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

Glass Negative of HMS Vivien (D73) in c1930
A positive image of a glass negative of HMS Vivien with the Pennant Number D73 (1919 - 38) taken in the UK by an amateur photographer from Norfolk c1930
The three black bands on the funnel indicate it was taken when she was one of the V & Ws in the Third Destroyer Flotilla after 1925
Click  to view an enhanced crop of the ship

HMS Vivien was laid down in July 1916 by Yarrow Shipbuilders at Scotstoun, Glasgow, and launched on 16 February 1918. She was completed on 28 May 1918 and commissioned the same day. She was assigned the pennant number G39 in June 1918 but this was changed to D73 in 1919 and to L33 in 1938.

In 1921, Vivien became part of the 9th Destroyer Flotilla along with the destroyer leaders Douglas, Valentine and Valkyrie and the V & W Class destroyers Vanessa, Venturous, Verdun, Vesper, and Whitley. The flotilla was transferred to the Reserve Fleet on 4 April 1922 and laid up at Rosyth, with reduced crews but it was recommissioned on 8 April 1925 and renumbered as the 7th (?) Destroyer Flotilla.

In December 1938, Vivienentered Chatham Dockyard for conversion into an anti-aircraft escort, a WAIR conversion, and left with her new Pennant Number (L33) painted on her hull. In November 1939 she entered service at Rosyth as an escort for convoys along the east coast. On 10 April 1940, HMS Vivien (
Lt.Cdr. William D. G. Weir RN) was part of the escort for Convoy ON 25 from Rosyth to Norway which suffered heavy losses, was ordered to reverse course and returned to Kirkwall, Orkney, and back to Rosyth. HMS Vivien depth-charged a suspected u-boat, assisted in driving off attacks by Heinkel He 111 bombers, salvaged items from an He 111 shot down by fighters and rescued the pilot.

In May she was involved in operation off the Dutch coast and evacuated Dutch civilians from the Hook of Holland as described below illustrated with photographs from the album of  Sub Lt Herbert Walkinshaw RNVR. She returned to escorting east coast convoys and Walkinshaw photographed her ship's boats rescuing survivors from the tanker SS Voreda and and the coaster SS Brixton. - see below on this page.

On 10 June 1940 she was part of the escort for the first convoy along the east coast to come under attack by German motor torpedo boats (S-boats, known to the Allies as "E-boats"). On 11 November 1940, her 4-inch high altitude Anti-aircraft guns shot down one German aircraft and damaged another.
Following a successful Warship Week National Savings campaign in December 1941 she was adopted by Bromyard in Herefordshire.

Vivien remained on North Sea convoy duty until the surrender of Germany in early May 1945.  Vivien and HMS Eglinton were escorting Convoy FS 137 on 24 February 1944 when they engaged German minelaying motor torpedo boats which attacked the convoy east-southeast of Great Yarmouth. On Vivien's return to Rosyth an official RN photographer came aboard and photographed the ship's Company. In May 1945 after the surrender of Germany Vivien was sent to rendezvous wiith a German minesweeper M 607 bring four senior captains, three pilots and maps of German minefields between Norway and Denmark. A photographer from the Scotsman took some wonderful photographs from the deck of HMS Vivien of this operation.

She was placed on the disposal list in 1947 and sold to BISCO on 18 February 1948 for scrapping by Metal Industries and arrived under tow at the shipbreaker's yard at Charlestown in April 1948. In September 2021  I was contacted by Jamie Williams who had bought the former motor dinghy of HMS Vivien and was restoring her for use as a family boat. Read about whalers and motor dinghies and the restoration of Vivien's dinghy.

Commanding Officers

Cdr Lewis G. E. Crabbe, RN (22 April  – 14 Nov. 1918)
Cdr Richard B. England, RN (16 Nov. 1918 – 15 Jan. 1921)
Cdr Henry I. M. L. Scott, RN (11 Jan. – 28 April 1921)
Cdr Arthur G. Tippet, RN (4 May – 6 July, 1921)
Lt Cdr Herbert Owen, RN (6 July 1921 – 12 April, 1922)
Lt Cdr Christopher H. Ringrose, RN (12 April – 14 Sept. 1922)
Lt Cdr Henry A. Simpson, RN (14 Sept. – Nov. 1922)
Cdr Geoffrey W. Walker-Jones, RN (22 August, 1923)
Lt Cdr Philip H. Calderon, RN (18 Oct. 1924 – May, 1925)
Lt Cdr Henry A. Simpson, RN (4 Nov. – 26 Feb. 1926)
Lt Cdr Frederick A. Richardson, RN (1926)
Lt Cdr Richard F. Jolly, RN (c. April, 1929)
Capt Douglas A. Budgen, RN (27 April – 10 Aug. 1931)
Capt Eldred S. Brooksmith, RN (10 Aug. – Nov. 1931)
Capt Ernest R. Archer, RN (1 July  – 30 August, 1935) (Captain (D), Eleventh DF)
Cdr David J. R. Simson, RN (6 Sept. 1935 – 18 Jan. 1936)

Wartime COs

Lt.Cdr. William David Gordon Weir, RN (19 Sep 1939 - 6 Jul 1940)
Lt.Cdr. Stephen Halden Beattie, RN (6 Jul 1940 - 9 Jan 1942)
Lt.Cdr. Rowland Francis Leonard, RN (9 Jan 1942 - 12 Mar 1943)
Lt. Lesley Edney Blackmore, RN (12 Mar 1943 - 3 Feb 1945)
T/A/Lt.Cdr. Stanley Martin Booker, RNVR (3 Feb 1945 - mid 1945)


Mid John S. Appleby RNVR (1943)
Wt Eng. F.C. Barbour (18 Aug 1942 -
Mid. Brian James Benson-Dare RNR (22 Sept 1939 - 27 Nov 1940)
Sub Lt O.V. Burns RNVR (4 Oct 1944 -
Lt A.F. Fergson RNVR (29 Nov 1944 -
Surg Lt N. Frank RNVR (29 Dec 1942 -
First Lt Trevor Henry Garwood, RN (22 Sept 1939 - Feb 1941)
Gunner C.P. German (“Guns”), RN (5 May 1940 –
Sub Lt J.R. Grey RNVR (13 April 1945 -
Lt W M Hartley, RNVR (1 July 1941 -
Sub Lt / Lt T.W. Harvey RNVR (9 Oct 1939 -
Mid D.W. Haslam (Oct 1943 - July 1945)
Mid R.O.Hosking, RNR (28 Nov 1940 - 1944?)
Lt R.D. Hutchinson RCNVR (23 Feb 1945 -
Sub Lt T. Johnson RNVR (14 Nov 1943 -
Lt H.D. Lacey RNVR (14 Nov 1944 -
Sub Lt J.W. Main, RN (19 Sept 1939 –
Mid B.L. Mallett RNVR (6 Aug 1943 -
Surg Lt R. O’Kane RNVR (5 Apr 1940 - 30 April 1940)
Sub Lt F.A. Riley-Smith RNVR (25 Aug 1942 -
Lt(E) S.Robson RNR (27 April 1944 -
Gunner G.H. Simmons, RN (20 Nov. 1939 - 4 May 1940)
Surg Lt J.D.H. Taylor, RNVR (1 June 1941 -
Cd Engineer Frank David Evans Teush RN (22 Sept 1939 - August 1942)
Lt C.R.L. Thonger (24 November 1942 -
Sub Lt Herbert Aubrey Walkinshaw RNVR (9 Oct 1939 - Aug 1941)

