Allied Warships

HMS Versatile (D 32)

Destroyer of the Admiralty V & W class

NavyThe Royal Navy
ClassAdmiralty V & W 
PennantD 32 
ModLong range escort 
Built byHawthorn Leslie & Co. (Hebburn-on-Tyne, U.K.) 
Ordered30 Jun 1916 
Laid down31 Jan 1917 
Launched31 Oct 1917 
Commissioned11 Feb 1918 
End service 

Reconstruction to Long Range Escort at the Grangemouth Dry Dock Co. was finished in September 1943.

HMS Versatile is not listed as active unit in the July 1945 Navy list

Sold to be broken up for scrap in June 1948.


Commands listed for HMS Versatile (D 32)

Please note that we're still working on this section
and that we only list Commanding Officers for the duration of the Second World War.

1Cdr. (retired) Thomas Andrew Hussey, RN15 Jun 1939Jun 1940
2Cdr. (retired) John Henry Jauncey, RNJun 194029 Apr 1941
3Lt.Cdr. Jack Barrington Palmer, RN29 Apr 1941Nov 1942
4Lt. Denis Guy Douglas Hall-Wright, RNNov 1942early 1943

5Lt.Cdr. Geoffrey Stuart Corlett, DSC, RN1 Sep 1943Dec 1943
6Lt. Gilbert Charles Potter, DSC, RNDec 19433 Oct 1944
7Lt. Alfred Lee Harper, RN3 Oct 1944mid 1945

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Notable events involving Versatile include:

4 Oct 1939

Convoy KJ 3

This convoy departed Kingston, Jamaica on 4 October 1939 and was made up of the following merchant ships; Acavus (British (tanker), 8010 GRT, built 1935), Amakura (British, 1987 GRT, built 1924), Appalachee (British (tanker), 8826 GRT, built 1930), Athelbeach (British (tanker), 6568 GRT, built 1931), British General (British (tanker), 6989 GRT, built 1922), Calgarolite (British (tanker), 11941 GRT, built 1929), Canadolite (British (tanker), 11309 GRT, built 1926), Caprella (British (tanker), 8230 GRT, built 1931), Champagne (French (tanker), 9946 GRT, built 1938), Chaucer (British, 5792 GRT, built 1929), Conus (British (tanker), 8132 GRT, built 1931), Drupa (British (tanker), 8102 GRT, built 1939), East Wales (British, 4358 GRT, built 1925), Erodona (British (tanker), 6207 GRT, built 1937), Fresno City (British, 4955 GRT, built 1929), Frimaire (French (tanker), 9242 GRT, built 1930), Gryfevale (British, 4434 GRT, built 1929), Iddesleigh (British, 5205 GRT, built 1927), Imperial Valley (British, 4573 GRT, built 1924), Iroquois (British (tanker), 8937 GRT, built 1907), Laristan (British (tanker), 6401 GRT, built 1927), Luminetta (British (tanker), 6159 GRT, built 1927), Michigan (French, 6419 GRT, built 1920), Montrolite (British (tanker), 11309 GRT, built 1926), Pellicula (British (tanker), 6254 GRT, built 1936), Redgate (British, 4323 GRT, built 1929), Ridley (British, 4993 GRT, built 1937), Roussillon (French (tanker), 9967 GRT, built 1936), Royal Crown (British, 4367 GRT, built 1927), Sacramento Valley (British, 4573 GRT, built 1924), San Arcadio (British (tanker), 7419 GRT, built 1935), San Demetrio (British (tanker), 8073 GRT, built 1938), San Eliseo (British (tanker), 8042 GRT, built 1939), San Emiliano (British (tanker), 8071 GRT, built 1939), San Roberto (British (tanker), 5890 GRT, built 1922), Schluylkill (British (tanker), 8965 GRT, built 1928), Sheaf Holme (British, 4814 GRT, built 1929), Somme (British, 5265 GRT, built 1919), Sovac (British (tanker), 6724 GRT, built 1938), Star of Alexandria (British, 4329 GRT, built 1928), Telena (British (tanker), 7406 GRT, built 1927), Uffington Court (British, 4976 GRT, built 1929), Umberleigh (British, 4950 GRT, built 1927).

