Friday, 24 April 2015

Whittaker, Jack - Musician

(No soldier photo available)
H.M.S. Fiji, 
Royal Navy
Died 23rd May 1941.
Age 27

Musician Jack Whittaker, serving with the Royal Marines, was aboard the 8,000 ton cruiser, Fiji, when she was part of a fleet of ships under attach by German forces invading Crete.  When the destroyer Greyhound was sunk, Fiji stopped to pick up survivors.  Fiji herself was then attacked by an overshelming force of the Luftwaffe, and after shooting down a number, she was hit by bombs and holed in the side.  Just before nightfall a lone aircraft scored a further hit, and Fiji rolled over and sank.  241 of her crew were lost anf 534 were saved.  Jack lost his life in this action.

Jack was the son of Robert and Elizabeth Whittaker.  He was married to Amy and they had one child.  Jack was aged 27.  He attended St. James Church and School.  Before he volunteered for service in April 1940, Jack worked at the Globe Slipper Works in Rawtenstall and he was also a member of Haslingden Borough Band.

Jack's name is on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Hampshire.  It commemorates almost 10,000 sailors of the 1914-1918 War and 15,000 from the 1939-1945 War who have no grave but the sea.  Jack is named on Panel 60, Column 1.  

His father Robert Whittaker,of Waterfoot died in N. France on 22nd July 1916 whilst serving in WW1. He served with the Royal Garrison Artillery and is buried in Dantzig Alley British Cemetery, Mametz, France.