The story of HMS Venomous

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TS Venomous
the Training Ship of the Sea Cadet Corps unit at Loughborough

Warships Week bronze plaqueSub Ly Kay Adey with Ship's Crest
HMS Venomous was finally broken up for scrap at Charlestown on the Firth of Forth in 1948 but the name of Venomous was kept alive by the Sea Cadet Unit in Loughborough, TS Venomous, which received her commissioning pennant that year.

Loughborough's link with HMS Venomous dates back to February 1942 when she was adopted by the town after Loughborough raised 300,000 during Warship Week on the 5 - 14 February 1942.

In October 1987 the Unit was honoured to host a reunion of former officers and men of HMS Venomous during which their guests attended a reception given by the Mayor of Charnwood and a memorable Reunion Dinner.

On the 5 February 2012, exactly 70 years after Loughborough raised the money to adopt HMS Venomous during Warship Week, the buildings on the Grand Union Canal where the cadets of TS Venomous trained were destroyed by fire.
The plaster cast of the ship’s crest
saved by "Freddo" Thomas, RDF operator on Venomous, and stolen from his house
and the bronze plaque presented to
Venomous by Loughborough to commemorate her adoption melted in the intense heat

TS Venomous has risen from the ashes like a Phoenix and is as active as ever
but these links to HMS Venomous are lost for ever

Bob Moore, the author of the first edition of A Hard Fought Ship (1990) and co-author of the second edition (2010) served as CO of TS Venomous from 1992 to 2003. He joined the Sea Cadet Unit in Loughborough in 1985 and in 1990 became Officer in Charge. After promotion to Lieutenant he was confirmed as Commanding Officer in 1992. The normal period of service for a CO of a Sea Cadet Unit is five years but by the time Lt Cdr (SCC) R.J. Moore stood down in 2003 he had served for thirteen years. Bob became Assistant District Officer for Northants and Leicestershire Sea Cadets and remained in that post until his death at the tragically early age of 63 in 2007. He went to immense lengths to track down the surviving officers and crew of HMS
Venomous and his interviews with them formed the basis of the first edition of this book which was self published in 1990.

When HMS Hecla was torpedoed on Armistice Day 1942 HMS Venomous rescued nearly five hundred survivors. In 1992 Bob Moore and twenty sea cadets from TS
Venomous attended  the fiftieth anniversary reunion and service at Stratford organised by The HMS Hecla, HMS Venomous and HMS Marne Association. The old sailors marched with the sea cadets to the war memorial. In 2004 the Association presented TS Venomous with the money to purchase a new standard. Survivors and their families alive today were thinking of their former shipmates on Armistice Day 2017, the 75th anniversary of her loss. Three of the survivors are atill alive today.

For twenty years the annual Nelson Day Dinner hosted by the officers and cadets of TS
Venomous brought together former cadets, many now serving in the Royal Navy, with distinguished guests to keep alive the spirit of Nelson’s navy. Guests include Captain John Rodgaard USN, co-author of the new edition of this book, George Male, one of the survivors of HMS Hecla, and Capt J.M.L. Kingwell RN, now Rear Admiral John Kingwell RN. While reading history at Loughborough University in the 1980s John Kingwell served as seamanship officer, midshipman and sub lieutenant at TS Venomous, returning to his ship during the summer vacation. TS Venomous is one of very few SCC units to have had a regular Royal Navy officer on its books and it is particularly appropriate that he should have written the introduction to two new editions of A Hard Fought Ship.

Lt Kay Adey, Bob Moore’s successor as CO of TS Venomous (top right holding ship's crest),organised the launch of the previous edition of his book in Loughborough's Town Hall and has the daunting task of raising the money to rebuild TS Venomous while holding down a full time job and continuing to train the 46 boys and girls aged between ten and eighteen in the Loughborough Sea Cadet Unit.

Presentation at Loughborough Town Hall
The launch of the previous edition of A Hard Fought Ship in Loughborough Town Hall on the 11 April 2010
The  Mayor and Mayoress of Charnwood, Bill Forster of Holywell House Publishing, Pat Moore and
Captain John Rodgaard USN
Courtesy of Loughborough Echo

A Hard Fought Ship - sails again!

A much enlarged hardback edition of A Hard Fought Ship was published in May 2017 and three quarters of the print run has been bought, many by the families of the men who served in HMS Venomous and by former Sea Cadets at TS Venomous.

Rear Admiral John Kingwell RN, Deputy Commandant at the Royal College of Defence studies (RCDS), hosted the book launch for the new edition at the RCDS in Belgrave Square London on the 9 May and explained in his Foreword how it was that he came to be associated with the book and the Sea Cadet Unit at Loughborough.

"My connection with this book goes back to 1986 when as a Sub Lieutenant I was sent up to Loughborough to read History – and while at University I helped instruct at the local Sea Cadet Unit, TS Venomous.   Whilst there I was invited by my good friend Bob Moore to proof read his initial drafts of his book on the history of the ship whose name the cadet unit shared – indeed this book remains a lasting tribute to Bob Moore whose idea and inspiration it was.   As a result it is a particular honour, and indeed a real pleasure, to have been invited to write a foreword for the two most recent editions."

When the V & W Destroyer Association was formally dissolved at Derby in April 2017 the veterans donated their funds to the eight Sea Cadet Units whose Training Ships were named after one of the 67 V & W Class destroyers. Each of the eight Sea Cadet Units received 450.

The following month guests at the book launch for A Hard Fought Ship on the 9 May 2017 donated 187 to the appeal fund to restore TS Venomous after the disastrous fire in February 2012. A cheque and a copy of the new edition was sent to the CO of TS Venomous.

If you would like to find out more about the new edition of A Hard Fought Ship and take a look at some typical pages click on the link.

Visit the Facebook page of
Loughborough Sea Cadets - TS

Sea Cadet Units named after a V & W Class destroyer
Click on the Training Ship (TS) to link to the Facebook page for Sea Cadet Unit and click on the name of the V & W after which it is named to find out more about the ship

TS Vancouver
Kings Lynn
HMS Vimy
TS Vanquisher 
Nuneaton & Bedworth
HMS Vanquisher
TS Venomous
HMS Venomous
TS Veteran New Romney 
HMS Veteran
TS Whirlwind
Orpington HMS Whirlwind
TS Whitley  Whitley Bay
HMS Whitley
TS Worcester
HMS Worcester
TS Wyvern  Sittingbourne & Milton
HMS Wivern

We are hoping the Sea Cadet Units whose Training Ships are named after a V & W Class destroyer will help us research these ships

These ships and the men who served on the 67 V&W Class destroyers helped save Britain in World War II
The website of the  V & W Destroyer Association and these Sea Cadet Training Ships keep alive the memories of the ships and the men who served in them

this is the first title to be published by
Holywell House

Holywell House Publishing
88 Holywell Hill, St Albans, Hertfordshire AL1 1DH, Britain
Telephone: +44 1727 838595
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