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

HMS Winchester 1941 HMS Winchester

Winchester was under conversion to a WAIR at Portsmouth from September 1939 to April 1940, replacing her standard 4.7 inch guns with dual High Altitude 4 inch guns for ant-aircraft defence. In May she reinforced Naval AA defence at Dunkirk.  She assisted in the evacuation from Flushing in the Netherlands and was damaged by enemy aircraft off the Scheldt but returned under her own power to Dover.

She spent the whole of her war as part of the Rosyth Force escorting convoys along the East Coast between Rosyth and London. In January 1945 when when Atlantic convoys were re-routed through Channel and the threat of air attack had been reduced
she was withdrawn from active service and reduced to Reserve status. She was deployed as an Accommodation Ship at Rosyth until she was sold to BISCO in March 1946 and broken up at Inverkeithing.

Commanding Officers

Cdr Thomas Charles Capenter Bolster RN (1930)
Cdr Walter Napier Thomason "Joe" Beckett RN (5 Jan 1934 - July 1936)
Lt Cdr Edward L. Berthon RN (Sept 1936 - July 1937)
Cdr Philip N. Walter RN (14 July 1937 - June 1938)
Lt.Cdr. Stuart Erskine Crewe-Read, RN (9 Mar 1940  - Jan 1941)
Lt. Robert Andrew Morgan, RN (Jan - 3 Feb 1941)
Lt.Cdr. Dermod James Boris Jewitt, RN (3 Feb 1941 - 31 May 1942)
Lt. John Ronald Gower, RN  (31 May 1942 - 17 Aug 1943)
Lt. John Kenneth Lyon, RN (17 Aug 1943 - late 1944)


Sub Lt Sidney George Brangwin RNVR (7 April 1941 - 13 October 1944)
Lt John Hart MacAlister RNVR (12 March - October 1940)

Former Full Members of the V & W Destroyer Association who served in HMS Winchester
R. Blackwell (Neston), S. Claridge (Hook, Hants), F. Day (Rushden, Northants), Capt John Ronald Gower DSC (Bath), R. Madden (Kings Lynn, Norfolk), D. Olley (Aldershot).
Please get in touch if you knew one of these men or have a family member who served in HMS Winchester

HMS WinchesterWho is this man?
OD Connonlly JX425954 (sic) joined in HMS Winchester in 1943 when she was escorting East Coast convoys but nothing more is known about him
This photograph was found in the papers of the V & W Destroyer Association

Capt John R Gower RN DSC

Capt John R Gower RN DSC (1912 - 2007) was possibly the most senior "shipmate" in the V & W Association having served as CO of HMS Winchester from 31 May 1942 to 17 August 1943. He never wrote an account of his time as CO of Winchester for Hard Lying but he wrote a 133 page word processed account of his career which is now in the Imperial War Museum, London, and there is an interesting account of his life in Wikipedia as well as an obituary in The Telegraph.

He did, however, write for Hard Lying a first hand account of Operation Lucid, an aborted plan conceived by Churchill and led by Captain Agar VC to "singe Adolf Hitler's whiskers" by launching fireships at the invasion fleet being assembled at Calais and Boulogne.  Several V & W Class destroyers took part in Operation Lucid: Campbell (Captain 'D' 21), Mackay, Walpole, Venetia, Witch, Veteran, Venomous, Wild Swan, Wolverine, Beagle, Vesper, and the Hunt Class Cottesmore, Garth and Hambledon. Lt John R Gower RN was the First Lieutenant of one of the fire ship lying at Sheerness, an old Norwegian tanker named Mytilus. Since HMS Winchester played no part in Operation Lucid his account will be published elsewhere on this website.

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

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