No.C/JX 259332, Ordinary Seaman, John Meredith FINCH
Royal Navy, HMS 'Achates'
John Meredith Finch was born in Halstead on 16th February 1914, (Halstead Q1-1914 4A:1067), son of Harry and Faith Alice FINCH (née MEREDITH).
In the 1939 register he was assisting his parents at The Store, High Street, Ashley, (next door to the Halliday family),father [1-12-1885] PO Manager/Air Raid Precautions Warden, mother [15-2-1870] assisting. There are 2 closed records.
HMS 'Achates' After engine failure due to contamination of fuel, on 25th July 1941 she struck a British mine in Field SN69 of Northern Barrage off Iceland, position 64.25N 12.45W. The explosion blew off the bows of the ship as far back as the foremost gun, but she stayed afloat. By some magnificent seamanship she was eventually towed to Seidisfjord by HMS Anthony. After temporary repairs she was towed by HM Tug 'Assurance' and escorted by HMS 'Antelope', first to the Faeroes for further temporary repair and finally to the Tyne. it was 8 months before she was ready action again, only to be sunk by the Hipper in the Battle of the Barents Sea on 31st December 1942.
In the mine incident on 25th July 1941, 63 of the crew were lost and 25 wounded.
HMS "Achates" under tow, backwards of course!
photo; Commonwealth War Graves Commission
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