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

HMS Wrestler
HMS Wrestler
From Wikipedia

HMS Wrestler the ...

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Battle Honours

Commanding Officers -

Lt.Cdr. Edmund Neville Vincent Currey, RN (21 Aug 1939 - Oct 1940)
Lt. Eric Lister Jones, RN (Oct 1940 - 7 Dec 1941)
Lt. Reginald William Beecroft Lacon, DSC, RN (7 Dec 1941 - mid 1944)

Lt.Cdr. ????????????????????????????

Officers - change!

Sub Lt William G Andrews  (2 February 1918 -

Lt Frank A Hall RN (28 January 1918 -
Lt Cdr Eng  George Oswald RN (22nd November 1917 -

Lucky Wrestler
Oran and Mers-el Kebir, North Africa
Operation Catapult

Wrestler Joined force'H' under Admiral Somerville aboard HMS Hood, also along were HMS Valiant, Resolution, Arethusa, Enterprise the Aircraft carrier Ark Royal and two flotilla's of destroyers. We set sail from Gibraltar at 1400hrs on July 2nd.

The first action occurred at about 2345hrs when a torpedo exploded ahead of the destroyer Vortigern, she along with Vidette carried out a search, there was then much coming and goings between Admiral Somerville and Admiral Gensoul's emissaries to try and determine the outcome of the French Fleet which was now berthed at Mers-el-Kebir and Oran.   It was becoming obvious that the demands of the Admiralty for the French Fleet to surrender to the British were not going to be met. At 1730 hrs It was 'Action Stations' and we were detailed to close the entrance to the harbour to intercept any submarine activity.   Soon the 15 inch shells from the Hood were whistling overhead causing explosions among the French Fleet with smoke and flames rising several hundred feet in the air. The shore batteries were beginning to find our range and shells were falling all around us, they seemed to be of different colours, each shore battery must have had its own colour scheme.  

Admiral Somerville ordered ordered the Wrestler "To get out and retire out of range". Not before time too for we were being straddled, but 'Lucky' Wrestler came out unharmed.   The Battle cruiser Strasbourg and some destroyers escaped, we gave chase for a while but due to the shortage of fuel compelled us to retire and were recalled to the Fleet, we picked up the crews of two Swordfish which had been shot down.   With Force 'H' back in Gibraltar it was found that we had lost three Swordfish and two Skua's were lost but only one Skua's crew was lost. Of the Vichy French - enough said.  

had become the home of a legion of cockroaches, but I reckon we had the cheapest and most successful way of helping them on their way to Davy Jones Locker, but I don't claim copyright.   A jam jar strategically placed in several messes, burnt coffee placed in the bottom of the jar smeared with grease (preferably butter), they gave themselves up in droves, tip over the side, and R.I.P.  

Later the skipper made it up to us when a signal said that we must carry out a boiler clean in Bermuda instead of Liverpool. Each mess was given a week’s ration of our own island. What a break! talk about Captain Hook and Long John Silver. They could have had nothing on us, we lived like pirates for a week. What fun! Old Joe was the oldest among us but what a good mate to have around when it came to tent pegging, camp fires and cooking. Best to end on a happy note!!  
Laurie Conlon 

If you want to find out more about the wartime service of a member of your family who served on HMS Wrestler you should first obtain a copy of their service record
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If you have stories or photographs of HMS Wrestler you would like to contribute to the web site please contact Bill Forster

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