Image from the Evening Star – 24th May 1941
Born: 18th May 1921, Putney, London.
Died: 17th January 1941; age: 19 – at sea.
Residence: 17, Westerfield Road, Ipswich.
Employed: at Ransomes, Sims & Jefferies, Ipswich.
Rank: Air Mechanic First Class; Service Number: 76454.
Regiment: Royal Navy, H.M.S. ‘Goshawk’
Bay 2, Panel 5.
Relatives Notified & Address: Son of Frederick J. & Mary W. Priest.
Father: Frederick James Priest, born July 1878, Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. A Wood Carver.
Mother: Mary Winifred Priest (nee Scoggins), born July 1888, Ipswich.
John was educated at Dundas High School, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
On the 8th June 1923, John, his 34 year old mother, Winifred, and his 3 1/2 year old sister Freda Kayiah Priest, sailed on the S.S. ‘Montclare’ 3rd Class to Quebec, Canada, to join John’s father, Frederick, at his home – 28, Richmond Avenue, Kitchener, Ontario. Frederick had paid for their tickets. Winifred had the amount of £10 with her and gave their next-of kin in England as her parents – Scoggins, at 11, Clifford Road, Ipswich.
John passed through Niagara Falls/New York on the 17th March 1937. He was 5ft 5 ins in height, brown hair & blue eyes. He was a Methodist and had lived at 11, King Street, Ontario, Canada.
On the 29th March 1937, 15 year old John arrived at the Port of London. He had sailed on the R.M.S. ‘Alaunia’ of the Cunard White Star Limited with his parents. They intended to make England their home and proposed to live at 11, Clifford Road, Ipswich.
Frederick Priest, 58, a Wood Carver.
Winifred Priest, 48, a Housewife.
John is also remembered by Ransomes, Sims & Jefferies with entrance gates, dedicated in May 1958, at Ransomes Sports’ Centre, Sidegate Avenue, Ipswich.
17th January 1941
John was 1 of 121 ratings who along with 21 officers were assigned to H.M.S. ‘Goshawk’ and en route to the FAA base at RNAS Piarco, Trinidad. They were travelling on the Passenger Steamship ‘Almeda Star’. She was unescorted when the German U-96 (Heinrich Lehmann-Willenbrock spotted her about 35 miles north east of Rockall. U-96 fired a G7e torpedo, and two coups de grace at the ‘Almeda Star’ but she did not sink, the U-boat surfaced to shell the ship. Small fires were started which soon went out so the U-boat fired another torpedo which hit the forepart and caused her to sink by the bow within 3 minutes. The Master, Harry Cecil Howard, Commodore of the Blue Star Line, 136 crew, plus 29 gunners and 194 passengers were lost. There were no survivors.