On departure from Kingston, the convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMAS Perth (Capt. H.B. Farncomb, RAN).

Around 1400P/7, seven ships split off from the convoy to proceed towards the Mediterranean.

Around 1215P/8, HMS Berwick (Capt. I.M. Palmer, DSC, RN) joined coming from Bermuda.

Around 1140P/9, two ships of the convoy parted company to proceed to New York.

Around 0800P/10, two ships of the convoy parted company to proceed to Halifax and Montreal.

Around 1030P/15, HMS Effingham (Capt. J.M. Howson, RN) joined the convoy coming from Plymouth and HMS Berwick and HMAS Perth were detached to Bermuda.

From 22 and 23 October 1939, the light cruisers HMS Glasgow (Capt. F.H. Pegram, RN) and HMS Newcastle (Capt. J. Figgins, RN) were near the convoy to provide additional cover.

On 23 October and 24 October 1939, a French force made up of the battleship Dunkerque (Capt. M.J.M. Seguin), light cruisers Georges Leygues (Capt. R.L. Perot), Montcalm (Capt. P.J. Ronarc’h), large destroyers Le Malin (Cdr. G.E. Graziani), Le Triomphant (Cdr. M.M.P.L. Pothuau) and L'Indomptable (Capt. P.T.J. Barnaud) was also near the convoy to provide additional cover.

Around 0800A/24, the destroyers HMS Verity (Lt.Cdr. A.R.M. Black, RN) and HMS Wolverine (Cdr. R.C. Gordon, RN) joined.

Around 0730A/25, the destroyers HMS Versatile (Cdr.(Retd.) T.A. Hussey, RN) and HMS Volunteer (Lt.Cdr. H. Gartside-Tippinge, RN) joined.

Around 1800A/25, the convoy was split. HMS Verity and HMS Wolverine proceeded with the southern section towards the English Channel. Around the same time the convoy had split the destroyers HMS Glowworm (Lt.Cdr. G.B. Roope, RN) and HMS Greyhound (Cdr. W.R. Marshall A'Deane, RN) joined. Around 2200A/26, the destroyers HMS Wakeful (Cdr. R.St.V. Sherbrooke, RN) and HMS Wanderer (Cdr. R.F. Morice, RN) relieved HMS Verity and HMS Wolverine. HMS Effingham, HMS Glowworm and HMS Greyhound parted company around the same time. The southern part of the convoy arrived in the Downs on 28 October 1939.

Meanwhile the northern part of the convoy had proceeded up the Irish Sea escorted by HMS Versatile and HMS Volunteer, with the bulk of it, including the destroyers arriving at Liverpool late on the 27th.

2 Mar 1940

Convoy HX 24.

This convoy departed Halifax on 2 March 1940.

