Service number: P/JX296512
Born: January 13th 1907
Died: May 30th 1943
He was the eldest son of Sir John Stanhope Arkwright and his wife, Helen Muriel Stephanie Robinson. He was born at Lyonshall, Herefordshire on Sunday January 13th 1907. His father was a member of the Arkwright family of Hampton Court, Herefordshire. His father’s sister married Richard Chester-Master who was killed in 1917 & who is commemorated on the 1914-18 Memorial Wall.
He was educated at Ludgrove and Eton and matriculated in 1926. He took his BA in 1930 and a BSc in 1937.
His name appears in an article dated 1930-31 by D.E. Kimmins as having been a collector of British Trichoptera, Ephemeroptera and Plecoptera.
He entered a team of beagles at Cruft’s in February 1932.
He was gazetted on July 11th 1939 to the Hereford Regiment to be 2nd Lt. 12th July John Richard Stephen Arkwright (late Cadet, Eton Coll. Contgt., Jun. Div., OTC.). He was dismissed the Service by sentence of a General Court Martial on November 28th 1940.
He joined the Royal Navy as an Able Seaman and was on HM Submarine Untamed as an Asdic operator. He was a good deal older than most of the rest of the crew. One of his senior officers described him as very nonchalant, laid-back and taking nothing very seriously – ‘a bit like having David Niven on board.” When not at sea, he was responsible for keeping the submarine’s control room clean and he was remembered ‘wafting about with a duster and a tin of ‘Bluebird’ polish’.
She foundered in the Clyde during training with the 84th Escort Group on May 30th 1943. After diving twice, she failed to surface and settled on the seabed at a depth of 160 feet off Sanda Island, approximately 1 and 3-quarter miles SSE of the SE end of the Kintyre peninsula. It was discovered, subsequently, that the forward part had flooded when the external log was not fully withdrawn, thereby allowing seawater to force its way into the boat through an open sluice valve. The 36-man crew were poisoned by a build up of carbon dioxide. None escaped.
She was salvaged on 5 July 1943, refitted and renamed HMS Vitality. She was back in service in July 1944. HMS Vitality was sold to be broken up for scrap on 13 February 1946 and scrapped at Troon.
John is buried in Dunoon Cemetery South 3. Coll. grave 26-50. along with the rest of the crew.
There is a window to his memory at All Saints’ Church, Kinsham, Herefordshire.
This commemorative stone is beneath John Arkwright’s window which depicts St Nicholas, patron saint of sailors, cradling a ship.
The male line of John Arkwrights in Herefordshire since 1814, was brought to an end in its fourth generation with his death His death in war was an ironic fate given that his father had composed ‘The Supreme Sacrifice’, better known as the Remembrance Day hymn ‘O Valiant Hearts, who to your glory came’
See Herefordshire County Records: A63 The Arkwright Family of Hampton Court 11th –20th centuries.