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John Lythgoe

Ordinary Signalman


I would like to give you some information about a crew member on HMS Repulse. John Lythgoe, O SIG, D SSX 32464. Son of John and Annie Lythgoe of 10 Cedar Avenue, Lowton, Warrington. Brother of Tom and Anne Amelia ( Milly ) who still lives at this address aged 83. In his early teens he worked at Vulcan Foundry around age 15/16. He went on to enlist in the Army but his father had to ask for his release because he was underage. He then went on to join the Royal Navy. He served at first on HMS The Prince Of Wales and then Repulse. He survived the sinking of Repulse which sank in 1941, but later died on HMS Grasshopper on 14th February 1942.

I will update as soon as possible as there are photographs which exist.

HMS Grasshopper, an "Insect" class river gunboat with a ship's company of 74, left Singapore on 12 Feb 1942 prior to the imminent arrival of the Japanese invaders.
HMS Grasshopper was attacked by Japanese aircraft off Rusuk Island, Sumatra on 14 Feb. The vessel capsized and sank in less than ten minutes with very few survivors. They became prisoners and most suffered terribly as under the Japanese in POW camps in Java. Singapore fell to the Japanese the following day.

GRASSHOPPER - a river gunboat built by Thorneycroft, launched 19 Jan. 1939 585 tons 197' x 33' armed 2 x 4in.
On 14 February 1942, along with her sister ship HMS Dragonfly sailed from  Singapore heavily laden with soldiers, nurses, wives and families from the British military base. When off Posnik Island, east of Sumatra the pair came under Japanese air attack. Both were hit and ran themselves ashore in shallow water. There were many casualties and the survivors were attacked by the aircraft whilst in the water. The exact number of casualties is uncertain because of the number of evacuees. Two of the women evidently gave birth on the beach after the attack. The survivors (which included the ships dog called Judy) were all subsequently made prisoners of war.

John is also listed under HMS Grasshopper


Kelly Waterworth, Granddaughter of Milly.


Please contact Andy (webmaster) with any information.

Andy Wade (Webmaster)

Information provided by
Kelly Waterworth.

In Memory of
Ordinary Signalman
D/SSX 32464
H.M.S. Grasshopper, Royal Navy
who died on
Saturday 14 February 1942 . Age 20 . 
Additional Information: Son of John and Annie Lythgoe, of Lowton, Lancashire. 
Cemetery: PLYMOUTH NAVAL MEMORIAL Devon, United Kingdom 
Grave or Reference Panel Number: Panel 68, Column 1.