James Thirlwell – Tai Koo Dockyard, Master Mariner and captain of the tug “Tai Koo”

Nikki Veriga: This photo is of my grandparents – James (Newcastle on Tyne) and Elizabeth Thirlwell (nee Wilkinson) and their children.  Grandad was a Master Mariner and captained the tug “Tai Koo” on her final voyage.

[The Tai Koo struck a mine and sank in the Red Sea with the loss of 26 of the 63 people on board on 12th September 1941]

The Thirlwell family (my mother’s family) lived at Taikoo Dock prior to the war.

Thirlwell Family, James and Elizabeth and their children. Sent by granddaughter Nikki Veriga

My grandmother’s parents were Josiah (Welsh) and Dorica Wilkinson (nee Pereria) – Josiah was a prison warden at Stanley Prison and Dorica’s father, Cornelius Pereria was also a prison warden at Stanley and was killed in a prison riot in the 1880s.  This was mentioned in a booklet which I purchased from the Prison Museum.

My mother’s brother, Charles, was involved in the ‘management’ of a light house (Green Island, I think) and was well known within the fishing community at Chai Wan.

I returned from a visit to Hong Kong on Friday having attended the 70th anniversary of the end of the war and a reunion of internees (of Stanley Prison Camp) and their families.  My parents were both interned and my eldest sister was born in camp.  I was also born in HK.

With the passing of time and death of all of Mum’s immediate family we have come to realise that we have no idea of how our grandparents met and can only assume it was in HK.

This article was first posted on 17th December 2015.

Related Indhhk articles:

  1. Tai Koo Dockyard
  2. Tai Koo Dockyard during the Occupation 1942-1945 
  3. Hong Kong’s Lighthouses and the men who manned them – HKBRAS article mention of Charles Beatty Allenby Haig Thirlwell, lighthouse keeper and later in charge of the HK government gunpowder depot

One comment

  • Chris Beard

    My wife’s family are directly related to Dora Maria Pereira and William Josiah Wilkinson. We are aware of Cornelio Pereira death in 1888 but knew he was killed but did not know how. Could you possibly e mail me a copy of the booklet that mentions this incident, it would be very helpful and in return l can send pictures of the Wilkinson’s and Pereira families if it is of interest to you. I can also e mail a family group sheet detailing the Wilkinson family.

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