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
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