Killed in Labour Feud

Sometimes receiving a death certificate can open a whole new story relating to your ancestors, as was the case with James Campbell Martin. James died in 1913 and his death record specified he died from internal hemorrhaging as a result of being shot. Researching through newspapers of the time explain that James was involved in a union dispute on Glasgow Docks and was shot by Albert French, the Scottish secretary of the National Seaman’s and Fireman’s Union of Great Britain. James was a member of the British Seafarer’s Union and it is stated there had been a long running feud between the two groups. The trial was widely publicised in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. French was later acquitted as he stated he feared for his safety and the discharging of the gun was accidental. Nonetheless it was a tragic occurrence as James left behind a widow with six young children and Albert French seems to have vanished.

Excerpt from the New Zealand Herald, 18 Oct. 1913, p.2.