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




Aerial photograph of HMS Walker at 21 Knots in 1945
Official Royal Navy Photograph (
Courtesy Philip Dodd)


Click on the links within this brief outline for first hand accounts by the men who served on HMS Walker

HMS Walker (D27) was built at Dumbarton on the north bank of the Clyde by William Denny and Brothers, launched on 29 November 1917 and completed and commissioned on the same day, the 12th February 1918. Walker took part in the British campaign against Bolshevik forces in the Baltic in 1919 and was shelled by the battleship Petropavlovsk during an attempted breakout of the Bolshevik fleet from Kronstadt. In 1920 HMS Walker entered the Mnchester Ship Canal at Eastham Locks and paid a courtesy visit to Manchester.

Stan Ewles describes his time training as an Artificer at Portsmouth and Chatham before joining HMS Walker, his first ship, in August 1930 on peacetimes cruises in the Baltic and Mediterranean for eighteen monnths.

At the outbreak of war HMS Walker was based at Plymouth with the 11DF. On 11 September 1939  while returning from escorting a convoy Walker and Vanquisher collided 200 miles southwest of Ireland, killing 14 men, with both ships seriously damaged. The First Lieutenant was compelled to shoot some of the injured trapped in the wreckage. Her repairs took until mid-November while Vanquisher was not fully repaired until early January 1940.

Walker resumed escorting convoys in the South Western Approaches until April 1940 when she transferred to the Home Fleet at Scapa Flow to support operations during the Norwegian Campaign. She was attacked from the air while evacuating troops from Andalsnes and Molde on the 30 April and 1 May and was the last Allied ship to leave the Narvik area when she escorted the final Allied evacuation convoy from Norway on 8 June.

On 2 July she made an unsuccessful attack on U-47 after the sinking of the Blue Star passenger liner Arandora Star carrying German and Italian internees from Liverpool to Canada (800 died out of the 1,647 aboard). U-47 was sunk on 7 March by HMS Wolverine and Verity and her CO Gunther Prien, who sank the Royal Oak, killed. HMS Walker was under repair until October 1940.

On 5 February 1941, HMS Walker became the leader of the  5th Escort Group based at Liverpool with Cdr Donald G.F.W.Macintyre RN in command as described in his autobiography U-Boat Killer (London: Wiedenfield and Nicolson, 1956). In March 1941 while escorting Convoy HX 112 HMS Vanoc assisted by Walker attacked and sunk U-100 (Joachim Schepke) and HMS Walker sank U-99 and captured her commander, U-Boat ace Otto Kretschmer. The defence of HX 112 and the loss of three ace u-boat commanders was a decisive victory for the 5th EG and a turning point in the Battle of the Atlantic.

When two out of the three locks to Gladstone Dock were damaged in the Liverpool Blitz of May 1941 HMS Walker and the other escorts were moved to Londonderry. After a refit at Southapton Walker was sent to Havelfjord in Iceland until February 1942 when she went to Halifax, Nova Scotia, to join the Western Local Escort Force and Cdr. James M. Rowland RN took over as CO.

HMS Walker was converted into a Long Range Escort (LRE) at the King George VI dock on the Thames between January and May 1943 and in July was assigned to the 4th Escort Group at Londonderry for convoy defence duties in the North Western Approaches. Between February and May 1944, Walker (Lt Cdr Arthur N. Rowell RN) operated with the 8th Escort Group escorting Arctic convoys to the Kola Inlet in North Russia as described by Lt James Glossop RN, ABs Albert Foulser and Bill Perks and illustrated with Albert's photographs on his "box Brownie" camera. James Glossop and Albert Foulser are still alive.

Walker was part of Escort Group 137 escorting troops ships and landing craft during 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. Lt James Glossop RN recalled some amusing incidents which took place. He lives in Australia but we hope to give a more comprehensive account of his wartime service in HMS Walker.

By October 1944 HMS Walker,
wiith a South African CO, Lt Cdr A.R. Trew SANF(V), was back escorting Arctic Convoys JW61 and JW 63 to Murmansk on the Kola Inlet and return convoys to Loch Ewe. Tony Trew drew on his experience in writing his novel, Kleber's Convoy (London: Harper Collins, 1974) but disclaimed any similarity between events and his novel.