It was made up of the following merchant vessels; Alexia (British (tanker), 8016 GRT, built 1935), Amerika (British, 10218 GRT, built 1930), Augvald (Norwegian, 4811 GRT, built 1920), Aun (Norwegian, 1908 GRT, built 1930), Botwey (British, 5106 GRT, built 1916), Brynymor (British, 4771 GRT, built 1936), Daronia (British (tanker), 8139 GRT, built 1939), Delawarean (British, 5705 GRT, built 1920), Dolabella (British (tanker), 8142 GRT, built 1939), Elisha Walker (Panamanian (tanker), 7007 GRT, built 1920), Everleigh (British, 5222 GRT, built 1930), Gemstone (British, 4986 GRT, built 1938), Geo W. McKnight (British (tanker), 12502 GRT, built 1933), Geraldine Mary (British, 7244 GRT, built 1924), Grey County (British, 5194 GRT, built 1918), H.H. Rogers (British (tanker), 8807 GRT, built 1916), Halcyon (British, 3531 GRT, built 1917), Harpagon (British, 5719 GRT, built 1935), Haxby (British, 5207 GRT, built 1929), Jersey (British, 4986 GRT, built 1936), Kajak (Estonian, 3234 GRT, built 1902), Loch Don (British, 5249 GRT, built 1937), Mount Taygetus (British, 3286 GRT, built 1921), Nidarholm (British, 2588 GRT, built 1920), Oakwood (British, 6071 GRT, built 1920), Pierre L.D. (British, 5705 GRT, built 1935), Roussillon (British (tanker), 9967 GRT, built 1936), Ruahine (British, 10832 GRT, built 1909), Rushpool (British, 5125 GRT, built 1928), Sovac (British (tanker), 6724 GRT, built 1938), Temple Moat (British, 4427 GRT, built 1928), Thalia (British, 8329 GRT, built 1926), Thistleford (British, 4781 GRT, built 1928), Toorak (British (tanker), 8627 GRT, built 1927), Tredinnick (British, 4589 GRT, built 1921), Uganda (British, 4966 GRT, built 1927), Urla (British, 5198 GRT, built 1924), W.C. Teagle (British (tanker), 9552 GRT, built 1917), Wendover (British, 5487 GRT, built 1928) and Yearby (British, 5666 GRT, built 1929).

On departure from Halifax the convoy was escorted by the battleship HMS Revenge (Capt. E.R. Archer, RN) and the destroyers HMCS Saguenay (Cdr. G.R. Miles, RCN), HMCS Skeena (Lt.Cdr. E.P. Tisdall, RCN) and and HMCS St. Laurent (Lt.Cdr. H.G. de Wolf, RCN).

The Canadian destroyers returned to Halifax on 3 March 1940.

HMS Revenge parted company with the convoy, from which quite a number of ships had straggled, around 1400O/11 to return to Halifax.

On 13 March 1940 the convoy was joined by the destroyers HMS Versatile (Cdr.(Retd.) T.A. Hussey, RN) and HMS Walpole (Lt.Cdr. H.G. Bowerman, RN).

On 14 March 1940 the convoy was joined by the destroyers HMS Wakeful (Cdr. R.L. Fisher, RN) and HMS Wolverine (Cdr. R.H. Craske, RN).

The convoy arrived in Britsh waters on 17 March 1940.

2 Apr 1940

Convoy HX 32.

This convoy departed Halifax on 2 April 1940 for Liverpool where it arrived on 17 April.

Some of the merchant vessels had other destinations though.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Antonios Chandris (Greek, 5866 GRT, built 1918), Athellaird (British (tanker), 8999 GRT, built 1930), Balmoralwood (British, 5834 GRT, built 1937), Beaconhill (Panamanian (tanker), 6941 GRT, built 1919), Benwyvis (British, 5920 GRT, built 1929), British Chancellor (British (tanker), 7085 GRT, built 1921), British Honour (British (tanker), 6991 GRT, built 1928), British Prince (British, 4879 GRT, built 1935), Capsa (British (tanker), 8229 GRT, built 1931), Carslogie (British, 3786 GRT, built 1924), Defacto (British, 4800 GRT, built 1919), Eclipse (British (tanker), 9767 GRT, built 1931), Esmond (British, 4976 GRT, built 1930), Gitano (British, 3956 GRT, built 1921), Hopecrown (British, 5180 GRT, built 1937), King William (British, 5274 GRT, built 1928), Kingswood (British, 5080 GRT, built 1929), Leontios Teryazos (Greek, 4479 GRT, built 1911), Lochmonar (British, 9412 GRT, built 1924), Minnie de Larrinaga (British, 5049 GRT, built 1914), Octavian (Norwegian, 1345 GRT, built 1938), Parthenia (British, 4872 GRT, built 1917), Port Hunter (British, 10735 GRT, built 1922), Queen Maud (British, 4976 GRT, built 1936), Rugeley (British, 4985 GRT, built 1936), San Alvaro (British (tanker), 7385 GRT, built 1935), Star of Alexandria (British, 4329 GRT, built 1928), Thistlegarth (British, 4747 GRT, built 1929), Weirbank (British, 5150 GRT, built 1925) and Wellington Court (British, 4979 GRT, built 1930).

