|José Carvalho de Araújo
Captain-Lieutenant of the Portuguese Navy
José Botelho de Carvalho de Araújo was born on 18 May 1881 in the parish of São Nicolau, in Porto. He was the son of José de Carvalho Araújo and Margarida Ferreira Botelho de Araújo, who lived in Vila Real, who, at the time of his birth were visiting relatives in Porto.
Two months later, the family returned to Vila Real, where José went to primary school and high school.
Between 1897 and 1898, he completed his preparatory studies at the Polytechnic Academy of Porto to enter the Navy, joining in as midshipman on 12 October 1895.
He married Ester Ferreira de Abreu, a distant relative, on 13 January 1906 in a ceremony at five in the morning, presided by Father Filipe Correia de Mesquita Borges, at the parish church of São Dinis.
His career in the Navy was brilliant. He rose to the rank of Marine Guard in 1903, to Lieutenant in 1905, to 1st Tenant in 1915 and, posthumously, he was appointed Captain-Lieutenant.
He served on several ships: frigate "D. Afonso", corvette "Duque da Terceira", cruisers "Vasco da Gama", "Adamastor" and "São Rafael", gunboats "Zambeze", "Liberal", "Diu" and "Lúrio", tug-boat "Bérrio" and transporter ship "Salvador Correia".
He sent postcards to his family from all the places he was on a mission, a tradition he maintained since he was engaged to Ester. While in Africa, in 1903, he received onboard the Adamastor the first picture postcard with scenes from Vila Real.
As a defender of Republican ideals, he was elected parliament member for the Vila Real constituency.
On his return to the capital, after governing the Mozambican district of Inhambane, he was seconded to command the minesweeper "Augusto de Castilho", which was responsible for patrolling the sea routes taken by ships between the archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira. He died during this mission, in the early hours of 14 October 1918, defending heroically the steamer "São Miguel", travelling between Funchal and Ponta Delgada, from the German submarine "U-139", commanded by Lothar von Arnauld de la Periére. In an unequal struggle, described in epic terms by the press, the Portuguese ship attacked the German submarine in order to save 1,500 people travelling aboard the "São Miguel", and held on for about two hours with only two pieces of artillery with which they attacked the 1,500 ton enemy, equipped with torpedoes and quick-firing cannons. Even so, the attack ordered by Araújo, which caused his death, damaged the submarine and saved the steamer "S. Miguel".
His postcard dated 11 October 1918, the day his seventh child was born, arrived home after the death of this World War I hero, but before the news of his tragic death.
(Universidade Digital / Gestão de Informação, 2008)