James (Jim) Fairbrother

James (Jim) Fairbrother. Click right arrow to view HMS Royal Oak.

Click to view larger image

James (Jim) Fairbrother’s name appears on Waltham’s War Memorial in both the Church and Methodist Chapel. This text is provided by Jim’s nephew, Alec, and his wife, Maureen, who live in Waltham. Click on Jim’s photo for a larger image, as well as photos of HMS Royal Oak.

Jim William Fairbrother was born on 13th July 1922 at home in Waltham on the Wolds. He attended Waltham Village School and Modern Boys School at Melton Mowbray.

He left school at 14 and joined the Co-op as a baker’s boy. After a year he signed up with the Royal Navy as a boy sailor. Finishing his training at the age of 16, he was posted to HMS Royal Oak.

In September 1939, HMS Royal Oak was sent to Scapa Flow – a major naval port in the Orkneys. On the night of 13th October, a German submarine fired three torpedoes, striking the Royal Oak’s starboard side.

The ship was hit in the engine room, causing it to roll over and sink. Unfortunately, Jim – then just 17 – went down with the ship. He was one of 833 men who lost their lives that cold September night.

Note: Jim’s younger brother, Robert, lives in Croxton Kerrial. Click here to read Robert’s memories of both Jim, and their uncle James Beeton, who died in the First World War.

There are a number of websites relating to the sinking of HMS Royal Oak. A seven page report of the disaster can be downloaded in pdf format from one site by clicking here.

Click here to view photos of the Royal Oak, before and after sinking.

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