After the end of hostilities HMS Walker was reduced to Reserve status and  placed on the Disposal List. She was sold to British Iron and Steel Company (BISCO) for breaking up in 1946 and arrived in tow at the West of Scotland Shipbreaking Yard, Troon, on 15 March that year.

Commanding Officers

Lt. Cdr Lawrence F.N. Ommanney RN (July 1922 - August 1923)
Lt. Cdr Guy B. Amery-Parkes RN (Dec 1928 - Oct 1930)
Lt. Aubrey St Clair-Ford, RN (1932)
Cdr. Leslie Swain Saunders, RN (1934)
Cdr. Wilfrid James Cameron Robertson, RN (Aug 1939 - Jan 1940)
Lt.Cdr. Arthur Andre Tait, RN (Jan 1940 - Feb 1941)
Cdr. Donald George Frederick Wyville MacIntyre, RN (Feb 1941 - Feb 1942)
Cdr. James Marjoribanks Rowland, RN (Feb 1942 - early 1943)
Lt.Cdr. Arthur Nichol Rowell, RN (Apr 1943 - Sept 1944)
Lt. Cdr. Antony Francis Trew, SANF(V) (29 Sep 1944 - May 1945]
Lt. Thomas William Lancaster, DSC, RN (June 1945 - July 1945)


Officers

Officers who served n HMS Walker between the wars with entries on the unithistories.com web site.

Lt John "Jack" G.P. Brownrigg RN (Dec 1927 - August 1929)
Sub Lt John E.S. Bush RN (July - Sept 1932)
Lt Desmond L.C. Craig RN (Jan 1933 - Jan 1934)
Lt George V.M. Dolphin RN (Nov 1927 - August 1929)
Lt(E) Michael E. Evans RN (Dec 1930 - Jan 1932)
Mid John B. Rooper RN (May - Aug 1922)
Lt Peter W.F. Stubbs RN (Sept - Dec 1938)
Lt Arthur O. Watson RN (April 1924 - Jan 1925)

Wartime Officers, 1939-45

Lt John H. Adams RN (22 August 1939 - Dec 1940)
Tp Gnr (T) J E Baker RN  (5 May 1945 – Jun1945)                       
Sub Lt Robert Boyd RN (19 Feb - April 1940)
Lt R W D Bray RN  (14 Jan 1941 – Feb 1941)               
Gnr (T) H Brooks RN  (25 Jun 1942 – Feb 1943)                           
Tp Sub Lt (E) R R Brooks RCNVR   (14 Oct 1943 - Mar 1945)                   
Tp Lt R G M Brown RNVR (14 Jun 1942 – Mar 1943)                       
Gnr (T) J Chaplin RN  (28 Jan 1941 – Jun 1942)                   
Mid J A Cotching RNR (26 Aug 1939 – Aug 1940)
Tp Sub Lt Arthur Dodd RNVR (31 Jan 1944 - April 1945)               
Gnr (T) Ernest G Evans RN (29 Jun 1939 – Apr 1940)
Lt James J Glossop RN(20 May 1943 – 22 Nov 1944)                       
A/Sub Lt C W Graham (29 Apr 1940 – Sep 1940)
Surg Lt Graves Merries RNVR  (15 Mar 1945 – May 1945)                   
Mid (E)    B D Griffith RN  (5 Mar 1945 - Jul 1945)                           
Lt Cdr Reginald G C Haines RN  (2 Aug 1941 - Sep 1942)                   
Tp Lt (E) Ernest C Y Hughes SANF(V)  (18 Mar 1944 – Jan 1945)                   
Tp Wt Eng H Hunn RN  (15 Jul 1943 – Mar 1944)                           
Tp Surg Lt E Kavanagh  RNVR  (6 Aug 1941 – Jun 1943)                   
Tp Lt (E) S W Keck RNR (27 Mar 1945 – Jul 1945)
Lt J C Langton DSC RN  (18 Jul 1939 – Aug 1941)   
Tp Sub Lt E R Lawson RNVR   (May 1943 – May 1945)                       
Tp Surg Lt J C Macauley RNVR (20 Jun 1943 – Sept 1944)                       
Tp Sub Lt A H B MacClatchley RNVR (25 Jun 1942 – Feb 1945)                   
Sub Lt R B Mann RNR    (17 Apr 1941 – Feb 1945)                   
A/Sub Lt J H Milner RNR (16 Oct 41- Jun 1942)                       
Tp Lt D K Morley RNVR  (14 Feb 1942 – Mar 1943)   
Lt  Derek W Napper RN  (30 Aug 1944 – May 1945)                       
Mid (E) C E R Newman RIN (5 Mar 1945 – Jul 1945)                                                   
Tp Gnr (T) A W Norish RN  (13 Feb 1943 – May 1945)                       
Tp Surg Lt J R Oliver RNVR (19 Aug 1940 – Aug 1941)   
Wt Eng G F Osborne RN  (9 Mar 1939 - Jul 1943)   
Tp Sub Lt D Payne RNVR  (21 Jun 1943 – Mar 1944)                       
Tp Lt A D “Sandy” Powell RNVR (20 Mar 1944 – Apr 1945)                   
Lt F V Robinson RCNVR (13 Oct 1943 – 27 February 1944)                       
Sub Lt R R Rossiter RN  (10 Oct 1944 – May 1945)   
Lt J W R Spedding RN (24 Aug 1939 – Apr 1940)               
Sub Lt R S Stainer RN  (13 Aug 1940 – Apr 1941)                 
Lt P D Sturdee RN (5 Sep 1940 - Aug 1944)                   
Surg Lt A L Taylor RNVR  (23 May 1940 40 – Aug 1940)
Tp Lt (A/S) R S Walker DSC RN (Mar 1941 – Sep 1941)               
Sub Lt R Westlake RNVR  (15 Jan 1941 – Jun 1942)   


