James Robert Alexander

Military Information

  • Date of enlistment:
  • Place of enlistment:
  • Service no: Clyde Z/8148
  • Rank: Ordinary Seaman
  • Service Occupation:
  • Awards:
  • Regiment/Service: H.M.S. Ebro
  • Unit/Ship: Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve
  • Place of Death: Lost at Sea
  • Age at Death: 36
  • Date of Death: 21.03.1917
  • Burial Country:
  • Cemetery: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • Grave/Mem Ref no: Panel 28

Personal Information

  • Date of Birth:
  • Place of Birth:
  • Address: 63 Fisher St, Broughty Ferry
  • Occupation:
  • Mother:

    Ann Smith Alexander, 63 Fisher St, Broughty Ferry

  • Father:

    David Alexander, 63 Fisher St, Broughty Ferry

  • Siblings:
  • Spouse:
  • Children:

More about James Robert Alexander

James has no known grave but is remembered on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial. He was serving aboard H.M.S. Ebro which was a commercial liner converted for use as an Armed Merchant Cruiser for the Royal Navy. James was killed in action when acting as an armed guard on a Norwegian Steamship. Two other H.M.S Ebro crew members were killed in the same incident, they were O.S. Ronald Robinson and A.B. John Simmonds.

James R Alexander was the son of Mr David and Mrs Ann Smith Alexander of 63 Fisher Street, Broughty Ferry. He had been detached from HMS Ebro, an Armed Merchant Cruiser, to be an Armed Guard escort onboard the Norwegian Schooner Najade. The entry in the ships log for 6 March 1917 reads as follows. “7.10am: Stopped and boarded Norwegian ship “Majade” [note difference in name from previous day, actually “Najade”], Lat 61 31 N, Long 11 10 W, ordered to Kirkwall with armed guard Mr Barber RNR in charge. Boarding Officer SH Smiles Lieutenant RNR. Wind still squally south easterly, force 8 in early am with sea state high, reduced to force 6 with very rough sea at 8am, force 7 with high sea throughout pm.” This was a routine event when merchant ships suspected of carrying war supplies to Germany were intercepted on the high seas. Whilst he was onboard, the Najade was sunk by the German submarine U-59 off Fair Isle, to the west of Shetland. Initially, he was reported as missing, but his death was assumed in June 1917 and back dated to 21 March. James Alexander is named on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial on Southsea Common, Hampshire.

Information supplied by Gary Thomson

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