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

HMS Wishart
       photograph from

Click on the links within this brief outline for first hand accounts by the men who served on HMS Wishart and for a more detailed chronolgy see

HMS Wishart (D67) was one of two Modified W-Class Destroyers ordered from Thornycroft at Woolston, Southampton, in January 1918 (the other was HMS Witch). Four other V & Ws were built at Thorneycroft's Woolston shipyard on the opposite side of the River Itchen from Southampton. She was launched on 18th July 1919 and named after Admiral Sir James Wishart (1659-1723), Captain of the Fleet at the Battle of Vigo Bay in 1702 and MP for Portsmouth. She was completed in June 1920 and is easily distinguished from other ships of this type by having two funnels of almost equal height.

During the inter-war years she served in the Atlantic Fleet and the Mediterranean and from 1932 on the China Station with the 8th Destroyer Flotilla. On the 14 March 1932 she rescued the crew of the USN Gun Boat USS Fulton when she caught fire while HMS Whitshed stood by to help if needed. HMS Wishart was commanded by Cdr Lord Louis Mountbatten from 1934-6 when she returned to the Mediterranean as part of the First Destroyer Flotilla.

From September 1939 she was based at Gibraltar with the 13th Destroyer Flotilla escorting convoys to Liverpool but in March was transferrred to Freetown, West Africa, for the local escort of Atlantic Convoys. In June 1940 she returned to Gibraltar and operated with H Force escorting carriers flying off aircraft to defend Malta. On 27 June 1941 she sank the Italian submarine, Glauco west of Gibraltar.

In July 1941 she returned to Britain for a refit and conversion to a Long Range Escort (LRE) but because the boiler room arrangements did not allow an increase in her fuel capacity the conversion did not proceed and she remained a high speed Short Range Escort (SRE) with enhanced armament. Cdr. Humphrey Gilbert Scott, RN was appointed CO in September 1941 and Ron Rendle who was aboard HMS Patroclus when she was torpedoed and sunk by U-99 (Otto Kretschmer) joined the crew as as Torpedoman. The photograph of the ship's Company was probably taken at that time. In February 1942 Wishart was adopted by Port Talbot, Glamorgan, after a successful Warships Week National Savings campaign.

After post refit trials she returned to Gibraltar and as part of Force H escorted repeated operations to fly off aircraft to defend Malta. With HMS Wrestler (D35), and aircraft of the Royal Air Force's No. 202 Squadron she sank the German submarine U-74 with all hands east of Cartagena, Spain, in a depth-charge attack on 2 May 1942. In August 1942 she escorted the convoy which broke the blocade of Malta, Operation Pedestal, during which the aircraft carrier, HMS Eagle, was lost.

In November 1942 she escorted convoys to the landing beaches in North Africa, Operation Torch, and was awarded prize money for her help in salvaging the American troopship, Thomas Stone. On 11 December 1942 she rescued survivors from HMS Blean when she was torpedoed by U-443 sixty miles west of Oran. Ten days later she assisted with rescue operations when MV Strathalan was torpedoed on 21 December 1942 with more than 5,000 troops aboard.

Cdr Scott in HMS Wishart was the Senior Officer of the escort for one of the first through Convoy from Gib to Alex after the surrender of Axis Forces in North Africa, Convoy GTX.3, 22 June - 3 July 1943; see his Report of Proceedings, "Only Wishart, Venomous and the trawler Stella Carina were with the convoy for the whole passage from Gib to Alex." A week later on 10 July Wishart with Venomous and HMS Witherington escorted the troop ships to the landing beaches at Augusta in Sicily, Operation Husky.

On 24 February 1944 she took part with HMS Anthony in sinking U-761 which was detected with an airborne Magnetic Anomaly Detector (MAD) by a Catalina flying boat and its position marked with smoke bombs. This is believed to be the first time a u-boat was setected and sunk by this method and the operation was photographed from the air. Throughout 1944 she remained at Gibraltar escorting convoys in the Western Mediterranean and in January 1945 was withdrawn from operational use and returned to Britain, was paid off and reduced to Reserve and then sold for beaking up at Inverkeithing, near Rosyth.

