RADFORD, Robert A.

No.P/JX 294856, Ordinary Seaman, Robert Arthur RADFORD
Aged 20

H.M.S. "Anking", Royal Navy
Killed in Action on Wednesday, 4th March 1942

Robert Radford was born in 1921 (West Ham Q2-1921 4A:808) , the son of Arthur George and Gertrude RADFORD (née SMITH).
In 1939 his parents were at 43 Worcester Road, Walthamstow, father [19-10-1892] a baker's assistant; mother Gertrude [11-8-1889] and one closed record.

The connection with Isleham has not been found, but this is the only Robert Arthur Radford in CWGC lists. Vernon Place remembers photographing two ladies in West Street and they had a photograph of a young seaman in the house that Vernon thinks may have been Robert

After the fall of Singapore, orders were given on 27 February 1942, to clear all remaining British auxiliary craft from Batavia (now Jakarta). About midnight HMAS Yarra and the Indian sloop HMIS Jumna sailed escorting a convoy to Tjilatjap. Arriving off Tjilatjap at 11 am on 2 March, the ships were warned not to enter harbour. The Yarra was ordered to take the convoy, which consisted of the depot ship Anking, the tanker Francol and the motor minesweeper MMS 51, to Fremantle while the Jumna sailed for Colombo.

HMS Anking was shelled and sunk in the Indian Ocean 300 nautical miles (560 km) south of Java, Netherlands East Indies by Arashi, Atago, Maya, Nowaki, Takao (all Imperial Japanese Navy) with the loss of 40 of her 97 crew. Some survivors were rescued by Dutch vessels, others reached Java and were taken as prisoners of war.

H.M.S. Anking

photo; Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Robert Radford is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial - panel 66, column 1

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details