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

HMS Whitshed, Grand Harbour Malta in 1925
HMS Whitshed (D77) in the Grand Harbour, Malta, in 1925
 With the battleships HMS Barham (closest) and HMS Royal Sovereign
Courtesy of Maxim Ni

HMS Whitshed was built by Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson Ltd. at Wallsend on Tyne. She was launched on 31 January 1919 and commissioned on 11 July 1919 with pennant number FA7 but this was changed to D77 in October. After service in the Mediterranean she was posted to the China Station in 1926. When the United States Navy gunboat USS Fulton was heavily damaged by fire while at sea off China on 14 March 1934, Whitshed, her sister ship HMS Wishart, and the merchant ship SS Tsinan came to Fulton's assistance.

was placed in reserve until 1939 when she joined the 18th Destroyer Flotilla at Portland for convoy defence in the English Channel and South-West Approaches. On 30 January 1940 Whitshed sank U-55 in the South-West Approaches whilst escorting convoy OA30G.

In April, she was transferred to the 19th Destroyer Flotilla at Dover to assist with support of operations off the Belgian and Dutch coasts. She took part in the demolition and evacuation of IJmuiden and Amsterdam, Operation XD(A), in early May 1940, assisted in the evacuation of the Hook of Holland (Operation Ordnance) and Ostend in mid-May and escorted the ferries taking the Welsh and Irish Guards to defend Boulogne on the 22 May.

The next day she and her sister V & Ws in the 19DF returned to Boulogne to bring the troops home.
Capt David J R Simson RN, Captain D 19th Destroyer Flotilla in HMS Keith was killed by a sniper, and Cdr E.R. Conder RN in HMS Whitshed took over as Senior Officer. He advised Vice Admiral Dover (VAD) that he would not order destroyers into the harbour until air protection had arrived. At 1920 fighters arrived and Whitshed entered harbour at dead low water, followed by Vimiera, and berthed with their bridges level with the Quai Chanzy. The troops had a steep descent to the deck. Whitshed sailed for Dover at 2020 with 580 troops onboard. The part played by Whitshed in bringing the Guards home is described by Cdr Conder in his original typescript  "Letter" of Proceedings (with handwritten insertions in pencil to VAD) for the 22 - 23 May which can be seen on the website of the publisher of A Hard Fought Ship along with the RoP of the other V & Ws. Click on the link for an overview of the part played by the V & Ws in the evacuation of the Guards from Boulogne.

Whitshed escaped serious damage during the evacuation of the BEF from Dunkirk, Operation Dynamo, and was based at Harwich on anti-invasion patrols until she detonated a mine on 31 July and had to be towed back to Harwich by HMS Wild Swan. She was under repair for the rest of the year but resumed her duties at Harwich in January 1941.

In February 1942, Whitshed joined the destroyers Mackay and Walpole of the 21st Flotilla and Campbell, Worcester and Vivacious of the 16th Flotilla. On the 12th, they carried out a torpedo attack on the German battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau and heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, which had broken out of Brest and proceeded via the Dover Straits to Wilhelmshaven in the Channel Dash. For further details of the part played by the  V & Ws in this famous action see the description on the website of HMS Worcester.

The picturesque fishing port of Whitby in Yorkshire raised 315,169, the cost of building the hull of a V & W destroyer, to adopt  HMS Whitshed during a successful Warship Week on 7 - 14 February 1942,

For the remainder of 1942 and most of 1943, Whitshed resumed convoy escort duties in the North Sea and English Channel. Her ‘A’ gun was replaced with a twin 6-pounder army gun for engaging E-Boats and in November 1943 she was in action with them while escorting convoy CW221 off Hastings with Coastal Forces. On 18 April 1944 she was in action again with E-Boats on a mine laying operation in the English Channel.

During the Normandy landings in June 1944 she joined Escort Group 104 with Montrose, Borage and Loosestrife and escorted convoy EIL1 comprising 12 Landing Ship Tank (LST) and 24 Landing Craft Tank (LCT) from Southend to the assembly area of the Eastern Task Force. She then returned to Southend to escort the build-up convoys.

In July she was released from Operation Neptune and resumed mercantile convoy escort and interception patrols engaging E-Boats and submersibles employed in mine laying operations in the North Sea and English Channel through April 1945. After VE-Day she was deployed in re-occupation operations. In June 1945 she was reduced to reserve status and sold to BISCO in February 1947 for demolition by T J King but did not arrive at the breakers’ yard in Gateshead until April 1948.

