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

HMS Vivien 1944
HMS Vivien (L33) as part of the Rosyth Escort Force in 1944
Photographed by Lt Cdr John E. Manners RN from HMS Viceroy

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 L33 during the interwar period.

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, Vivien entered Chatham Dockyard for conversion into an anti-aircraft escort and in November 1939 entered service at Rosyth as an escort for convoys in the North Sea. On 10 April 1940, Vivien was part of the escort for Convoy ON 25 from Rosyth to Norway  when she detected a possible submarine and depth-charged it. She also assisted in driving off attacks by German Heinkel He 111 bombers and investigated the wreckage of an He 111 shot down by Royal Air Force fighters which crashed nearby.

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 that attacked a convoy she was escorting. Vivien and HMS Eglinton were escorting Convoy FS 137
on 24 February 1943 when they engaged German minelaying motor torpedo boats which attacked the convoy east-southeast of Great Yarmouth.

Following a successful Warship Week National Savings campaign in March 1942 she was adopted by Bromyard in Herefordshire. Vivien remained on North Sea convoy duty until the surrender of Germany in early May 1945.  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.

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)
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)


 Midshipman John S. Appleby RNVR (1943)

Sub Lt ???? RN (2 Apr 41 -1943)

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

Please get in touch if you knew these men or had a family member who served in HMS Vivien

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. She 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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