Sunday, January 01, 2012

"In our hearts he will live forever"

Stoker W.J. Carruthers, R.N. (HMS Fidelity)

Photographs (Top to bottom):

1. Stoker William James Carruthers, R.N.
Presumed drowned 01.01.1943
Lost on HMS Fidelity

2. Cleator & Trumpet Terrace War Memorial, Cumbria
[Home village of Stoker W.J. Carruthers]

3. Detail: WW2 casualties of Cleator (1939 - 1945)
[Stoker W.J. Carruthers is the 3rd name listed]

For additional information click on 'Comments' below.


Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Additional information

(a) Some biographical information

Stoker William James Carruthers (known as James) of Prospect Row, Cleator, Cumberland was born in 1921. He was the eldest child and only son of George Carruthers and Margaret A. Carruthers (nee Brady). James Carruthers had two younger sisters - Margaret (born 1925) and Janet (born 1933).

Before enlisting to the Royal Navy James Caruthers had initially been employed by Mr. J. Hill, fruiterer, of Cleator Moor and secondly at a 'local munitions factory' (most likely Drigg Royal Ordnance Factory). Stoker Carruthers had been with the Royal Navy for about 11 months at the time of his presumed death at the age of 21.

After HMS Fidelity was lost, Mr and Mrs Carruthers received official notification that their son was reported missing on 23 January 1943. At the end of August that year they received a further notification that James was now presumed drowned as the result of enemy action. The family then paid the following tribute to James in the local newspaper, 'The Whitehaven News' (9 September 1943):

"In our hearts he will live forever.
From Dad, Mam, Margaret and wee Janet.
Also Belle and all at 27 South Street, Egremont."

After the war, the names of the WW2 casualties associated to Cleator & Trumpet Terrace were added to the village War Memorial. The memorial had originally been dedicated in 1922 for 'The Fallen' of the First World War. William James Carruthers was the third name of the ten WW2 casualties added to the memorial.

(b) Stoker William James Carruthers
(CWGC citation)

Casualty Details
Initials: W J
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Stoker 2nd Class
Regiment/Service: Royal Navy
Unit Text: H.M.S. Fidelity.
Age: 21
Date of Death: 01/01/1943
Service No: P/KX. 151500
Additional information: Son of George and Margaret A. Carruthers, of Cleator, Cumberland.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 78, Column 2.

(c) Further information and reading

HMS Fidelity (D 57) was sunk by the German U-Boat U-435, under the command of Captain Siegfried Strelow. 'Fidelity' had been part of a convoy heading from the Colombo (Ceylon) via Cape Town (South Africa). She developed engine trouble and as she had fallen behind the convoy decided to head for the Azores and was intercepted by German U-Boats patrolling the North Atlantic.

The attack by U-435 was in the early evening of 30 December 1942. 'Fidelity' was hit by two torpedoes and sank. A large number of those on board made it to the life rafts, none of whom were eventually rescued. In these circumstances, it would seem the date of death for those lost was presumed to have been 1 January 1943 rather than 30 December 1942.

There were a small number of survivors from HMS Fidelity. There were 8 men who had earlier been dispatched from 'Fidelity' on 28 December on HMS MTB-107 for anti-submarine patrol duties. These 8, plus another 2 from 'Fidelity' were subsequently picked up and survived.

For additional reading click on the following link:

U-Boat net website: HMS Fidelity (D 57)


Cumbria County Archives & Library Service

'The Whitehaven News' website:

Sunday, 01 January, 2012  
Blogger Unknown said...

I have reason to believe James Carruthers was my uncle, Janet and Margaret were my Aunties,I always remember my farther William Ronald Gordon Carruthers telling me about an uncle who was killed by the germans at sea during WW2,I was quite amazed to come up on this article and if anyone has any further information I would be gratefull.

Saturday, 14 January, 2017  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Stephen, thank you for your comment about your uncle, William James Carruthers. HMS 'Fidleity' was an unusual vessel with an unusual crew and commander. While I do not have the exact date your uncle joined the crew, from the 'Whitehaven News' report it seems to be about 11 months or so before 'Fidelity' was sunk (i.e. joining about January 1942).

The only survivors after 'Fidelity' was sunk were the two crew of a seaplane that had been launched and the eight crew of a M.T.B. (these had been launched before 'Fidelity' was attacked by the U-Boat). I have posted another article to this site about the history of HMS 'Fidelity', including a piece about her sinking. It also includes some memories from some of those who survived and a few extra photographs relating to 'Fidelity'. Click on this link to access the article:
Personal memories of HMS Fidelity

[At one time there was a website dedicated to the memory of HMS 'Fidelity' and her crew (set up in 2008) but when trying to access this now it says the domain has expired].

The other route to find information about your uncle's service record would be to apply for his service records from the M.O.D. (£30 chargeable fee at the time of writing). This is a link to the Government website giving the information on this:
Applying for service records (M.O.D.)

I hope this has been of help.

Sunday, 15 January, 2017  

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