Former full members of the V & W Destroyer Association who served in HMS Vivien
John Appleby (Colchester, Essex), Brian James Benson-Dare (Eastbourne, Sussex), W. Kent (Hull)

If you had a family member who served in HMS Vivien tell his story on this page

HMS Vivien 1944
HMS Vivien (L33) as part of the Rosyth Escort Force in 1944
Contrast the camouflaged hull with that of Vivien and Whitley in the photo from 1940 below
Photographed by Lt Cdr John E. Manners RN from HMS Viceroy
John Errrol Manners was 105 when he died on 7 March 2020

The first years at war
photographed by Sub Lt Walkinshaw RNVR

It is unlikely that any of the men who joined HMS Vivien in November 1939 at the start of her first Commission after conversion to a WAIR Anti-submarine escort for east coast convoys are still alive but unexpected discoveries can still provide new insights into these critical opening years of the war. Graham Cherry bought an album of photographs taken aboard HMS Vivien by an unidentified officer between 1939 and 1941 which provides an intimate portrait of life aboard a V & W destroyer and records the routine escorting of convoys along the narrow channels between Rosyth on the Firth of Forth and Sheerness on the Thames estuary.

 Interpreting the photographs is made more difficult by them not being in date order and some of the pages having been removed from the album and
offered for sale separately. There are several informal photographs of groups of officers with individuals identified in the caption as "Guns", "Doc" or ""Chief" or, more helpfully, by rank and surname. The owner of the album puts "self" beneath his photograph in the groups. I am assuming he was the photographer but that may not be the case as photographs were widely shared aboard ship.

Officers in HMS Vivien at the start of her new CommissionDespite these problems it was possible to identify the full name and rank of all the officers by linking them to entries in the Navy List for officers serving in HMS Vivien in 1939 to 1941. Midshipman Brian James Benson-Dare RNR was indexed as being in Vivien but is missing from the Navy List for February 1940 on the left. He was wrongly recorded as serving in HMS Windsor. He and his elder brother were sent to The Nautical College Pangbourne to train as officers in the Merchant Navy but the war changed that. He joined HMS Vivien on 22 September, the same day as First Lt T.H. Garwood. The original owner of the Album was Sub Lt Herbert Aubrey Walkinshaw RNVR who joined HMS Vivien on 9 October 1939, the day she commissioned, and left in August  1941. He was also omitted from the NL on the left but appeared in the Navy List for June 1940.

Herbert Walkinshaw never married and died in 2004 and his only close relative was his brother John who died ten years later. HIs medals and personal papers are offered for sale by dealers on the Internet. It seems sad that the record of his life should be disposed of in this way but fitting that the families of the men who served with him in HMS Vivien will be able to read the story of those years on this website. If you can contribute further to the story please get in touch via the link at the foot of this page.

A typical page in Sub Lt Walkinshaw's pohotograph album with his hand written captions
A typical page from Herbert Walkinshaw's photograph album with hand written captions - some details are 'clipped' by the scanner or hidden by the hinges
The story of HMS Vivien in 1939 - 41 is built around these photographs and his captions
First Lt T.H. Garwood was killed when CO of HMS Veteran sunk escorting Convoy Maniac (RB.1)
on 26 September 1942
Courtesy of Graham Cherry, the present owner of the album

The East Coast mine barrier was no protection against attack from the air and high speed schnellboote (s-boats) based in North Germany could penetrate the minefield and torpedo the merchant ships but the twin 4 inch high attitude dual purpose guns of the destroyer escorts provided a defence against both. The album also records events in the tumultuous months of April when German forces invaded Denmark and Norway before sweeping into the Netherlands in May and forcing the Dutch to surrender in a week. I have extracted a chronology by copying and pasting entries on the Internet and have arranged the scans of Sub Lt Walkinshaw's photographs in what is believed to be date order.

HMS Vivien (L33) in 1940
HMS Vivien (L33) in 1940 with HMS Whitley - bombed and sunk  off the Dutch coast 19 May 1940 - or possibly HMS Vimiera (L29)
Both V & Ws were fitted with HA Dual Purpose twin 4-inch Guns as part of their WAIR conversion into anti-aircraft escorts
The paint on the bow of Vivien gives the impression she is travelling faster than she is to mislead German bombers
Photographed by Sub Lt Herbert A. Walkinshaw RNVR
Courtesy of Graham Cherry

Lt Cdr Weir and his Officers

Lt Cdr Willam David Gordon Weir RN was appointed Commanding Officer of HMS
Vivien on 19 September 1939 while she was under conversion to an ant-aircraft escort at HM Dockyard Chatham on the Medway. He was joined that month by by Lt Trevor H. Garwood, his "No 1", Sub Lt J.W. Main and Mid B.J. Benson-Dare RNR.  Sub Lt Herbert Aubrey Walkinshaw RNVR, the owner of the photograph album, joined on 9 October, the day she commissioned. Walkinshaw was born at Glasgow in 1919 and on leaving Hillhead High School joined the Glasgow Shipping Company, Glen & Company. He also enlisted in the Clyde Division of the RNVR and on the outbreak of war was mobilised.

Lt Cdr Weir was born in 1897, the son of a stockbroker, and entered ther Navy in September 1915. His first ship was a Battleship, HMS Dreadnought, but he mainly served in smaller ships. He was a junior officer in HMS Valorous, Wivern and Westcott before being promoted to Lt Cdr in 1927 and appointed Captain of HMS Vega (1928-9), Vivien (1929-30), Vega (1930), Velox (1931-2) and Vanoc in 1933. He would have felt completely at home in V & Ws by the time he took command of HMS Vivien for the second time during her conversion at Chatham Dockyard.

Sub Lt Herbert Aubrey Walkinshaw RNVR
Sub Lt Herbert A. Walkinshaw RNVR
Lt Cdr Weir and Lt Garwood on the bridge of HMS Vivien
Lt Cdr William D.G.Weir (with his back to the camera), 1st Lt Trevor H. Garwood and Sub Lt J.W. Main on the bridge

After sea trials in October Commissioned Engineer F.D.E. Teush and Gunner G.H. Simmons joined the wardroom and with a new ship's company HMS Vivien began her first wartime Commission with the Rosyth Escort Force on the Firth of Forth.  Further changes took place in 1940. Surg Lt R. O’Kane RNVR joined the ship as “Doc” on 5 April 1940, Gunner C.P. German replaced Simmons as "Guns" on 5 May and on 28 November Midshipman R.O.Hosking RNR replaced Mid Brian J. Benson-Dare as the most junior officer in the wardroom.

Sub Lt Harvey Sub Lt Main Cd Engineer Taush
Sub Lt T.W. Harvey RNVR, Sub Lt J.W. Main in the wardroom and "Chief", 41 year old Cd Engineer Frank D.E. Teush RN from Gillingham, who  joined Vivien from the cruiser HMS Emerald
Herbert Walkinshaw wrote "No daffodils please" beneath the photograph of Sub Lt Main dozing in the wardroom

The Rosyth Escort Force

The Rosyth naval base was on the north bank of the Firth of Forth three miles west of the Forth Bridge. By April 1940 the Rosyth Escort Force consisted of ten V & W Class destroyers and twelve sloops. In 1939 the east coast convoys often began at Newcastle but the English Channel became too dangerous in 1940 and the convoys from Canada rounded the north of Scotland and assembled off the island of Methil at the mouth of the Firth of Forth where they were met by their escorts for the voyage south to the Thames estuary. The escort consisted of one or two destroyers plus a sloop and and an armed trawler commanded by a naval officer. The convoys were designated FS or FN according to whether they were heading north or south and had to match the speed of the slowest ship.

