Individual ship associations became unsustainable as members "crossed the bar" and the
V & W Destroyer Association was established in 1993 by Stormy Fairweather
(HMS Westcott) to
enable veterans who served on any of the V & W Class destroyers in World War
II to keep in touch with former "shipmates". HRH Prince Philip, Duke of
Edinburgh, accepted an invitation to became the Patron of the V&W Destroyer Association. Prince
Philip served on the V and W class destroyer and flotilla leader, HMS Wallace,
from the 28 January 1942 until December 1943. He joined as a sub
lieutenant, gained his second stripe on the 16 July and in October
became first lieutenant, at 21 years of age one of the youngest in the
Royal Navy. His Grace, the Duke of Buccleuch, who served on the lower deck of HMS Viceroy became President.
The inaugural meeting was held at
the Union Jack Club in Waterloo, London, in 1993. About 60 veterans
attended and took their place at tables assigned to the ships in which
they served. As a result it was easy to produce a list of members in a
small light blue centre stapled booklet arranged by ship name. Ken Foster, a telegraphist in HMS Viceroy,
was the first Welfare Officer of the Association and is one of the few
veterans alive today who attended that inaugural meeting. "Stormy"
edited the Association's magazine Hard Lying which came out yearly and
a Newsletter was issued by the Secretary between the annual reunions
which were held at hotels in venues selected by the veterans. A smart
tie and blazer badge was designed and produced (and can still be bought
from Claire Rainer).
Its logo is used on the header at the top of this page. Family members
of men who had served in V & Ws could join as Associate Members and
in time took on the posts of Secretary and Treasurer but did not have a
Ken Foster described the first reunion at Yarmouth in 1995 and the holding of a memorial service in nearby Lowestoft for the men who died when HMS Votigern was torpedoed, the biggest loss of life on the East Coast Convoys. The naval museum was presented with Vortigern's ship's wheel. In 1997 the annual reunion was held at Worcester which had adopted HMS Worcester after a successful Warships Week in 1942. A painting of HMS Worcester by shipmate George Garwood (HMS Valorous) was presented to the Mayor at a Reception in the Lower Hall of the Guildhall where this photograph was taken on 8 June 1997. On Sunday the veterans filled half the choir stalls at the service in the Cathedral facing the Choir in the opposite stall. Worcester was also the start of a close relationship with the "Not Forgotten Association" which extended invitations to the annual garden party a Buckingham Palace and to the Chistmas Party at St James Palace.
In 1998 the reunion was held at the Westhill Hotel in Jersey which was owned by Bob Smale (HMS Westcott). The following year at Devonport, Plymouth, and in addition the Committee began to hold twice yearly committee meeting in London aboard HMS Belfast on the Thames. The Association returned to Jersey for its annual reunion in 2000 and in 2001 to Yarmouth where it met in 1996. Although the veterans decided where they wanted to meet the detailed plans were made by the Honorary Secretary, latterly Vic Green. The reunions took on a regular pattern with dinner on the Friday evening, the holding of the AGM at which officers were re-elected on the Saturday followed by dinner that evening. There was a mystery coach excursion to a place of interest on the Sunday organised by David Brown, the Trasurer, and the members dispersed on the Monday but the highlight was always meeting old friends and comrades and reminiscing about past times.
"Stormy" Fairweather edited and published Hard Lying,
the Association's magazine, named after the hard lying allowance paid
to the men on the lower deck of the V & Ws for the hard conditions
they endured, and a Newsletter was sent to members once or twice a year
by the Secretary. In the early years it welcomed many new members as
ship association were dissolved due to falling membership. At its peak
the Association had over 200 members but as time went by and members
crossed the bar the Newsletters announced more deaths of former members
than names of new members.
the 60th anniversary of the Channel Dash in 2002 the Association
returned to Worcester for its reunion. In 2003 it was the turn of
Coventry and then back down south to Eastbourne in 2004 and 2005 where
Ted Dawson (HMS Witherington) lived. In 2006-7 the reunion was held at Llandudno.
