THOMAS BYRNES JR was born in North Jersey around 1921. He grew up in North Jersey, and had graduated the Maritime Commission school at St. Petersburg FL around 1940. He moved to Camden NJ in 1941, and on July 9, 1942 married Beatrice Hartzell, of Fracksville PA, in Elkton MD. When not at sea, he made his home at 413 Linden Street in Camden NJ.
Last home on May 27, 1943, he was a crew member on the Liberty Ship SS John Morgan when it made its maiden voyage, sailing from Philadelphia PA, en route to Bandar Shahpour, Iran loaded with P-39 airplanes, tanks, arms, and ammunition of all kinds. Also serving on the SS John Morgan was Able Seaman Clifton C. Stevenson, of Camden NJ.
On June 1, 1943 while approaching Newport News VA, the SS John Morgan collided with an outbound ship, the SS Montana, off Cape Henry VA. The John Morgan split in two, exploded, and her stern sank almost immediately, taking 42 crew members and 25 of its armed guard to their deaths.
Thomas Byrnes' body was recovered. His wife was brought to Norfolk VA, where he was identified. He was buried at Locustwood Memorial Park in Delaware Township (Cherry Hill) NJ.
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