Sapper Jim Emmott

Jim Emmott

Sapper, Royal Engineers. 1010 Docks Operating Company. Service no. 2157659.

Early life:

Jim Emmott was born on 15th June 1916 at the family home at 11, Newsholme,
near Keighley.
His parents were Stephen Emmott and Alice Emmott née Ideson and Stephen
was a farm labourer. They were married on 10th February 1906 and they already
had three children when Jim was born. They were Fred, Allan and Annie and
when Jim was born they were aged ten, eight and seven.
By 1921 Stephen was recorded in the census as a dairy farmer and the family were all living at Cliffe Farm, Newsholme. They had another addition to the family in 1926 when Frank was born.
By 1939 they were still at Cliffe Farm at 9-11 Newsholme and Jim was aged 23. He was working on the farm as a labourer in the dairy, presumably handling the milking and general care of the cows.

War service:

We think Jim enlisted in 1942. We don't have a copy of his Army service record, but in an interview with Bob Cockshott, (who lived at 18, Fernbank Drive in Oakworth) Bob recalled that he'd gone for his Army medical with Jim Emmott in February or March of 1942, at the Mechanics Institute in Bradford.
Bob also said that two weeks later he saw Jim at Keighley Railway Station. Bob was off to Wales for training and Jim was off to Scotland. He never saw Jim again, but he did think that Jim was in the Army, although he didn't recall which regiment.
From other records we do know that Jim was serving in the Royal Engineers and his rank was 'sapper.' He was serving with 1010 Docks Operating Company of the Royal Engineers in North Africa when the Company boarded SS Yoma on 16th June 1943 at Tripoli. They were bound for Alexandria and were in Convoy G.T.X.2, 14 ships including 3 troop ships.

A black and white photograph of a merchant ship, Steamship Yoma. The ship has a dark coloured hull and white superstructure. There is one funnel amidships and a large mast at front and a similar one aft. She is at sea and thre are very few waves visible.

Steamship Yoma, photographed in 1928.

Account of the sinking:

The Yoma was the leading ship of the third column, with two ships astern of her. The next morning, 17th June, was fine, clear and sunny with “light airs”. Around 7.30am the ship was heading east at 6½ knots when she was struck by a torpedo from a U-boat, causing the after engine room bulkhead to collapse and the boiler room,  engine room and number 5 hold to flood immediately. The ship sank within five minutes of the torpedo hit and the records show that 484 of the crew and passengers died as a result.
Jim perished during the sinking and has no known final resting place.

Remembrance:

A greenish coloured stone on top of a memorial wall. It has the name Jim Emmott inscribed into the front face.

Oakworth WW2 memorial garden. The memorial stone inscribed with the name Jim Emmott.

He is commemorated on the Brookwood Memorial in Surrey where his name appears on panel six of column one, of the Royal Engineers section. He was just 27 years old when he died.

Locally, Jim is remembered on the Oakworth Second World War Memorial in Holden Park, Oakworth.
Jim's mother Alice died shortly afterwards in July 1943, aged 59 years and his father Stephen died two years later, aged 63 in April 1945.

Information sources:

1911 Census
England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1916-2007
1921 Census
1939 England and Wales Register
Register of Electors held in Keighley library
Bob Cockshott who lived near Bogthorn, close to Oakworth (deceased)
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
UK, Army Roll of Honour, 1939-1945
England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007
Keighley News archives ay Keighley Library.

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