Former members of the V & W Destroyer Association
A. Cameron (Cheltenham), B. Johnstone (Hertford), A.W. Jones (Faversham, Kent), D. Lochead (Hertford), Ron Rendle (Braintree, Essex), D. Shepherd (Basingstoke, Hants), and M. Warren (Portsmouth)

If you have stories or photographs of HMS Wishart you would like to contribute to the web site please contact Bill Forster
Find out how you can help us research this ship and build this web site

Commanding Officers

Lt Cdr Philip John Mack RN (Oct 1923 - Jan 1925)
Lr Cdr Sir Irvine Gordon Glennie RN (April 1927 - June 1928)
Lt Hugh Merriman Barnes RN (Oct 1928 - April 1930)
Cdr Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas Mountbatten RN (Dec 1934 - Feb 1936)
Cdr. Thomas Leslie Bratt, RN (Feb - Aug 1939)
Lt.Cdr. Edward Tyndale Cooper, RN (June 1939 - Sep 1941)
Cdr. Humphrey Gilbert Scott, RN(Sep 1941 - June 1943)                         
Cdr. Alan FitzRoy Campbell, OBE, RN (June - July 1943)
Lt. Francis Nigel Featherston Johnston, RN (July 1943)
Lt. John Arundell Holdsworth, RN  (July 1943 - March 1944)
Lt. Victor John Manwaring, RN (Mar - mid 1944)


This short list of officers who served on HMS Wishart all have entries on the web site. Further names from the Navy List will be added later.

Lt John Hamilton Allison RN (July 1923 - Jan 1925)
Sub Lt Edmund "Ted" Clarence Bentley SANF(V) (Oct 1943 - April 1944)
Lt Desmond Lisburn Curtis Craig RN (April 1927 - Aug 1929)
Lt John Richard ("Dick") Alured Denne RN (May 1939 - April 1940)
Lt Ralph Lindsay Fisher RN (Oct 1931 - Sept 1932)
Lt Harry John Hall RNR (April - July 1935)
Lt Frank Joseph George Hewitt RN (March - October 1938)
Lt Francis Nigel Featherston Johnston RN (Feb - Dec 1943)
Lt Richard George Damyon Keddie RN (Feb 1941 - Feb 1943)
Lt Richard William Ravenhill RN (1925)
Lt Denys Arthur Rayner RNVR (July 1937 - Feb 1939)
Lt Edward Gregson Roper RN (Dec 1934 - Feb 1936)

Who are these men?

The ship's company of HMS Wishart
The Ship's Company of HMS Wishart
Double click on the image to display full size
The photograph was probably taken after her refit and recommissioning in September 1941 when Cdr. Humphrey Gilbert Scott, RN was appointed CO
The photographs were provided by  Kelly Porter and "Gav Mac" whose Grandfathers, were stokers on HMS Wishart.
Can you recognise any of these men?

New boys!

Sixteen young Hostilities Only (HO) ratings joined Wishart in February 1942 while she was based at Gibraltar. They went from Greenock to Gibraltar on the former passenger liner, Llanstephen Castle, which was requisitioned for use as a troop carrier and stayed on the depot ship, Maidstone, until the Wishart came in. They joined on the same day, shared the cramped living quarters on the mess decks, drank together when back in Gib and some are still friends today.

Doug Lochhead described his time in WIshart in an an article for Hard Lying, the magazine of the V & W Destroyer Association and although Doug died some years ago his son continued to attend the annual reunions of the Association.

All at sea in HMS Wishart by Doug Lochead

In 1941 I went off to HMS Colingwood at Fareham to join the Navy.
We were always hungry. One Sunday an old C.P.O. standing by the serving hatch asked "Anybody want any more cake?" Five tables got broken in the rush.

While I was there they were filming "In Which We Serve". Some of the men were going to the film studio to jump into a tank of oil and water and were getting thirty bob (shillings) a day for it. Those who were not picked and were still only getting two shillings a day got the hump. At the end of the film they show the new recruits marching behind the bands, that was us. Neol Coward wrote the screen play for this patriotic war film based on the story of HMS Kelly and played the part of her captain, Lord Mountbatten (the CO of HMS WIshart in 1934-6).

After training, and leave we ended up in Stockheath Camp, Havant. For anyone who never went there, let me explain. The builders were still in, there was a foot of mud and we had to walk on duck boards, if you fell of it took two to pull you out. At four o'clock the call went out over the tannoy, "One hand from each hut to collect coke and candle issue". No lights and just a combustion stove, we had bets on how many sheets of the roof we could get to glow!

One weekend there was an exercise, us against the Royal Marines. They were trying out new field kitchens as well, and it was going to be for three or four days. After about six hours in a ditch with snow and ice, I said to my 'Oppo', "the first Marines we see, we surrender to". They were chuffed to get two prisoners and took us back to their headquarters, which was an old farmhouse. The Officer took one look and knew that he had a pair of idiots. They put us in the hay loft, twenty minutes later they sent up eggs, bacon, sausages and tea, followed by chicken for dinner, we even got a tot! When it was all over, our hut wanted to know why we were dry and not covered in mud.  

