The story of HMS Venomous

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Rear Admiral John M.L. Kingwell Royal Navy

John Kingwell was a Captain in the Royal Navy when Cap John Rodgaard USN invited him to write the Foreword to the new edition of the book on HMS Venomous written and self published by Bob Moore in 1990. He explains in his Foreword how he came to meet Bob in 1985 while studying history at Loughborough University and joined him on the staff of the Sea Cadet Unit, TS Venomous. In October 2013 John Kingwell was promoted to Rear Admiral on taking up his current appointment as the Director of the Royal Navy's Development, Concepts and Doctrine Centre (DCDC).

Rear Admiral Kingwell joined the Royal Navy as a Warfare Officer in 1984. He has had four commands: Sussex University Royal Naval University Unit and its attached patrol vessel HMS Pursuer, the Type 23 frigate HMS Argyll and the Assault Ship HMS Albion. As Commander United Kingdom Task Group (COMUKTG) he commanded the Response Force Task Group off of Libya in 2011.

He has also served in the Ministry of Defence on four occasions. As a Lt Cdr in Operations, as a Capt as the Military Assistant to both the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff and the 2nd Permanent Under Secretary and twice within the Directorate of Naval Resources and Plans – as an SO1 and most recently as the Head of what became Finance and Military Capability (Navy).

Rodgaard & KingwellHMS Albion
Capt John Rodgaard USN on left with Capt John Kingwell RN in 2009 (left) and HMS Albion, the ship John Kingwell commanded in 2010 when he wrote the Forward to A Hard Fought Ship
Courtesy of Rear Admiral John Kingwell RN

A Hard Fought Ship:
the story of HMS

It is both a pleasure and an honour to contribute a foreword to this, significantly enhanced, edition of Bob Moore’s book outlining the life of the destroyer HMS Venomous. I met Bob in 1985, when, after passing out of Dartmouth and having completed Fleet training, I was sent to Loughborough University to read history. During these three years I became the seamanship and navigation officer at the local Sea Cadets unit, named after the town’s Second World War affiliation, HMS Venomous. I was fortunate, therefore, to become a friend of Bob, then a fellow instructor at the unit, and to learn a little about Venomous. Hence the invitation as a Sub Lieutenant to proof read the original book and some 22 years later to contribute to this.

I commend this book to you. It tells the story of one of the many Royal Navy destroyers that served in the inter war years and went on to play such a critical role during the Second World War. But perhaps more importantly this book tells the story of the officers and men that gave Venomous, and the ships like her, their character. It is clear that she served the nation well and, in the best traditions of the Royal Navy, did all that was asked of her thoroughly deserving the description as a hard fought ship. Indeed, having had the enormous privilege of commanding three ships I can think of no greater tribute to the men of Venomous, and her sister ships, than this book and its title.

J M L Kingwell
Captain Royal Navy
Commanding Officer
HMS Albion

John Kingwell served as seamanship officer, midshipman and sub lieutenant at TS Venomous, returning to his ship during the summer vacation. TS Venomous is one of very few SCC units to have had a regular Royal Navy officer on its books and it is particularly appropriate that John Kingwell should have written the Foreword to the new edition of this book.

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A Hard Fought Ship: the story of HMS Venomous

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