age 10 months, (no place of birth stated.)
It seems that Hugh was in WW1 by the article in the newspaper below, telling us he was a Lieutenant in the Navy.
Tom Coppack’s book, “A Lifetime with Ships,” tells us a little about Hugh’s character and also tells a different story of Hugh’s death from the newspaper report that is below too. Tom tells us that” he was machine-gunned standing in his bridge wing, scurrying out of Rotterdam, and shot in the head.” whilst the newspaper report in the Chronicle dated the 25th October 1941 states “on May 11th May as the ship was steaming homeward through the North Sea, it struck a mine and sank. The Captain never left the ship and was last seen standing on the bridge. Six members of the crew were saved.”
This was in the newspaper report of when Hugh’s widow and their 2 children came to Connah’s Quay as they had a new vestry erected in Hugh’s memory at the Presbyterian Chapel in Golftyn – the inscription was “To the glory of God and in memory of Captain Hugh Conway who was lost at sea by enemy action on May 11th 1940. This memorial vestry was erected by his wife and children.”
His Casualty Card states that “Ship sunk by Enemy Action killed or drowned (Having been sunk by Enemy Action on the 11th May 1940.”
The website http://www.benjidog.co.uk/Tower%20Hill/Trevilley%20to%20Triona.html tells us that S.S. “Tringa” was a 1,930 grt steam cargo ship that was sunk on 11 May 1940 by a torpedo fired by German submarine U-9 at position 51° 21′ N, 02° 55′ E.
Also https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/ship/319.html tells us what happened
Fate Sunk by U-9 (Wolfgang Lüth)
Position 51° 21’N, 2° 55’E – Grid AN 8749
Complement 23 (17 dead and 6 survivors).
Convoy – Route Antwerp – Glasgow
Cargo 1000 tons of potash and 1200 tons of iron ore
Notes on event
At 14.00 hours on 11 May 1940 the unescorted Tringa (Master Hugh Conway) was hit aft by one torpedo from U-9 and sank immediately one and a half miles from the West Hinder buoy at the mouth of the Scheldt. The master, 15 crew members and the Belgian pilot were lost. Six crew members were picked up by HMS Malcolm (D 19) (Capt T.E. Halsey, RN) and landed at Ramsgate on 13 May.
https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship319.html gives a list of the crew.
https://uboat.net/boats/u9.htm tells us more about U-9 – the U-Boat that sunk the S.S. “Tringa” -Successes 7 ships sunk, total tonnage 16,669 GRT
1 warship sunk, total tonnage 552 tons – 1 warship damaged, total tonnage 412 tons
Fate – Sunk at 1030hrs on 20 August 1944 in the Black Sea at Constanza, in position 44.10N, 28.41E, by bombs during Soviet air raid (VVS VMF). Wreck raised on 22 October 1944 by Soviets and towed to Nikolaev. On 19 April 1945 renamed TS-16 for a planned reconstruction, but declared a total loss on 12 December 1946 and broken up.
I was surprised and saddened that Hugh was not remembered on the Connah’s Quay War Memorial for WW2 Servicemen, so I hope that when another plaque is added to the memorial his name will be added then.