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

Anecdotes told by my father
Ordinary signalman Albert Edward (Ted) Chitty 1922-2009
HMS Westcott, 31 October 1941 – 23 December 1942

Signalman Ted CHittyMascott
My father died in 2009 and never said much about his war and my own memories are fading now. I believe he was proud of his involvement and joining HMS Westcott, his first ship, at nineteen changed his life, and not always for the best. His fondest memories were of his time on HMS Westcott because of the sense of comradeship he felt but he went on to serve on HMS Helvig, a mine-layer (or floating bomb as he called it).

He almost didn’t join up and could so easily have been killed, when a jettisoned bomb exploded on the footpath in front of him as he watched from an open door the German bombers returning after their raid on London. The house had to be demolished. 

The two stories I remember best were the ramming of U581 and seeing HMS Eagle hit and sunk with one of his best friends aboard. I recently discovered that some of Westcott’s signal staff had been assigned to the Eagle so it could have been one of them.

He liked sleeping in a hammock and told me he got 6d (equivalent to 2.5p) a time for colour washing black and white photos of wives and sweethearts for fellow shipmates. He liked to be smart and his bell-bottoms were always pressed (as can be seen in some of his photos). I remember him talking about the orange boats that came out from the Azores and watching out for Spanish trawlers spying. They liked escorting the larger capital ships because they would get fresh bread. He also described the changing weather, from Atlantic gales to the heat of the Mediterranean.

The captain during his time on HMS Westcott was Cdr Bockett-Pugh and he spoke fondly of the skipper although he was a disciplinarian. He kept a Winchester rifle on the bridge and the crew were taught to use it as he believed that even sailors needed to know how to shoot straight. I still have the mascot his mother made for my father out of one of his sister’s dolls of Disney’s Seven Dwarfs dressed as Cdr Bockett-Pugh (on right).

He recalled being knocked over trying to fire a stripped Lewis gun during an air raid and spending time reloading Oerlikon magazines. He was very scathing about the Hedgehog anti-submarine weapon and US escort ships that wouldn’t stay in formation.

After his death I found his service record, his medals – never worn and still in their original packaging – and a number of small photographs of friends and crew-mates, mostly not named.
Alan Chitty

The 8inch Signalling Lamp on mast head
Ted Chitty with his 8 inch Addis Signalling lamp - above and right
Ted Chitty and 8inch Signal Lamp Guts
"Guts" Brown takes a break from fighting the war



On the bridge of HMS Westcott On the Bridge of HMS Westcott
On the bridge of HMS Westcott

Scrubbing the decxk
Scrubbing the decks - Ted Chitty on the right

Ted Chitty photographed the sinking of U-581 and the rescue of her crew after she was rammed by HMS Westcott in the Azores

Ted Chitty left HMS Westcott in December 1942 when she went into Portsmouth's Naval Dockyard for conversion to a Long Range Escort. She was by far his favourite ship, a sentiment shared by many of the men who served in V & Ws as well as other ships. He described his next ship, HMS Helvig, as a "floating bomb". She was a Danish Fruit Carrier seized by the British following the German invasion and occupation of Denmark in 1940 and converted for use as a Mine Depot Ship. He was issued with a "Wounds Certificate" when he slipped from the top of ladder on Helvig and fell nine feet and was off duty for six days and had back trouble for many years after. His "Signal History Sheet"shows he passed Ordinary Signalman comfortably but never passed Signalman.

HMS Helvig

If you want to find out more about the wartime service of a member of your family who served on HMS Westcott 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 Westcott you would like to contribute to the web site please contact Bill Forster

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