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James Atkinson 373 Gotts RN - #040

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James Atkinson 373


Service no 7387033  

Petty Officer HMS Electra


This James Atkinson Gotts is my father’s first cousin, also named after their uncle who died on the first day of the Somme. He was born in 1917 to John Robert Gotts & Lizzie Francis.

Jim is on the left with his father John Robert seated and his brother Eddie on the right.

Though both brothers were born in Northumberland, probably Seghill where John Robert was a miner, in 1939 they are both lodging in Wembley, both single working as bottle workers.


As yet, we don’t know when Jim joined up, but we know that he was on board the destroyer HMS Electra in 1941 if not before that.

HMS Electra

HMS Electra was brought into back into service in Sept 1939 with code H27. This wikipedia page has more details of its history

HMS Electra on Wikipedia

On day 1 of the war HMS Electra rescued 481 survivors from the passenger liner SS Athenia, sunk after passengers were disembarked into lifeboats, though Jim would not have been on board to see this.


In early April 1940 HMS Electra escorted two convoys to Norway to land goods and troops to support the Norwegians.  On 13 April it supported HMS Warspite as it attacked German ships in Narvik.


In June, it was part of a convoy escorting HMS Ark Royal when a manoeuvre in fog to allow Ark Royal to launch its airplanes resulted in HMS Electra running into HMS Antelope who had not heard the order to turn left 90 degrees. Both ships were damaged and limped home for repairs.

NB: hover over or tap on images to enlarge