Watch, Fob, Sinking of 'Marquette'; Unknown maker; 1900-1915; RI.W2002.1768


Watch, Fob, Sinking of 'Marquette'

About this object

This watch was owned by Nurse Annie Johanna McKay who was aboard the troop transport ship 'Marquette' when it sunk during the First World War, torpedoed by a German submarine in late October of 1915.

The hands of the timepiece stopped when she entered the water at 9:07am, but she survived after treading water and waiting for hours on a raft. A total of 10 New Zealand nurses were killed in this tragic event, along with 22 New Zealand men and 135 others.

The sinking of the 'Marquette' was a wound felt by the entirety of New Zealand, especially so soon after Gallipoli, it was particularly tragic given the loss of the medical staff could have been avoided: Had they travelled on the empty British hospital ship, the 'Grantully Castle', that left port the same day, they would likely have never been targeted by the submarine.

More information about the sinking of the 'Marquette' and a short video can be found here, on the New Zealand History website.


Unknown maker

Maker Role


Date Made




Place Made


Medium and Materials

inorganic, processed material, metal, alloy, gold alloy, 18 karat gold
inorganic, processed material, glass
inorganic, processed material, metal, alloy, copper alloy, brass

Inscription and Marks

Gold mark '18K' on the watch crown


h 65 mm x w 45 mm x d 10 mm

Subject and Association Keywords

Disasters (including floods and fires)

Subject and Association Keywords

Military - World War One

Subject and Association Keywords

Health and Medicine

Subject and Association Keywords


Subject and Association Keywords

Clothing and Accessories

Object Type


Object number



Attribution - Non-commercial (cc) Attribution - Non-commercial (cc)

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