Crew Notes: T - Z

This page is about the crew members I do not yet have enough information to create their own page.

Edward Courtney Thorne

The future Rear Admiral E. C. Thorne, CB, CBE, RNZN Chief of Naval Staff: July 1972 – December 1975, served on HMNZS Gambia as a Lieutenant at the end of WWII during the time the ship was returned to Britain. The RNZN Communicators Association website has a biography of this distinguished sailor. The Torpedo Bay Navy Museum and the HMNZS Ngapona Association websites both carry the same article. In November 1992, Thorne made an oral history of his expereinces and a transcript of that is available on the RNZN Communicators Association website.

Rear Admiral Edward Courtney Thorne, CB, CBE, RNZN

Rear Admiral Edward Courtney Thorne, CB, CBE, RNZN

Capt. J. K. McA. Tod

Tod was Commander (E) on HMS Gambia for the 1952/54 commission. He served on HMS Devonshire, Daring, Sheffield, Pembroke and Gambia. He passed away in 2001.

Fred Tonks

Fred, who served as Mechanic (E) on the 1955/56 commission of HMS Gambia, passed away on July 2, 2013.

Colin Edward Topp RNZN 7506

Colin served on HMNZS Gambia during WWII. He was a Justice of the Peace and held the MNZM (Member, New Zealand Order of Merit) and the RNZ RSA (Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association) Gold Badge. He had been married to Phyll for 72 years when he passed away on June 27, 2018 aged 95.

Robert Trim

Robert, who served as Stoker Mechanic on HMS Gambia from 1948 to 1952, passed away on August 23, 2011. His service number was D/SKX 838000.

Donald Wilfred Morgan Veck RMBX 361

Don was born on March 2, 1915 in Harlesden, England. He served as a Band Boy with the Royal Marines from 1929 until he enlisted as a Marine on November 5, 1933, aged 18. He was 5 feet 11 inches tall, with dark hair and brown eyes.

Hi military service included the Royal Marines Band, Royal Navy School of Music, HMS Achilles, HMS Belfast, HMS Glasgow and HMS Gambia. For his service he was awarded the 1939-1945 Star, Atlantic Star, Africa Star, Burma Star, and the War Medal 1939-1945.

Don married Irene Mary Clotworthy in 1948 and they had one child. Don passed away on September 24, 2002 aged 87. He is buried in Papakura Public Cemetery, New Zealand.

J. M. B. Walkey

Commander J. M. B. Walkey served on the Royal Navy ships Newfoundland, Jutland, Decoy, Gambia, Cassandra, Mercury 11, President, Heron and Excellent. He served on HMS Gambia as Lieutenant Commander for her 1958/60 commission and was commanding officer of HMS Cassandra, 1962/63. Mercury II was a Signal School and an Admiralty Signal Shore Establishment. Commander Walkey passed away, aged 75, on January 8, 2002.

Ken Walters

Ken was on HMNZS Gambia at the surrender of Japan in 1945. He lived in Napier, New Zealand.

Maurice Irving Walters 4611

Maurice was the husband of Miriam Walters and father of Marie, Cushla and Cherie. During WWII he served on HMS Achilles and HMNZS Gambia. Maurice passed away on November 14, 2006, aged 92, in New Zealand.

John Charles Warsop

John Warsop rose to Rear-Admiral. He was born in 1927 and joined the Royal Navy in 1949. He was made Rear-Admiral in 1981 and retired in 1986. He died in 1995.

The following comes from the Liddell Hart Military Archives:

Born in 1927; educated at Gateway School, Leicester, and Royal Naval College, Eaton Hall, Chester; attended Royal Naval Engineering College, Keyham, Plymouth, 1945-1948; served on HMS Theseus and HMS Gambia, 1949-1950; Royal Naval College, Greenwich, 1950-1952; served on HMS Superb, 1952-1954; Staff, Royal Naval Engineering College, 1954-1956; Ministry of Defence, 1956-1959; Senior Engineer, HMS Ark Royal, 1959-1961; Ministry of Defence, 1961-1965, 1968-1970, 1972-1975 and 1979-1981; British Defence Staff, Washington, USA, 1965-1968; Engineer Officer, HMS Blake, 1970-1972; Commanding Officer, HMS Fisgard, 1975-1978; Rear Admiral, 1981; Port Administrator, Rosyth, 1981-1983; Flag Officer and Naval Base Commander, Portsmouth, 1983-1985; retired, 1986; died in 1995.