Commanding Officers

Lt Cdr George Arthur Scott RN (July 1921 - Jan 1923)
Cdr. Edward Reignier Conder, RN (15 Nov 1939 - Aug 1940)
Lt.Cdr. William Anthony Juniper, RN (29 Nov 1940 - 9 Jul 1942)
Lt.Cdr. Arthur Allison FitzRoy Talbot, DSO, RN (9 Jul 1942 - 14 Jul 1943)
Lt. Tom Peter Baillie-Grohman, DSC RN (14 Jul 1943 - 12 Sep 1944)
Lt. Robert Graham Woodward, RN (12 Sep 1944 - June 1945)


Temp Lt L M D Apperley DSC RNVR (22 May 1944 – by Dec 1944)
Mid J P Bell RNVR (18 Nov 1939 – by Jan 1941)
Temp Sub Lt B A Chadwick RNVR (30 Dec 1940 – by Nov 1942)
Lt Will S Clouston RN (April - July 1937)
Lt J S Drane DSC RN (8 Dec 1943 – by Dec 1944) First Lieutenant
Temp Mid W D Duncan SANF(V) (2 Nov 1943 – Jun 1945)
Lt (E) A V English RN (8 Jun 1937 – 7 Feb 1941)
Temp Surg Lt P D Ferguson RNVR (12 Jul 1943 – May 1944)
Sub Lt J H D Franklin RANVR (27 Dec 1940 – by Jan 1942)
Wt Eng E W Fuller MBE RN (7 Feb 1941 – Jan 1944)
Temp Sub Lt G Gillott RNVR (7 Feb 1944 – Jun 1945)
Lt (E) R G Gross RN (17 Jan 1944 – Jun 1945)
Temp Lt D A Haigh RNVR (8 Jan 1944 – by Dec 1944)
Sub Lt D I Hayward RN (18 Nov 1939 – by Jan 1941)
Gnr (T) C G Holdsworth RN (3 Sep 1940 – Mar 1942)
Lt J L M Jolly RN (3 Jun 1942 – Dec 1943) First Lieutenant
Temp Lt R W Johnston RNVR (2 Sep 1944 – Jun 1945)
Lt Michael B. Laing RN (April 1924 - Jan 1925)
Lt Michael "Dry Ginger" Le Fanu RN (March 1935 - August 1936)
Lt S R Lombard-Hobson RN (Nov 39  - 13 Aug 40) First Lieutenant
Lt B C Longbottom RN (7 Dec 1940 – Jul 1942)    First Lieutenant
Actg Gnr (T) C V Mackenzie RN (17 Feb 1944 – Jun 1945)
Gnr (T) A Matten RN Retd  (4 Nov 1938 – Sep 1949)
Temp Surg Lt N McSwan RNVR (30 May 1944 – Jun 1945)
Temp Sub Lt R G Millist RNVR  (22 Nov 1941- by Nov 1942)
Temp  Lt W J Mitchell RNZVR (22 Jul 1942 – by May 1944)
Sub Lt P L K Needham RN (18 Nov 1939 – by Jan 1941)
Lt A F D Openshaw RN  (Oct 1943 – Jun 1945) First Lieutenant
Surg Lt G J Potts RN (23 Dec 1940 – Aug 1942)
Temp Surg Lt D W Pugh RNVR (18 Jan 1940 – Dec 1940)
Lt P D Raisey RN (3 Jun 1941 – by Nov 1942)
Gnr (T) R J B Stilwell RN (Mar 1942 – Feb 1944)
Temp Sub Lt O L Sylvester SANF(V) (21 Nov 1944 – Jun 1945)
Lt A M H Thomas RN (4 Nov 1944 – Jun 1945)
Lt T S Trick RN (14 Jul 1942 – by Nov 1943) First Lieutenant
Temp Surg Lt G R Walker RNVR (29 Aug 1942 – Jul 1943)
Sub Lt A J Watkins RN (16 Dec 1940 – by Jan 1942)
Temp Sub Lt V P Walker RNVR (29 Aug 1941 – by Nov 1942)
Lt Alfred N. Waring RN (Feb 1929 - Feb 1931)
Lt Herbert J. Watkins RN (Dec 1940 - Feb 1941)
Temp Sub Lt W P Wilder RCNVR (25 Aug 1942 – by May 1944)
Sub Lt P C Wood RN  (9 Dec 1940 – by Jan 1942)
Temp Mid A F Vyvyan-Robinson RNR  (16 May 1944 – by Dec 1944)

Former Full Members of the V & W Destroyer Assoociation who served in HMS Whitshed
J. Baker (Newhaven, East Sussex), H. Davis (Caldecot, Gwent), R. Hale (Hayes, MIddx), A. Moore (Aylesbury, Bucks), K. Pickles (Scarborough, N Yorkshire),
R. Dawlings (Northampton), R. Thompson (Northampton), D. Wargent (Daretford, Kent), M. Wood (Brandon, Suffolk)

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

HMS Whitshed 1937
HMS Whitshed in 1937
Courtesy of Maxim Ni

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

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