C/LX 21256 HMS Hunter, Royal Navy
James Rowe was born on 19th September 1912, the son of James and Mabel Rowe. The family lived at one time at No.62 Queen’s Road, Sudbury, and later moved to No.88. James attended Sudbury Grammar School from September 1923 – July 1929 and joined the Royal Navy on leaving school. He was married to Kathleen. It is believed he had a younger brother Jack who also served in the Royal Navy.
HMS Hunter was an ‘H’ class destroyer launched 25th February 1936, built by Swan Hunter and Wigham Richardson Ltd at Wallsend-on-Tyne. She had a crew of 145 and was commanded in 1940 by Lieutenant Commander L. De. Villiers. She was part of the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla and took part during the 1st Battle of Narvik, when the German forces were invading Norway. On 10th April 1940 along with her sister ships ‘Hardy’, ‘Havock’, ‘Hostile’ and ‘Hotspur’ she carried out a successful attack on German destroyers in Ofotfjord sinking two; the Anton Schmidt and the Wilhelm Heidkamp along with several merchant ships. As the Flotilla made their way down the fjord they came under attack and HMS Hunter was badly damaged from gunfire from the German destroyer Georg Thieleand. She caught fire, was then torpedoed and sank with the loss of many of the crew.
James died aged 27 on 10th April 1940 and lies buried in Narvik New Cemetery, Norway.
There are no Commonwealth war cemeteries in Norway; those who died there are buried in civil cemeteries and churchyards. Narvik New Cemetery contains 34 Commonwealth burials, 24 of them seamen. The majority of these are crew members of HMS Hunter.
His family when placing In Memoriam notices in the Suffolk and Essex Free Press put his rank as Petty Officer.
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