Edward "Ted" Webb

Ted may or may not have served on HMS Gambia during WWII. His granddaughter, Dawn explains:

Grandad didn't talk much about his service during the war but we were led to believe he served on HMS Gambia at some point. He had a painting of HMS Gambia on the wall and spoke to my Uncle about being on board.

We did know my Grandad was a telegraphist at HMS Ceylon and we have found photos of him at this station. We know he was part of the team intercepting Japanese code. I have tried to trace his service via the Royal Navy records but although they could provide a brief service history, there are gaps in his service which can't be traced. I know my Grandad did say that he took on different names, so he could go on board other ships or submarines and not be traced. My Grandad did make a comment that he was entitled to more medals for his service than he received but they were listed under another name. Perhaps he took on a different name for his time on HMS Gambia.

Peter Westaway

Peter was a Royal Marine Bandsman serving on HMS Gambia 1957/8. His funeral took place on Wednesday, June 27, 2012.

Amos Widders

Robert Widders, Amos's son, emailed me in March 2009 saying that Amos served on HMS Gambia as a stoker during the Suez campaign, which would have been in 1956.

Robert is quite a man, he is thought to be the last man alive who served in all three armed services. He wrote a book of his adventures "A Few Deeds Short of a Hero"

Reginald Wilcox

Reg served on HMS Gambia as well as HMS Victoria* and HMS Glory, probably the Colossus-class aircraft carrier, R62.

* Perhaps HMS Victorious, an Illustrious-class aircraft carrier, R38 was meant as, as far as I know, the last HMS Victoria was last in service in 1905.

Reg was born on April 15, 1929, in London's East End and was evacuated to the Gissing area when he was 12, in 1941. He joined the Royal Marines in 1947 when he was 17. After leaving the Royal Marines he spent more than two decades as a fireman for London Fire Brigade, attending the Moorgate tube crash in 1975.

Reg passed away aged 90 and was buried at St Mary's Church, Watton, Norfolk, on January 9, 2020.

The remarkable story of his funeral was followed by Clarissa Place of the Eastern Daily Press and can be found on the folowing pages: "Call for people to attend funeral of Norfolk serviceman", ""It would mean the world" - Nephew's quest to bring community to Norfolk veteran's funeral", "Pub offers transport to attend Norfolk Royal Marine's funeral", and "Hundreds attend funeral of Royal Marine after family's appeal".

Edwin Willard RNZN 9227

Edwin served as a stoker on HMS Gambia during WWII.

Frank George Williams

Unfortunately not much is known about Frank's service. His daughter, Penny Williams knows he was on HMS Gambia at the end of WWII and believes that he was Captain's Steward.

Ivan Williams

Ivan was a torpedoman on the Gambia during WWII. He also served on the HMNZS Matai, a lighthouse tender and QT4045 Fairmile motor launch.

Ronald Alvyn Williams RNZN 3914

Ron served on HMS Achilles and HMNZS Gambia. He was husband to Patricia, and father of Paul, Stephen, and Chris. Ron passed away on November 27, 2005, aged 82.

Frank Wilson

Frank served on HMNZS Gambia from 1943 to 1946. He was on board during the signing of the Japanese surrender and had a certificate for this framed and in place of honour on his lounge wall. Frank passed away in Whangarei, New Zealand in October 2013.

John "Tug" Wilson

Tug joined the Royal Navy as boy seaman in 1938 and served in HMS Warspite, Gambia, Corunna and Serapis and in HMS Cossack (Korea). Ex-CO TS Fulmar (now Vulcan), Thurso. Tug passed away on August 12, 2001 aged 79.

Robert Leslie Wilson RNZN 7897

Robert was a cook on HMS Gambia during WWII.

Michael Younger

Michael joined Gambia as a Midshipman in 1943, in September of that year he was then loaned to the Royal New Zealand Navy. He was present at the Japanese surrender and passed away in January 1998 in Coventry, England.