2011 Weston-super Mare
2016 St. Ives (Cambs)
More photographs from
PREVIOUS REUNIONS OF THE V & W DESTROYER ASSOCIATION
Each year the members voted on where to hold the following year's Reunion. An attractive place accessible from most parts of the country was choosen. Vic Green, the hard working Honorary Secretary, researched the area and negotiated a concessionary rate with local hotels and made sure the facilities were appropriate for the veterans.St Ives, Cambridgeshire
The veterans who attended the reunion of the V & W Destroyer Association at St Ives in 2016
From left to right (with their V&W): John Waters (HMS Wakeful), Ron Rendle who is 97 and was torpedoed twice (HMS Wishart), Albert Foulser (HMS Walker), Peter Scott was a telegraphist on Gold Beach during the Normandy landings (HMS Wolfhound), Frank Witton (HMS Woolston) and Mike Baron (HMS Westminster)
of the 35 persons attending the reunion were Associate Members who came
to meet the veterans who served on the same class of destroyer as their
father or grandfather. The members of this younger generation are
discovering what it was like to serve on a V & W and telling
their fathers' and grandfathers' stories on this web site. Vic
Green's father was a wireman in the torpedo branch on HMS Worcester from 1940-2 and Frank Donald's father was killed on the bridge of HMS Vimy
at Boulogne on the 23 May 1940. The most recent member to join the V
& W Destroyer Association is Jeremy Ouvry whose father was the
first wartime CO of HMS Westminster. If you would like to join the V & W Destroyer Association e-mail the Secretary, Vic Green, whose father served on HMS Worcester.
main purpose of the reunion is to provide an opportunity for the
veterans to meet old comrades and pass on their stories to a new
generation and this is mainly done over dinner and at the bar late into
the evening. The formal part of the proceedings is the AGM on the
Saturday morning which was chaired by the senior member, 96 year old
Ron Rendle (HMS Wishart), in the absence due to ill-health of the Association's President, Clifford "Stormy" Fairweather (HMS Westcott).
As always the most heated discussion was about the choice of venue for
next year's meeting. The veterans decided that in 2017 they wanted to
return to the hotel where they met at Derby in 2010. The hard working
Secretary, Vic Green, will make the arrangements and send out details
in the Newsletter.
the formal dinner that evening where the veterans wore their medals the
raffle was held with "Pusser's Rum" the most popular prize. A rare copy
of Anthony Preston's classic account of the V & Ws donated by
Elaine Marsh, the widow of Sub Lt Alan Marsh RNVR of HMS Versatile (1944-6), was auctioned and the successful bid made by Tony Monk, the nephew of Albert Foulser (HMS Walker).
Brown, the Treasurer, had once again organised a "mystery" coach tour
on the Sunday which took the members to Ely cathedral and to Kings
Lynne at the mouth of the Great Ouse. Some members travelled to
Cambridge on the longest guided "Busway" in the world along a former
Forster, an Associate member of the V & W Association whose father served on HMS Venomous recorded a 55 minute interview with Albert Foulser who served on HMS Walker
with Bill Perks from 1942 and had some amusing stories to tell as well
as describing grimmer moments on Arctic convoys to Murmansk.
All the veterans who attended this year's reunion have been interviewed and their interviews can be listened to online from this web site. Copies have been given to the veterans and donated to the Imperial War Museum for adding to their Documents and Sound Collection. Click here to view a list of recorded interviews with veterans who served on V & W destroyers and to hear them online.
Peter Scott, Clifford Fairweather and Albert Foulser are awarded the Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur
On the 9 February 2016 Peter Scott received a letter from Sylvie Bermann, Ambassador of France to the United Kingdom, informing him that he had been appointed to the rank of Chevalier in the Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur "in recognition of your acknowledged military engagement and your steadfast involvement in the liberation of France during the second world war". On the 70th anniversary of D-Day in June 2014 France’s President François Hollande pledged to honour all British veterans who served in France during the Second World War.
You can listen to "Stormy" describe his time on HMS Westcott during the D-Day landings in Normandy and Peter Scott describe his time as a Navy telegraphist on Gold Beach during the D-Day landings in interviews recorded by Bill Forster at the annual reunions of the V & W Destroyer Association.
An application form is available on the MOD web site
for any veterans, including Royal Navy and Royal Air Force personnel
who operated in support of the landings, who have not already received
this award from the French government, or have not been identified to
take part in award ceremonies during the events in Normandy. In the
section headed “reasons justifying the proposal”, brief details should
be given of service in France or with the invasion fleet.
