Friday, 24 April 2015

Wolstenholme, James - Leading Stoker

(No soldier photo available)
H.M.S. Mahratta,
Royal Navy
Died 25 February 1944
Age 25

On 20 February 1944 a convoy of 44 merchant ships sailed from Scotland to Murnansk, north Russia. It was escorted by 22 Royal Navy ships, including H.M.S. Mahratta, a Tribal class destroyer of 1,920 tons. Five days later, the German U-boat, U-990, torpedoed the Mahratta. She radioed the escort flagship, "Have been hit by two torpedoes and am stopped". There was a pause, then, "We are abandoning ship. We are sinking". The destroyer Impulsive was sent to assist her, but could only rescue 17 of her crew. Leading Stoker James Wolstenholme was one who died in the attack.

James was the only son of Mrs. E. Wolstenholme. He was 25. He was married, and his wife was serving in the A.T.S. (Auxiliary Territorial Service) at the time of his death. He attended St.John's, Stonefold, Church where he was a former choir-boy. James worked at Paragon Chemical Works until 1939, when he joined the Royal Navy.

James is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon. The Memorial stands on the Hoe, looking towards Plymouth Sound. It bears the names of 7,000 sailors of the 1914-1918 War and almost 16,000 of the 1939-1945 War who have no grave but the sea. James' name is on Panel 89, Column 3.