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The Channel Islands and the Great War
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Condon, T M

Hollybrook Memorial, Southampton

Hollybrook Memorial, Southampton

NEWS ITEM in Jersey Evening Post of Monday 3 December 1917

Tragic Incident Between the Islands - Jersey Soldier Falls Overboard - Only His Cap Recovered. A tragic incident took place on the mailboat which left here on Saturday. The vessel carried a good complement of passengers and the sea being moderately rough the majority of these found it more pleasant below, a number however selected to stay on deck, these naturally making themselves as comfortable as possible in sheltered spots. It is due to this that the tragic incident we are to relate is somewhat wrapped in mystery, it being only when one of the passengers raised the shout "man overboard" that anything was thought to be amiss. The passenger questioned stated that he had seen a soldier going over the rail, whether accidentally or intentionally is not known. The Captain at once gave the order for the steamer to be stopped and a boat was lowered in a very short time, but though the sailors rowed about for some time they could not see the unfortunate soldier who evidently had sunk at once, the only trace being his hat which was picked up. Seeing that it was useless to continue the search the lifeboat returned to the ship and was again hoisted on the davits and the steamer continued its journey. An investigation was made but up to the time of reaching the sister island the victim had not been identified. The Captain reported the facts to the proper authority and it was understood that before disembarking at the Mainland another investigation would be made to try and trace the unfortunate victim. On enquiry this morning we learned that neither the military authorities locally or the aliens officer had been informed of the incident and we consequently wired our correspondent in Southampton to ascertain any further details.

NEWS ITEM in Jersey Evening Post of Tuesday 4 December 1917

The Tragedy on the Mailboat - Victim Identified. From the information to hand it appears that the victim of the tragedy on the mail steamer between the Islands on Saturday last was Gunner T M Condon of a Heavy Battery Royal Garrison Artillery, This soldier, who is the son of Mr & Mrs Condon of Beaulieu Lodge, Wellington Road, had been at the Front since the early days of 1916 and had been twice wounded. He arrived on leave from the Front about 26 November last and it was noticed that at times he was somewhat strange in his manner. He left Jersey to return to France on Saturday and when the vessel was off the Island he was seen to be in a dangerous position in the aft portion of the ship and was remonstrated with. Later he climbed the rail near the stern and over-balancing fell into the sea, which as stated yesterday was fairly rough. Cyril Campion, an Officers Steward in the Royal Navy, was the first to notice the soldier in his precarious position and made an attempt to seize him, but unfortunately was unsuccessful, and his cap went overboard with the victim. As we stated previously the ship was put about but after a time it was obvious that the Gunner had drowned, though his cap and that of the sailor were seen. On arrival at Southampton Condon's haversack and coat were unclaimed so that all doubts of the soldier's identity were set at rest. To the parents, who have another son serving in the Royal Artillery who is now at the local Military Hospital suffering from the effects of his voluntary transfusion of blood to a wounded Anzac, we tender our sincere sympathy.


Thomas Michael Condon

Gunner Thomas Michael Condon
349th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery

Son of Thomas and Ellen Condon, of Beaulieu Lodge, Wellington Rd., Jersey. Passed through R.A.C.D., Pimlico, as Master Cutter and Tailor.

Died, aged 24 years

Commemorated on family memorial at Almorah Cemetery, Jersey

Notice of Death appears in Jersey Evening Post of Wednesday 5 December 1917


NEWS ITEM in Guernsey Weekly Press of Saturday 8 December 1917

SOLDIER DROWNED. Fell Overboard on Journey from Jersey

A Jersey artilleryman, returning from Jersey to the front, fell overboard from a steamer whilst on the journey from Jersey to Guernsey, and was drowned. The soldier was seen near the railing about the stern of the vessel and, as his position appeared to be dangerous, was remonstrated with by other soldiers.
One soldier supplied him with a cigarette, and as the "Gunner" then appeared to be safe, moved away to another part of the ship. Shortly afterwards he heard the alarm "Man overboard". It appears that the artilleryman had again climbed the rail at the stern of the ship, and overbalanced. A sailor made an attempt to seize him as he fell but was unsuccessful and his cap fell overboard with the artilleryman.
The ship was at once brought about to the spot at which the artilleryman disappeared, and both his cap and that of the sailor were seen. A ship's boat was also swung out and manned, but although the vessel remained on the spot for about half and hour, nothing was seen of the missing man. As it was then obvious that the man must have been drowned, the journey was resumed.
It has since been discovered that the soldier was Gunner Thomas Michael Condon, R.G.A. aged 23, a native of Jersey.





Commonwealth War Graves Commission Record

Courtesy of The Guernsey Press & Priaulx Library