In  April 1940 the Rosyth Escort Force included the following V & W Class destroyers:

HMS Valentine (Cdr H J Buchanan RAN), Valorous (Lt Cdr E Mack), Vega (Cdr C I Horton, repairing at Rosyth), Vimiera (Lt Cdr R.B N Hicks), Vivien (Lt Cdr W D G Weir), Wallace (Cdr B I Robertshaw), Westminster (Lt Cdr A A C Ouvry), Whitley (Lt Cdr G N Rolfe), Wolsey (Cdr C H Campbell), and Woolston (Cdr W J Phipps)

Attacks from the air were always a hazard but south of Grimsby the convoys came in range of the German e-boats (or s-boats for schnellboote in German) and after the first e-boat attack in June 1940 the narrow navigable channels between the offshore sand banks became known as "e-boat alley". Fog was a constant hazard in these narrow channels and ships often had to stay in harbour or anchor at a navigation buoy to avoid running aground.

HMS Vivien was usualy accompanied by HMS Pelican, one of three Egret Class Sloops bult in 1935 (and the only one to survive the war) or HMS Bittern launched in 1937 which was sunk at Namsos, Norway, by German bombers on 30 April 1940. They were modern compared wih the elderly V & Ws and their lack of speed was not a hindrance when the speed of the average convoy was only  7 knots. With three twin High Angle 4 inch gun mountings the Sloops had a greater anti-aircraft capability than the V and W WAIR conversions, and with the forecastle deck extending for two thirds of their length were more comfortable than the destroyers and safer in heavy weather.

HMS Vivien (L33) in the foreground with HMS Vimiera (L29) behind
HMS Vivien (L33) in the foreground with HMS Vimiera (L29) behind
Photographed by Sub Lt Herbert A. Walkinshaw RNVR
Courtesy of Graham Cherry

East Coast Convoys

It is possible to track all the convoys escorted by HMS Vivien along the east coast between Southend and the Firth of Forth by searching for Vivien on the the chronology pages of but they were repetitous and and only those where ships were attacked by u-boats or from the air are recorded here. Convoys heading south have the prefix FS and those heading north FN. Where convoys began at Methil on the Firth of Forth and ended at the Tyne  the prefix was MT for south bound convoys and TM for northbound convoys. The names of ships in the numbered convoys are recorded on Convoyweb but this is no longer being updated online and is not comprehensive but is still a useful resource when searching for merchant ships. The greatly expanded 2015 version of Convoyweb is not available on the Internet but may be viewed at Guildhall Library, London. Contact Janet Smith for more information by phone or e-mail. The Guildhall Library is closed at present.

On 24 January 1940  HMS Vivien and Pelican escorted Convoy FN.79 A from Southend and arrived at the Tyne on the 25th. Later that day two unescorted merchants, the Latvian steamer Everemne and the Norwegian steamer Gudveig were torpedoed and sank by U-19 east of the Longstone Light in the Farne Islands. Eleven men died and the survivors were rescued by two fishing boats. HMS Pelican and Vivien turned back all northbound shipping from the Tyne. The unsuccessful search for the submarine continued until 2200/26th.

On 28 January Convoy FS.83 departed the Tyne, escorted by Vivien and  Pelican, and was attacked by German bombers off Cromer and, later in the day, off Whitby. No ships were lost but on the 30 January the 7,216 grt oil tanker, SS Voreda, was hit by He111's of German X Air Corps off Winterton-on-Sea, Norfolk.

SS Voreda bombed on 29 January 1940
The SS Voreda on fire after being bombed and the rescue of her crew by the whaler from HMS Vivien

The rescue of the crew of the Voreda by Vivien's whaler The burning oil tanker and the rescue of the crew by the whaler from HMS Vivien were photographed by Sub Lt Walkinshaw and described by Lt Cdr Weir in his Report of Proceedings at the National Archives (TNA) at Kew. The NA is closed due to the pandemic but further details will be given here when a copy of his report is obtained when the National Archives reopens.

The convoy arrived at Southend on the 30 January. The Voreida went ashore on Winkerton Shoal and the wreck was sunk on 5 February. When the pandemic is over and TNA re-opens I shall add Lt Cdr Weir's RoP to this account.

Between February and the invasion of Denmark and Norway on 9 April HMS Vivien with the sloop HMS Pelican or one of two J Class destroyers, HMS Jupiter and HMS Javelin, escorted a further seven northbound convoys and six southbound convoys without any major incident.

By April 1940 the following V & W Class destroyers were in the Rosyth Escort Force escorting convoys along the east coast: Valentine (Cdr H J Buchanan RAN), Valorous (Lt Cdr E Mack), Vega (Cdr C I Horton, repairing at Rosyth), Vimiera (Lt Cdr R.B N Hicks), Vivien (Lt Cdr W D G Weir), Wallace (Cdr B I Robertshaw), Westminster (Lt Cdr A A C Ouvry), Whitley (Lt Cdr G N Rolfe), Wolsey (Cdr C H Campbell), and Woolston (Cdr W J Phipps).

The invasion of Norway and the Narvik Campaign

The allies had decided in February to land troops at Narvik to cut off supplies of iron ore to Germany but only mined Norwegian ports in April. On 9 April German warships entered major Norwegian ports, from Narvik in the north to Oslo, deploying thousands of German troops. At the same time, they occupied Copenhagen and King Christian knowing his country had no chance of resisting surrendered almost immediately. Garrisons in Norwegian ports were ordered not to resist the Germans landings by a Norwegian commander loyal to Norway’s pro-fascist former foreign minister Vidkun Quisling. The Norwegian government refused to surrender and the Germans responded with a parachute invasion and the establishment of a puppet regime led by Quisling.

Norwegian forces continued to fight alongside British troops. The First Battle of Narvik occursed when a British force of five destroyers enters Ofotfjord on 10 April, both sides loose two ships but the German force suffered greater damage. The Second Battle of Narvik took place when a British force of nine destroyers and the battleship HMS Warspite enter Ofotfjord on 13 April and destroyed all eight defending German destroyers. British forces land at Namsos and Harstad as Anglo-French forces prepare to launch operations against German forces at Trondheim and Narvik.

Narvik was captured on 27 April but German forces were in control of most of Norway and Britain and France informed Norway of their plans to evacuate the country. By 10 June the evacuation was complete and resistance ended but not without loss. The aircraft carrier HMS Glorious was sunk by the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau  and the thirty-three survivors were rescued by HMS Veteran. Fate saved HMS Wren from being sunk with her as described by Bill Baker.

HMS Pelican was bombed near Narvik on 22 April, her CO Lt Cdr Hurbert R Thompson was killed and she was towed to Chatham for repair. HMS Vivien and the V & Ws in the Rosyth Escort Force were not directly involved in the Norwegian Campaign but were on the periphery as described below and photographed by Sub Lt Walkinshaw.


On 5 April Convoy ON.25, a large convoy of over forty ships, mainly Norwegian and British but including ships from other Scandinavian countries, left Methil Road  for Bergen via Orkney. The convoy was recalled on 8 April the day before the German invasion of Noway but twenty-four ships lost touch continuing towards Bergen. The remainder turned back towards Kirkwall in Orkney.

