John James Glossop Royal Navy (Rtd)
1924 - 2022
James Glossop died on the 13 February 2022 at the Opal Retirement
Village in Bathurst New South Wales, Australia, and his funeral was on
the 22nd, five days before his 98th birthday on 27 February 2022. This
is an edited version
of the Eulogy delivered by his good friend Gerald McCormack, a retired
Colonel in the Australian Army. The portrait of James Glossop on the left was cropped from a photo of the ship's company of HMS Walker in 1943 and the one on the right was taken in 2014 on the centenary of the sinking of the Emden by HMAS Sydney.
enrolled in the Royal Navy’s Officer Training College at Dartmouth and
by May 1941 was a seventeen years old Midshipman in the heavy cruiser
and saw action against German aircraft and shore positions off the
Norwegian coast. On 6 June 1940 she took passage to Tromso to embark
Norwegian Royal Family, allied diplomats and members of the Norwegian
government for passage to UK.
In November 1941 the German Navy’s
employment of nondescript freighters as Commerce Raiders (Handels-Stör-Kreuzer) was causing
problems in all oceans. They were armed with concealed 150 mm cannons,
anti-aircraft guns and torpedoes and capable of laying up to 400 moored
sea mines (which they set at the entrance to Sydney Melbourne Adelaide
and Auckland harbours). On 11 November the Raider Kormoran sank the Australian modern light cruiser HMAS Sydney 470 miles North West of Perth. HMAS Sydney (II)
was built on Wallsend on Tyne in 1933 and renamed after her famous
predecessor when she was transferred to the Australian Navy while under
construction. HSK Kormoran was disguised as a Dutch freighter and Sydney attempted to board to inspect her papers. In the close-range battle which followed all 645 of Sydney’s crew were lost. Kormoran also sank but 318 of the 380 crew were saved
Eleven days later, on 22 November HMS Devonshire attacked and sank the commerce raider Atlantis. She had been on patrol for 667 days and taken or sunk 22 allied ships. HSK Atlantis was second only to Pinguin
in tonnage destroyed, and had the longest raiding career of any German
commerce raider in either world war. This was 17 years old James’s
first sea battle and was seen as retribution for the loss of Sydney. James was amazed that they “just happened upon the Atlantis in the middle of the Atlantic”. In fact, Devonshire’s
captain had been given her exact location as she had asked for a
resupply submarine to meet her. Her signal was picked up and decoded by
the Enigma Code Breakers. It was not until 1975 that it became widely
known how HMS Devonshire was at that spot.
The Commerce Raider (Handels-Stör-Kreuzer), HSK Atlantis Sunk by HMS Devonshire on 22 November 1941
HMS Devonshire transferring mail from HMS Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, October 1942 IWM A13456
Throughout 1942 HMS Devonshire patrolled
the South Atlantic and entered the Indian Ocean on operations against
the French land and sea forces of the Vichy French Government. Devonshire helped
capture five warships, bombarded the Vichy landing force and took
control of the French bases in Madagascar before they could be handed
over to the Japanese. In 1943 HMS Devonshire
was part of the escort for the convoy which brought the Australian
Army’s 9th Division home from the Middle East to counter the Japanese
attacks on New Guinea. They escorted the troop carriers from Suez to
safety at Perth. Devonshire returned to Tyneside for a refit and
James was transferred to HMS Walker, a V & W Class destroyer, as a Sub Lieutenant before his 20th birthday.
Arctic Convoys with HMS Walker
The story of HMS Walker as an escort for Arctic Convoys is told in more detail elsewhere on
this website and this page will focus on the part played by James
Glossop. Sub Lt John J. Glossop RN
joined HMS Walker on 20 May 1943 at the start of her new Commission after conversion to a
Long Range Escort and left her as Lt J.J. Glossop RN to join the P
Class destroyer, HMS Penn, in
November 1944. "Hookey Walker", her CO, was Lt Cdr. Arthur Nichol
Rowell RN, and HMS Walker was in the 8th Escort Group led by HMS Keppel
which formed the close escort for Arctic Convoys. James Glossop's first
Arctic Convoy, JW.57, arrived at the Kola Inlet on 27 February 1944.
