Able Seaman James Cairns

Able Seaman/Gunner James Aitchison Cairns, Royal Navy. He was lost at sea aboard the S.S. “Lapwing” on 26th September 1941, aged 26 and is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial. He was the son of Henry and Helen Cairns and the husband of Thomasina Cairns of Jedburgh. He had been born at Coldstream, Berwickshire. It would seem that he was a Royal Navy Gunner assigned to the type of merchant navy ship known as ” D.E.M.S. ( Defensively Equipped Merchant Ship ).  On the 26th the ship was en route from Lisbon to Glasgow in Convoy HG-73 carrying a cargo of pyrites and cork when she was torpedoed and sunk by U-124. 24 crew were lost from a total crew of 34. The ship had already picked up survivors from the S,S. “Cortes” which had been sunk earlier. Altogether 8 ships from the convoy were sunk. ( U-124 was lost with all hands  on 27th March 1943 when she was attacked and sunk in the Bay of Biscay by H.M.S. “Stonecrop” and H.M.S. “Black Swan” ).

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