James Weaver was the son of Hannah and the late William Weaver who lived at 5 Court, 3 Cromwell Street, Kates Hill, Dudley. He joined the Royal Navy, probably before the outbreak of war, and served as a stoker in HMS Indefatigable. This was one of the most modern battle cruisers of the British fleet, launched in 1909 and commissioned in 1911. It was stationed in the Mediterranean in 1914 and was involved in the failed pursuit of the Breslau and Goeben to Constantinople. In November it bombarded the Turkish Dardanelles defences and was then brought home to join the Battle Cruiser fleet of Vice-Admiral Beatty at Rosyth on the Forth. When the German High Seas fleet entered the North Sea for the Battle of Jutland, the battle cruisers were in the first phase. It was their task to hold the enemy vessels until the Grand Fleet arrived from Scapa Flow to destroy them. The Second Battle Cruiser Squadron was led by Indefatigable and with the stokers working under extreme pressure the battle cruisers moved out at high speed. They intercepted the German fleet and halted its advance. However, long range shelling from the Von der Tann seriously damaged Indefatigable's hull and at 2.04 she sank with the loss of all but 3 of her huge crew of 1,017. Stoker First Class James Weaver would have had very little chance of reaching the deck and was one of the casualties. He was 26 years of age and is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial and on the Dudley and St. John's, Kates Hill, Memorials.
Town Hall, Priory Street, Dudley
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