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





HMS Walrus on the reocks near Whitby
HMS Walrus aground on Manascus Rocks, Whitby
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HMS Walrus the ...

Following .....

Battle Honours


Commanding Officers

Lt Cdr David B Nicol (28 January 1918 - 20 April 1921)
Lt Cdr Francis Howard (20 April 1921 – 6 June,1923)
Lt Cdr John H. Jauncey (6 June 1923 – June 1925)
Lt Cdr Robert A. Cassidi 29 June,1925 – 30 Nov. 1926)
Lt Cdr Robert A. Cassidi RN (5 April 1927 – July 1927)
Lt Cdr Lionel V. Lloyd RN (16 Aug. 1928 -
Lt Cdr Guy N. Rolfe RN (1 Jan. 1930 -
Lt Cdr John L. Younghusband RN (Dec 1931 - Oct 1932)

Officers

Officers on First Commission:
Sub Lt William G Andrews  (2 February 1918 -
Sub Lt Frederick Ayers RNVR (13 February 1918 -
Lt John H. Cobby RN (4th December 1918 -
Lt Frank A Hall RN (28 January 1918 -
Lt Cdr Eng  George Oswald RN (22nd November 1917 -
Others:
Sub Lt / later Lt Mark Thornton RN (March 1929 - Sept 1931)


Grounded and Broken up

In 1938 with the winds of war blowing, the Admiralty decided to modernise the fleet of V & W’s and convert them to fast escort vessels. The main aim was to give them high angle guns and better protection from air attack for the purpose of protecting the convoys planned to sail the east coast. The new class was designated the ‘Wair' type. Initially 20 ships were earmarked for this conversion but a further ship had to be added later because on the 12th February 1938 while in tow from Rosyth to Chatham for conversion to a ‘Wair’  HMS Walrus broke her tow off the North Bay at Scarborough, on the North Yorkshire coast.

On Saturday 12th February HMS Walrus was being towed by a single Admiralty Tug HMS St Mellons W81, As they passed the Whitby Lighthouse the tow broke, and despite repeated attempts by the crew of the tug, and the four man passage crew on board Walrus, the line could not be re attached. Accordingly Walrus started to drift at the mercy of the atrocious weather and a very bad northerly gale. She ran aground on the Manascus rocks on the North Bay of Scarborough (near where the Sea Life Centre is now). Prior to grounding the crew had released both anchors to the full extent of their chains, but they did not bite. Once the ship grounded the passage crew launched a ‘Carley Float’ which capsized upon entering the water, however, they managed to right it and scrambled aboard. After desperately paddling for an hour they were blown ashore near the end of the ‘Bungalow Parade’.

In the meantime the Pulling Lifeboat, the ‘Herbert Joy 11’ was launched from South Bay and pulled by local fishermen, towns people and children along the Marine Drive,with the intention of launching from the Corner Café, but before she could be launched the men were blown ashore. When the gale had abated, the Lords of the Admiralty sent a team of salvage experts to remove fittings and other reusable spares but the wreck was considered to be beyond repair and accordingly was sold to Round and Sons for £2,550 on the 5th March 1938, the equivalentt of £91,800.00 today [Feb 2007]. on the 12th March she was made  watertight and towed round to the South Bay where she was beached until the tide allowed her to be towed into harbour where she was moored alongside Vincents Pier.

The salvager, Round and Sons, sold her on September 12th 1938 to the ship breaking company of Clayton and Davy for £39,000 [in February 2007 this equated to £140,400.000] and towed her to Dunstan on Tyne for breaking up.
 
At the time of the grounding, she is shown in the Navy List as being in ‘Maintenance Reserve’ at Rosyth with no names of Officers being shown.

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Yorkshire Post & Leeds Intelligencer, September 1938The wreck of a destroyer on the North Yorkshire coast far from any port of the Royal Navy attracted widespread public interest and was covered extensively by the Press. Newspaper reports differ as to whether she was being towed south from Rosyth on the Firth of Forth to Portsmouth or Chatham for her conversion to a Wair anti-aircraft escort or north to Rosyth but since she had beern in Reserve at Rosyth since 1932 logic suggests she was heading south.

Western Daily Press
Wednesday 16 February 1938
Hopes are expressed that HMS Walrus which went ashore at Scarborough in the north-easterly gale on Saturday after parting from the tug which was taking her from Rosyth to Portsmouth to be refitted may be salved.  It is reported the vessel is holed on the starboard side.  A party of seamen, in charge of Sub-Lt. O’Brian, arrived in Scarborough yesterday and took off the  ship’s instruments and personal gear of the four men who formed the skeleton crew.  It may be next Spring tides before definite steps can be taken to tow HMS Walrus off.

Pumping out prior to lifiting and towing off

The salvage team put pumps aboard and plugged the holes in the hull enabling Walrus to be towed off at the next hight tide and towed into Scarborough harbour where she became a tourist attraction for the holiday makers in this popular seaside resort.  She was declared a "constructive loss", too badly damaged to be worth repairing and her final destination would be the breaker's yard at Dunstan on Tyne.
Not everybody was pleased to have her in the harbour for several months while the hull was patched to enable her to continue her journey north. There were complaints from Sandside boarding houses that she obscured their view of  the harbour and boatmen complained that they were unable to reach a slipway which could be used at all states of the tide. The salvagers, T Round & Son,  of Scarborough opened the ship to public inspection but the locals were suspicous. A few weeks earlier fishermen had complained that a helter-skelter in a nearby amusement park looked like a lighthouse and would mislead sailors and lead to accidents. In July the Walrus was moved from the centre of Scarborough inner harbour and berthed alongside the St. Vincent Pier.

The most informative account of the loss and salvage of HMS Walrus was "Last Voyage of HMS Walrus" (on left above) published in Leeds by the Yorkshire Post and Leed Intelligencer from their "Correspondent in Scarborough" on Tuesday 13 September 1938.

HMS Waslrus in Scarborough Harbour
HMS Walrus blocked the view from the Sandside boarding houses after being towed into Scarborough Harbour

Picture  frame made from teak from HMS Walrus 1938
Teak match box holderTeak Plate from HMS Walrus
Souvenirs made from the teak decks HMS Walrus included picture frames, match box holders and plates
The framed photograph is of
HMS Walrus being pumped out prior to being refloated and towed round to South Bay



Christmas at Malta: HMS Walrus and HMS Wryneck in dock

HMS Walrus and HMS Wryneck in srydock at Malta, Christmas Day 1921
The two V & W Class destroyers, HMS Walrus (D24) and HMS Wryneck (D21) photographed in the Hamilton Drydock in the 1930s
Courtesy of John Lawton




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


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



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