HMS Vivien and the sloop Pelican arrived back at Methil on 8 April after escorting Convoy FN.139 from Southend. At 2030 o
n the 9th HMS Vivien with Woolston and  Wolsey, two sister ships in the Rosyth Escort Force, were instructed to "to proceed to Kirkwall with despatch for the returning Convoy ON 25". They arrived off Kirkwall at 0650/10 as Convoy ON.25 now reduced to eighteen ships, formed into three columns, was leaving Scapa Flow.

Convoy ON.25 and the He 111 bomber

It was an eventful convoy with an attack on a suspected u-boat and the shooting down of a Heinkel bomber and the rescue of its pilot. Cdr Weir described events in his Report of Proceedings and Sub Lt Walkinshaw photographed some of the i
tems recovered from the plane.

"At 20:30 on Apr. 9-1940, HMS Vivien, HMS Woolston and HMS Wolsey departed Rosyth, having received instructions to proceed to Kirkwall with despatch for the returning Convoy ON 25. Speed was increased to 20 knots when clear of Inchkeith, and again to 26 knots when clear of traffic off Firth of Tay, maintaining this speed until arrival off Kirkwall at 06:50 on Apr. 10. At that time the convoy, 18 ships in 3 columns with Caledonia as Commodore leading the port column, was passing through the gates, led by HMS Breda.

Vivien was stationed ahead to port, Woolston on the port flank and Wolsey astern, joined at 10:55 by HMS Bittern, which was stationed on the starboard flank. At 13:30 an A/S contact was investigated by Woolston, but this was decided to be "non-sub". However, when Vivien at 14:25 obtained a good contact and observed a track of oil (58 20.3N 2 24.8W), an immediate attack with full pattern was made at 14:36. Woolston closed to assist and also obtained contact. Considerable patches of oil were seen after the first attack, and a second attack was made at 15:14. At 15:25, Woolston was ordered to rejoin the convoy, Wolsey having occupied her port flank position while she was gone. At 15:36 (15:30?), bombs were seen to fall near the convoy, landing 200 yards ahead of Breda, but no damage was suffered. Heinkel aircraft was engaged by the escort, and was forced to retire to the westward.

Vivien, meanwhile, remained in the vicinity of the A/S contact till 16:24, at which time the decision was reached that the contact had been "non-sub" (believed to be a wreck in position 58 18N 2 25W), though encouraging evidence to the contrary had been observed.

At 17:25* an aircraft was again seen coming from astern with cloudy exhaust, dropping bombs from approximately 8000 feet abreast the leading ships of the convoy and between the centre and starboard columns. The aircraft was engaged, but when it was seen that it was also engaged by fighters, fire was witheld. It was noted to be damaged, though released a further salvo of bombs ahead of the convoy, causing no damage.

The fighters continued the action and 2 parachutes were seen to be released (one unoccupied), then at 17:45 the enemy aircraft crashed very heavily 1 1/2 miles from Viviven in approx. 58 01N 1 53(?)W and must have sunk immediately. Vivien proceeded to the position at full speed, and the following items were picked up (nothing remained of the aircraft itself, No. 6998, He 111, D.H.P-B-Stand):

A map of the north coast and English Channel with coastal sections.
Portion of homing map for Germany with lights
Miniature Jane's Fighting Ships
6 cylinders, believed to be air bottles for life saving gear.
Notebook, recovered by Wolsey.

HMS Woolston rescued the surviving parachutist who turned out to be the pilot, with a cut in his head and a bullet wound in his right shoulder."

Heikel He111 bomber, KG26, flying over thew North Sea off Norway 1942
Heinkel He 111 KG26 armed with torpedos flying very low over the North Sea off Norway
Click on the link to find out more about this 'wolf in sheep's clothing' and Kampfgeschwader 26, Bomber Wing 26
And click on the image to view full size

The items recovered from the HE11 which was shot down while attacking Convoy )N.25
First Lt Trevor H. Garwood  and the crew of the whaler pose at the stern of Vivien wiith the items recovered from HE111 bomber 6998
Standing: Fowles, Pike, 1st Lt Garwood, Howard, Farrant, Mount, Cardy, Hutt
Seated holding the  air bottles: Harvie, Richardson, Scullion

The Heinkel He111 bomber and the captured pilot have both been identified. The objects retrieved by Vivien's whaler identified the plane as He111H-4 (6998) of Kampfgeschwader 26, Bomber Wing 26 which specialised in anti-shipping operations. During the invasion of Denmark and Norway KG26 was constantly on the move from Westerland on Sylt to Wilhelmshaven and from there to Denmark and Norway. Aircraft 6998 was shot down near Kinnaird Head, Fraserburgh, in the extreme North East of Scotland by Flying Officer 'Pat' Leeson in a Hurricane of 605 Squadron based near Wick as described on the forum:

"April 10, 1940: 4./KG26 Heinkel He111H-4 (6998). Shot down in the North Sea, 10 miles north-east of Kinnairds Head, by Red Section of No. 605 Squadron (F/O Leeson, P/O P. E. Carter, and Sgt W. M. F. Moffat) during attack on convoy 5.30 p.m. (Ff) Oberlt Harald Vogel baled out and captured badly wounded, (Beo) Uffz Johann Duden baled out but detached from parachute and missing, (Bf) Gefr Günther Riech and (Bm) Gefr Paul Utecht killed. Aircraft 100% write-off. Harald Vogel was picked up by the destroyer HMS Woolston and landed at Rosyth next day."

A  different account is given here:

"Almost an hour later, Flying Officer ‘Pat’ Leeson from the same unit was leading Red Section out on a patrol when two He 111s were seen at 14,000 feet. The three Hurricanes climbed to attack and one of the bombers was shot down by Leeson, Pilot Officer Peter Carter (Hurricane I L2018) and Sergeant W. M. F. Moffat. Only two members of the crew were seen to bale out but in fact Oberleutnant Harald Vogel and all his crew of 4./KG 26 survived and were rescued by a Royal Navy Trawler."

After his capture the 20 year old pilot,  Oberleutnant Harald Vogel, was treated for his wounds at the small hospital in Edinburgh Castle, and in November 1986 he wrote to the Scottish United Services Mueum at Edinburgh Castle describing how he came to be shot down and rescued. In June 1940 Vogel was transferred to POW Camps in Canada but returned to Britain in 1946, was released in November and returned to his home in Bavaria and later served in the West German Air Force. You can see his photograph and read his account on pages 45 - 49 of Hitler's Early Raiders by Robert McQueen (Whittles Publishing, 2011).

The private papers of Cdr W.J. Phipps, the CO of HMS Woolston, at the Imperial War Museum or ON and HN convoys: reports (ADM 199/24) at the National Archives may contain further details of the action in which Oberlt Harald Vogel was shot down while attacking Convoy ON25.


The movements of HMS
Vivien during the rest of April are not known with certainty but she is thought to have resumed escorting East Coast Convoys between Methil and Southend.  During this period  Sub Lt Herbert Walkinshaw took a remarkable series of photographs of HMS Pelican in the Thames Estuary after her return from Narvik where she was bombed by a Ju-87 (Stuka) dive bomber on 22 April wich detonated her depth charges at the stern. Her CO, Cdr. L.A.K. Boswell DSO, was killed and she was towed to Chatham for repair. The Thames sailing barge is proof that these photographs were taken after her return to Britain on 24 April while awaiting repair.

