Crest of the V&W Destroyer AssociationCrest of the V&W Destroyer AssociationTARRAGONA
the visit of the 3rd Destroyer Flotilla and the 3rd Light Cruiser Squadron to the Spanish port of Tarragona 11 - 15 September 1924 

Rear Admiral ChatterfieldAntoni MorenoThroughout the interwar years the Royal Navy retained a strong presence in the Mediterranean. The Mediterranean Fleet was based at Valetta on Malta but the ships went on Spring and Autumn cruises to all parts of the Mediterranean and the officers and ships' companies were kept up to scratch by frequent exercises and regattas where the ships competed with each other in "pulling competitions" with the ships' whalers, sailing the ships' cutters, water polo, etc. Shore based sports such as football and cricket were also popular but Polo was the preferred sport of the more wealthy officers and the Polo Club was the centre of social life on Malta.

In September 1924 Rear Admiral Sir Alfred E. Chatfield RN (drawn by Vicky on right) flying his Flag in the Light Cruiser HMS Cardiff with HMS Calypso, Concord and Caradoc of the 3rd Light Cruiser Squadron together with the 3rd Destroyer Flotilla of eight V & W Class destroyers and the Flotilla Leader HMS Stuart (Capt Dashwood F. Moir RN) visited the important Spanish naval port of Tarragona 60 miles south west of Barcelona.

The V & Ws making up the Flotilla were: HMS Witherington (D46), HMS Wanderer (D74), HMS Veteran (D72), HMS Wolverine (D78), HMS Verity (D63), HMS Wild Swan (D62), HMS Wyvern (D66) and HMS Wishart (D67). This was a particularly important visit and the officers and crew were entertained at a bull fight put on in their honour.

Antonio Moreno (left), a naval historian from Tarragona, has written a  book on Foreign Navies in the Port of Tarragona XXth century which includes the visit of the V & Ws to Tarragona in September 1924. He would like to hear from the families of the men who were on these ships, took photographs and wrote home to their families describing the time they spent in Tarragona.

The V&Ws at Tarragona, Sept 1924
The V & W Class Destroyers at Tarragona
Courtesy of Antonio Moreno

Bullfight at Tarragona, Sept 1924
The bullfight in honour of the visit by the Royal Navy to Tarragona
Courtesy of Antonio Moreno

The full programme for the visit by the Royal Navy to Tarragona in September 1924

Protocol - mutual visits.

Friday 12
Banquet on board HMS Cardiff  in honour of the civilian and military Spanish authorities hosted by Rear Admiral Chatfield RN.

Saturday 13
Football match between Gimnastic Tarragona and British sailors (2-5).
Dance at the Club Nautico

Sunday 14
Trip to Monasterio de Poblet, Rear Admiral Chatfield, officers and civilian authorities.
Concert by the Flotilla Band in the main boulevard of Tarragona.
The Bullfight.

V & W Class destroyers made further visits to Tarragona in 1925, 1927 and 1930  but non made quite such an impression on the people of Tarragona and on the ships' companies as the visit by the 3rd Flotilla in September 1924.

Antonio Moreno  has written a book in Spanish on
Foreign Navies in the Port of Tarragona XXth century
Cover of book on Foreign Navies visiting Tarragona in C19

Book Launch
Antonio Moreno speaking at the book launch in the office of the port on the 16 May 2019
For further details of price and availability contact Antonio Moreno

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