Frederick John Walker DSO, RN
|Born||3 Jun 1896||Plymouth, Devon, England|
|Died||9 Jul 1944||(48)||Naval Hospital, Seaforth, Liverpool|
Captain Johnnie Walker, RN
Warship Commands listed for Frederick John Walker, RN
|HMS Stork (L 81 / U 81)||Cdr.||Sloop||Sep 1941||1 Aug 1942|
|HMS Starling (U 66)||Capt.||Sloop||21 Mar 1943||7 Jul 1944|
Between the wars Capt. Walker was a ASW specialist in the Royal Navy. By the time the war began he had been passed over and was scheduled for an early retirement. Even with the war going on he was still not given a command until 18 months after the war had started or in early 1941.
In March he was given command of the 36th Escort group which consisted of 2 sloops and 6 corvettes. There he was noted for development of sophisticated group tactics.
In December 1941, while escorting convoy HG-76, Walker's group sank 4 U-boats U-131 (Baumann), U-434 (Heyda), U-574 (Gengelbach) and U-567 (Endrass) for the loss of one escort carrier and 2 ships sunk. This is considered by many to be the first real convoy escort victory of the war.
The Second Support Group
In the spring of 1942 Walker took command of the Second Support Group, the first of the new striking forces to roam against the U-boats free of escorting duties. He commanded his own sloop, HMS Starling and had under his command Wild Goose, Cygnet, Wren, Woodpecker and Kite. This proved to be a formidable team.
One of his tactics was to put 3 or more sloops in a line and then bombard the submerged U-boat in a similar way as artillery bombardment. This proved very effective if the U-boat was under the vessel in the middle, then his evasive action might take him under the depth charges dropped on his left or right.
On 30 July, 1943 Walker's support group caught 3 large U-boats on the surface (an attempt to pass the Bay of Biscay in a group to repel aircraft). After a few seconds all U-boats had been hit and were unable to dive. Walker sank the U-462 (Vowe) and U-504 (Luis) but the third U-boat U-461 was sunk by an aircraft. In 10 minutes Germany had lost 2 of its vital Milkcows.
In August he learned that his son, Timothy, had been killed while serving on a British submarine in the Mediterranean. From that moment on he became even more of a hunter of U-boats.
His last kill of 1943 was the U-226 (Gänge) on 6 Nov.
On 31 Jan, Walker and his group scored the first kill of that year against U-592 (Jaschke).
Within a span of 15 hours on Feb 9, 1944 his escort group sank 3 U-boats; U-238 (Hepp), U-734 (Blauert) and U-762 (Pietschmann). On Feb 11 his escort group sank the U-424 (Lüders) and 8 days later he sank the U-264 (Looks) for his 5th boat in a single month.
In March Walker was sent escorting the US cruiser Milwaukee as a gift to Russia. He sank 2 U-boats on that journey U-653 (Kandler) and U-961 (Fischer) and on the way back sank the U-473 (Sternberg) after a lengthy chase.
His last command was to help secure the D-Day landings at Normandy from the U-boat threat in France. During the first critical 2 weeks no U-boats got past him and many were destroyed both by escort vessels and the hundreds of aircraft in the area.
Captain Walker died on July 9, 1944 from over-strain, overwork and battle fatigue. During his years at sea the battle had taken too much toll from him as he rarely laid back and took a rest.
Events related to this officer
Sloop HMS Stork (L 81 / U 81)
19 Dec 1941 (position 38.12, -17.23)
German U-boat U-574 was sunk in the North Atlantic near Punta Delgada, in position 38°12'N, 17°23'W, by ramming and depth charges from the British sloop HMS Stork (Cdr. F.J. Walker, RN).
HMS Stork also picks up 14 survivors from the British merchant Ruckinge that was torpedoed and damaged, finally sunk by gunfire from the British corvette HMS Samphire (Lt.Cdr. F.T. Renny, RNR), by German U-boat U-108 west of Lisbon, Portugal in position 38°20'N, 17°15'W.
14 Apr 1942 (position 47.00, -18.14)
German U-boat U-252 was sunk at 2230hrs on 14 April 1942 in the North Atlantic south-west of Ireland, in approximate position 47°00'N, 18°14'W, by depth charges from the British sloop HMS Stork (Cdr. F.J. Walker, DSO, RN) and the British corvette HMS Vetch (T/A/Lt.Cdr. H.J. Beverley, DSC, RNR).
Sloop HMS Starling (U 66)
2 Jun 1943 (position 56.12, -39.52)
German U-boat U-202 was sunk at 0030hrs on 2 June 1943 in the North Atlantic south-east of Cape Farewell, in position 56°12'N, 39°52'W, by depth charges and gunfire from the British sloop HMS Starling (Capt. F.W. Walker, DSO and Bar, RN).
24 Jun 1943 (position 44.59, -12.24)
German U-boat U-119 was sunk in the Bay of Biscay north-west of Cape Ortegal, Spain, in position 44°59'N, 12°24'W by ramming and depth charges from the British sloop HMS Starling (Capt. F.W. Walker, DSO and Bar, RN).
6 Nov 1943 (position 43.42, -42.08)
German U-boat U-842 was sunk at 1400hrs on 6 November 1943 in the western North Atlantic, in position 43°42'N, 42°08'W, by depth charges from the British sloops HMS Starling (Capt. F.W. Walker, CB, DSO and Bar, RN) and HMS Wild Goose (Lt.Cdr. D.E.G. Wemyss, DSC, RN).
9 Feb 1944 (position 49.43, -16.23)
German U-boat U-734 was sunk in the North Atlantic south-west of Ireland, in position 49°43'N, 16°23'W by depth charges from the British sloops HMS Wild Goose (Lt.Cdr. D.E.G. Wemyss, DSC, RN) and HMS Starling (Capt. F.W. Walker, CB, DSO and Bar, RN).
9 Feb 1944 (position 49.45, -16.07)
German U-boat U-238 was sunk in the North Atlantic south-west of Ireland, in position 49°45'N, 16°07'W, by depth charges from the British sloops HMS Kite (Lt.Cdr. A.N.G. Campbell, RN), HMS Magpie (Lt.Cdr. R.S. Abram, RN) and HMS Starling (Capt. F.W. Walker, CB, DSO and Bar, RN).
15 Mar 1944 (position 53.46, -24.35)
German U-boat U-653 was sunk in the North Atlantic, in position 53°46'N, 24°35'W, by depth charges from a Swordfish aircraft of the British escort carrier HMS Vindex (Capt. H.T.T. Bayliss, RN), and by depth charges from the British sloops HMS Starling (Capt. F.J. Walker, CB, DSO and 2 Bars, RN) and HMS Wild Goose (Lt.Cdr. D.E.G. Wemyss, DSC and Bar, RN).
29 Mar 1944 (position 64.31, -3.19)
German U-boat U-961 was sunk east of Iceland, in position 64°31'N, 03°19'W, by depth charges from the British frigate HMS Starling (Capt. F.W. Walker, CB, DSO and 2 Bars, RN).
6 May 1944 (position 49.29, -21.22)
German U-boat U-473 was sunk at 0200 hrs in the North Atlantic west south-west of Ireland, in position 49°29'N, 21°22'W, by depth charges from the British sloops HMS Starling (Capt. F.J. Walker, CB, DSO and 2 Bars, RN), HMS Wren (Lt.Cdr. S.R.J. Woods, RNR) and HMS Wild Goose (Lt.Cdr. D.E.G. Wemyss, DSC and Bar, RN).
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