HMS Pelican with Thames barge at Chatham
HMS Pelican with a Thames barge in the foreground and the naval port of Chatham on the Medway behind
two more views of Pelican showing the damage to her stern when German bombs exploded her depth charges
Photographed by Sub Lt Herbert Walkinshaw RNVR and reproduced courtesy of Graham Cherry

HMS Pelican HMS Pelican

Operations off the Coast of the Netherlands

Germany invaded the Netherlands on 10 May 1940 and five days later, one day after Rotterdam was bombed on 14 May, Dutch forces surrendered. It took six weeks for German troops to  overrun Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and France and sign an Armistice Agreement with France on 22 June and during that time 300,000 troops of the British Expeditonery Force (BEF) sent to France during the "phoney war" escaped to Britain from Dunkirk.

The Netherlands remained neutral during World War 1 and the Kaiser was exiled by the allies to the Netherlands and died there in June 1941. The Dutch hoped to remain neutral in any future war with Germany and after Hitler came to power in 1933 thousands of German Jews sought refuge in the Netherlands, but Britain prepared contingency plans for a German invasion of the Netherlands.  The Admiralty's Plans Division at HMS President, a shore base in London, made plans for sending demolition teams of Kent Fortress Engineers (KFRE), a Territorial Army (TA) unit at Gravesend on the Thames estuary, to destroy oil refineries and oil reserves at Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Antwerp, Operation XD. They would be led by senior naval officers with a naval team of demolition experts to destroy harbour installations in the ports of Ijmuiden (Amsterdam), Hook of Holland (Rotterdam) and Flushing (Antwerp) and would be taken there by Royal Navy destroyers.

Plans were made to bring to Britain Dutch gold reserves from the Netherlands National Bank in Amsterdam and its branch in Rotterdam and stocks of industrial diamonds belonging to members of the Amsterdam Diamond Bourse. Once the invasion began plans changed as events developed. Warships evacuated the Dutch Royal family, the Dutch government, foreign legations and prominent industrialists in addition to refugees, often Dutch or German Jews who had most to loose.

HMS Vivien was one of many V & W Class destroyers  inluding HMS Malcom (V & W Class Leader), Wild Swan, Verity, Wolsey, Vesper, Windsor, Versatile, Witshed, Walpole, Vimiera, Winchester, Westminster, Wessex and Venomous at Nore Command (Harwich) and Dover which took part in these Operations in May 1940.
Two V & W Class Destroyers, HMS Valentine and HMS Whitley were sunk and many more badly damaged including HMS Wivern.  Operations off Dutch, Belgian and French coasts: reports, 1940 (NA ADM 199/795)  at the National Archives contains the Reports of Proceeding of the Commanding Officers of these destroyers and some of  these will be added to this website after the National Archives reopens. The National Archives also holds War Office Report WO 106/1667 on Operation Harpoon to evacuate the Hook of Holland and the Admiralty report on the naval side of the operation, ADM  202/401.


A  month and a day after the invasion of Denmark and Norway, Germany launched its blitzkrieg of the Low Countries and France.  By the 10 May  the following destroyers had been transferred to Nore Command (Harwich), including the Dover Sub Command under Vice-Admiral Bertram H Ramsay: HMS Vivien of Convoy C was detached from the Rosyth Command and HMS Vimy, Versatile, Wessex, Walpole, Windsor, Vesper, Vivacious and Venetia from various flotillas in Western Approaches Command. 
HMS Vivien's part in Operations off the Coast of the Netherlands centered on the Hook of Holland, in peacetime the ferry port which linked Parkstone Quay at Harwich to the Netherlands. The Hook was on the New Waterway which connected Rotterdam to the North Sea. If only Sub Lt Walkinshaw had kept a journal we would have a much better understanding of events. As it is all we have at present are the captions in his album and a basic ouline of events derived from the chronolology in and other sources.

HMS Wild Swan had landed Cdr James Corrie Hill and XD-B (Rotterdam) at the Hook on 10 May and a detailed description of attempts to retrieve Dutch Gold and the destruction of refineries and oil reserves at Rotterdam is given on the website for Wild SwanHMS Venomous and Verity landed 400 Marines to protect the perimeter of the Hook at sunrise on Sunday 12 May.
HMS Wild Swan had damaged its propellor and HMS Malcolm (Captain T. E. Halsey, D.16) arrived at Hook of Holland at 0537/13th to relieve HMS Wild Swan as senior naval officer and take charge of the evacuation.  At 0700 on Monday 13 May a mixed battalion of Welsh and Irish Guards led by Lt Col Joseph Haydon was landed by SS Canterbury and Maid of Orleans (Operation Harpoon) escorted by HMS Keith, Wolsey, Wivern and Borea. The Hook was under constant attack by German bombers but plans to evacuate the Royal Family, Dutch Governmment, foreign legations and prominent industrialists could now be implemented. Queen Wilhelmina was greeted by Lt Col Haydon, embarked in HMS Herward and left for Britain at noon escorted by HMS Vesper.

HMS Vivien aslongside at the Hook with refugees on thge quayside
HMS Vivien berthed alongside at Hook of Holland and well dressed refugees are standing by their cars waiting to embark for Britain
Photographed by Sub Lt Herbert Walkinshaw RNVR and reproduced courtesy of Graham Cherry

Refugges at the Hook of Holland waiting to board HMS Vivien

Mid Brian James Benson-Dare RNRMid Brian James Benson-Dare RNRHMS Vivien and HMS Windsor were two of the destroyers which carried out the evacuation from the Hook of Holland on the evening of Whit Monday 13 May. We have an eye witness account by Midshipman Brian James Benson-Dare who was on the bridge of HMS Vivien during the evacuation.

Benson-Dare does not appear in any of the photographs in Herbert Walkinshaw's album but his son, David Benson-Dare, sent me these two taken on 12 September 1939 (left) and looking a little more mature on 8 July 1940 (right). White covers were added to caps in Summer until Mountbatten decided it should be summer all year round and standardised on white!

Mid. Benson-Dare related an amusing but revealing incident in a letter to the Editor of the Newsletter of the V & W Destroyer Association published in Issue 13,  2001:

"En route to England the French Ambassador and his wife were among the evacuees. All females were accommodated in the wardroom or officers’ cabins, including the Captain’s. All men were accommodated for’d in the messdecks. This met with the disapproval of the Ambassador who sent a message to the bridge telling the Captain to come aft and see him as he required the Captain’s cabin for himself and his wife. The crew were at action stations. The captain could not leave the bridge and sent a message that the Ambassador must come to the bridge, this he did and got no sympathy. The Ambassador had to come for’ard, his wife and other females occupied the Captain’s cabin.

Again, there was trouble as the Ambassador more or less demanded that the ship should alter course to France as he did not wish to go to England. France was being occupied by the Germans and there was heavy bombardment by air and land. Again, this demand was refused. Midshipman Benson-Dare was on the bridge at action stations when all this occurred.

In contrast, the Belgian Consul was most popular amongst the ship’s company and when the evacuees were landed at Tilbury he was given a rousing cheer and clapped as he went down the gangway."

The wardroom, Captain's cabin and the small cabins of the other officers were at the stern of Vivien beneath the raised quarter deck but above the waterline with access via a small hatch and a steep ladder to a short corridor. The cramped cabins with bunk beds were luxurious compared with the messdecks beneath the raised foredeck where the ratings slept in hammocks. The Captain had a small sea cabin immediately below the bridge where he would be on call by the officer of the Watch at a moments notice. Lt Cdr Weir must have been perplexed at having to consider questions of protocol and ambassadorial dignity when at action stations and liable to be bombed.