I was then given a draft chit to HMS Wishart. We caught a troop ship, the Llanstephen Castle from Greenock to Gibraltar and stayed on the 'Maidstone' Until the Wishart came in. Within five hours we sailed. Two hours later I was down the magazine, with guns firing, God knows what at, and for the first and only time I said "What the hell have I let myself in for?" We did the North African landings and towed a Yankee troop transport the USS Thomas Stone that had been torpedoed. After the war I received three guineas (three pounds three shillings) salvage money.

Christmas day 1942 we saw a crowd in Algiers and followed it thinking it was some sporting event, we ended up in Notre Dame looking at Admiral Darlan laying in state. Next it was the Malta convoys with runs ashore as Tunis, Oran, Tripoli and Bizerta. I went ashore to see my cousin who was in the army at a town called Ferryville about twenty miles away. As the only pub was there and an army convoy was just leaving, it seemed natural to join it. When we got back, no Wishart! Well it was not the first time I had done 14 day's 10A.  

In the 1950's The Royal Naval Association mustered on Horse Guards Parade prior to marching to the Cenotaph for a Naval Service, the back to Horse Guards Parade all lined up to be inspected. That year the inspecting officer was Admiral of the Fleet Sir Andrew Cunningham. I was in the front row. The Admiral got about five men past me when he stopped and came back, looked me in the eye and said "I know you, Main Street Gib' I had you 'off caps', HMS Wishart." "I didn't think you would remember" I said. "How many A.B.'s do you think an Admiral knock off? We will have a drink in the festival hall tonight". This was and he said: "Bugger him, you only salute your own officers in Gibraltar and he's not one of ours". The car stopped the Admiral put his head out of the window and called us back and wanted to know the reason why we had not saluted. I got three days stoppage of pay and leave. I wonder how many have been 'done' by an Admiral?

After the two most famous convoys, Harpoon and Pedestal and the eighth army had beaten Rommel's Africa Corps, we then took a convoy through to Alexandria, the first for a few years. On arrival we were given a few days leave, so down to the race course we went. We stayed at a hotel in Mohammed Ali Square and really lived it up. We mixed in with some army lads who were buying up bales of silk and souvenirs, as there were about thirty troop ships in the harbour, the 'buzz' was going round that they were going home, and of course we thought that we would be escorting them and going home as well.  

I was mess caterer and managed to get hold of a few bags of Egyptian potatoes and gammon hocks. A couple of days before we set sail I managed to get tonsillitis, so I had to sling my hammock on the upper deck alongside the Pom-poms. We set sail about 0400 as dawn was breaking. All the troop ships and cruisers were on the move. The Captain came on the tannoy. "Gentlemen" he said "You know bloody well we will not be going home."  

So we were off for the invasion of Sicily. As I went down to my mess the surgeon saw me and wanted to know what I was doing out of my hammock, I told him that I was not going to get shot at! One of my mess-mates brought me my dinner of the lovely ham and potatoes that I had acquired. I just could not eat it. That broke my heart, tho' I did manage to get my tot down.   I felt sorry for those troops who had bought those bales of silk thinking that they were on their way home. They must have had them packed in their haversacks.

We went to Salerno for the landings, there were rocket firing ships beyond us I said "I hope they know what they are doing" because the rockets were flying over our heads. Suddenly we peeled off and made our way to Malta, refuelled etc; and then off we went to Taranto. Italy had just surrendered. On our arrival at Taranto we went alongside the 42,000 ton Battleship Vittoria Veneto, pride of the Italian navy. One officer, one P.O. And five ratings, including me, were armed with 303 Lee Enfield rifles. We were to board her. "What do we do if they don't want to surrender?" Asked someone. "Oh you'll be all right, just sort it out" we were told. Thank God we did not have to use our rifles!

That night laying at anchor, ahead of us lay the mine laying cruiser HMS Abdial, at about 0200 on the 10 September 1943 there was an explosion. She got rid of her mines and had Royal Marine Commandoes and their equipment, including trucks on board that had been picked up at Algiers. Whether it was a mine, human torpedo or a saboteur that could have been picked up at Algiers we did not know. We put out scrambling nets and picked up a few survivors, up anchor and crashed out of the harbour. However we eventually arrived back in Gibraltar via Catalina, Salerno and Taranto.  

While ashore I met up with an old shipmate who was on HMS Hurricane, they were going home, so I asked him to take the bale of silk and other goodies to give to my Mother, but they were sunk in the Bay of Biscay on Christmas Day 1943. Soon after we went back home to have radar towers fitted, and were in Newport South Wales for about four days. We returned to Gib' where Wishart, Westcott, Witherington, Wivern Verity, Velox, Antelope and Antony were detailed to do a Radar shoot; by then all the destroyers had been fitted with Radar. Wishart was detailed to provide a target marking party consisting of a Warrant Gunner and four ratings aboard a trawler. As I was not the flavour of the month, I was to be one of the four aboard the target towing trawler. The first salvo came right through the trawlers rigging. The Radar operators in those days were all seamen who had had no real training on how to operate the Radar.

