James William Kent was born in East London. He served in the Merchant Navu and was killed in September 1941 when his ship enroute to Shell Haven from Canada struck a mine and sank in the Thames Estuary. His home was in Baddow Road, Chelmsford.
James was born in West Ham in 1911, the son of Robert James Kent (1879 -1959) and Mary Ann Saines (born in 1880). His parents had married in 1906 and produced at least eight siblings: Alice Kent (born 1905), Robert Kent (born 1907), Lilian Jessie Kent (born 1910), Henry R. Kent (born 1913), Lilian M. Kent (born 1915), William T. Kent (1917-1917), Margaret M. Kent (born 1919), and John F. Kent (1922-1923).
During the Second World War James served on the 5,729 ton Glasgow-registered steam tanker S.S.Vancouver which had been completed in 1928.On 21st September 1941 the vessel, under the command of Captain H. Farqhar, was on a voyage from Halifax to Shell Haven with 7,500 tons of oil when she struck a mine two miles from the Sunk Lightship in the Thames Estuary.
James William KENT, Fireman, S.S. Vancouver, Merchant Navy
Killed when his struck a mine and sank in the Thames Estuary. Aged 34
The ship caught fire and burned for several days meaning no one could approach her due to oil burning on the sea’s surface. James was one of 34 seamen killed in the incident, along with six gunners. Three men survived.
Thirty year-old James has no known grave and is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial in London.
At the time of his death James’ home was at 248 Baddow Road in Chelmsford.