Former full members of the V & W Destroyer Association who served in HMS Walker
The V & W Association included more men who had served in HMS Walker than any other V & W - and two of them are still alive


J. Bardgett (Morecombe, Lancs), William Douglas Aldrige "Jock" Begg (Ormskirk, Lancashire), J Clark (Braintree, Essex), G. Cook (Wells, Somerset), Albert Foulser (Loughton, Essex), K. Harnett (Stockport, Cheshire), C.H. Hill (Braintree), J Hope (Blackburn, Lancs), J. Howard (East Preston, West Sussex), M. Jay (Gloucester), H. Kidd (Didcot, Oxon), F. Lees (Rochford, Essex), David Napper (Woodbridge, Suffolk), C. Parker (Freemantle, West Australia), Bill Perks (Leamington Spa),  J. Perry (Southall, MIddx), J. Prior (West Moseley, Surrey), R.L. Sayer (York), J. Strickland (Port aux Basques (Newfoundland, Canada),  S. Taylor (Burgess Hill, Sussex), L. Wadsworth (Menstrie, Clackmanshire), J. Whitmill (Liskeard, Cornwall).

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


Cdr Donald G.F.W. Macintyre RN

Donald George Frederick Wyville Macintyre was born at Dehra Dun, the son of a major general in the Indian Army, on the 26 January 1904. He attended a preparatory school in Cheltenham and the Royal Navy College Osborne before joining the Royal Navy as a fourteen year old cadet at Dartmouth in 1917. His career before the war was somewhat unusual in that he spent five years with the Fleet Air Arm from 1928-33 during which he learned to fly and was a pilot on aircraft carriers.

HMS Walker was Macintyre's second V & W destroyer. At the outset of war in 1939 he was appointed CO of my father's wartime destroyer, HMS Venomous, the subject of a "ship biography", A Hard Fought Ship, I published in 2017. Macintyre had established his reputation as a "U-Boat Killer" while commanding HMS Hesperus but was well aware of the stengths and weaknesses of these elderly veterans of World War 1, their high speed and "short legs" (low range),  and described them in The Battle of the Atlantic (Batsford, 1961):

"Their ancient machinery was a constant anxiety to their engineers who often worked miracles in keeping them running with only brief rests between spells of sea-going. Their plates burst rivets as their hulls whipped and shuddered in the huge Atlantic seas. As solid, green water swept destructiivelky along theeir decks, much of it found its way down into the living spaces where it sloshed to and fro across the mess decks and cabin flats, There is an atmospphere of thick, damp "fugg", the crews passed the comfortless off-duty hours. Their clothes perpetually soasked, in an aroma compunded of bilge water, sweat and the last meal, they sat at the bare scrubbed  mess tables or lay on the padded locker-lids. By night there were hammocks for some; but there were rarely slinging billets for the whole wartime complement of of a warship. The remainder staked out claims on the lockers or mess tables.

