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HMS Virago in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

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HMS Virago

If you can provide any additional information, please add it here.

Those known to have sailed in

HMS Virago

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

The names on this list have been submitted by relatives, friends, neighbours and others who wish to remember them, if you have any names to add or any recollections or photos of those listed, please Add a Name to this List

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CPO Stanley John "Woody" Woodruff HMS Nigeria

Stan Woodruff

Stanley John Woodruff CPO Stoker. Father of John, Colin & Malcolm, married to Thurza and known to his Navy pals as Woody he joined the Reserves in 1936 at HMS President then on to the RN in Sept 1936 serving his earlier time on the ships: HMS Walpole, HMS Ramilies and his first commission in HMS Arethusa in 1937 in Middle East, Malta and later taking Spanish refugees in the Franco war to France.

He joined the Nigeria patrolling the Denmark straights until the Russians entered the war when the Nigeria carried out Convoy duties usually to Murmansk, one after the other and in his own words in utter misery every time. Temperatures in excess of minus 51 deg of frost were recorded. Sailing deep into the article circle the Nigeria was involved in evacuating Spitsbergen escorting the Norwegian's to Scotland on the Empress of Australia and taking Russians to Archangel. Involved as others have said in the PQ17 Convoy in 1942 where many were lost, the Lofoten raid in March 1941 and the ramming of the German ship in September 1941. his recall of this action was that it followed picking up two Norwegian's in a fiord. The Nigeria had its bow repaired in Newcastle before being sent back to the convoys allowing dad a short time to see new son John. Staying in Scotland for a while the Nigeria witnessed merchant vessels being readied for what turned out to be the Malta Convoy (operation Pedestal) August 1942 where the Nigeria was torpedoed losing 61men limping back to Gibraltar for repairs before being sent to Charleston USA for major repair.

Dad was then transferred to the Virago a destroyer which went straight back up to Russia again and on Boxing day started chasing the German battlecruiser Scharnhorst, the Virago was in the final torpedo action to destroy her. following this trip he was transferred again to another destroyer (name not known) and back up again to Russia before being brought back to Liverpool before Escorting the Queen Mary and other Liners along the Western Approaches. Finally as the war was coming to a close the ship was sent to Singapore where they collected Japanese prisoners of war from different islands around Java, Bali etc returning to Chatham after showing face around Indonesia for awhile.

The above is a précis of dads own words he had many friends during his time in the Navy and would have dearly loved to read the accounts on this web site. He stayed in touch with his Pal Ted Caldwell until his passing . Photo’ s exist of his friends Fred, Sharky, Bob, Dick & Syd. The USSR 40th Gold Star anniversary Medal was awarded to him by the Russians.

Colin woodruff

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