HMS 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threat of air attack had been reduced she was withdrawn from active service and reduced to Reserve status.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.
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
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
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.