Jim pictured centre front
Jim aboard the HMS Repulse
Jim right, at HMS Drake
Liwatoni (C/O Diving School)
Kilindini, East Africa
10th Jan 1944
At long last I have received some mail from you and it seems that they are all arriving at once so I have received four from you today, two are dated the latter end of October, one dated 29th December and one dated the beginning of this month.
In one of your letters there was some bad news, first the death of Mrs Speak and the death of Hilda’s mother. With you putting Hilda’s mother I took it for granted that you meant Mrs Hayes, I hope I was right in thinking ao as I have written a letter of condolence to Hilda Hayes. By the way when you write again, tell me how you got news of Hildas mother, as you have never mentioned seeing Hilda in any of your letters.
From another of your letters I got a laugh, you mentioned that Joyce Hibbat had asked you if I won the M.C. I am afraid that it is unlikely that I’ll get any decoration least of all the M.C. which happens to be a decoration reserved for Army Officers. The equivalent in the Navy is the I.S.C. which is awarded only to officers, then we have the I.S.M. for lower deck ratings which is equivalent to the M.M. which is awarded to rank and file soldiers. Yeah ! I think my luck will have to change a lot before I qualify for any of the awards. Though I might add that I have qualified for one war medal, that being the 1939-43 Star. That makes two medals I’ve got, the other being the Palistine General Service Medal.
Well girls ! I would have liked to have been with you and the Nibs for Xmas but it just couldn’t be, but I hope with the help of God to be home with you this coming Xmas. I’m hoping that by then we will have seen the end of this rotten war. I don’t like writing things like this to you, but there is another reason why I’m eager to get home and that reason is Hilda. After I left England some wagging tongues got telling her tales about me, they must have been convincing as she seems to have believed them. Needless to say I think an awful lot about Hilda and naturally I’d like to get home to straighten things out. I’m not asking you to do my courting for me but should you see her please ask if she has received my letter of condolence which I also wrote today.
We are all hoping that 1944 will prove to be the last year of this war, but we mustn’t be too optimistic as we have still got to beat the Japs. Well that’s all for now, so I’ll close, love to the Nibs, Agnes and Keith.
Your Everloving Brother Jim XXX
P.S. Your letter 12th Oct. 1943 gives B.Abbotts ship as the *****, a chap here says the ***** was sank before that date. Let me know if that if thats his correct address. Jim
Kilindini, East Africa
21st January 1944
My Dear Sisters
Don’t be surprised at my writing as soon after my last letter, but the real purpose of this letter is to tell you how to address future mail to me. You see I am expecting to change my address during the course of the next few days, so when answering this letter and all future letters, unless I tell you different in the meantime, address them to me C/O H.M.S. “Highflyer”* C/O GPO London. Ignore the address at the head of this letter, address it as I have said then I shall be sure to get my mail without uneccessary delay. As soon as I know my mess number etc. I will send you a telegram, but in the meantime address your letters as I have stated then I will get them O.K.
Well Girls, I hope that by now Noel has got through his operation alright and is prancing around again. I did intend dropping a line to Father Turner, but I think I will leave it until I am settled in my new address, then if I remember I shall write him a letter. By the way, you needn’t be worried about the change of address because I will still be attached to the Diving School. I guess that’s all I can tell you now, except to mention I’m enjoying the best of health in spite of the climate here, and I hope this letter finds you all at home in the pink. That’s all for now remember my new address.
Ever Your Loving Brother Jim XXX
* HMS Highflyer was a Shore Establishment. The Royal Naval Base at Trincomalee was commissioned on 1 July 1943, as HMS Highflyer and served as the main naval depot and signal base in Ceylon.
12th February 1944
Sailing on 6 February 1944 from Kilindini Harbour at Mombasa, Kenya to Colombo, Ceylon in Convoy KR-8, the SS Khedive Ismail was attacked by a B1 type Japanese submarine. The Khedive Ismail was hit by two torpedoes. 1297 perished.
James was lost when the SS Khedive Ismail sunk at One and a Half Degree Channel - South-west of the Maldives near coordinates 01°25′N 72°22E
Panel 85, Column 3.
PLYMOUTH NAVAL MEMORIAL