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HMS VERNON Locations between WW1 and WW2


War Hero
Book Reviewer
One for the deep expert here.

One of my charges has been researching family history and has service docs for a relly who was at VERNON in the 1920s.

In the Div docs he is listed at serving at VERNON, VERNON (Winchester) and another location, which is VERNON (xxx) the bracketed word begins with 'S' and looks like 'Skater' or 'Sleates'.

Can anyone give a steer as to where this would have been?

Thank you old and bold shipmates.

Anyone seen @sweetpea recently?
The words in brackets refer to HMS Winchester and HMS Skate which were destroyers in the Vernon Flotilla between the wars. HMS Vernon would have been their accounting base.

From page 105 of 'The Torpedomen - HMS Vernon's Story 1872-1986' by Rear Admiral Nicho Poland CB CBE:

"Back home an officer of the Engineering Branch, who was to have a strong influence later on torpedo development, was having his first experience of Vernon. He was O.W. Phillips, later a Rear Admiral, and one of the most influential officers ever to have served in the Engineering Branch. In May 1926 he found himself appointed to the destroyer Winchester, leader of the Vernon Flotilla. She was commanded by H.E. Snepp and her First Lieutenant was Gerald Gladstone, later Admiral Sir Gerald. The five destroyers of the Vernon Flotilla took their turn as guard and emergency ships and the Commander-in-Chief Portsmouth often used Winchester for inspection trips within the command. Most of the time was spent carrying out high speed trials, testing torpedoes and other items of equipment.

In July 1926 the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII) embarked in Winchester for passage to the Isle of Wight, where he opened a hospital in Ventnor, carried out several engagements on the island and re-embarked in Winchester the next day at Cowes, where the Captain was instructed to take him to the South Railway Jetty in Portsmouth Harbour. Phillips recalled that when the destroyer arrived three minutes early, the Captain became the butt of royal reproof. The ship's company was, for once, glad to return to the daily round of torpedo running.

When Winchester became due for her first major refit Phillips demonstrated his professionalism and his extraordinary attention to detail. The ship had trimmed badly by the bow, a serious fault in a high speed ship and one which had been assessed as a defect peculiar to Winchester. But Phillips looked a bit more deeply into the matter. He managed to arrange for the main store room to be moved to the after part of the ship from its existing position under the forecastle. He then examined what had been carried in the store room and he was able to return tons of surplus material to the Superintendent of Naval Stores. Amongst these stores were fifty three hand lead lines, each weighing over 11 lbs. He then turned his attention to the paintwork. As an engineer, he was unimpressed by spit and polish and he was well aware that the lead paint and enamel which looked so smart were also extremely heavy. Tons of paint were removed before getting down to the rivetheads. Soon the bare metal appeared and it was possible to apply two coats of red lead before repainting. Winchester's ailment of trimming by the head was cured.

Phillips had by now gained an enviable reputation within the Torpedo Branch. No one was surprised when he became increasingly involved with it. His next appointment, after promotion to Commander, was as Engineer Overseer at Cammell Laird's Shipyard at Birkenhead where Phoenix, one of the new class of submarines, was being built. She was the first submarine for many years to have been built at the yard, and serious problems had arisen..."​

From page 116 of 'The Torpedomen - HMS Vernon's Story 1872-1986' by Rear Admiral Nicho Poland CB CBE:

"In the years immediately preceding the outbreak of war Vernon was organised into three sections: Administration, Instructional and Sea Trials and Development. Each had its own Commander in charge, the head of the administrative section also being the Executive Officer of the establishment. Also at Vernon, although directly responsible to the Admiralty, was the Superintendent of Mine Design. The attempt to give Vernon similar responsibilities with torpedoes was finally abandoned in 1936 and the Torpedo Experimental Department left for the Royal Naval Torpedo Factory at Greenock. Vernon's Whitehead department took over Stokes Bay and remained responsible for much of the running carried out by the Superintendent of Torpedo Experiments. To support the establishment the destroyers of the Vernon Flotilla were kept busy. In the middle of 1938, there were seven: Winchester, Wrestler, Skate, Amazon, Ambush, Ambuscade and Acheron. At the end of 1938 the 300 ton minelaying tender Skylark replaced the former Strathcoe as the name ship Vernon..."​
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