20 - 23 March 2015
Eastbourne, East Sussex
11 - 14 April 2014
The reunion at Eastbourne was held in the York House Hotel on the promenade
overlooking the sea on a beautiful sunny weekend. The hotel was
comfortable, the staff helpful and the food excellent. Everybody
enjoyed the surroundings but more especially meeting old shipmates and
talking over shared experiences. There were nine veterans who had
served on V & W Class destroyers during the war and another twenty
five associate members whose fathers or grandfathers had served on a V
& W destroyer. Two of the veterans present were in their nineties,
both alert and active and enjoying life to the full.
was a heated
discussion at the AGM about the proposal to set up
a web site to tell the stories of members, past and present, who had
served on the 69 V & W Class destroyers built at the end of the
First World War and scrapped at the end of World War Two. The Committee
decided to back the proposal and set aside the money raised at the
raffle that evening to fund the development. The stories told by the
members in the Association's magazine, Hard Lying,
over the last twenty years and published by the Chairman, Stormy
Fairweather, in his book of the same name, would be at the heart of the
web site. The aim would be to see that their wartime service will "not
be forgotten" when they are no longer here. And men and women in the
furthest corners of the world will be able to contribute their own
stories and photographs of the ships on which members of their families
served. The newsletter will continue to be the means of keeping in
touch with members of the Association and the annual reunion the most
important event of the year.
of the veterans
attending the dinner that evening had a new medal sitting alongside
those worn in previous years, the Arctic Medal, announced last year
seventy years after the war was won. It is still possible for family
members to apply for the Arctic medal
on behalf of a long dead family member who served on an escort or
merchant ship on one or more of the Arctic Convoys to Northern Russia.
The raffle raised £160.
following day the
annual coach excursion took members on a tour of the South Downs
including a visit to a garden centre for lunch and a visit to the
picturesque town of Lewes with its castle and old buildings.
Chairman: Clifford "Stormy" Fairweather
No successor was appointed when "Stormy" Fairweather (HMS Westcott) died on 19 March 2017 and the Association was dissolved at its meeting in Derby in April
The final meeting of the V & W Destroyer Association
Derby, Friday April 7th to Monday April 10th 2017
Clifford "Stormy" Fairweather,
founder and Chairman of the V & W Destroyer Association, died on
Sunday 19 March 2017. He had been unable to attend the annual meetings
of the Association since the reunion at Eastbourne in 2014. Stormy
served as a "bunting tosser" on HMS Westcott and you can read his wartime story on the HMS Westcott website.
three veterans were able to attend the reunion of the V & W
Destroyer Association at Derby on 7 - 10 April 2017 and the decision
taken to dissolve the Association and dispose of its funds. The website
of the V & W Destroyer Association will see that the V
& Ws and the thousands of men who served in them will not be
forgotten. The funds of the Association were donated to the Sea Cadet
Units with a Training Ship named after a V & W Class destroyer and
to the Not Forgotten Association. Provision was also made for the hire
of web space for the website of the V & W Destroyer Association for
the next ten years. Bill Forster appealed to the families of the men
who served in the V & Ws to offer their support in building the
website by researching their history.
the V & W Destroyer Association is no longer active it is still
possible for veterans and their families to obtain the Association's
tie with its distinctive emblem which appears at the top of each page
on this website. There are limited supplies left but while they last
they can be bought for £3-50 post free from Claire Rayner, the grand daughter of Tommy Vann, a founder member of the V & W Destroyer Association who served in HMS Windsor. For further details or to place an order click on her name to send an e-mail.
The web site of the V & W Destroyer Association
In April 2014 at its reunion in Eastbourne the
V & W Destroyer Association decided to develop a web site to see that the
service of the men who served on the V & Ws will "not
be forgotten". The web site is being built around
their own stories published over the last twenty years in the
Association's magazine, Hard Lying,
and in the book of the same name
edited and published by Clifford Fairweather in 2005 which is now out
of print. The ships on which members, past and present, once served will
sail though time and space on the waves of the world wide web long
after we have all crossed the bar.
The web site is arranged by the names of the ships and men and women in the furthest corners of the world will be able to read about the ships on which a member of their family once served and contribute their own memories, stories and photographs. The first step was to create an alphabetical list of the 67 V & W Class destroyers which will link to pages about each destroyer; a draft web site about HMS Woolston illustrates the approach.
All the veterans who have attended the annual reunion's of the Association since 2013 have been interviewed by Bill Forster and given copies on a CD for their families. These recordings can also be listened to online from this web site. Copies have also been donated to the Imperial War Museum for adding to their Sound Collection. Click here to view a list of recorded interviews with veterans who served on V & W destroyers and to hear them online.
Bill is looking for volunteers to help him add new material about the V & W on which a family member served - get in touch if you would like to know more.
Tell your family's stories of the V & Ws on this website
Now that the V & W Destroyer Association has been dissolved it is no longer possible for the families of men who served in a V & W to join as Associate Members and find out first hand what it was like to live and fight in the cramped quarters of one of the most famous and successful classes of destroyers ever built by talking to veterans at the annual reunion of the Association. But you can look up the names of the V & W in which your father or grandfather served in the ship index and read the stories told by the men who served in her. And if you have a family story - or photographs - to pass on you can get in touch to enquire about publishing them on the website.