One of the trawler's officers had a word with the Warrant Gunner, it seemed that one of the stokers had been taken ill. "Don't worry, I'll get one of my men to take his place". Well you can guess who that was going to be. I thought that I could twiddle a few knobs and valves and I'll be out of the Gunner's way. The trouble was that when I got down to the boiler room, there was a shovel and about three tons of coal! I wonder, have we any shipmates or seamen who have had to shovel coal?

I eventually arrived home just before "D" day.

AB Doug Lochead
his article was first published in Hard Lying

The men who served in HMS Wishart

Colin Seaman (left) and Derek Shepherd Ron RendleDerek Shepherd (on right) was 15 when he enlisted in the Royal Navy. His best friend was Colin Seaman (on the left).  They kept in touch by phone but were not fit enough to attend the reunions of the V & W Association.

Colin Seaman lived in his own home in Burnham on Crouch, Essex, with family living nearby and died on Thursday 2 February 2017 at the good age of 93.

Ron Rendle was 98 when he died on the 23 December 2017 and will be greatly missed by his former shipmates in the V & W Destroyer Association. He was a keen photographer but none of his photographs survived when HMS Bickerton was torpedoed. He told his story to Bill Forster, an Associate member of the V & W Association whose father served in HMS Venomous, a sister ship of Wishart. You can read about Ron's life and listen to the recorded interview online by clicking on this link.

Take a look at these photographs contributed by the families of men who served on HMS WIshart.  There were between 120 and 160 men on WIshart at any one time and most ratings would only remember the men in their own Mess.  If you recognise a family member who served on WIshart do please get in touch and let us know so that we can add their names and tell their stories. They are mostly stokers.

 Generations pass, memories fade ...

AB Samuel Gillan (1904-60)Is this Samuel Gillan?I was sent this photograph of AB Samuel Gillan on the left by his son, Frank Gillan, who was eight when his father died in 1960. It was the only wartime portrait he had of his father and all he could tell me about him was that he had served in HMS Wishart and HMS Ladybird, an Insect Class gunboat built in 1916 and torpedoed off Tobruk in 1941. It must have been taken in August 1939 as once the war began, for security reasons, the name of a man's ship was not given on his cap ribbon, just the words HMS Destroyer.

I was fortunate to find two Service Certificate for Samuel Gillan online on the National Archives website and was able to dowload them without charge, a concession during the Covid Pandemic as they normaly costs 3-60 per record. Had he been born a few years later his son would have had to prove his relationship to his father by providing a birth certificate and paid the standard 30 fee charged by the Admiralty for supplying service records. These handwritten records give the shore base for pay and aministrative purposes followed by the name of the ships in which a man served in brackets. They are often difficult to interpret but it appeared that Samuel Gillan had joined HMS Wishart in August 1939 and remained with her throughout the war.

He was a "regular" - not a "Hostilities only" conscript - having "signed  on" for 5 years plus 7 in 1926 when he was an 18 year old labourer born at Rutherglen, Lanarksire, in 1904. After service in HMS Vindictive he had joined HMS Ladybird on the China Station in 1931 when she was based on the Yangste, China's largest river which flowed from west to east and reached the sea at Shanghai. V & W Class destroyers were based at Hankow (Wuhan), the highest point on the Yangste which could be reached by ocean going ships, but HMS Ladfybird, an Insect Class gunboat, and river steamers could reach Yichang (Ichang) a further 400 miles upriver. The story of HMS Ladybird from the Danube to the Upper Yangste and her loss at Tobruk in 1941 is told on John (Dusty) Millers's website and you can read the story of some of the survivors on

In 2020 I recorded an interview with 105 year old Lt Cdr John Manners RN, the last surviving Commanding Officer of a wartime destroyer, HMS Viceroy. Most of the veterans who served in the war have "passed the bar" and more often than not I am contacted by their sons or grandsons who tell their story for them but as memories fade mistakes are inevitably made and Service Certificates provide the basic facts. Frank Gillan agreed that he must have mis-remembered what he had been told by his Mother as a small boy and his father had not been serving in HMS Ladybird in 1941 when she was sunk by German bombers on 12 May but ten years earlier on the China Station, an exotic posting which most sailors enjoyed as thy could live like like kings on a ratings pay. Frank identfied his father as the man to the right of the ships crest in the photograph of the ship's Company and I have enlarged it so that you can compare it with his portrait on the left. This can be viewed full size in a separate window by clicking on the image.

If you want to find out more about the wartime service of a member of your family who served on HMS Wishart 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 Wishart you would like to contribute to the web site please contact Bill Forster
Find out how you can help us research this ship and build this web site

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