James had to go on watch early the night before when a young Canadian
officer, Lt Frederick Robinson RCNVR, slipped on the icy deck and was
washed overboard. The vivid photographs taken by AB Albert Foulser on
Box Brownie camera convey the harsh reality of escorting convoys to the Kola Inlet in Arctic Russia.
In March Walker and the 8th Escort Group joined Arctic Convoy JW.58 for her voyage to Murmansk with USS Milwaukee which was handed over to the USSR and in April 1944 was part of a strong escort for RA.59 escorting the empty ships bringing back the American crew of the Miluwaukee
and 2,300 Soviet sailors to collect warships promised to the USSR in
lieu of their share of the captured Italian Fleet (Operation FZ).
Albert Foulser photographed the USN sailors and the Russians aboard Walker.
James Glossop described how a blindfolded Russian chess champion
played the wardroom at chess and James was saved from defeat by the
call to action stations.
RA.59 lost the American Liberty Ship, William S Thayer, which was torpedoed between Bear Island and North Cape, on the eve of the May Day Holiday.
She had aboard Russian submariners who were to bring back British
submarines and the Russian crew of the Town Class destroyer HMS St Albans which was to be renamed Dostoiny and join the Soviet Northern Fleet. When she was torpedoed HMS Whitehall and HMS Walker helped rescue survivors from the William S Thayer. The grandson of one of the Russian submariners who died after rescue told his story on the website of HMS Whitehall and in a special issue of International Fleet Review.
James Glossop was twenty when he was promoted by Lt Cdr A.N. Rowell to Lieutenant in May 1944 shortly before HMS Walker
redeployed to join the navy forces employed in
the D Day landings, Operation Neptune. She took no part in the
initial assault on D-Day but was part of the escort for Military Convoy
E2B2Z which reinforced American troops on Utah and Omaha Beaches in the
Western sector on 8 June. There were 32 ships in Convoy E2B2Z with Walker
in the van, two trawlers on either flank and a Corvette bringing up the
rear. After a second convoy to the the Normandy beaches and a convoy
back to the Bristol Channel they returned to Milford Haven to store and
In August Walker was back on Arctic Convoys escorting JW59 which included the former battleship, HMS Royal Sovereign, renamed Archangelesk
(but nicknamed the "Royal Rouble"), nine Town Class destroyers, four
former RN submarines and eleven USN submarine chasers, all with Russian
crews and being transferred to the Northern Fleet of the USSR. Lt James
Glossop in HMS Walker was disappointed that there was no exchange of
signals or chatter from Archangelsk or Dostoiny (the former HMS St Albans)
during the voyage. It is perhaps hardly surprising but one can be sure
that the Soviet sailors would never forget the two elderly V & Ws
which had saved their lives.
A South African, Lt Cdr Anthony R
Trew SANF(V), succeeded Lt Cdr Rowell as "Hookey Walker" on 29
September 1944 and was CO for James Glossop's last two Arctic Convoys,
outbound convoy JW.61 which left Liverpool on 20 October 1944 and
return Convoy RA.61 which arrived at Loch Ewe on the west coast of
Scotland on 9 November. Eighteen escorts were lost on Arctic
convoys with 1,944 ratings and officers killed and 104 freighters sunk
with 829 crew lost.
To find out more about HMS Walker and Arctic Convoys to Russia visit these pages:
A collage of the ships in which Lt Cdr John James Glossop RN served Created by Gerald McCormack
In November 1944 James was transferred to the P Class destroyer, HMS Penn,
at Ceylon, and Penang preparing for the, invasion of Malaya
and Singapore. On 15
June 1945, HMS Penn with the destroyer Paladin, sank a Japanese landing craft off the Northwest coast of Sumatra. After the surrender of JapanPenn
became an Air Target ship at Singapore for training aircrew. James and HMS Penn
remained at Singapore until 1947 when they return to the UK.
After the War
furthered his Navigation skills at the Royal Navy Navigation training
school at HMS Dryad in Portsmouth. As often happens in
the military, if you do well at a training course you are immediately
retained to join the staff. Navigation had become his
“Specialty”. Back at sea on HMS Sparrow,
in June 1948 James served in the West Indies and on exercises with the US Navy,
often instructing junior officers in navigation and Bridge Watch
duties. He was sent on an advanced course at HMS Dryad before joining the Battle Class destroyer, HMS Solebay in 1951
and was promoted to Lieutenant Commander in 1952. He was glad to be in the
Home Fleet in the UK, after after being away for nine years.
