Merchant Navy. British
Roster information listed for James Reeves
|Ship||Type||Rank / role||Attacked on||Boat|
|Pinto||Rescue ship||Able Seaman||8 Sep 1944||U-482 (1)|
James Reeves was in one of the two lifeboats lowered by Pinto to rescue survivors from the Empire Heritage. They returned aboard after picking up three or four survivors and James later remembered that he was soaked to the skin and decided to go down and get changed when the Bosun stopped him. Believing that flying the rescue flag would prevent an attack he wanted to get below, but was stopped again by the Bosun who shouted that a torpedo was coming straight at them. James scrambled as far away as possible but his friend could not seem to move and got killed instantly when the torpedo struck below the foremast. He attempted to release one of the rafts but it was jammed, so he just dived into the water. However, James was caught in the suction of the sinking ship and pulled down. He held his breath as long as he could but then must have blacked out because he found himself on the surface, possibly being blown to the surface when the boilers exploded. Spotting the ship’s jolly boat lying about 50 yards from him with six or seven men, he held to it after swimming to the boat. It was very heavy weather and a large wave swamped the boat, washing them all away. Those with life jackets had troubles to reach the boat again as they could not swim in the heavy sea and only three men were still clinging to the boat after a couple of hours. In the meantime, most survivors had been picked up by an armed trawler but they weren’t seen and left behind. Some hours later the remaining survivors were spotted by an aircraft and HMS Inman from an outbound convoy came to pick them up. On 13 September, he was landed at Londonderry and taken to a hospital because James had swallowed oil. After two or three days he was taken to a hospital in Glasgow where he discovered that he had been reported missing and was believed lost.
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