Grainger, Joseph James

Joseph James Grainger’s birth is registered in Flint in 1921 (Flintshire (Mold) FLNT/57/34), I believe the son of Joseph James & Mary Catherine Grainger (nee Jones).    His date of birth on the Overseas Deaths is given as 28th July 1921 in Connah’s Quay.

Joseph James (Joe) is a second generation member of the Grainger family who gave their lives for us all, both from Connah’s Quay.    Joe’s father also named Joseph James Grainger, died in 1924 from his injuries that he received in WW1 and he is remembered on the WW1 Connah’s Quay and Shotton War Memorial, just as young Joseph James is, with just 17 years separating their deaths – father & son.   Please click on the link to read Joe’s father’s story.

Connah’s Quay Cemetery Monumental Inscriptions:-

Page 13 XA 97

In loving memory of Joseph James beloved Husband of Mary C. GRAINGER who died September 29th 1924 aged 36 years. “His end was peace”.    Also Joseph James (Joe) R.N. beloved son Lost in action , Bay of Biscay 24th December 1941 aged 20 yrs.  “Worthy of Remembrance”.   Also Mary Catherine GRAINGER died Feb 14th 1963 aged 73 years.  “Reunited”.   Also Alice GRAINGER, Daughter in Law of Joseph & Mary died June 28th 1995 aged 85 yrs.  “Peace at last”.   Also David Thomas GRAINGER dear Husband of Alice died 28th March 2000 aged 87 yrs. “Reunited”.

I find his mother Mary Catherine on the 1939 National Register, under Mary Catherine Grainer, obviously a clerical error, so we know where she was on the 29th September 1939, along with other family members and her daughter Emily Elizabeth when the Register was compiled.

1939 National Register – Is this Mary Catherine, wrong surname was written.

Grainer Household (4 People)

23 Prince’s Street , Connah’s Quay U.D., Flintshire, Wales

Catherine M Grainer   13 Sep 1889    Female Unpaid Domestic Duties  Widowed  92        1

Sorry, this record is officially closed. Check if you can open a closed record.

Emily E. Grainer (Corbett ) 19 Dec 1924       Female Laundry Worker         Single  92        3

David Jones 18 Jan 1917 Male North Wales Power Company Sales Repres. Single 92        4

Her other son, and Joseph James’s brother, David, is seen living in Garden City on the 1939 National Register:-

Grainger Household (3 People)

33 G City , Hawarden R.D., Flintshire, Wales

David T Grainger        12 Dec 1912    Male    Steel Wks Labourer    Married           288      1

Alice    Grainger          25 Aug 1910   Female Up Domestic Duties   Married           288      2

Marion Grainger (Lloyd)         03 May 1929   Female Under S Age   Single  288      3

Joseph James’s mother Mary Catherine was to live to suffer another bereavement, her son’s death, whilst in War Service and in the same branch of service as his father, the Royal Navy, as she died in 1963.

Probate:- GRAINGER, Mary Catherine of 23, Princess Street, Connah’s Quay, Flintshire, Widow, died 14th February 1963 at the Royal Infirmary, Chester.   Administration, Chester, 29th March to David Thomas GRAINGER, Steelworker.

The sad story Joseph James’s fate and that of the HMS H31 (N 31) is below and sheds light on the events that cost young Joe his life.

HMS H 31 (N 31)

Submarine of the H class

Navy   The Royal Navy

Type    Submarine

Class    H

Pennant           N 31

Built by           Vickers (Barrow-in-Furness, U.K.)

Ordered           Feb 1917

Laid down      19 Apr 1917

Launched        16 Nov 1918

Commissioned            11 Feb 1919

Lost     26 Dec 1941


Took part in patrols off Brest in the Spring of 1941.

H 31 (Lt. Frank Bridger Gibbs, RN) sailed from Falmouth and on the 19th December 1941 for a Bay of Biscay patrol, 250 nautical miles north of Cape Finisterre. She was not seen or heard from after the release by her escort. She was reported overdue on 26 December 1941. The cause of her loss unknown. Possibly a German minefield, drifting British mines or accidental. Lost with all hands.

The date of her loss given is an approximate one. On 24 December 1941 she failed to show up at the rendez-vous position for onward passage under escort towards Falmouth. She was declared overdue from patrol on 26 December 1941.

Sadly Joe was among the lost and must be remembered, as they all do.    He was greatly loved and his name was put forward to be entered on the Memorial






Learn more about the other soldiers on the Connahs Quay and Shotton War Memorial

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