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The Story Of John Hornby 1901-1974

Author - John Haydn Barker Hornby, 2001. Edited and Published 2003 Copyright © Hubmaker
No part of this publication may be reproduced by any means without the prior consent of the publisher.

Chapter 6 - Destroyers Again

My father returned to Vivid on 6th January 1933, at the time the name was changed to "Drake" and was appointed to "Vidette" shortly afterwards. HMS Vidette was a destroyer of the "VW" class, built in 1918. Her second world war history is interesting in that she joined "Force 8" in June 1940, was on Arctic convoys from June 1942, and in the course of escorting the 13 ship convoy QP11 she was involved with, and damaged by, German destroyers, and, also, she had to torpedo the British Cruiser Edinburgh to prevent her being towed to Kirkenes by the enemy after heavy damage. She sank Edinburgh with her last faulty torpedo. (It was imperative that "Edinburgh" did not fall into enemy hands. She was carrying a huge consignment of gold bars 465 in total, worth, then, 1 million. This was part payment for American weapons and supplies sent to Russia early in the war. The gold was recovered by a dedicated expedition in 1981).

All in all Vidette steamed 250,000 miles, took part in two Malta convoys, and sank U282 on 29 October 1943 in mid Atlantic. In June 1934 John Hornby was awarded long service and good conduct medals, with a financial gratuity. I have a nice complimentary letter to my father from the captain of Vidette when he (JH) left her. From 30 January 1935 to 17 March 1936 my father was at "Drake" the shore base: and then on the destroyer "Foresight" between 17 May 1935 and 17 March 1936. HMS "Foresight" was built in 1934 so she was very new. Her war record shows that she was sunk by our own Royal Navy ships after airborne torpedo attack by Italian Naval Aircraft off Bizerte 12 August 1942. My father was promoted Chief Petty Officer during his time on "Foresight", For two months from 18 March 1936 12 May 1936, he was attached to the "Caledon" and the "Danae", both shore stations (transit) at that time.

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