Photograph of Apapa I, Elder Dempster ship



Apapa was a liner of the Elder Dempster fleet, and was sailing back to Liverpool from West Africa when the ship was torpedoed by German submarine U-96 off the Welsh coast on 28 November 1917. Of the 249 people on board, 40 passengers and 37 crewmen lost their lives. There were a large number of West African crewmen on board. Among the victims was John Thomas who was working as a fireman in the engine room. He had previously survived the sinking of Falaba on 27 March 1915. His body was identified by his cousin James Thomas, also a fireman on board. John was born in Lagos, West Africa, but later travelled to England and settled in Liverpool. While living there he met Amelia Andrews who he married in St Peter’s Church on 22 March 1917. Following his death she attended his burial in Bangor Glanadda Cemetery and the epitaph on his gravestone reads, “Sleep on beloved one”.