Leading Seaman James Watt Stevenson, R/JX 181153 was one of the 58 casualties on board of the HMS Minster.
Born 11th August 1914, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada
His parents moved from Kilsyth, Scotland to Calgary, Canada around 1912 and then returned to Scotland sometimes after 1925. James was the second oldest of 4 children, and the first boy.
His father was a stone mason, and James followed him into the house building trade.He joined the Royal Navy on 25th January 1940 and progresses to being a Leading Seaman/Signalman.
He married Elizabeth Rankin Stevenson on 23rd June 1943, They got one son James Watt Stevenson who was born on 28th December 1944.
HMS Minster left Torquay on the evening of 5th June 1944. On the 8th June she was acting as an escort for the Mulbery units heading for Omaha beach. At about midday she was in the Seine Bay near the Cardonnet Banks when she struck a mine. As most of the crew were below deck at the mess the majority of the crew were lost.
Of the 58 killed, 10 washed up on the English and French coast, 48 men are still missing and are commenorated on the Portsmouth, Plymouth and Chatham Naval Memorials.
When checking some records I came across an written note in Velsen records:
In Grave 54 N.O.Z is buried a soldier believed to be Sailor/Seaman James W. Stevenson buried 3rd August 1942.This is later also confirmed in a document of 1947.
However there is no Sailor/Seaman with the name/initials J.W Stevenson missing/killed other then Leading Seaman James Watt Stevenson on 5th June 1944.
On a Graves Registration Report, it gives the date of death as 30-7-1942, and when looking Driehuis-Westerveld Allied War graves, this date is missing, most likely as they were not sure of it. On the stone is only say 1942.
Stoker first Class H.F.J Holloway who was a member of the Motor Torpedo Boat 220 which was sunk at the French coast on 13th May 1942 washed up at Velsen on 27 Juni 1942, and also was buried at Westerveld.
But there was no Stevenson on board so this ruled out that the J.W. Stevenson was a member of MTB 220.
There is a possiblity that the date is incorrect and that it would either be 30-07-1944 or 03-08-1944, in which case the unknown soldier buried at Driehuis Cemetery Grave F.33b is Leading Seaman James Watt Stevenson, the only J. W. Stevenson killed/missing during the war.
A big thanks for James Stevenson the son of J.W. Stevenson for the personal information and documents.
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Philip Reinders, 2016