Crest of the V&W Destroyer AssociationCrest of the V&W Destroyer AssociationHMS STUART

HMS Stuart in 1930-1
HMS Stuart (D00)
  Courtesy of  Paul Seal, grandson of AB George Gale Worsfold

It is hoped to add links within this brief outline to first hand accounts by the men who served on HMS Stuart prior to her transfer to the Royal Australian Navy in 1934 as part of the "Scrap Iron Flotilla".

HMS Stuart was a British Scott-class flotilla leader  built by Hawthorn Leslie and Company for the Royal Navy during World War I, which entered service at the end of 1918. The majority of the destroyer's service was in the Mediterranean but in 1919–20 she was part of Royal Navy operations in the Black Sea during the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War and she asisted the Greeks in operations against the Turks during the collapse of the Ottoman empire. Stuart re-commissioned at Malta on 9 December 1920 and by March 1925 was the flotilla leader of Second Destroyer Flotilla in the Mediterranean. Her Commanding Officer from 1923 - 4 was Captain Dashwood F. Moir, the Senior Officer of Torpedo Boat Destroyers (TBD)  on the Mediterranean Station.  She returned to her home port of Portsmouth in 1927 and 1929 and after recommissioning resumed her role as Leader of the Second Destroyer Flotilla in the Mediterranean. In 1932 after recommissioning at  Portsmouth in May 1932 she worked with the Second Submarine Flotilla in the Mediterranean.

The main items of interest on this page are the scans of photographs supplied by Paul Seal, from the collection of  his Grandfather, former AB George Gale Worsfold, who served in the Mediterranean on HMS Stuart from 1930-1; sadly apart from the captions nothing is know about these remarkable photographs but they must have been taken on a camera with a good lens by a talented photographer serving in HMS Stuart. It would be interesting if "a view from the Wardroom" could be added - the names of the officers during George Worsfold service are given below.

The Washington Naval Treaty of 1922, the Five-Power Treaty, was intended to prevent a peacetime arms race between the allies who had defeated Germany by limiting the construction of Battleships and Cruisers. Destroyers were not included but postwar austerity led to the decision to scrap some of the V & W Class destroyers and place others in Reserve with a small care and maintenance crew commanded by an engineering officer.  In 1933 the Admiralty agreed to loan the Flotilla Leader Stuart and Vampire, Vendetta, Voyager and Waterhen to the Royal Australian Navy as replacements for five S Class destroyers and their Flotilla Leader Anzac, due for scrapping.

In June 1933 her bell was one of about 100 surplus bells announced as being for sale at prices ranging from 1 to 10. Preference was given to offers from men with a special connection to HMS Stuart (the bell's present owner is not known). She was commissioned in the Royal Australian Navy as HMAS Stuart with Capt Austen G. Lilley in command (and a new bell) on 11 October, 1933. Ironically, this was the year that President Paul von Hindenburg appointed Adolf Hitler as Germany's new Chancellor. The group was derisively named the Scrap Iron Flotilla by Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels.

The history of HMAS Stuart and the other members of the "Scrap Iron Flotilla"  are recorded on
the website of the Royal Australian Navy.

Commanding Officers

With acknowledgment to the Dreadnought Project

Cdr Lewis G. E. Crabbe (Nov 1918 - Jan 1919)
Capt William S. Leveson-Gower (Jan 1919 – 5 Jan 1921)
Capt Charles A. Fremantle (1 Jan 1921 -  Sept 1922)
Capt Humphrey T. Walwyn (1 Oct 1922 – October, 1923)
Capt  Dashwood F. Moir (20 Oc 1923 – Nov 1924) Killed, 1942
Capt Eric G. Robinson (Nov 924 – 30 May, 1925)
(and as Captain (D) of Second Destroyer Flotilla)
Capt George H. D'O. Lyon  (11 May, 1925  – 7 May, 1927)

Capt Montague G. B. Legge (2 May, 1927 – 19 Dec, 1928)
Capt William J. Whitworth (9 Dec 1928  – Feb 1931)
Capt Alfred H. Taylor (5 July, 1931 – 12 May, 1932)
Cdr Edward M. C. Barraclough (6 May, 1932 – 9 July, 1932)
Capt Ronald W. Blacklock (9 July, 1932 – 15 Nov 1932)
Capt Philip E. Phillips (5 Nov 1932 – 12 Dec 1934)
Capt Austen G. Lilley (11 Oct 1933, ship is now HMAS Stuart)
Also CO of: HMS Venturous, Wanderer, Woolston, Vanquisher, Windsor and Watchman


From 1919 - 21

Officers in HMS Stuart in 1919 from Navy List
Navy List January 1919

Navy List January 1920
Navy List January 1920
Offocers in HMS Stuart Navy List January 1921
Navy List January 1921

October 1930 - 1933

Officeras in tHMS Stuart Navy List October 1930
Navy List October 1930
POfficers in HMS Stuart Navl List July 1931
Navy List July 1931
Offceers in HMS Sturt Navy List February 1932
Navy List February 1932
Officers in HMNS STuart in Januarty 1933 Naval List
Navy List January 1933

AB George Gale Worsfold JX 126628

George Gale WorsfoldGeorge Gale Worsfold, HMS Ganges 1926George Gale Worsfold was born in the affluent village of Claygate in Surrey, three miles south of Thames Ditton, across the Thames from Hampton Court Palace. He was one of five children, the second son of Nicholas Worsfold and Mary Worsfold (nee Gale). His father served in the Army during the Great War but his two oldest sons joined the Royal Navy as boy sailors, Nicholas Ayling Worsfold, born in 1904 joined in 1920 and signed on for 12 years when he was eighteen. George was born in 1910 and photographed during training at HMS Ganges (on the left) when he was sixteen, signed on for 12 years on 9 October 1928.

