Crest of the V&W Destroyer AssociationCrest of the V&W Destroyer AssociationTHE V & W DESTROYER ASSOCIATION



The sixty-nine V & W Class destroyers built at the end of the ˜Great War" were the most advanced  in the world and arguably the most successful ever built. Although outdated by 1939 they were invaluable as convoy escorts during World War II but those which survived the war went to the breaker's yards soon after it ended. Within thirty years of the first V & W being launched not one remained afloat but during that time countless thousands of men served on them. You can see a clip of a V&W throwing its depth charges on U-tube at the start of a video of Royal Navy destroyers in World War II.

The V & W Destroyer Association was established in 1993 to enable shipmates who served on V & W Class destroyers in World War II to keep in touch with each other. 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 Association publishes a twice yearly Newsletter and holds an annual reunion. If you have a family menbers who once served on a V & W destroyers you are eligible to join as a Associate Member. If you would like to meet men who served with your father or grandfather on a V & W Class destroyer why not join the V & W Association? Members receive the Newsletter and can attend the annual reunion. The annual subscription is £6.


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 wartime 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 69 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.

Prince Philip gave his support to the development of the web site in this message which was read out to the members of the Association
at their annual reunion at Harrogate on the 21 March 2015.


The web site was "launched" at the annual reunion in Harrogate on the 21 March 2015 and Research Editors are being sought for each of the 69 V & W Class destroyers.
If you would like further details of what this involves please contact Bill Forster.


The 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: storm47@btinternet.com

Hon. Treasurer: David Brown
117 Broadfield, Harlow, Essex CM20 3PX.  Telephone: 01279-436534  E-mail: djbdgmharlow@talktalk.net

Hon. Secretary: Vic Green
45 Burton Road, Streethay, Lichfield, Staffs WS13 8LR,  Telephone: 01543-251446  E-mail: 1943grumpy@gmail.com

Committee Members: Ron Rendle and Ted Dawson

Applications to join the  V & W Destroyer Association should be sent  to the Honorary Secretary, Vic Green.


NEXT YEAR'S MEETING OF THE ASSOCIATION
Derby, Friday April 7th to Monday April 10th 2017

The veteran members attending this year's reunion at St Ives in Lincolnshire were unanimous in deciding they wanted to return to Derby where they met in 2010 for next year's reunion. As usual our Secretary, Vic Green, has investigated and arranged for us to stay at the Hallmark Hotel in Midland Road, over the weekend of Friday April 7th. to Monday April 10th. 2017. The cost - £99 per couple per night, £60 per single room. Sadly parking is extra at £8 per day but the hotel is about 200 yards from Derby railway station. 

Book direct with the hotel which requires a £50 deposit stating V & W Destroyer Association. Rooms will be held for us until March 1st. 2017.
Address: Hallmark Hotel, Midland Road, Derby DE1 2SQ. Tel: 01332 345 894. Web address: http://www.hallmarkhotels.co.uk/hotels/derby-midland

RPREVIOUS REUNIONS OF THE V & W DESTROYER ASSOCIATION

Each year the members vote on where to hold the following year's Reunion. An attractive place which is accessible from most parts of the country is choosen. Vic Green researches the area and negotiates a concessionary rate with local hotels and make sure the facilities sare appropriate i.e. availability of ground floor rooms ir lifts to upper floors.

This year's reunion at St Ives, Cambridgeshire, Friday 15 - Monday 18 April 2016

Vic Green, Secretary of the Association, and long term organiser of the annual reunion arranged for us to meet at St Ives, an attractive market town on the River Ouse twelve miles north west from Cambridge and 55 miles north from London. We stayed at the Dolphin Hotel on the bank of
the Great Ouse with the attractive town centre just across the bridge.

The veterans who met at St Ives near Cambridge in 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)

Most 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.

The 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.

After 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).

David 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 rail line.

Bill 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

Last year's reunion was held at Harrogate to make it easier for veterans living in the North to attend. The venue was the Old Swan, a large comfortable hotel, famous as the place where Agatha Christie sought refuge when she disappeared for eleven days in 1926. Sadly numbers were down, only five veterans were able to attend. For the first time Clifford Fairweather was unable to be there and Ron Rendle who served on HMS Wishart took the Chair at the AGM.

Bill Forster read out the message from Prince Philip (see above), demonstrated the web site and asked the veterans to encourage friends and family to volunteer to research the ships on which they served and assist Bill in creating web sites about them. In the afternoon Bill recorded an hour long interview with John Waters who served on HMS Wakeful, the battleship HMS Warspite and Landing Ship Tank (LST) 9. Bill has interviewed seven of the veteran members of the V & W Destroyer Association and all these interviews can be heard over the Internet via the web site.

Annual Reunion at Harrogate
The Veterans attending the annual reunion at the Old Swan Hotel in Harrogate
From left to right: Peter Scott (HMS Wolfhound), Mick Barron (HMS Westminster), Ron Rendle (HMS Wishart), John Waters (HMS Wakeful) and Frank Witton (HMS Woolston)
Courtesy of Vic Green

Everybody agreed that Harrogate and the Old Swan was an excellent choice for this years reunion but as always there was a heated debate about where we would meet next year and after repeated votes it was decided to hold the 2016 reunion in or near to Cambridge.

On Sunday the veterans went on a mystery coach tour of the Yorkshire Dales which ended with a visit to the Black Horse Brewery in Masham.

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.

There 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.

Many 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.

The 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.

Eastbourne 2014

Veterans attending the Reunion of the V & W Destroyer Association at Eastbourne, 11 - 14 April 2014
From left: Dick Fernside (merchant seaman) from Langham, near Colchester, Ron Rendle (HMS Wishart) from Braintree,  Bill Perks (HMS Walker ) from Leamington Spa, Peter Scott (HMS Wolfhound) from Oxted, Mick Baron (HMS Westminster) from Scarborough, Frank Witton (HMS Vortigern and Woolston) from St Albans, "Stormy" Fairweather (HMS Westcott) from Colchester, John Waters (HMS Wakeful) from Market Drayton, Albert Foulsher (HMS Walker) from Burnley.

V & W Reunion at Warwick in 2013

The Reunion of the V & W Destroyer Association at Warwick, 19 - 22 April 2013
Front row, from left: John Waters (HMS Wakeful) from Market Drayton, Ron Rendle (HMS Wishart) from Braintree,  "Stormy" Fairweather (HMS Westcott) from Colchester, Mick Baron (HMS Westminster) from Scarborough
Back row, from left: Dick Fernside (merchant seaman) from Langham, near Colchester, Peter Scott (HMS Wolfhound) from Oxted, Frank Witton (HMS Woolston) from St Albans
Courtesy of John Ellson

The meetings are also attended by Associate Members with a family member who served on V & W Class destroyers in World War II. Why not join us at Derby in April 2017 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?

And if you can't join us then do look up the names of the V & W in which your father or grandfather served in the ship index to read to stories told by her crew. And if you have a family story - or photographs - to pass on get in touch now.




The web site of the V&W Destroyer Association was demonstrated at Harrogate
and editors sought to research the ships on which their fathers served - a guide to assist them is available online
Please contact Bill Forster if you are willing to help research the V & W Class destroyer on which a member of your family served





Go to to the Index Page for the 69 V & W Class Destroyers
If you have stories or photographs you would like to contribute to the web site please contact Bill Forster or Vic Green