HMS Bellwort (Part II) Western Approaches, 1941

“A big convoy at sea, well closed up and keeping good station, has an immense air of purpose: seen as a whole, it is a fine and rewarding spectacle. Lines of ships – big ships, loaded deep: ships crammed with deck-cargo, ships with aeroplanes all over their upper-works…good-looking tankers (a modern tanker is probably the … More HMS Bellwort (Part II) Western Approaches, 1941

Airpower and Control

A ‘New Lease on Empire?’ – Air power and colonial control in the Sudan, 1916-1936. Several years ago I wrote a dissertation which I found both immensely interesting and rewarding. Having moved house I recently found a copy, and reading through I couldn’t help but draw parallels with the use of airpower over the last … More Airpower and Control

Operation Catapult

While I was working through William David Willcock’s Royal Navy Service Record I noticed that in mid-July 1940 he transferred to ‘Paris’. When I first saw the record, I assumed he had gone to Paris. However, France had already fallen to the Germans by then, what could it be? After some research I discovered that … More Operation Catapult

Blenheims over Europe

By summer 1941 things were still looking quite desperate for Britain. Military and civilian targets were being bombed – whether targeted or not – and the situation was looking bleak for the war at sea. Against this background 18 Blenheim aircraft of No. 21 Squadron took off from RAF Watton in Norfolk a little before … More Blenheims over Europe

Cornish Home Guard

In June 1940 Operation Dynamo resulted in the withdrawal of over 338,000 troops directly off the beaches of Dunkirk by the ships of the Royal Navy and a flotilla of private small boats. This was surely Britain’s darkest hour, but Churchill did not have surrender in mind; “We shall go on to the end. We shall … More Cornish Home Guard

HMS Bellwort (Part I) Flower class corvette, 1941

Our grandfather William David Willcock (Dave) served aboard the Flower-class corvette HMS Bellwort for much of the Second World War, from the Western Approaches to West Africa. This is the first part in a series of articles covering his service and the history of HMS Bellwort. On 10th November, 1941, William David Willcock joined the Flower-class … More HMS Bellwort (Part I) Flower class corvette, 1941