HMS Stork & World War 2


Stork 1940

Created 26 July 2005 Update: 12 Feb 2013

"That crowd in Stork are an amazingly efficient team. They can run and fight their ship blindfold. And every one of them adores Walker .... if we can only get all our ships trained and keyed up to that pitch we will make the U Boat crews wish they had never been born"

C in C Western Approaches, Admiral Sir Percy Noble, to his Chief of Staff

DA Bell, DSM, RNVR served aboard HMS Stork. Stork is famous as the first WW2 command of Captain FJ "Johnnie" Walker DSO*** the famous U boar Hunter/Killer. his son Len Bell, who lives in Upton, Chester, has very kindly sent me his fathers entire collection of images to be displayed upon this site before they are donated to the Maritime Museum in Liverpool for safe keeping and posterity. They have never before seen the light of day and many are unlabelled and have no descriptions on their rear. Images such as these are extremely important for our nation's history, there are many thousands of similar images still out there, hidden and unseen, many of historical events. Let us pray that they are not lost for future generations to look and and remember the sacrifices made in their names. The following images have no point of origin and I do not know in what circumstances they were taken. Most of the images below were not given a title.

AA gunfire

Walrus Seaplane passes over or takes off from a nearby ship

3 pipers unknown occasion, what looks like a sailor in costume on right??

Model of a stork - in its beak could be a u boat with a number painted in it? Another image below states U81. I think every u boat Stork sank, this was displayed on return

Unknown ship, possibly Gardenia

Admiral Sir Percy Noble, C in C Western Approaches, addresses ships company.
Captain Walker RN is second right behind the admiral in the photograph. Just below Capt W, slightly right, is the
Ships Doctor, his son, Andy Evans, pointed this out.
Dear Mike, I was flabbergasted after seeing one of my dad's photos on your HMS Stork photo section with Admiral Horton addressing the crew. My father was "Mick" (Arthur Morton) Evans, the ship's doctor seen on the photo directly below Capt J F Walker. He also received the DSC after sinking the Haguro which is well detailed in a book I have by John Winton. I was also informed by my mother in the 60's that the chap 2nd left, dead centre is Jon Pertwee, a friend of my dad but obviously before his death in 1963. Andy Evans Oct 2009.


Caption: Attacking a U boat May or June 1942. It was later presumed sunk after the Gardenia had stood by for 2 days.


Gambia 2nd February 1941




The next 7 images are all of Algiers circa 1942


compagnie generale transatlantique is written on the front of the building
http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/lines/french.shtml

The following images have some form of description on the rear, but not always legible


Algiers Allied Landing November 1942 (and right)

Caption: Spey Refuelling ?????? Atlantic Sept 1942


Caption right:   Signal Staff of Stork with 2 convoy sigs

Caption: Last stages of attack on U Boat    

Stork, Gardenia and H28 exercising off Londonderry Sept/Oct 1942

Caption: Stork exercising capturing a U Boat. Me on Conning tower

Caption: Exercise finished. H28 returns to harbour. Note the Pennant Number is different but we are of the opinion that the photographer, DA Bell, who took this image,
was correct in his annotation on the rear in which he calls it the H28.



Caption: After submarine torpedo off Algiers 12th November 1942

Stork temporary repair at Algiers Nov 1942

HMS Stork, further repairs at Gib Dec 1942

Caption: Taranto May 1944



Caption: Gardenia  off Morille. Later sunk by ramming off Oran during Allied landings

Caption: Entrance to 56 Rest Camp, Rome, June 1945

DA Bell with WRNS MJ Miller WRNS, the future Mrs Bell
Embossed: Andrew Patterson Medalist, Inverness dated 19 Feb 1941


 Dated 20 Feb 1941

13 February 1940
 Images on this page, and others, have been cleaned up and replaced by Martin Carr of Canada. He hoped to open his own business cleaning up old and cracked, faded and darkened images from all era. Wonders how he got on?

Keith Williamson, below, A New Zealander, was a sailor aboard HMS Stork. He joined Stork in early May 1942 along with three other New Zealanders, Pip Bardwell, Phil Lawrence, and Stuart Read. (Stuart was later killed aboard HMS Blackwood when the ship was torpedoed shortly after D Day, off Normandy). They were joined later by another “kiwi” Mac Macmillan. Keith wrote to me, “We had just completed our initial seamanship training at HMS Ganges and now we were to do some months at sea before, we hoped, further training for commissions at HMS King Alfred”.

“Stork we found was a proud and happy ship, for which the credit, of course, goes chiefly to the outstanding ability and leadership of its captain, (then) Commander Frederick John Walker. He was senior officer of 36th Escort Group, which, in addition to Stork, consisted of the sloop Deptford and the Flower Class corvettes, Rhododendron, Marigold, Convolvulus, Samphire, Penstemon, Gardenia and Vetch. The job was to protect convoys sailing to and from Gibraltar.

Already in December, 1941, this group had, in defence of Convoy H.G.76 destroyed four U-Boats; Walker was developing tactics that were beginning to stem the tide of U-Boat aggression, and was awarded his first D.S.O.”

Keith remained with Stork only until September 1942. One of Keith’s “duties” was to take Captain Walker his morning cup of tea when he was on morning watch. “Those brief moments showed me something of his kindly nature as it was quite a relaxed exchange of greetings between us – too relaxed for his successor, whom I was told to greet more formally. Captain Walker also always had a word for us if he came across us working in parts of the ship.”

An image sent to me by Keith, Dunedin, New Zealand (below)

 

This drawing of Stork was done on the back of a Navigation Chart and was sent to me by Charles Beresford whose father served aboard Stork.
 Marcus Beresford - known as "Berry". He was an RNVR Ordinary Seaman on HMS Stork from December 1941 to May 1942
before going to HMS King Alfred to begin officer training.  The artist was F Brassington (1942).

Dec 09: An email from Rob Hackett. I have just read the section on HMS Stork and found it fascinating especially the photographs. I remember reading a biography of Johnny Walker when I was at school, (I am now approaching 60) and being moved by the self sacrifice and devotion to duty of this much overlooked commander. It was much later that I discovered that my uncle Tom McHale had served on HMS Stork. He was a Cunard sailor and had his reserve status activated in the run up to WW2. Tom died before I realised that I could ask him about that time. One story that I know happened when he was on leave and went straight from the ship to visit my mum, (his sister) in the maternity ward where she had just produced my sister Isabel. He couldn't understand when he was greeted by remarks and laughter from all who saw him until somebody pointed out that his HMS Stork cap was very appropriate for the maternity ward. It would be nice if you could pass on my email to Len Bell as I live in Hoylake, quite close to him. Len Bell, you can contact Rob at: robhac -at- hotmail.co.uk - replacing the -at- with @ to complete his email address.