On departure from Halifax the convoy was escorted by the battleship HMS Malaya (Capt. I.B.B. Tower, DSC, RN) and the destroyers HMCS Restigouche (Lt.Cdr. H.N. Lay, RCN), HMCS St. Laurent (Lt.Cdr. H.G. de Wolf, RCN) and HMCS Saguenay (Cdr. G.R. Miles, RCN).

The Canadian destroyers parted company with the convoy on 3 April and then returned to Halifax.

The convoy was joined by the destoyer HMS Vanquisher (Lt.Cdr. C.B. Alers-Hankey, RN) on 13 April 1940 and HMS Versatile (Cdr.(Retd.) T.A. Hussey, RN) and HMS Wild Swan (Lt.Cdr. J.L. Younghusband, DSC, RN) on 14 April 1940.

HMS Malaya parted company with the convoy on 14 April 1940 after she had been joined by the destroyers HMS Wakeful (Cdr. R.L. Fisher, RN) and HMS Whitshed (Cdr. E.R. Conder, RN). They proceeded to Plymouth arriving there on 15 April 1940.

HMS Vanquisher parted company with the convoy on 15 April 1940 and HMS Versatile on 16 April 1940.

HMS Wild Swan remained with the convoy until it arrived at Liverpool.

27 Jun 1940
About 150 nautical miles off Ushant, HMS Versatile (Cdr. J.H. Jauncey, RN (retired)) picks up 13 survivors from the British special service vessel HMS Cape Howe. The Q-ship, disguised as Prunella, has been torpedoed and sunk on 21 June 1940 by German U-boat U-28 in position 49°44'N, 08°52'W.

1 Sep 1940
Around 0001A/1, HMS Manchester (Capt. H.A. Packer, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral G.F.B. Edward-Collins, CB, KCVO, RN), HMS Birmingham (Capt. A.C.G. Madden, RN) and HMS Southampton (Capt. B.C.B. Brooke, RN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral M.L. Clarke, DSC, RN) departed Rosyth for the Humber. Around 0140A/1, near Fidra, they were joined by the destroyers HMS Versatile (Cdr.(Retd.) J.H. Jauncey, RN) and HMS Vimy (Lt.Cdr. D.J.B. Jewitt, RN) which parted company again around 0250A/1. HMS Woolston (Lt.Cdr. W.J. Phipps, OBE, RN) was also to have joined later but it does not appear that she actually did, presumably due to the fact that around 0305A/1 the cruisers were recalled and then returned to Rosyth arriving around 0600A/1. The destroyers returned to Methil. (1)

11 Sep 1940
At 0730/11, the auxiliary minelayers Menestheus (Capt. W.H.D. Friedberger, RN), Port Napier (Capt.(Retd.) J.N. Tait, CBE, DSC, RN), Port Quebec (Capt.(Retd.) E.C. Watson, RN), Southern Prince (A/Capt. E.M.C. Barraclough, RN) departed Port ZA (Loch Alsh) for minelaying mission SN 41.

They were escorted by the destroyers HMS Jackal (Cdr. C.L. Firth, MVO, RN), HMS Electra (Lt.Cdr. S.A. Buss, MVO, RN), HMS Versatile (Cdr.(Retd.) J.H. Jauncey, RN) and HMS Vimy (Lt.Cdr. D.J.B. Jewitt, RN).

They returned to Port ZA at 1300/12. (2)

12 Sep 1940
HMS Jackal (Cdr. C.L. Firth, MVO, RN), HMS Electra (Lt.Cdr. S.A. Buss, MVO, RN), HMS Versatile (Cdr.(Retd.) J.H. Jauncey, RN) and HMS Vimy (Lt.Cdr. D.J.B. Jewitt, RN) departed Port ZA (Loch Alsh) at 1945/12 for Scapa Flow where they arrived at 0630/13. (3)

3 Oct 1940

Convoy WS 3A (Slow).

This convoy departed Liverpool on 3 October 1940.

