Able Seaman John Allan Stephenson Bland

Oakworth WW2 memorial

Able Seaman John Allan Stephenson Bland, Merchant Navy.

John Allan Stephenson Bland was born in the early part of 1920 and his birth was registered in Keighley in the first quarter of that year. His parents were Allan and Jane Alice Bland née Baker and they were living at 6, Oldfield at the time.
His mother Jane died in the early part of 1925 when John was just five years of age. Jane is buried in Dockroyd Graveyard in Oakworth. John's widowed father Allan was remarried on 17th November 1928 to Annie Emmott at Christ Church, Oakworth.
They had a son, Michael Hermann Bland who was born at Oakworth in 1929.
The family were living at 36, Clough Lane in Oakworth in 1939 although John wasn't recorded there, possibly because he was already serving in the Merchant Navy.

John was an able seaman serving on Motor Tanker Athelcrown in convoy ON-56 on the Atlantic run. She was en-route in ballast from Cardiff to Belfast Lough then on to Aruba. The convoy became dispersed and his ship was sunk by German U-Boat U82 on 22nd January 1942, one of five vessels sunk from that convoy during the week. 32 crew members were saved but five were lost, including John. He was just 22 years old.

They are commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial (panel 11) for Merchant Seamen from both wars, which is next to the Tower of London.

A silver ciborium and silver wafer box were presented by Mr. A. Bland to Christ Church, Oakworth in memory of his son John Bland killed at sea in the 1939 war.

John's father Allan Bland served with the Royal Navy during the Great War and is recorded on the Oakworth Great War Centenary roll of honour in Oakworth Community Hall.

MV Athelcrown was registered at Liverpool, no.161107. She was part of the Athel Line (Tankers) Ltd fleet. Previous cargo runs show her carrying molasses.

Source information:
England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1916-2007
West Yorkshire, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1813-1935
1901 census
1911 census
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
World War I and World War II Shipping and Seamen Rolls of Honour, 1914-1945
Merchant Seamen Deaths, 1939 -1953
National Maritime Museum - Merchant Seamen Deaths, 1939 -1953
Royal Navy Registers of Seamen's Services, 1848-1939
West Yorkshire, England, Electoral Registers, 1840-1962.
Athel Line members website

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