James William McCarthy
Born: May 4, 1922
Hometown: Minneapolis, MN
Service: Merchant Marine
Position / Rank: Second Mate
Date / Place of death: March 1, 1946
Date / Place of burial: March 8, 1946/Unknown
James W. McCarthy was Second Mate aboard the SS Mariposa. The ship sailed from
Honolulu for San Francisco at about 7pm on March 1, 1946. Roughly four hours later,
when the ship was fifty miles from Honolulu James McCarthy was involved in what is
described on his death certificate as a “fist fight”. In the fight his head was apparently
struck with sufficient force to cause a brain hemorrhage, which resulted in his death.
His body was retained aboard the ship. An autopsy was preformed by the San
Francisco Coroner’s Office on March 7, 1946, which determined that there was alcohol
in James McCarthy’s blood when he died. His remains were shipped to his wife in
Minneapolis for burial on March 8, 1946.
James McCarthy had previously sailed aboard the SS Mariposa, signing on as Deck
Cadet at Boston, MA on July 31, 1943. Following his graduation from Kings Point in
1944 he signed on as Third Mate aboard the SS William Tyler Page at New York, NY on
October 26, 1944. He signed off on February 12, 1945 when the ship arrived from
From his graduation photo Cadet-Midshipman James W. McCarthy was awarded the
Atlantic and Mediterranean-Middle East Zone Bars. He would also have been eligible
for the award of the Victory Medal and Presidential Testimonial Letter for this and his
subsequent Merchant Marine service.
James W. McCarthy was the only child of James Phillias McCarthy and Thorah Lyons
McCarthy. According to the 1930 U.S. Census James P. was employed as a bike
maker while Thorah worked as a sales lady at a department store. However, by the
1940 U.S. Census, the McCarthy’s had divorced and James was living with his mother.
At that time Thorah McCarthy was working as a “cake icer” at a bakery while James
finished High School. According to the McCarthy family tree, James P. McCarthy died
in 1942. At the time of his death James W. McCarthy was married to Harriet McCarthy
and lived in Minneapolis, MN.