15/11/1920 – 1/09/2016
Jim was well known and liked by everyone in the village, having a dry sense of humour and ready wit. For more than sixteen years, Jim was landlord of the Three Horse Shoes, ably helped by his wife Clare.
What some of the newcomers to the village may not know, is that Jim also served in the Royal Navy throughout the Second World War, mostly in Destroyers but also served aboard Battleships, Cruisers and Aircraft Carriers. Jim joined the Royal Navy at the age of 14yrs; in 1936, on a starting wage of 9d. per day rising to 1/3d. per day after 9 months. He then spent 18 months at the Training Ship H.M.S. Ganges, learning the trade of Communications. One of the first ships Jim served on was the Battleship H.M.S. Iron Duke, which was later sunk at Scapa Flow.
After a spell in the Far East, he joined H.M.S. Faulknor in 1942. As Leader of “F” Flotilla group of destroyers, H.M.S. Faulknor was soon in the thick of things, being sent to escort and protect the Arctic Convoys.
A communiqué from the Admiralty at the time tells in some detail what conditions were like for a convoy. “………Attempts to destroy the convoy began on September 9th. In this early stage one U-boat attacked and was probably damaged. On the 12th, the convoy was again shadowed by aircraft and it became clear that several U-boats were in the vicinity. Next day-13th, the enemy attacked with U-boats, with aircraft laying mines ahead of the convoy. The first attack that day was a high level bombing attack by about 6 bombers, and later by between 40 and 50 torpedo bombers in line abreast in close formation. Carrier borne aircraft and intense gunfire put up by all the ships destroyed 5 enemy aircraft. A third attack was made by 9 torpedo bombers and by long-range aircraft. 2 more enemy bombers were brought down…….” and so the communiqué goes on.
These convoys suffered continual attacks in the same way, and many sailors and their ships were lost. For his service in the Artic Escort Convoys, Jim was to receive the special Russian Commemorative Medal, from the Russian Government.
Jim then spent the rest of the war alternating between the Arctic Convoys, the Atlantic Convoys, and the Mediterranean, seeing action escorting the Malta Convoys, and taking part in the Aegean Campaign, which was costly in both men and ships. “F” Flotilla is credited with the first U-Boat sinking of the war. H.M.S. Faulknor held the record for the longest continuous service as flotilla leader of any Destroyer afloat, and was chosen to take Field Marshall Montgomery to France on “D” Day.
Jim in Uniform
After serving 25 years in the Royal Navy, Jim left as Chief Petty Officer Barrett, to become the landlord of the Three Horseshoes public house in Towersey for more than sixteen years. In conjunction with Dennis and Sheila Manners, the idea of the Towersey Folk Weekends was born, and it has grown into a national event.
Jim, who married Clare in 1948, has three grown up children, and seven grandchildren, After his retirement, Jim still lead an
active life, being treasurer and an energetic worker for the Day Centre. He was in much demand with friend Arthur Cooper to cook for BBQ’S and the Senior Citizens annual Christmas Lunch and to double as barman other times. He was also an active gardener and grew all his own vegetables.
Jim died on 1st September 2016 at the age of 95.
J.Davies – December 2002