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

HMS Whiklrlwind D30 with H 24 Submarine
HMS Whirlwind with H24 submarine in foreground
Click image to view full size and for story see below.
Hard Lying

HMS Whilrlwind was  ordered from Swan Hunter at Wallsend on the Tyne on 9th December 1916 and launched on 15th December 1917 as the first RN warship to carry this name. After joining the Fleet she took part in the raids on Zeebrugge on 22-3 April 1918 and Ostend on 10 May. After the armistice she was deployed in the 1st Destroyer Flotilla, Atlantic Fleet. In July 1922 HMS Whirlwind rescued the crew of the submarine H24 when she was accidentally rammed by HMS Vancouver (renamed HMS Vimy in April 1928), badly damaging her conning tower, as shown in the above photograph.

After the British merchantship Bronte was torpedoed and damaged on 27 October 1939 by German U-boat U-34 180 miles SW of Lands End HMS Whirlwind and HMS Walpole sank her with gunfire and Walpole took onboard the 42 crew members. Whirlwind was part of the destroyer escorts for the ships taking the troops to Namsos after the German invasion of Norway.

On the 5th July 1940 HMS
Whirlwind together with HMS Westcott were ordered to carry out a U-boat hunt off Lands End, whilst doing this the Whirlwind was torpedoed and badly damaged by U-34 some 120 miles off Lands End and after taking off the crew she had to be sunk by gunfire from HMS Westcott who returned to Falmouth with the survivors.

Commanding Officers

Lt Cdr Donal Scott McGrath RN (2 May 1925 - Jan 1926)
Lt.Cdr. Michael Wentworth Ewart-Wentworth, RN (15 June - 10 Oct 1939)
Lt.Cdr. John Malcolm Rodgers, RN (10 Oct 1939  - 5 Jul 1940)


Former Full Members of the V & W Destroyer Assoociation
P. Goodrich (Worcester), J. Stokes (Westgate onn Sea, Kent)

The Training Ship of the Sea Cadet Unit at Orpington is TS
When the V & W Destroyer Association was dissolved in April 2017 its funds were distributed to the eight Sea Cadet Units with Training Ships named after a V & W Class destroyer

Please get in touch if you have a family member who served in HMS Whirlwind


The situation in Europe was becoming rather volatile. Germany had already began rearming at an alarming rate and was producing U-boats as fast as possible and also producing bomber and fighter aircraft, all contrary to previous international treaties and conditions and so led to my introduction to the V&Ws.

At about 0200 on a Saturday in September 1938 I was sleeping in my hammock in 5GG mess R.N.B. Chatham when I was aroused by someone switching on the lights. It was an R.P.O, who was calling out  a list of names and asking each one "Can you ride a Bike?" On receiving an affirmative, he was instructed to report to the main gate where he would be sent round on a bicycle delivering call up messages to reservists in the Medway. One wit, hoping perhaps to avoid the task replied "No", only to be told to report to the main gate where he would have to walk round delivering call up messages.

Before switching off the lights the R.P.O. informed us that, due to the Munich crisis the Fleet was being mobilised, and that most of us would be drafted to ships that day. So much for the short week end leave that I was expecting. That day in the barracks was one of watching and waiting. Watching the huge notice boards that had been placed in the drill shed and trying to find out which ship you had been sent to. I eventually found my name,  I was posted to Whirlwind, a V&W destroyer. It was then a question of waiting, waiting until about 1600 hrs when, after much hanging around, we were marched to the dockyard to join Whirlwind. I was then an AB SG and was allocated to number two mess, top division, trainer of 'B' gun, and "Captain of the Heads" (toilets), a very privileged job, or so I thought until I saw them. They were in a terrible state and to put it crudely stunk! The ship had been in reserve for many years and I do not think that any work had been done in the heads during that time.

The first night we stored ship and the following day went to Shore Reach to ammunition.  We then went to Portsmouth and spent the next few days at sea doing all the commissioning exercises.   Whenever possible I worked in the Heads, and got them up to a reasonable standard to satisfy myself and the chief of the mess decks. One bonus was that I had my own "Caboosh". There were two toilets marked, C.& P.O's and a third one with no marking. I decided that this one was spare and I rigged up a nice little den for myself with photographs, a line for my dhobying and other personal items. I had the best caboosh in the ship. Alas it came to an end one day whilst at sea when the Captain appeared in the galley flat and asked where his sea heads was. It was my caboosh. He naturally exploded when he opened the door and saw my dhobying hanging there. That was it for me. I lost my Captaincy and was back working part of ship.

The commission only lasted for about a month, following Neville Chamberlain's return from Munich waving a piece of paper saying "Peace in our time". We paid off and it was back to R.N.B.

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

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