James Richard Griffiths (1921-1939)

An ongoing project to commemorate and research the lives of those who appear on war memorials and rolls of honour in the local area, who served in the military, or whose deaths were linked to conflict.


James Richard Griffiths was born in 1921 in Saddleworth, the son of Fred Griffiths[1] and his wife Mary (née Crawford).

He died on 14 October 1939 when the battleship HMS Royal Oak was sunk by German U-boat U-47 whist anchored at Scapa Flow, Orkney.[2][3]


Huddersfield Examiner (21/Oct/1939):


Twenty-year-old Huddersfield Marine

A Huddersfield man was lost in the sinking of the Royal Oak. Fred B. Senior, son of Mr. and Mrs. B. Senior, of 18, Prospect Street, was a marine on board.

He was a fine young fellow, 5ft. l0 ½in. in height, and was only twenty years of age.

He joined the Navy nearly two years ago, and was transferred to the Royal Oak last June. In the Navy he was very happy — all his letters home bore testimony to that. His mother heard from him only on the 10th.

For his age he had quite a long association with His Majesty’s forces, for he was no more than a boy of about fifteen when he joined the local Territorials.

Mr. and Mrs. Senior have a family of five. Fred was the elder of the two boys. He was educated at Spring Grove School, and was attached formerly to High Street Methodist Sunday School.

An Uppermill Victim

An eighteen-year-old Uppermill youth, James Richard Griffiths, also lost his life in the sinking of the battleship.

The youth joined the Royal Navy nearly two years ago. He was at H.M.S. Ganges School at Shotley, and then at Portsmouth with H.M.S. Hawkins. Later he was transferred to the Royal Oak, and went to that ship from Uppermill on June 1, which was the last his father saw of him. He was educated at the Saddleworth Parochial School, Uppermill.

The Saddleworth Housing Committee on Monday evening passed a resolution of sympathy with the father, Mr. Fred Griffiths, of New Street, Uppermill.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

  • Ordinary Seaman JAMES GRIFFITHS
  • Royal Navy
  • died: 14 October 1939
  • age: 18 years
  • record ID: 2493380



Notes and References

  1. Possibly Frederick Leonard Griffiths.
  2. Wikipedia: HMS Royal Oak (08).
  3. Marine Fred B. Senior of Huddersfield was another local casualty.