The Ship's Complement

These two lists are from the private papers of Lt. Cdr. Aymé Arthur Carrington Ouvry RN, the first wartime CO of HMS Westminster, who was in command from December 1939 to July 1942. The Ship's Writer was accountable to the Correspondence Officer. He kept kept detailed records of men joining and leaving the ship for submission to the Admiralty and these summaries were probably produced by the Ship's Writer at the request of the CO.

Until 2013 TNT Archives Service under contract to the Admiralty compiled lists of the men recorded in the the Pay and Victualing Ledgers for specific dates on payment of a standard fee of £30. This service has now been discontinued on the grounds of data protection. TNT charged the Admiraty for the actuall costs incurred based on the time required to extract the names from the records which was related to the number of men in the ship and was much higher than the standard fee. It is widely believed that the real reason for discontinuing the service was to reduce costs.

TNT continue to prove service records for family members for which the same standard fee of £30 is charged.

Gun Crew on HMS Westminster
Gun Crew relaxing
Courtesy of Jeremy Ouvry

Ship's ComplementShip's Complement by Mess
On the bridge of HMS Westminster
On the bridge of HMS Westminster
Courtesy of Jeremy Ouvry

The list on the left contains the names of 147 men arranged by rate plus an additional 7 sick. The second list arranged by mess includes 140 men plus 12 sick and ten officers making a total of 162. This list is dated 16 July 1942 shortly before Lt Cdr Ouvery ceased to be CO of Westminster. The first list may have been made when he joined Westminster when she came out of Reserve in 1939.

A note accompanying the first list (not reproduced here) states that 5% of the Seamen were Long Service, 30% were RNVR or RNR and 65% were H.O. (Hostilities Only) conscripts.

Some explanatory notes are given below -

Pensioners      20 years service from 18, recalled to service
Long Service   12 years service initially but extended and called up as "Reservists"
Short Service   12 years service

The acronyms for the rates are given here -

Chief Petty Officer SHPT
Petty Officer SBA
Sick Bay Attendant
L/SEA Leading Seaman STWD
O/SEA Ordinary Seaman Sto
Able Seaman
ERA Engine Room Artificer
Tel Telegraphist CERA
Chief Engine Room Artificer
YEO SIG Yeoman of Signals

SIG Signalman

OA Ordnance Artificer

Find out about HMS Westminster as an East Coast escort by reading the Journal kept by Midshipman Derek Tolfree RNR from 23 December 1942 to the 9 March 1944

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

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