Baron D'Arnauld de VitrollesLeon Nemry, Belgium Ambassador to the Netherlands in 1940
The Belgium Ambassador,
Léon Charles Joseph Nemry, was a 57 years old diplomat who began his career before the Great War as Vice Consul at Cologne and served in Teheran, Manilla, Lima, Albania and Copenhagen before being appointed head of the Embassy in The Hague on 20 October 1939. The invasion of Belgium may have been anticipated but not that of the Netherlands.

In London Léon Nemry became the Belgium  Ambassador to the Dutch, Norwegian and Greek Governments in exile and in 1945 returned to The Hague as Ambassador until his retirement in 1949.  He received awards from their governments as well as his own. I would like to acknowledge the assistance of the Belgium Diplomatic Archives which supplied tthese details in response to an enquiry I made to the Belgium Embassy in London. His photograph on the left,  taken in 1948, is in the Anefo Collection at the Haags Gemeentearchief - click to view whole image.

The French Ambassador, Edouard Regis Bache, was a 62 year old minor aristocrat with the title of Baron D'Arnauld de Vitrolles. He had seven siblings and we hope to receive further details of him from his family.  The photograph on the right by Erich Salomon was taken in 1935 (Haags Gemeentearchief Ref: 1.60183), click the image to view uncropped. The occupation of France and the loss of his family and position in society must have come as a shock. He died in a traffic accident during the wartime "blackout" on 1 October 1940 and an obituary was published in the Catholic Herald on 11 October 1940:

"Baron de Vitrolles was French Ambassador to Holland.
Solemn Requiem was celebrated at Notre Dame de France, Leicester Place, on Monday, for the late French Ambassador to the Netherlands, Baron d'Arnauld de Vitrolles; victim of an accident in the black-out last week. He was run over by a vehicle in Hamilton Place, Piccadilly.

Baron de Vitlrolles came to London with Queen Wilhelmina after the German invasion of Holland as the accredited representative of the democratic French Republic.

He was 60 years of age, and leaves a wife and children who, being resident in France, were not able to be present at the funeral.

The deceased Baron's diplomatic relations with the Dutch Government ceased after the formation of the Vichy Government.

The Diplomatic Corps attended in number. Queen Wilhelmina and Prince Bernhard were each represented. Admiral Masilier, too, sent a representative.

The "deuillants" or absent family were represented by M.'heriier, French Charge d'Affaires, M. Jalinque, Consul or France, and M. Bouillet, of the French Embassy, Magnificent wreaths from Queen Wilhelmina, Prince Bernhard, the French Embassy, Navy and Colony covered the coffin.

The British Press made no reference to the ceremony."

Unidentified Dutch refugees from Hook of Holland aboard HMS Vivien
Dutch refugees on the port side of the upper deck aft, above the officers cabin flat where the ladies were to be accommodated
If you can
can identify anybody in this photograph please get in touch now
Photographed by Sub Lt Herbert Walkinshaw RNVR and reproduced courtesy of Graham Cherry

The officers cabins and wardroom reserved for the ladies are beneath the deck on which they are standing and the mount for the twin 4-inch HA dual purpose guns are on the superstructure behind. The gentleman in a dark overcoat on the right is thought to be George van Tets van Goudriaan head of Queen Wilhelmina's private office. The flood lamp above their heads and twin machine gun mount on the left are also in the photograph of the crew of the whaler posing with the the items from the Heinkel bomber.

High speed chase of sub Depth charging
Vivian leaving the Hook at high speed, which is under air attack in the distance
Photographed by Sub Lt Herbert Walkinshaw RNVR and reproduced courtesy of Graham Cherry

Vivien was bombed by three Junker, slipped her wires and left the Hook in a hurry. HMS Versatile was bombed at 2140 and her engine room put out of action. She could neither steer or steam and two officers and five ratings were killed. She was towed away from the jetty by HMS Malcolm and taken in tow by HMS Janus outside the harbour. Versatile arrived Sheerness at 1940/14 .

HMS Vivien was ordered to Ijmuiden but with the harbour entrance blocked and the port being bombed she headed to Tilbury, the main passenger port for London 25 miles down river from Tower Bridge on the Essex shore where P & O liners docked and the London Midland and Scottish Railway had its terminal.  HMS Vivien, Windsor and Mohawk arrived early the next morning at Southend.

Within a week of Vivien's return from the Hook of Holland Midshipman Benson-Dare heard of the death of his older brother, Lt Ronald W. 'Pat' Benson-Dare, RN, a 23 year old pilot with Fleet Air Arm Squadron 700 flying a catapult launched Supermarine Walrus flying boat from the cruiser, HMS Devonshire. He was shot down 32 miles south west of Tromso, Norway, on 18 May by a Heinkel He 111. The only survivor, David Corkhill, gives a very vivid description of the fight in an online recording at the IWM and Brian Benson-Dare contributed to a detailed account of the death of his brother written by Jan Stuart for Issue 50 of Jaberwok, the magazine of Friends of the Fleet Air Arm Museum.

Refugees after landing at Parkstone Quay, Harwich
Refugees at Tilbury, uncertain what the future holds in store for them
Read about the restoring of Vivien's motor launch hanging on the starboard side
Photographed by Sub Lt Herbert Walkinshaw RNVR and reproduced courtesy of Graham Cherry

The Welsh and Irish Guards were evacuated from the Hook of Holland by twelve destroyers on the 14 May (Operation Ordnance), led by Capt T.E. Halsey, Captain D16 in the Flotilla Leader HMS Malcolm, the SNO at the Hook.  Eight V & W Class destroyers took part: HMS Whitshed, Verity, Wivern, Wolsey, Whitley, Winchester, Vesper and Westminster. A week later on 22 May the Guards  were taken to Boulogne by requisitioned cross channel ferries, escorted by V & Ws, to defend the harbour city which was in danger falling to German forces advancing east along the coast from Abbeville to encircle the BEF at Dunkirk. The next day, under fire from German tanks, snipers and bombers they were evacuated from the narrow  harbour by the Flotilla Leader HMS Keith and seven V & W destroyers in a dramatic prelude to Operation Dynamo, the evacuation from Dunkirk.

While these events were taking place HMS Vivien was back on the - usually - humdrum job of escorting east coast convoys.  On 9 June Convoy FN.192 departed Southend, escorted by Vivien. When east of Lowestoft she reported attacks by German e-boats, the first reported attack by e-boats on an east coast convoy. The SS Baron Elphinstone (4635 grt) at the rear of the convoy was attacked near Smith's Knoll. The destroyers HMS Jackal and Foresight were ordered to close the convoy for the night and remain with it until daylight and two Anson and two Hudson arcraft shadowed the convoy and attacked the German vessels northeast of Schouwen Bank off the Dutch coast at 0355/10.  The convoy arrived at the Tyne on the 11th.  The Gazette of 5 July announced that Lt Cdr Weir was Mentioned in Despatches (MID) and AB Horace Leslie Osborne was awarded the DSM "for skillful services in helping to save a Convoy when attacked by enemy motor torpedo boats at night". The narrow channels off the coast of Norfolk and Suffolk became known as "e-boat alley" due to the fequency of these attacks.

