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Name John Rowntree Metcalf
Nick Name  
Last Known Address  
Family Circumstances Single with 4 brothers and sisters.

Unit of Service Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve, HMS Wakeful.
Number and Rank C/TD/X2215, Ordinary Seaman.
Date & Place of Death 29th May 1940. English Channel. (Dunkirk Evacuation).
Grave Location
(if known)
Where Commemorated
(if known)
Royal Navy Memorial, Chatham, Kent.

The Ships Emblem above was taken from a Cigarette Card issued by Wills in 1925.


Details of any Medals, conflict, training or operations which the deceased had participated in during service.

John served on HMS Wakeful.

On the 29th May 1940 H.M.S. Wakeful was engaged in Operation Dynamo to evacuate over 330,000 allied troops from Dunkirk. On the second trip the ship was torpedoed by a German Destroyer.  More details are below.


Other general information. online links, images etc.

John was born in at the family home in Villiers Street on the 9th april 1920.

After leaving school at the age of 14 and prior to joining the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve John had worked as an Errand Boy, Cinema Projectionist, and a Barman at various hotels.


Below is John's Birth Certificate.


H.M.S. Wakeful.

HMS Wakeful was a W-class destroyer of the Royal Navy.

She was built under the 1916-17 Programme in the 10th Destroyer order.

Wakeful was assigned to the Grand Fleet after completion, and served into the early years of the Second World War.

Construction started: January 17, 1917

Launched: October 6, 1917

Length: 91 m

BuilderWilliam Beardmore and Company


H.M.S. Wakeful History.


H.M.S. Wakeful (H88) was a Admiralty V & W class destroyer. It was build by Beardmore in Clyde in 1917.

Most of these vessels were reduced to reserve before the Second World War. During the early part of the war these ships served on fleet duties as well as convoy escort. As the war progressed their fleet duties were taken over by new, more modern destroyers and they were only used as convoy escorts.

In 1937 the Admiralty recognized the need for ships with a good long-range anti-aircraft armament and it was decided that a number of the old V&W-class destroyers were to be converted to fast escorts.

H.M.S. Wakeful was part of Operation Dynamo, the effort to evacuate the British Expeditionary Force from the beaches of Dunkirk. On 29 May 1940 she had just taken on between 600 and 700 evacuees, when she was torpedoed by a German destroyer. She sank in 15 seconds, taking all but 25 men with her.


Below is the Commonwealth Wargraves Commission Memorial Certificate to John.





                                                   Below is the central Register of Deaths which records John.




                     The Royal Navy Memorial at Chatham recording fatalities including John.
























All data is offered in good faith. Should you feel any information is inaccurate or incomplete please contact sunderlandafn@gmail.com