Lt Cdr J.J. Glossop RN - the "Navigator"
He joined the staff of the Navigation School at HMS Dryad in Portsmouth in 1953 before being appointed Navigation Officer of the cruiser HMS Birmingham
in 1955, a much sought after appointment. This was
followed by his last sea going appointment in 1956 to another major ship, HMS Kenya
in the West Indies. The final years of his career in
a shrinking navy were related to the administration of Royal Navy bases
in the UK and then back again to the warmth of Singapore.
He was 39
when he returned from Singapore in 1963 and joined the staff of HMS
Dockyard at Devonport, Plymouth, and met and married Emeline Orridge,
who was on a long travelling holiday from Australia. He and his father were both born in
Britain but they married Australian wives. James' Glossop's wife was
from Sydney, and they had a daughter, Francis Ovenstone.
His last assignment before
retirement was as Chief of Operations of the Royal
New Zealand Navy, at their Head Quarters in Wellington. It was after
that assignment that he and his family decided they would return to his
homeland of Australia. He retired on
his 45th birthday, 27 February 1969, as per the regulations. James
Royal Navy career of 32
years included four years of Combat Operations from
the Arctic to the South Atlantic, from the USA to Iceland and Russia,
from the South Atlantic to Suez and Perth, and from Madagascar to
Extract from the Royal Navy Prayer
Eternal Lord God, Preserve us from the dangers of the sea, and of the air,
and from the violence of the enemy;
That enemy was the Naval and Air Forces of Germany Italy Vichy France and Japan,.
Time has now done what they could not
Recognition for veterans of Arctic Convoys
The men who served on the
convoy escorts and the merchant ships formed the North Russia Club
(1985) and the Russian Convoy Club (1988) to keep in touch with former
shipmates. They went on to campaign for wider recognition of the
contribution the Arctic convoys made to winning the war. No campaign
medal was issued for veterans of the Arctic convoys and they were only
eligible for the Atlantic Star if they had served in the western
Atlantic for at least six months.
In 1944 the USSR awarded the Ushakov medal,
named after Admiral Fyodor Ushakov (1745 - 1817) to its naval veterans
and In 1986 on the fortieth anniversary of the end of the war it
awarded a Commemorative Medal to British veterans of Arctic convoys and
270 attended an investiture and reception at the Russian Embassy. In
1991 the Russian Federation invited veterans to reunions in Murmansk
and Archangel and on the 31 August, the frigate HMS London
sailed into the White Sea and up the Dvina River to Archangel to
commemorate the arrival fifty years earlier, on that day, of the
first convoy bringing aid to our new wartime ally. Further reunions
were held and medals were awarded on the fiftieth and sixtieth
anniversaries but these could not be worn by the Arctic veterans
alongside their British campaign medals.
The award of a Commemorative Medal to British veterans caused
embarrassment to the British Government since the Admiralty had decided
that veterans of what
Churchill described as "the worst journey in the World" would not be
awarded a special
medal, only the Atlantic Star awarded to veterans who served on
escorts for Atlantic Convoys.
In 1997 the Queen Mother and the Russia Ambassador attended a memorial
service in the crypt of St Paul’s Cathedral and unveiled a memorial
tablet to the three thousand men who lost their lives on the Arctic
In 2005, at a reception for Arctic
veterans, the Prime Minister Tony Blair announced that an Arctic
Emblem would be given and could be worn with the Atlantic Star by those
who served on the Arctic convoys and, finally, in 2013 the award of a
separate medal, the Arctic Star, was announced. In 2014 the Russian
Federation decided to award the Ushakov Medal to British veterans of
the Arctic Convoys including merchant seamen.
