Crew list of Ships hit by U-boats

James Williams

Merchant Navy (R236057). British

Born  31 Jul 1924Edmonton, London
Died  27 Feb 2005(80)

Roster information listed for James Williams

ShipTypeRank / roleAttacked onBoat
King IdwalSteam merchantDeck Boy23 Nov 1940U-123 (1)

Personal information

James Williams later recounted in stories told to his family that he was the youngest crew member aboard King Idwal. He and the oldest man of the crew, a Scot, were the last two reaching the lifeboats after the ship was torpedoed. James was told to jump, which he did, just as the lifeboat slammed against the side of the ship. It would have taken his legs, had he not done as told.

James joined the Royal Navy at the age of 18 and went on to serve in MTB's in Coastal Forces for the rest of the war, mainly pulling downed airmen out of the channel. After the war he joined the Royal Australian Navy, where he saw action in Korea aboard HMAS Warramunga and HMAS Sydney. He returned to England in 1955 where he lived for the rest of his life earning a living in the building trades.


  1. Personal communication

Crew list for Ships hit by U-boats