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
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, is appealing
for information about the visit of the V & Ws to Tarragona in
September 1924 for a book he is writing on Foreign Navies in the Port of Tarragona XXth century.He
would particularly 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 & W Class Destroyers at Tarragona Courtesy of Antonio Moreno
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.
& 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 is writing a book on
Foreign Navies in the Port of Tarragona XXth century If
you have stories or photographs taken at Tarragona you would like to
contribute to Antonio Moreno's book please contact him now
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