Crew list of Ships hit by U-boats

James Francis Kirkwood

Merchant Navy (R198713). British

Born  10 Jan 1924Leith


30 Mar 1943British Empire Medal (BEM)

Roster information listed for James Francis Kirkwood

ShipTypeRank / roleAttacked onBoat
ArlettaSteam tankerSailor5 Aug 1942U-458

Personal information

Award Citation as published in London Gazette on 30 March 1943:

The ship, sailing alone, was torpedoed 300 miles from the nearest land and sank within three minutes. The Chief Officer, seeing a number of the crew attempting to lower a boat, jumped into it with the intention of cutting the falls as, owing to the heavy list, the boat was resting on the ship’s side. The ship, however, sank too quickly and took the boat down with her. The Chief Officer and two members of the crew managed to reached an upturned boat which had floated clear of the ship. For two and a half days they clung to the bottom of this boat until weather conditions permitted it to be righted. The boat was found to be badly waterlogged and nearly all the equipment, food and water had been washed away. During the next six days two of the occupants of the boat died leaving the Chief Officer alone. Five days later he was picked up. Chief Officer Duncan acted with courage and resource in attempting to release one of the boats, when the ship was sinking and he displayed outstanding qualities of fortitude and endurance throughout the whole of his tremendous ordeal. When the ship sank, nine other members of the crew managed to reach three rafts, which they lashed together. They attempted without success to reach the upturned boat to which the Chief Officer was clinging. During the first night in the heavy seas one of the three rafts broke adrift and disappeared with three of the crew. The remaining two rafts kept together for about ten days, when one of the men died. During this period the remaining rafts were capsized several times by heavy seas and eventually one of them began to break up. The men on this raft were transferred to the remaining sound raft, but during the operation another man was lost. Four men now remained on the last raft, on which they drifted for a further five days before being picked up. Great courage and fortitude, were displayed by Third Officer Eaton, Radio Officer Powell, Fireman Cuthbert and Seaman Kirkwood during the fifteen days they were adrift.

Do you have additional information on this person?
If you wish to add information to this person the following would be helpful (if missing): nationality, name, dob, place of birth, service (merchant marine, ...), rank or job on board specific ship. We have place for a photo as well if provided. You can send the information here.

Crew list for Ships hit by U-boats