On their tiny bridges only canvas dodgers and primitive wind-baffles gave protection to the look-outs, signalmen and watch officers from the wind, the stinging spray and the penetrating cold. On dark nights of storm, with perhas 50 ships somewhere close by, hidden in the murk, attentions were inevitably concentrated on the avoidance of collision to the exclusion of other considerations. From this restricted platform and the little chartroom below it, almost  filled by the chart table and the drawers of chart folios under it, the escort commander was expected to navigate his own ship, to control his wide-spread command in keeping the convoy together, in passing orders from the Command to the Commodore and, when they came, in beating off the attacks of the enemy."

Donald Macintyre, known to his fellow officers as "D. Mac", was one of the most successful wartime COs of convoy escorts in the Battle of the Atlantic credited with sinking at least seven U-boats, including U-99 commanded by Otto Kretschmer, the most successful U-boat commander of them all. Macintyre's autobiography, U-Boat Killer (1956), is perhaps the best account of the war against the U-boats by a serving officer. Otto Kretschmer's story is vividly told by Terence Robertson in The Golden Horseshoe (Evans Brothers Ltd, 1955).

Crew of U-99 with names
The Officers and Crew of U-99 were identified by the volunteer researchers at the U-Boat Museum in Cuxhaven, Germany, from the key provided by Wilhelm Strauss
Otto Kretschmer, the CO of U-99, is at the front, second from the right (number 27), and Jupp Kassel is number 4 on the list but has not been identified
Click on the link to see the names and please contact Bill Forster if you can identify the other crew members on the list
The photograph was supplied by Brian Begg

U-Boat Killer versus U-Boat Ace
The defence of Convoy HX 112 by

HMS Walker and the 5th Escort Group
17 March 1941

This short uncredited article was first published in Hard Lying, the magazine of the V & W Destroyer Association and republished in 2005 by the Chairman of the Association, Clifford ("Stormy") Fairweather, in the book of the same name which is now out of print. Paul Smith, the grandson of George Smith, the Wireless Operator in HMS Walker, supplied the photograph of uboat ace Otto Kretschmer disembarking from Walker at Liverpool after Macintyre sunk U-99. George Smith kept in touch with his former CO long after the war ended but never wrote an account of his own service as a Telegraphist in HMS Walker.

KretschmerMacintyreBy early 1941 merchant ship losses had become disastrously high. The U-boat aces were having a very successful time until the V&Ws took a hand in March. On 8 March, HMS Wolverine, commanded by Commander J.M. Rowland (who succeeded Macintyre as CO of HMS Walker in February 1942), attacked and sunk U-70 south of Iceland while escorting convoy OB 293. Wolverine and Verity were jointly credited with sinking U-47 commanded by U-boat ace, Gunther Prien (who sank the Royal Oak at Scapa Flow) in the same action.

Soon afterwards Convoy HX 112 was attacked off the Hebrides and HMS Walker, commanded by Captain Donald Macintyre (on right), sighted the wake of what could only be a U-boat and immediately attacked with depth charges. The explosion of the depth charges was followed by another explosion and an orange flash spread across the surface and we knew that we had made a 'kill'. About half an hour later Walker had another Asdic contact and again attacked with depth charges. Vanoc joined in the attack. While this was going on lights had been spotted in the distance which could only be lifeboats. Walker and Vanoc set forth to investigate. They were the lifeboats from one of the merchant ships that had been sunk. While Vanoc kept vigil the Walker picked up the survivors and they returned to the scene of the attack. Walker noticed that Vanoc, contrary to orders, was going at full speed, and a few moments later signalled to Walker "Have rammed and sunk U-boat". HMS Vanoc had spotted U-100 on her Type 286M radar, the first confirmed British surface ship radar sighting of a U-boat. HMS Vanoc rammed U-100 and her commander Joachim Schepke was crushed against the periscope mast. There were only six survivors.

It was almost unbelievable that so many U-boats should be nearby, but it was not long before, once again an Asdic contact was made and further depth charges were dropped. Soon afterwards Vanoc signalled to Walker,  "U-boat surfaced astern of me". Both ships after illuminating the U-boat opened fire with their 4-inch guns. The U-boat signaled by lamp "We are sinking". The crew of U-99 were were picked up by the British destroyers.  Their Captain was the much decorated U-boat Ace Otto Kretschmer (left). In just three short actions the old V&Ws had disposed of three of Germany's U-boat aces and had made a huge contribution to the winning of the 'Battle of the Atlantic'.