The Arctic Star is in the cntre of this replica set of medals made for James Glossop by Gerald McCormack
Left: the Ushakov Medal with anchor on reverse Right: the Commemorative Medal awarded every 10 years
than three thousand Ushakov medals were awarded by Russia to British
veterans of Arctic Convoys but James Glossop never pressed his claim
and it was not
pursued until Gerald McCormack took on the challenge of securing it for
him. Yelena Karl of the Cambridge Russian-Speaking Society (CamRuSS)
pressed his claim with the Russian Embassy in London and Alexander
Goncharov of the Russian Veterans Association who attended
meetings of the Soviet veterans on VE Day in London pursued the
Moscow and Gerald McCormack was in regular contact with Alexey
Katkovn at the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Canberra. There is
no doubt that the application would have been successful had it been
made earlier or if James Glossop had lived another year but it was not
to be. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in Moscow replied via
Alexander Goncharov that the medal could not be awarded posthumously. - see below centre.
Arctic Convoy veterans who served in V & W Class destroyers
Just a few of the veterans who served in V & W Class destroyers in the the "Close Escort" for Arctic Convoys.
Dennis Wyndham Foster was a Midshipman in HMS Edinburgh for nine months before joining HMS Nigeria and going on Arctic Convoy PQ.15 to Murmansk in April 1942. He joined HMS Wanderer
as a Sub Lt in May 1943 and she sunk two e-boats before joining the
escort for Arctic Convoy JW.57 to the Kola Inlet in February 1944.His description is llustrated with the photographs he took of Wanderer covered in ice.Captain Dennis Wyndam Foster RN retired from the Navy in 1975 and was 97 when he died on 17 November 2021.
Lt. Stuart Murray William Farquharson-Roberts and RDF Operator Ted Cross served together in Westcott
in 1943 - 1944 and both are alive today. Capt S. M. W.
Farquharson-Roberts O.B.E. retired 45 years ago on 30th March
1977 and will be 100 on the 3 June this year and Ted Cross will be 97
on the 11 June. They tell their stories of Arctic Convoys on this page with Signalman Clifford "Stormy" Fairweather who founded the Westcott Club and the V & W Destroyer Association.
The Russian Arctic Convoy Museum on Loch Ewe where the convoys assenbled from 1942 onwards Sasha Goncharov of the veterans organisation in Moscow organised the visit of the veterans to Britain
Covid pandemic brought an end to the annual visit of Arctic veterans to
London on VE Day and now that former allies have fallen out over the
Ukraine ordered by President Putin it seems unlikely that the genuine
friendships between Soviet and British veterans of Arctic
Convoys will survive. Very few of the veterans are alive and most of
them could not make the journey to London. The Russian speaking
Ukranians in the East who welcomed close ties with Russia are
sheltering in the cellars of Mariupol and Kharkiv from Russian missiles
and bombs and President Zelensky is accused of being a Nazi despite
On this day the elderly Russian veterans
who visited Britain for VE Day assembled to pay their respects to their
comrades who sacrificed their lives for the future of Russia and the
allies but a notice on the website of the Soviet War Memorial
announced that for the third successive year no ceremony would be held.
This memorial commemorates the 27 million Soviet citizens & service men & women who died for the Allied Victory in WWII WE SHALL REMEMBER THEM
Clare Armstrong took this photograph on 9 May 2022, celebrated in Russia as VE Day, and e-mailed it to the members of the HMS Belfast Association with this message:
went to the
Soviet War Memorial at the IWM. There were flowers or wreaths laid by
the Embassies of Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan and by the
Soviet Memorial Trust and a personal tribute: "to the memory of the men and women who served on the Arctic Convoys". A nice young couple with a baby in a
pram laying flowers asked me to take a photo of them in front of the
Memorial. I asked them if they were Russian and they said,
'Yes'. I told them my father served in the Arctic Convoys and
that men from the US, the UK and many other nations had taken part in
what proved to be perilous and often truley horrendous journeys to
deliver military equipment and other much-needed supplies to Murmansk
and Archangel, at Stalin’s request. It was clear they had no idea
what I was talking about, which I found quite surprising! It’s so very sad that it’s now
highly unlikely there will be another of these very special
commemoration events in London on Russia Victory Day in my lifetime.
Clare is the daughter of a Liaison Officer in the Polish destroyer ORP Garland,
part of the escort for Convoy PQ16, in May 1942: "Garland was
built on the Clyde in 1934 and loaned to the Polish Navy in 1940. She
was heavily bombed with 22 dead and 46 wounded, released from escort
duty and sent on to Murmansk alone."