John William Vincent (1884-1941)
John 'Jack' Vincent was born in 1884 in a suburb of Birmingham, though due to a mistake on his grave, this is often quoted as 1879. He ran away to sea at around 13 years of age and by 1909 he had moved to Hull to work on the North Sea trawlers.
In 1910 he married a local girl Alice May Parker, and the couple had two small children by the time he signed up to join the Endurance Expedition in 1914. Although originally hired as boatswain, Vincent was later demoted to able seaman as a result of complaints from several crew members that he had called them names and struck them.
A physically strong man, Vincent was selected by Shackleton to make the hazardous journey in the James Caird to South Georgia. During the perilous voyage, Vincent was nearly lost overboard during stormy weather. He had been attempting to scrape the ice off the boat when he slipped, fortunately grabbing the main mast at the last moment. By the time the party reached South Georgia Vincent was in a bad physical and mental state, possibly caused by trench foot, and could not make the final trek across the island.
The voyage of the James Caird to South Georgia. Embroidery inspired by the Endurance Expedition by Viv Stamford.
On his return to England Vincent returned to deep sea fishing and became a respected skipper. He spent time in the Royal Naval Reserve in both world wars. In 1917 the family welcomed another child, followed by another in 1920. Vincent continued to work on the trawlers out of Hull, gaining his skipper’s licence from the Hull board of trade in 1922. In 1923, his wife Alice was diagnosed with tuberculosis and died 2 weeks after giving birth to their fifth child. Sadly, the baby also didn’t survive.
A couple of years later Vincent married again and in the early 1930s he and his wife re-located to Grimsby where they raised their 9 children between them. Constantly living on the breadline the family nearly starved when a ship Vincent was in command of was stranded off the coast of Iceland resulting in the board of trade suspending his skippers licence. Fortunately, he was able to find trawling work out of Finland due to his ‘otherwise distinguished service record’.
In 1941 while in command of HMT Alfredian, an armed trawler, John Vincent contracted pneumonia and died a short time later. Vincent was buried with full Naval honours in Scartho Road Cemetary, Grimsby. Vincent was one of four who was not recommended for the polar medal by Shackleton.
Research and text by Hayley Vincent Cropp.
Embroidery by Viv Stamford.
By placing a booking, you are permitting us to store and use your (and any other attendees) details in order to fulfil the booking.
We will not use your details for marketing purposes without your explicit consent.
You must be a member holding a valid Society membership to view the content you are trying to access. Please login to continue.
Join us today, Society membership is open to anyone with a passion for geography
Cookies on the RGS website