Photographs and previously unpublished descriptions of the sinking of the three uboats by the families of the men who served in HMS Walker.

Jock Begg
His son, Brian Douglas Begg, tells his father's story below
William Douglas Aldrige Begg
William Douglas Aldrige "Jock" Begg during training in 1942
U-Boat survivors?
Jock Begg is second from the right behind the torpedo tubes and the survivors from U-99 on HMS Walker

"My dad told me that as U-99 surfaced it rose up out of the water and the crew ran to fire the gun but it had been hit and was bent and could not be used. Kretschemer called across to Walker "please save my men". MacIntyre said "let the B—die" but they were then told to throw over a scrambling net for the crew to climb aboard Walker. The last one up was Kretschmer. Koenig, one of the survivors helped aboard by my father,  jumped in the water to  help his captain climb aboard as he had his full leather clothes on. Until my Dad's death Koenig sent him a card thanking him for saving his life."

After the war was over

After the war was over the crew of HMS Walker and U-99 met each other at reunions in Britain and Germany up until the 1990s. At a meeting at Bristol in 1986 Jupp Kassel described events leading to the sinking of U-99. The U-Boat Museum provided scans of his talk which can be seen as a PDF. It is, of course, in English which Jupp may have learned while a Prisoner of War in Britain and Canada.

Otto Ktetschmer and Bill Begg at a reunion in Kiel after the war
A postwar reunion at the U-Boat base in Kiel of the men who served in HMS Walker and U-99
"Jock" Begg is second left wearing a German Navy badge of a U-Boat in a laurel wreath presented to him at Kiel by Otto Kretschmer who is on his left with hands raised - the others have yet to be identified
Courtesy of Brian Begg

George Smith wireless operatorChristmas Card from Donald MacIntyre
George Stephen Frederick Smith
The  wireless operator in HMS Walker

Paul Smith, the grandson of George Smith, the Wireless Operator in HMS Walker, supplied the photograph of uboat ace Otto Kretschmer disembarking from Walker at Liverpool after Macintyre sunk U-99.

George Smith kept in touch with his former CO long after the war ended but never wrote an account of his own service as a Telegraphist in HMS
Walker. Indeed, at present I know nothing more about him other than his name.

I have about a dozen scans of letters and cards sent to George Smith by MacIntyre and his wife Monica and although they may have had very little contact while serving in Walker once the war was over and differences in rank ceased to be relevant they were often in touch and met at MacIntyre's home in Maidenhead.

Paul Smith has also sent me about 50 scans of photographs but without any details of the subjects and where and when they were taken it is very difficult to know how to use them to tell his Grandfather's story or that of the ship in which he served. Paul's father and Grandfather are both dead but I am hoping that his Aunt will  pass on the stories she was told.



Paul Smith's photographs of his father's shipmates on HMS Walker
from the family scrapbook and the web

HMS Walker berthed alongside
Christmas or Birthday? Gutting fish

Ratings and officer Ratings with gun & cat
If you can provide further details of these photographs please contact Bill Forster
Ratings in tropical rig Merchant ship torpedoed?






The capture of Kretschmer in March 1941 by Captain Donald MacIntyre of HMS Walker is described in his book U-Boat Killer (London: Wiedenfield and Nicolson, 1956) and in The Golden Horseshoe: The Wartime Career of Otto Kretschmer, U-Boat Ace by Terence Robertson (Evans Brothers, 1955).
Donald Macintyre was the first wartime CO of HMS Venomous

Read the stories told by shipmates Albert Foulser and Bill Perks about their service in HMS Walker on Arctic Convoys
And listen to them tell their own stories in interviews recorded at the annual reunions of the V & W Destroyer Association





If you have stories or photographs of HMS Walker you would like to contribute to the web site please contact Bill Forster
Find out how you can help us research this ship and build this web site



If you want to find out more about the wartime service of a member of your family who served on HMS Walker you should first obtain a copy of their service record
To find out how follow this link: http://www.holywellhousepublishing.co.uk/servicerecords.html



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