V & W Destroyer Association was established by Stormy Fairweather
in 1993 to
enable shipmates who served on V & W Class destroyers in World War
II to keep in touch with each other. 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.
HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, is 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.
The Dissolving of the V & W Destroyer Association
Derby, Friday April 7th to Monday April 10th 2017
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 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.
The former officers of the V & W Destroyer Association
President and Chairman: Clifford "Stormy" Fairweather
Stable Cottage, West Bergholt, Colchester, Essex CO6 3JQ. Telephone: 01206-240614 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Stormy Fairweather (HMS Westcott) died on the 19 March and Ron Rendle (HMS Wishart) on the 23 December 2017
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 researched the area and negotiated a concessionary rate with local hotels and made sure the facilities were appropriate for the veterans.St Ives, Cambridgeshire, Friday 15 - Monday 18 April 2016
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.
The Reunion of the V & W
Destroyer Association at Harrogate on 20 - 23 March 2015
Reunion at Eastbourne in 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.
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.