On 6 July Lt Cdr Weir was succeeded as CO of HMS Vivien by Lt Cdr S.H. Beattie. Weir had ben CO since 19 September 1939 and his officers had known no other. Three days later he was awarded the OBE in the 1940 Kings Birthday Honours List, postponed from 13 June due to the change of cabinet when Winston Churchill took over as PM in May. All the awards were in recognition of war service and it is reasonable to asume that he received the OBE for the evacuation of civilians from the Hook of Holland. He commanded the MTB base HMS Hornet and was made CO of HMS Windsor in early 1941 but his health had not been good for some years and he was placed on the Retired List on account of age with the rank of Commander on 23 May, 1942. He continued in service at shore bases in the tropics including HMS Malabar, Bermuda, in 1943 and left the service in 1947.

Lt Cdr Stephen H. Beattie RNLt Cdr Beattie, a future winner of the Victoria Cross

 The new CO, Stephen Haldane 'Sam' Beattie, was  born in 1908 at the Vicarage in Leighton, Wales, where his father was a Presbyteriam Minister. He was educated at Rugby and joined the Navy as a direct entry in 1925. He had served as a Midshipman and Sub Lieutenant in the battleships HMS Barham and HMS Warspite in the 1920ies, as a lieutenant in the V & Ws HMS Windsor and HMS Vesper (in reserve) and as First Lt of the destroyers HMS Arrow and HMS Zulu before being given command of HMS Vivien as Lt Cdr S.H. Beattie RN. Glory and the award of the VC for his part in the raid on St Nazaire lay ahead.

The convoys along the east coast were protected by the east coast minefield from German e-boats and the dual purpose high attitude 4-inch Guns of the WAIR converted V & W escorts provided a defence against e-boats and bombers but mines parachuted by German aircraft parachuted into the narrow navigable channels presented a new hazard after the fall of France.

On the 13 August HMS Vivien and the sloop Fleetwood  left the Tyne with Convoy FS.251 for Southend and on 15 August the 1,557 collier SS Brixton detonated a mine off the Suffolk coast near Orford Ness. Herbert Walkinshaw photographed Vivien lowering her whaler to  rescue her crew. The collier was sunk but nobody was killed and the convoy arrived at Southend later that day. Lt Cdr Beattie described the mining and the rescue in his report (ADM 199/220/77).

The collier Brixton bombewd. Vivien lowers her whaler to rescue the crew
Vivien lowers her whaler - or motor dinghy?- to rescue survivors from the collier SS Brixton - also see below
The 16 ft motor dinghy is being lowered from it davits on the starboard side
Photographed by Sub Lt Herbert Walkinshaw RNVR and reproduced courtesy of Graham Cherry

The whaler from HMS Vivien rescuing survivors from the SS Brixton

The whaler from HMS Vivien rescuing survivors from the SS Brixton
There are thirteen men in this photograph of the rescue of survivors from the coaster SS Brixton

Could they fit in the 16 foot motor dinghy slung on the starboard side of HMS Vivien or was the 27 ft whaler on the port side used?

Speed trials
"Full power trials in July 1940"
The searchlight platform is in the foreground and a quad mtg with four magazines for a machine gun b
etween it and the whaler

Officers and Gentlemen
Officers in Vivien
The caption "Guns, Hoskins, Self, Doc" identifies them as
Gnr G.H. Simmons, Mid Hoskins, Waliknshaw (self) Surg Lt R. O’Kane RNVR (whose beard resembled that of his CO, Lt Cdr S.H. Beattie)
It looks as if they have donned thick heavy gloves to protect their uniforms from the oil on the 0.5 inch Browning machine gun

The caption in the album: "Clyde, April 1940:  Chief, Doc , Guns, Self" (front)
From left: Cd Eng Teush, Surg Lt Kane, Gnr Simmons and Walkinshaw (front)
Wearing the same gloves so taken at the same time and just
fooling around

Ratings and shipmates
Waiting their turn for the Barber's Chair
"Standing: Kelly, Davie, Thurlow, Firlie, Stoker    Sitting: Donald, Hickmott, Cabbey"
The HO rating cutting their hair may have been a barber before the war

Several hundred convoys were escorted along the east coast duing the war and the numbers assigned to FN and FS convoys became unwieldy and they were given an additional numeric prefix to distinguish between years but discrepancies arise between the numbers assigned by commanding officers to their reports in the National Archives and the numbers used on websites and in books.

On 16 October HMS Vivien was attacked by German e-boats while escorting a north bound convoy referred to as Convoy F9 but the RoP of the senior officer of the convoy is in doubt and can not at present be given with certainty.

The gun crew on HMS Vivien
The gun crew display shells for the QF 4 inch Mk XVI guns used to shoot down an enemy aircraft and severely damage another
Photographed by Lt S.J. Beadell, RN Official Photographer (IWM Ref A1770)
November 1940

11 November
Convoy FN.332 departed Southend, escorted by destroyer VIVIEN and sloop LONDONDERRY. The convoy arrived at Methil on the 14th.
Convoy FS.333 departed Methil, escorted by destroyers EGLINTON and WATCHMAN. The convoy arrived off Southend on the 13th.

German bombers attacked convoys FN.332 and FS.333.
Norwegian steamer RAVNANGER (3371grt) was sunk by German bombing one to one and half miles northeast of No. 20 Buoy, Middlesborough, in Tees Bay.
One crewman was lost on the Norwegian steamer.
British steamers CORSEA (2764grt), CORDUFF (2345grt), and COLONEL CROMPTON (1495grt) in a convoy were damaged by German bombing in Barrow Deep off Middlesborough.

Escorting escort vessel VIVIEN (Lt Cdr F. H. Beattie) shot down one Junkers bomber, sloop LONDONDERRY (Cdr J. S. Dalison) shot down another Junkers bomber, tug ST MELLONS (T/Lt H. L. Forster DSC RNR) shot down a Messerschmidt.

Reports of Proceedings at NA:
ADM 199/39/27
Convoy: FS 30 and FS 31.

Report of Proceedings for convoy FS 30 by Commanding Officer, HMS Lowestoft. Includes details of sinking of SS Baltrader. 1940 Nov 11.
The cargo ship (1,699 GRT, 1919) struck a mine and sank in the North Sea (51°41′N 1°18′E) with the loss of two crew.[8][52]

Report of Proceedings for convoy FS 31 by Commanding Officer, HMS Londonderry. 1940 Nov 13.

Report by Commanding Officer, HMS Vivien, on damage to enemy aircraft while escorting convoy FS 31.
1940 Nov 12.

By March 1941 HMS Vivien had transferred to Western Approaches Command amd was based at Liverpool or Geenock on the Clyde.

The "Good Shepherd" with one of her charges
Vivien "Sheperding" a convoy
Vivien escorting a convoy Seasbids accompany ship in convoy
Rescue on convoy
Seamen crowd the rail as a survivor climbs a scrambling net to safety aboard a convoy escort
The camouflage scheme suggests these photograph of a WAIR converted V & W  were  taken in 1941 when Vivien was based at Greenock
There are no Pennant Numbers  visible  but if they are of HMS Vivien they could not have been taken by Sub Lt Walkenshaw

The "Good Shepherd" has not been identified but is unlikely to be HMS Vivien if Sub Lt  Walkinshaw took the photographs. She is painted in the distinctive Western Approaches camouflage developed by Lt Peter M. Scott RNVR, while First Lt of V & W Class Leader, HMS Broke. Scott, the son of "Scott of the Antarctic", became famous after the war as author and television presenter of programmes on natural history and founder of the Slimbridge Wetland Wildlife reserve. By May 1941, all ships in the Western Approaches were ordered to be painted in Scott's camouflage scheme and these two photographs of a WAIR converted V & W were probably taken after HMS Vivien was moved to Western Approaches Command at Greenock on the Clyde. The WA Camouflage Scheme is described and illustrated with drawings by Alan Raven snd John Roberts in their little known booklet V & W Destroyers, published in Britain by Arms and Armour Press in 1979.

