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

Lieutenant Commander
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.

Sub Lt James Glossop, HMS Walker 1944James Glossop in ???James used his second name because his father was also named John. John Collings Taswell Glossop (1871-1934) was born in Twickenham, the son of a Vicar and served in the Royal Navy but gained fame as an exchange officer with the Royal Australian Navy in World War I. As Captain of HMAS Sydney he sank the Germany Navy’s SMS Emden in November 1914. He married an Australian girl from Bathurst, New South Wales, but retired to Dorset where James Glossop was born at Burton Bradstock, on 27 February 1924 when his father was 53.

James 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 HMS
Devonshire 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 ATLANTIS
The Commerce Raider (Handels-Stör-Kreuzer), HSK Atlantis
Sunk by HMS Devonshire on
22  November 1941

HMS Devonshire gtransferring masil from HMS Maurotius in the Indian Ocean, October 1942
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 his 5/- 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 was 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 bunker.

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:
Part 1: Lt Cdr. Arthur Nichol Rowell RN was CO April 1943 - August 1944
Part 2: Lt Cdr A.R. Trew SANF(V) was CO 29 September 1944 - May 1945
Dee also: "Warships for Russia"

The ships in which James Glossop served
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  Japan Penn 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

James 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 John James Glossop RN
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 Mother’s 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 Singapore.

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
Vale James

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 some 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 convoys.

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.

Replicas of thwe  medals awarded to Lt Cdr John James Glossop RN
The Arctic Star is in the cntre of this replica set of medals made for James Glossop by Gerald McCormack

Ushakov Medal
Commemorative Medal
Left: the Ushakov Medal with anchor on reverse
Right: the Commemorative Medal awarded every 10 years

More 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 application in 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.

Frank Witton wearing  Ushakov Mredal t launch of A Hard Fought Ship (2017)
Albert Foulser photographed with Russian Medals in June 2020
Left: Frank Witton wearing the Ushakov Medal and the Commemorative Medal at the book launch of A Hard Fought Ship (2017)
The letter from the MFA in Moscow explaining that the Ushakov Medal could not be awarded after death
Right: AB Albert Foulser in June 2020 with the Russian medals awarded before his death aged 97 on 15 December 2021
Albert is wearing his Ushakov Medal and received five Commemorative Medals but his name is not on the list of those awarded the Ushakov medal

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.

HMS Westcott

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.

HMS Woolston

Francis Charles Witton was born in St Albans on 16 December 1922 and went to school within fifty yards of where I live in Holywell Hill.  You can read about him here
and I recorded him describing his service in HMS Woolston for the IWM. He attended the book launch of A Hard Fought Ship (2017) wearing his Ushakov medal awarded for escorting Arctic Convoy PQ,12 to the Kola Inlet and return Convoy  QP.9,   Frank Witton will be 100 on 16 December this year.

Veterans of Arctic Convoys make  friends at VE Day Celebrations
Britain and most of Europe celebrate VE Day on 8 May
but the Russian Federation celebrate it on 9 May

Vets with Charles Matthews of HMS President Association
Welcome aboard!
HMS Belfast and the Arctic Convoys

Vets at HMS Belfast in 2017
See the film of the visit by Russian veterans to London and Loch Ewe

Vets at IWM in 2017
Russia veterans "fly the flag" at the Imperial War Museum on VE Day 2017

Vets at Parliament in 2017
Russian veterans display photographs outside Parliament

Vets with Lady Mayoress in 2017
Russian veterans pose with the Mayor

Vets at Loch Ewe
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

The 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 invasion of 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 being Jewish.

View from Crows Nest Camera on HMS Belfast
Early morning view from the Crow's Nest Camera on HMS Belfast
Russian Federation veterans at the lowering of the White Ensign on the stern of HMS Belfast  at sunset on VE Day 2018

VE Day 2022
The Soviet War Memorial in London
Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park around the Imperial War Museum

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.

Soviet War Memorial at the IWM on VE Day 2022
This memorial commemorates the 27 million Soviet citizens
& service men & women who died for the Allied Victory in WWII

Anonymous personal tribute on the Soviet War Memorial, 9 May 2022Clare 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:

I 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." 

Clare found a rare book about this operation in her father's papers and donated it to  the IWM. 

Friends in Cold Places - a Video
"Revered Ambassadors" in Archangel
V for  Victory - Z for Zebra

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