My Uncle and namesake James O'Grady died when the Battleship HMS Prince of Wales was sunk on December 10th 1941. He was 21 years old.
I never knew my Uncle as I was not born until 1948.
He was the elder of two brothers, the younger brother (by two years) John, being of course my Father.
He would have attended St. Patrick's Catholic Junior School, West Bank, Widnes where the family resided in Pear Street. (This area was demolished in the 1960's to make way for a new Bridge spanning the River Mersey between Widnes and Runcorn (now Halton))
It is possible that sometime during his childhood he moved to Ditchfield Road in Widnes, Where my grandparents were to become the first members of our family to actually own their own house. He may well have been young enough to attend St. Michael's Catholic Junior school.
My Grandfather died at the same time I was born, so perhaps the opportunity to learn more about of my Uncle's life, died with his father, who would have no doubt been proud to pass on from grandfather to grandson the family history.
Unfortunately, as I reached senior adulthood and began to take more of an interest in my family's history, my Father and Grandmother had also by now passed away, and there were no other surviving close family members on my Paternal side.
I know my Father and Grandmother were very proud of him, as were I'm sure were all the families of the brave sailors that fought and died aboard the Prince of Wales and other great ships of the Royal Navy.
Many years passed, until recently I found two photographs relating to my Uncle, one of a ship, HMS Fame, where my Uncle writes to my Grandmother, "Well this is her, tiddly or what." and another of himself with two comrades "Jock" and "Herman".
I am not certain if the photograph relates to comrades on HMS Prince of Wales or on HMS Fame. James is on the right in this photo.
At the top of this page is the photograph, perhaps someone may identify my Uncle and his comrades. They were clearly close friends. The script on the back says "with all our love" and signed "the three-must-get-beers, Jim, Jock, Herman." From the handwriting, I believe each man signed his own name.
Given the date of his death, its is perhaps not too surprising that these and a single Mirrored photograph of him (I recall seeing it as a young child) are the only images I know of him. The mirrored photograph's whereabouts I do not know, perhaps it was taken as a memento by someone over the intervening 50 years or so since I recall seeing it last.
Since writing this page I have identified another photograph of Uncle Jim, a copy of which is situated on the top left of this page.
How dearly I would love to find a relative of Jock and Herman, perhaps even the gentleman themselves if surviving, I would estimate their ages now to be around their mid 80's. Perhaps if they read this they may contact me, I hope so. It would be a honour and a privilege to journey to meet them or their families wherever they are now.
James O'Grady (Nephew 23/12/2005)
Contact Andy (webmaster) with any information.
Information provided by
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Stoker 1st Class
Regiment: Royal Navy
Unit Text: H.M.S. Prince of Wales
Date of Death: 10/12/1941
Service No: D/KX 94347
Additional information: Son of John and Alice O'Grady, of Ditton, Widnes, Lancashire.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 53, Column 2.
Cemetery: PLYMOUTH NAVAL MEMORIAL