The Ship's Company of HMS Venomous
A Hard Fought Ship is dedicated to the memory of all those who served in HMS Venomous between 1919 and 1946.
The ship's complement of 120-200 changed each time HMS Venomous was re-commissioned but the names of very few of the ratings who served on HMS Venomous from first commissioning at Rosyth in June 1919 to the outbreak of World War II are known. Two photographs of the ship's company of HMS Venomous have been found and both date from the 1920s. The first was taken at Hull in April 1921 after Venomous returned from the Baltic when Cdr Somerville Peregrine Brownlow Russell RN (1883-1946), her first CO was in command.
The photograph below was scanned from a postcard offered for sale on e-bay by Ted Irwin who supplied the scan for this website. It was taken by the photographic studio of S.L. Cassell of Malta when HMS Venomous was based in Valletta between 1923-9. Please get in touch if you can provide a more precise date or identify any of the officers and men in the photograph. To display a larger image double click the image.
The Commanding Officer has now been identified by his grandson, Timothy McQuoid Mason in Australia, as Lt Cdr Donal Scott McGrath RN (1891-1978).
He is seated in the centre of the front row immediately behind the
capstan and the ship's crest. He was given command of HMS Venomous,
a member of the 4th Destroyer Flotilla at Malta, on 23 October 1923.
Malta was the home of the Mediterranean Fleet and McGrath enjoyed an
active social and sporting life ashore. He was an excellent polo
player, good boxer and keen footballer. After leaving Venomous on 18 February 1925 he commanded six more V & W Class destroyers in the 1920s: HMS Whirlwind, Wanderer, Wild Swan, Woolston, Vanquisher and Viceroy. Details of these ships can be seen on the website of the V & W Destroyer Association. To find out more about the social and professional life of the officers and men serving in HMS Venomous during his period read A Hard Fought Ship: the story of HMS Venomous (2017).
The officers and men who served in HMS Venomous when Lt Cdr D.S. McGrath RN was CO in 1924
|Lt Francis Douglas-Watson RN
Lt William F. Hollins RN
(replaced Lt George E.C. Wood RN on 25 Oct)
Lt(E) Reginald Manton RN
(replaced Lt(E) Sydney J Russell RN on 7 Oct)
WO Gunner (T) William E. Wheele RN
|Sub Lt J.D. Crossman RN
Sub Lt Richard Moore RN
Mid Peter Barlow RN
Mid Peter Dawnay RN
The Midshipmen spent a few
weeks in Venomous training
HMS Venomous is moored in Vittoriosa Creek on the opposite side of the Grand Harbour from Valletta in this postcard
Malta was the centre of naval operations in the Mediterranean and the Admiral of the Mediterranean Fleet had his headquarters in Vittoriosa
The building with the clock tower on the right was the naval bakery and is now the Malta Maritime Museum - note the traditional Dghaisa moored in foreground.
This postcard is reproduced courtesy of Ralph Ayre, grandson of PO Billy Walton of HMS Venomous, 1944-6