James William John Wraight (Ch) 287391 Stoker 1st Class, RNR B 6394


James was born on 9th July 1878 in Dymchurch, Kent to parents George and Elizabeth and baptised 3 months later on 20th October.


Aged 2 James was recorded on the 1881 census living at Baden's Farm, Eastbridge, Romney Marsh with his parents, Grandfather and 3 siblings, Caroline, George and Harriet.


10 years later James was the eldest child of 5 living with their widowed mother in “the rural part of the parish” of New Romney as described in the 1891 census - Caroline and George had left home and James was big brother to Harriet, Mary, Lilly and Gertrude.


He joined the Navy, signing for 12 years, on 3rd February 1898 as a Stoker 2nd Class and recorded as 5'4" tall, with light brown hair, blue eyes and a scar on the back of his right hand.


His service follows:-

PEMBROKE II - 03/02/1898 - 12/05/1898

SANS PAREIL - 13/05/1898 - 03/10/1900 (rising to Stoker on 01/01/1899).

PEMBROKE II - 04/10/1900 - 31/12/1900

BLENHEIM - 01/01/1901 - 20/07/1904

PEMBROKE II - 21/07/1904 - 19/02/1906

SAPPHIRE - 20/02/1906 - 30/04/1907 (rising to Stoker 1st Class on 01/07/1906). He also married Beatrice Mary Lennard in the latter part of 1906.

BLENHEIM - 01/05/1907 - 25/04/1909

PEMBROKE II - 26/04/1909 - 03/05/1909

MAGNIFICENT - 04/05/1909 - 31/01/1910

PEMBROKE II - 01/02/1910 - 04/02/1910


He left the Navy on 3th February 1910 having fulfilled his 12 years service and signed up to the Royal Naval Reserve the following day, should the Navy have needed to recall him.

In the 1911 census James was recorded as a civilian, working as a general labourer to support his wife and new baby daughter of 1 month, Ruby May. The family lived at Clinton Lodge, Albert Road, Hythe, Kent - his signature taken from his form on the census.


James' signature from the 1911 census - Ancestry.com

James returned to the Navy at the beginning of the War, being recalled to PEMBROKE II on 02/08/1914 - 10/11/1914.


His second list of service follows:-

BLAKE - 11/11/1914 - 23/09/1915

VIVID II - 24/09/1915 - 11/10/1915

PEMBROKE II - 12/10/1915 - 25/10/1915

EAGLE - 26/10/1915 - 12/05/1916

PEMBROKE II - 13/05/1916 - 07/03/1917

VANGUARD - 08/03/1917 - 09/07/1917


If it wasn't tragic enough that James was killed just 4 months after transferring to the VANGUARD and being killed on his 39th birthday, he also never got to see or know his new baby son George who was born just two days earlier, on 7th July 1917.


James' Star, Victory and British War medals were awarded to his widow Beatrice following his death.


#247 - 832/843


Sources:

1881, 1891 and 1911 England Census - Ancestry.com

Kent Archives Office - Baptisms

England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1837-1915

The National Archives of the UK; Admiralty: Naval Casualties, First World War. ADM 242 010 (1914 - 1919)

Commonwealth War Graves Register

TNA Series: ADM 242/10 Number: 1167

The National Archives of the UK; Royal Navy Registers of Seamen's Services; ADM 188 Piece: 461

The British Library - Kent Messenger and Ashford Examiner 21st July 1917


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