Mr George Francis 'Paddy' McGough

George McGough

Mr George Francis "Paddy" McGough was born in Duncannon, Co Wexford, Ireland on 4th July 1875.1

He went to sea but in March 1900, when aged only 25, he was charged with the murder of a shipmate aboard the collier Rustington, while berthed at Santos Harbour, Brazil. After a night out drinking he had returned to his ship and challenged his shipmates to a fight. A fireman named John Dwyer tried to persuade McGough to go to his bunk but McGough instead butted him in the stomach and tipped him into an open hold. Dwyer fell 20 feet and was found bleeding profusely, he died moments later.

At the Hampshire Assize in July 1900 he was cleared of murder but convicted of manslaughter on the high seas and sentenced to 15 months' imprisonment with hard labour. It was while detained as His majesty's pleasure at Winchester Prison that George McGough was recorded on the night of the 1901 census.

After his release he resumed his seagoing career but in 1910 he was convicted of a sexual assault on a victim named Lily Harper (age unknown) and sentenced to 3 months' hard labour.

In the 1911 census he was living at 8 St George's Street, listed with him were Beatrice Gannaway, a servant, and a friend named Jermia Donoon.  Early the following year he would marry Beatrice Nellie Gannaway (1886-1965), they are thought to have had no children.

When he signed on to the Titanic as an Able Bodied Seaman on 6th April 1912, he gave his address as 15 St George's Street, Southampton, he gave his age as 25 when he was in fact in his late 30s.

He was rescued in lifeboat 9 and took charge of the tiller. Second class passenger, Robertha Watt, recalled:

The fellow at the tiller was an Irishman. Paddy had no authority, he was just a deckhand. He was wonderful, telling me about the stars.

When Bertha thought she saw land, he explained that what she could see was an icefield.

Nearby, first class passenger, Mrs Lily May Futrelle, complained that the man near her had entered the boat under false pretences, claiming he could row, when he could not. McGough told her, “Madame, he wants to save his life as much as you do yours.” At dawn, the sight of the Carpathia steaming towards the survivors raised everyone’s spirits, and McGough exclaimed, “Let us pray to God, for there is a ship on the horizon and it’s making for us.”

McGough after his rescue

McGough returned to England aboard the Lapland with other crew. He would later serve as a crewman aboard the same ship. Other he served aboard throughout his career included: Llanstephan Castle, Briton, Tagus, Minnekahda, Fort St. George, Oropesa and Corbis

"Paddy" McGough died on 6 May 1940 in Essex he is buried in Chingford Mount Cemetery, Essex (now Greater London, section G13, C/R 36420).


  1. The 1919 dated CR10 identity card gives his birthdate as 4 July 1875.  The date 12 February 1873 has also been recorded (in a 1920 Lapland ship's manifest).


Titanic Firemen Thomas Threlfall and George McGough
Cheltenham Looker-On  (1912) 
George Francis McGough
Photograph of Titanic Able Seaman George Francis McGough
George Francis 'Paddy' McGough

Articles and Stories

Titanica! (2008) 
Titanica! (2008) 
Hampshire Advertiser (1900) 
York Herald (1900) 
Hampshire Advertiser (1900) 
Hampshire Advertiser (1900) 
Hampshire Advertiser (1900) 
Shields Daily Gazette (1900) 

Comment and discuss

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Trevor Baxter, UK
Gavin Bell, UK
Senan Molony, Ireland
Hugh McGough, USA

References and Sources

1901 Census
Criminal Registers (National Archives)
Able-bodied Seaman George Francis McGough by Hugh McGough (
Craig Stringer (2003) Titanic People
National Archives (CR10/BT350) Identity Card (Courtesy of Gavin Bell)
Search archive Irish newspapers online

Link and cite this biography

(2020) George Francis 'Paddy' McGough Encyclopedia Titanica (ref: #1357, updated 13th January 2020 10:08:19 AM)