This convoy was made up of the following transport vessels; Clan Cameron (British, 7243 GRT, built 1937), Dorset (British, 10624 GRT, built 1934), Highland Brigade (British, 14134 GRT, built 1929), Oropesa (British, 14118 GRT, built 1920), Perthshire (British, 10496 GRT, built 1936) and Port Chalmers (British, 8535 GRT, built 1933).

Also the destroyer tender HMS Woolwich (Capt.(Retd.) J. Fawcett, RN) was with the convoy.

On departure from Liverpool the convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMS Harvester (Lt.Cdr. C.M. Thornton, RN), HMS Havelock (Lt.Cdr. E.H. Thomas, RN), HMS Highlander (Cdr. W.A. Dallmeyer, RN) and HMS Hurricane (Lt.Cdr. H.C. Simms, RN).

At 1315A/3, the destroyers HMS Witherington (Lt.Cdr. J.B. Palmer, RN), HMS Viscount (Lt.Cdr. M.S. Townsend, OBE, DSC, RN) and HMS Versatile (Cdr.(Retd.) J.H. Jauncey, RN) joined coming from the Clyde.

Cover for the convoy was provided by the light cruiser HMS Sheffield (Capt. C.A.A. Larcom, RN) which had also departed the Clyde on the 3rd.

[For the moment we have no details regarding the exact movements of the destroyers. HMS Witherington, HMS Viscount and HMS Versatile arrived at Londonderry on 6 October. HMS Harvester, HMS Havelock and HMS Highlander arrived at Plymouth on 8 October. HMS Hurricane arrived at Greenock on the same day].

Around 1645N/9, HMS Sheffield parted company with the convoy to patrol off the Azores due to fear of a German invasion. She parted company after having been relieved by the heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland (Capt. G.H.E. Russell, RN).

The convoy arrived at Freetown on 16 October 1940.


The convoy departed Freetown for South Africa on 17 October 1940.

Composition of the convoy was the same. Escort was still HMS Cumberland.

The convoy arrived at Capetown on 27 October 1940. HMS Cumberland then went on to Simonstown but she returned to Capetown the following day.


The convoy departed Capetown on 29 October 1940 still made up of the same transports with two additions; Erinpura (British, 5143 GRT, built 1911) and Khedive Ismail (British, 7290 GRT, built 1922).

HMS Woolwich did not sail with the convoy.

Escort was still provided by the heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland until she was relieved around 0700C/1 by the armed merchant cruiser HMS Carthage (Capt.(Retd.) B.O. Bell-Salter, RN).

The convoy merged in the morning of 3 November 1940 with convoy WS 3B (Fast). (4)

18 Feb 1942
Gambia (Capt. M.J. Mansergh, CBE, RN) conducted trials off the Firth of Forth during which she was escorted by HMS Versatile (Lt. D.G.D. Hall-Wright, RN). (5)

24 Oct 1943
HrMs O 9 (Lt. J.B.M.J. Maas, RNN) participated in A/S exercises off Tobermory together with HMS Versatile (Lt.Cdr. G.S. Corlett, DSC, RN), HMS Black Swan (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) R.C.V. Thomson, RN) and HMS Minalto (A/Skr.Lt. A.G. Day, RNR). (6)

11 Apr 1944
HMS Vampire (Lt. C.W. Taylor, RNR) conducted A/S exercises off Gibraltar with HMS Leith (Lt.Cdr.(Retd.) A.W. Preston, RN), HMS Sandwich (T/A/Lt.Cdr. A.J. Clemence, RNR), HMS Versatile (Lt. G.C. Potter, DSC, RN) and HMS Columbine (T/Lt. J.C. Grose, RNR). (7)

Media links

British destroyers & frigates

Norman Friedman

Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.


  1. ADM 53/111579 + ADM 53/112668 + ADM 53/113256 + ADM 199/385
  2. ADM 199/376 + ADM 199/378
  3. ADM 199/376
  4. ADM 199/1136
  5. ADM 53/115971
  6. File (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  7. ADM 173/19337

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.

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