PRINCE PHILIP A sad farewell to the Patron of our Association
Prince Philip served in HMS Wallace,
a V & W Class Leader, from 28 January 1942 unil 3 January 1944. He
agreed to be our Patron when the V & W Destroyer Association was
established in 1993. We were all very sad that he should die on the 9
April 2021 two months before his hundredth birthday, but "he will
not be forgotten" by the men who served in V & W Class destroyers.
Over the years Prince Philip met many of the veteran members of the V
& W Destroyer Association.
Viv Fairweather, the widow of Clifford 'Stormy' Fairweather,
the founder of the Association, and John Ellson, whose father was a stoker in HMS Vimy, sent me these photographs taken in the
gardens of Buckingham Palace in 1995 on the 75th anniversary of the Not Forgotten Association.
destroyers were represented and fifteen members and their wives were in
The Queen with Prince Philip by her side on the steps of Buckingham Palace descend to meet their guests Photographed by John Ellson
Clifford 'Stormy' Fairweather (on left) and Prince Philip
Prince Philip with his back to the camera talking to veterans who served in V & W Class destroyers Alan Flisher (HMS Westcott) is wearing a red rose and holding two walking sticks and John Ellson, a Leading Stoker in HMS Vimy, is on the right
Prince Philip and the Queen photographed by John Ellson
John Ellson, a stoker in HMS Vimy
(on left) with Clifford "Stormy" Fairweather, the founder of the
V & W Destroyer Association and his wife, Viv Fairweather. The photograph was taken by John Ellson's son, John Ellson
Prince Philip joined HMS Wallace as
a Sub Lt on 28 January 1942, received his second stripe as lieutenant
in July and was was appointed First Lt in October 1942. He
served in Wallace until 3 January 1944. Wallace
escorted over two hundred convoys most of which were up and down
'E-boat Alley' off the East Coast from Rosyth to Sheerness and
visa-versa. During the scraps with the E-boats she severely damaged a
number of them.
"On East Coast Convoys Westminster was the Second Leader and Wallace
the Leader with Prince Philip as her First Lieutenant. The convoys
terminated at the end of Southend pier and Wallace signaled "what are
those funny balls at the back of your bridge?"nand received the reply
that they are a Type 994 radar aerial. Prince Philip wanted to know why
as Flotilla Leader Wallace
did not have this advanced equipment. The truth was they were the balls
hanging outside a pawn brokers shop in Newcastle taken as a souvenir on
a trip ashore. Westminster kept this joke going for ages, and even requested the "regilding of the Type 994 aerials".
During July to August 1943 she escorted convoys en route the invasion
of Sicily (Operation Husky), and provided AA defence of the beach
heads, during which she was damaged in air attacks. Harry Hargreaves
was an 85 year old veteran of HMS Wallace when he wrote and published It Wasn't All Mayhem: The Musings Of A Matelot (2005)
which described how quick thinking by her First Lieutenant foiled a
Luftwaffe bomber which looked certain to destroy their ship during the
Allied invasion of Sicily in 1943. Prince Philip, distinguished himself
by coming up with a plan to divert the attention of German bombers by setting adrift a burning Carley float. You can also read how Lt HRH Prince Philip saved his ship on the BBC Peoples War website.
further courses, he was appointed as First Lieutenant of the new Fleet
Destroyer HMS WHELP, which was then being built on the Tyne. After
commissioning, WHELP first joined the 27th Destroyer Flotilla and
sailed for the Indian Ocean to join the British Pacific Fleet. WHELP
was present in Tokyo Bay when the Japanese signed the surrender. After
the Japanese surrender, Prince Philip served continuously onboard WHELP
throughout the following months. WHELP returned home in January 1946.
After instructing in the Petty Officers' School and attending the Naval
Staff College at Greenwich, he was appointed First Lieutenant of HMS
CHEQUERS in 1949. CHEQUERS was Leader of the First Destroyer Flotilla
in the Mediterranean Fleet. He was promoted to Lieutenant-Commander in
1950 and then appointed in command of the Frigate HMS MAGPIE. In 1952 he was promoted to Commander, but his naval career came to an end on the death of his father-in-law, King George VI."
And they asked me to send you their best wishes for your speedy recovery.
We were all relieved when he left hospital and saddened that he should die a month before his birthday on 19 June 2021.
Captain Dennis Foster recalled his own personal memories of Prince Philip for the on-line condolence website and would like to share them with you:
was at Dartmouth College with Philip, but two years junior to him.
Whatever Philip did, he did well. I remember the visit of your
family to the college, which I believe was so significant in both your
lives, and I took part in the ‘march past’, saluting your father as our
King. During World War II I, like Philip, served for a while on
Destroyers, and his bravery and talent as an officer was well known. Our
paths crossed a few times. Two light-hearted memories from
1944-5: on the way out to the Far East we were both in W Destroyers,
and both visited the Country Club in Alexandria. During a game of
leap-frog at the swimming pool, I stood up at the wrong moment, unaware
that Philip was coming up behind me to jump, and we both flew off the
diving board into the water. Fortunately, neither of us was hurt.
Later, in Sydney harbour, our ships (mine was HMS Wessex)
were tied up alongside each other. A flotilla party was organised
on board Philip’s ship, with him in charge of the refreshments, and I
was detailed to help from the Wessex. When everyone had gone, we were left to clear up and found that two jugs of wine needed finishing off. Prince
Philip was excellent company and full of fun, and a highly respected
officer and man. You will know this better than anyone, and my and my
family’s thoughts and prayers (like those of so many millions all
around the world) are with you in your loss." Captain Dennis W. Foster, RN (retired)
Bill Forster Web Editor 11 April 2021
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