Members of the "Atlantic Club" sailing the ship's whaler
click on the images to view full size in separate windows
The Atlantic Club in the ship's whaler
The caption: "Guns, Main, Doc, Chief, Hoskins"with "Self" - sprawled in front
Gunner G.H. Simmons, Sub Lt J.W. Main, Surg Lt R. O’Kane RNVR, Cd Eng F.D.E. Teush, Mid R.O Hosking RNR and Sub Lt H. Walkinshaw as "Self"

Atlantic Club
The caption: "Vivien's whaler - Guns, self Main"
Gunner G.H. Simmons, Walkinshaw and Sub Lt Main

From Windjammers to Battleships!

Because of its position in Herbert Walkinshaw's photograph album immediately after the photographs of HMS Pelican I assumed this photograph of the famous Windjammer Padua built at Bremerhaven in 1925 was taken in 1940 while she was being towed by a tug to Britain after being seized in a Norwegian port but I found no evidence that she had ever been in Norway and on digging a little deeper found she had featured in two popular wartime German films including Grosse Freiheit Nr. 7  (Great Freedom Street No. 7) set  in Hamburg with its port pubs  and restaurants which ran foul of German censors but is still highly regarded today. I was reluctantly forced to the conclusion that it was photographed after the war when she was the Russian Sail Training Ship Kruzenshtern.

I thought the Padua was the only surviving member of the Flying-P Line still afloat but I was wrong. The Peking  was built at Hamburg in 1911 and was for forty years a museum ship in New York but in  2017 returned to Hamburg on a heavy lift ship and underwent a three-year restoration at Peters Werft shipyard in Wewelsfleth, Germany. In September 2020 the Peking was towed back to Hamburg, greeted by a flotilla of supporters and throngs of wellwishers along the riverbanks. The ship will be the centerpiece of a new German Port Museum, part of Historic Museums Hamburg, scheduled to be completed by 2025. Read more about her on "The Old Salt Blog".

The Italian "Windjammeer" Padua being towed from Norway to Britain
Sub Lt Walkinshaw gave the name of this "Windjammer" as Padua and positioned the photograph in his album immediately after those of HMS Pelican
The Padua was given to Russia after the war and is now the Sail Training Ship  Kruzenshtern
Photographed by Sub Lt Herbert Walkinshaw RNVR and reproduced courtesy of Graham Cherry

Sub Lt Walkinshaw' s photograph album also contained some striking photographs of HMS Vanguard, the last battleship to be built for the Royal Navy. HMS Vanguard was laid down on Clydebank in 1941 and commissioned on 25 April 1946 but since Walkinshaw left the Navy on 18 November 1946 he is unlikely to have served in her. He remained active in the RNR and retired as Capt Herbert A. Walkinshaw RNR, Commanding officer of the Clyde Division, at HMS Graham, Govan, in 1964.

HMS Vanguard was arguably the best battleship ever built and her AA protection was “the best and most sophisticated… ever fitted on a British battleship" claims R.A. Burt author of The Last British Battleship: HMS Vanguard, 1946-1960 (Seaforth Publishing, 2019). Vanguard took King George VI and his family on the first Royal Tour of South Africa in 1947 but a Royal Tour of Australia and New Zealand in 1948 was cancelled due to King George's declining health.  In 1953 she took part in Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation Review and Herbert Walkinhaw's allbum contains several photograhs taken aboard Vanguard. She was sold for scrap and broken up in 1960.

HMS Vanguard, the last British Battleship (1946)
HMS Vanguard with her crew assembled at the bow beneath her main 15 inch guns which could fire 2,000 ib shells 20 miles
Lt Leslie Edney Blackmore RN,  CO of HMS Vivien from 1943 - 5, was First Lieutenant in Vanguard during the Coronation Review of Queen Elizabeth 11 in 1953
Reproduced courtesy of Graham Cherry

Captain Herbert Walkinshaw RN

John Appleby
An OD in HMS Wivern and Midshipman in HMS Vivien

John S. Appleby, 1943John S Appleby as Minister, 2009
Shipmate John S. Appleby, the Honorary Secretary of the V & W Association until his death, died on the 30 August 2011 aged 86. He was born at Colchester on the 29 March 1925 and lived there all his life with the exception of his wartime service in the Royal Navy.

In 1943 he served as an OD on HMS
Wivern on east coast convoys before being sent for officer training. After officer training he served on a second V & W class destroyer, HMS Vivien, as midshipman (on left) and was then posted to a fast patrol boat for Operation Overlord.

He joined the escort carrier, HMS Nairana, as part of the 2nd Escort Group (after the death of its charismatic leader, Captain "Johnnie" Walker) on Atlantic and Arctic convoys. The
Nairana had been converted from a fast passenger-cargo ship, the Port Pirie, and escorted Arctic Convoys to North Russia.

He was a signals and coding specialist on the aircraft carrier, HMS Khedive, on her way to the East Indies. After a brief period at HMS Lanka, the shore base in Colombo, he was posted to HMS Tengra, the combined operations base at Mandapam, India, where he served on HMS Fiery Cross, a 249 ton converted Norwegian whaler, on secret missions to check out beaches for Operation Zipper, the planned seaborne asault on Japanese held Malaya.

He left the Royal Navy in 1947, returned to Colchester and married Audrey Grace Fookes. He trained as a teacher and by 1969 was Head Teacher at a primary school and retired in 1986. He had always been interested in printing and after the war ran a small printing business to supplement his income as a teacher. His wife pre-deceased him in 1993 but they had four sons, Roger, Andrew, Nigel and David. In later life he was ordained as a Minister and was much in demand at naval functions and at funerals of naval officers. In addition to being Secretary of the V & W Association he was branch  secretary of the Russian Convoy Club and chaplain to both the Burma Star Association and the Merchant Navy Association. He was also a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, took a keen interest in the history of Colchester and made an important contribution to the appendix on "Life aboard HMS Venomous" in the second edition of A Hard Fought Ship: the Story of HMS Venomous (2010, 2017).

I met John for the first time at the launch of the 2010 edition of A Hard Fought Ship at the annual reunion of the V & W Association at Derby but had been in touch by phone for at least a year before then. He told me a great deal about what it was like to serve in a V & W as a CW Candidate on the lower deck and as a very junior officer in the Wardroom of HMS Vivien but the story which sticks in my mind may have been hypothetical as it seems too good to be true. In thick fog  the convoy escorts would tether themselves to one of the buoys marking the deepwater swept channel and on one occasion at first light they found an e-boat tethered at the same buoy. The German boat waved farewell as it headed back home.

Bill Forster
V & W Destroyer Association

If you want to find out more about the wartime service of a member of your family who served on HMS Vivien you should first obtain a copy of their service record
To find out how follow this link:

If you have stories or photographs of HMS Vivien you would like to contribute to the web site please contact Bill Forster

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