No.C/JX 155099, Leading Seaman, Alfred WHARTON
Aged 21

H.M.S. "Achates", Royal Navy
Killed in Action on Thursday, 31st December 1942

Alfred Wharton was born in Beccles on 30th October 1921 (Wangford, Essex Q4-1921 4A:1916), son of Henry and Eva WHARTON (née NURSEY).

The family have not been identified in the 1939 Register.

Sadly my filing system? has let me down and I can now find no reason for Alfred to be here with the Denston men, but somewhere I must have been told, or read about the connection in the first place.

HMS "Achates" was an A-class destroyer, launched on 4 October 1929 and commissioned on 27 March 1930. She struck a mine and was severely damaged in July 1941 while screening aircraft carriers off the far north coast of Norway , but managed to make port for repairs.
On 31 December 1942, Achates was on escort duty protecting convoy JW 51B en route from Loch Ewe to Murmansk when she was sunk in the Barents Sea. The German heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper, pocket battleship Lützow and six large destroyers had been ordered to attack and destroy the convoy. Despite being heavily outgunned the escort, under the command of Captain R. St. Vincent Sherbrooke, beat off the attack and not one merchant vessel was lost.
At 11:15, Achates was laying smoke to protect the convoy when she was hit by gunfire from Admiral Hipper, killing the commanding officer, Lt Cdr Johns, and forty crew. The First Lieutenant, Lt L. E. Peyton-Jones, took over command and, despite having sustained severe damage in the shelling, Achates continued her smoke screen operation. At 13:30 she went down 135 nautical miles (250 km; 155 mi) ESE of Bear Island. 113 seamen were lost and 81 were rescued, one of whom later died on the trawler Northern Gem.

Alfred Wharton is commemorated on the Chatham naval memorial, 52/3

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details

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