He was rated as Able Seaman when he joined HMS Stuart on 6 March 1931 after service as an Ordinary Seaman in the "big ships" of the Navy, Iron Duke, Revenge, Renown and the V & W destroyer HMS Vendetta which was transferred to the RAN with HMAS Stuart in 1933. He looks more mature in the photograph on the right in "whites" after joining HMS Stuart in the Med.

The name of the photographer who took the very professional photographs below is not know and nor do we know a great deal about the photographs themselves and we would welcome your assistance in putting names to faces and providing further details. Please e-mail Bill Forster if you can help.

HMS_Couragious after collision on 1 Aprilo 1931 at Msalta for
HMS Courageous at Malta for repairs after her collision with the liner SS Florida near Gibraltar on 1 April 1931
Photographed from HMS Stuart with HMS Whitehall (D94) on left

HMS Sturt in Dry Dock Painting ship, HMS Stuart
The Mediterranean Fleet was based at Malta and the photograph was probably taken there during a refit
George Worsfold is second from right peering over the rail at his shipmates painting ship

Speed Trials
Speed trials - after refit in dry dock?

"Washing Over" during Speed Trials
"Washing over" during speed trials

Torpedo Trials abotd HMS Stusrt 1930-1
Torpedo Trials

Lowering the Sea Boat
Lowering the double ended Montagu Whaler with the much smaller motor dinghy with its square transom on the inward side
To find out more about the boats on V & W Class destroyers see this page about restoring the motor dinghy of HMS Vivien

Crew of HMS Stusrt dressed for hiking oin the Greek Island of Argostoli
Wearing pith helmts standing below  canvas awnings and carrying satchels and towells for a trip to Argostoli on Kefalonia in the Ionian Islands off the west coast of Greece
Note the triple torpedo tubes of HMS Stuart on the left

Guard Duty
George Worsfold is third from right in the first of these two photographs taken on the stern of HMS Stuart
Guard Duty
The gun on the right is thought to be a 2 pounder single barrel pom-pom gun with water jacket for cooling the barrel

Guard duty George Worsfold is 5th from right
Sailors as soldiers
Were they guarding the ship or going ashore to "keep the peace" between Greeks and Ottomanns?
Without further details it is impossible to tell

HMS Stuart alongside HM Sibmarine Oberson
HMS Oberon was the prototype for the Odin Class of Submarines

AN Georg G Worsfold on HMS Stuart 1930-1
George G Worsfold in dungarees on deck of HMS Stuart

"Our Mascot"
"Our Mascot", the ship's dog

AB George G Worsfold left HMS Stuart after her return to Britain on  31 March 1932 and after a month at her home port  of Portsmouth joined the V & W Destroyer HMS Wrestler, on 10  June and seven months later her sister ship HMS Vortigern for four months. His next ship  would be very different, a County Class Heavy Cruiser, HMS Suffolk,  commissioned in 1928 which spent most of her prewar service on the China Station. George joined her on 19 July 1933 when Capt Errol Manners took command. His son, Lt Cdr John Manners, commanded  HMS Viceroy in 1944 and was 105 when he died in 2020.  HMS Suffolk  left for Hong Kong soon afterwards with the Commander-in-Chief of the China Station, Admiral Sir Frederic Charles Dreyer, aboard. George crossed the Equator on the voyage south and was awarded a "Crossing the Line Certificate" by King Neptune.

Crossing the Line Certificate  George Worsfold 1934

They called in at Darwin in Australia on their long voyage south and on 27 February 1934 the Northern Standard carried a lengthy report on their visit. HMS Stuart had been lent to the Royal Australian Navy as HMAS Stuart and was completing a refit at Sydney when George was at Darwin aboard HMS Suffolk. An illustrated history of HMS Suffolk's Third Commission on the China Station 1933 - 1935 edited by R.G. Howard was published by the Victoria Printing Press, Hong Kong, in 1935. It includes the names of all the officers and men who served in her during this Commission and many photographs.  A reference copy can be seen by prior arrangement in the Library of the Imperial War Museum.

HMS Suffolk_ Third Commission on the China Station, Ed R.G. Howard 1935
The cover bears the ship's crest followed by her Latin Motto "Nous Maintiendrons"
and the two columns record the places visited between 1933- 5

He spent more than two years on the China Station with HMS Suffolk and rejoined her on 12 September 1939 a week after the start of the Second World War. George Worsfold's story will be continued on the website of HMS Verity which he joined on 6 June 1940 and served in until 21 October 1943.

Members of the V & W Destroyer Assoociation
The veterans did not regard the Flotilla Leaders as true V & Ws as they were larger to accommodate the additional staff required.
As far as is known non of the officers and men who served in HMS Stuart or any of the Flotilla Leaders with the exception of HMS Wallace were members of the V & W Destroyer Association
But the Association was proud to have Prince Philip as its Patron and since he served as First Lieutenant in HMS Wallace  her veterans were encouraged  to join

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