Able Seaman - Merchant Navy
Peter Ronald Adams was born on 1st July 1925 in Greenhithe, Kent. His father was William Archibald Adams, a Civil Servant, and his mother was Mary Jane (née Hawkes). The first school that he attended was Whitehill Junior School in Sun Lane, Gravesend.
In 1936 Peter Adams joined The County School for Boys – now known as Gravesend Grammar School. The Head Master at that time was the Reverend Samuel Lister. The County School for Boys was located in Darnley Road, Gravesend close to the Railway Station (now the Victoria Centre for Education). In 1938 the School moved to brand new premises in Church Walk, Milton, Gravesend opposite to Milton Church.
The School’s Admission Register lists Peter’s home address as 30 Gatwick Road, Gravesend. Whilst at the School, Peter was in Hill House. At the outbreak of World War Two, on 3rd September 1939, Peter accompanied the School when it was evacuated to Shipmeadow, between Beccles and Bungay, on the Suffolk/Norfolk border.
In 1940 Peter left the School, at the age of 15, and joined the Merchant Navy. His Grandfather had been a Master Mariner and Lighterman. Peter trained at the Princes of Wales Sea Training School in Norfolk, which he left in 1941. He then joined the SS Hawkinge on 20th July 1941, it was sunk by a torpedo from a U-boat on 27th July, while on its way to Gibraltar. Peter was one of sixteen survivors. He also served on the SS British Princess, sailing to Australia. He then joined the SS Nailsea Court as an Able Seaman (Deck Boy).
The SS Nailsea Court was part of Convoy SC 121, which comprised of 57 ships, travelling from Beira to New York. On 10th March 1943 the SS Nailsea Court was torpedoed and sunk by U-boat 229. Peter Adams was just 17 when he died. He was listed as Missing in Action for nearly two years before he was declared Killed in Action. He is remembered at the Tower Hill Memorial in London, Panel 71.
There are links below to Newspaper Clippings and Photographs from the Gravesend Grammar School Archives.
Also links to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website and a few other websites that may be of interest: