|WW2 Memorial Profiles for West Mersea
ALFRED HERBERT CHRISTMAS
Leading Telegraphist C/JX 141902
Died 10 September 1941 age 22 when HMS CANDYTUFT suffered a boiler explosion. 11 of the crew were killed.
Commemorated on Chatham Naval Memorial, West Mersea War Memorial and the plaque in West Mersea School.
Alfred Herbert 'Bertie' Christmas was the son of Frederick John and Sybil Gladys Christmas. Frederick, age 25, had married Sybil Culpin age 21 at Ketton in Rutland 9 Jun 1917. Frederick's occupation is given as a Private in the City of London Yeomanry, address Bridge Camp, Canterbury. Alfred was born 28 January 1919 in Leicester. By 1931 Frederick and Sybil were living at his parent's house, Burton House, High Street, West Mersea. Frederick ran the Island's laundry from Burton House for many years.
Alfred attended West Mersea School.
Alfred's address was Burton House when on 23 December 1940 he married Margaret (Peggy) Wilkinson, 20, daughter of William Dale Wilkinson, Schoolmaster, at West Mersea Parish Church. Mr Wilkinson was a teacher at West Mersea School from July 1932 to December 1951. His wife and daughter also taught at the School. His wife died in 11 December 1943 from influenza. In 1955 Peggy Christmas was living with her father at Briars, Mill Road, West Mersea.
William Wilkinson on the left, Mr & Mrs A.E. Toombs on the right.
William Wilkinson was the Gardening and Science Teacher at West Mersea School, and father of Alfred's wife Peggy.
HMS CANDYTUFT (K09) was a Flower Class Corvette built at Grangemouth Dockyard in 1940, for convoy escort duty in the North Atlantic. In September 1941, while escorting convoy HX148, she suffered a boiler explosion. 11 crew were killed in the explosion. The vessel was towed to St Johns, Newfoundland, and thence went to New York for repair.
For more on the history of HMS CANDYTUFT see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Candytuft_(K09).
Essex County Standard 20 September 1941
Mr B. Christmas reported missing - News has been received that Mr Bertie Christmas, only son of Mr and Mrs Christmas of Burton House, High Street North is missing and must be presumed killed. Christmas was determined to go in t the Navy and did so at the very earliest opportunity. Shortly before Christmas last he was married to Miss Peggy Wilkinson daughter of Mr and Mrs Wilkinson of Mill Road and the greatest sympathy has been extended to his young wife and his parents.
With thanks to:
Commonwealth War Graves Commission