Monday, 27 April 2015

Gavin, John James - Chief Petty Officer

(No soldier photo available)
H.M.S. Itchen,
Royal Naval Reserve
Died 23 September 1943
Age 35

H.M.S. Itchen, a 1,445 ton frigate, built in 1941, was escorting an Atlantic, westbound, convoy in company with the Canadian destroyer St. Croix, and the corvette Polyanthus. An intensive attack by German U-boats, which lasted for four days, started on 20 September. During the attack the St.Croix was torpedoed and sunk. Five officers and 75 ratings were picked up by the Itchen. Later, the Itchen herself was sunk with the loss of 14 officers and 134 ratings, together with all the officers and ratings picked up previously from the St. Croix. Chief Petty Officer John Gavin was one of the officers lost. (The Polyanthus was also sunk with 84 of her complement, together with six merchant ships).

John was the son of John and Louise Gavin and the husband of Florence of Blackpool. He was aged 35. John's name is on Helmshore War Memorial.

John is also commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon. The Memorial is situated on the Hoe, which looks directly towards Plymouth Sound. The Memorial bears the names of more than 7,000 sailors of the 1914-1918 War and almost 16,000 from the 1939-1945 War who have no grave but the sea. John's name is on Panel 84, Column 1.