HMS Vindex

HMS Vindex was an Escort Carrier in the Royal Navy. Commissioned in 1943 it was originally laid down as a refrigerated cargo ship but was finally launched in May 1943 as an Escort Carrier.

The late father of a very close friend of mine served on her from late 44 until the end of the war. I have been given access to his photo albums and below are a sample. I believe he was an aircraft electrician although I am unsure which Squadron he was attached to, there are pictures of Swordfish and Wildcats which served on HMS Vindex with 825 Naval Air Squadron

The Squadron posed with a Swordfish

HMS Vindex from the air

An accident with a Wildcat, note the deckhand scrambling to the rescue

The aftermath. The serial begins JV8xx the aircraft is un-coded but would appear to be in an all over single colour scheme. Perhaps dark blue like the example in the FAA museum?

The FAA Museum example seen under restoration and investigation in 2009

This shot appears to show HMS Vindex with 2 Swordfish and 2 Wildcats ranged aft. Both Swordfish appear to have ASR Radar fitted and mines under the wings. The crew on the deck look to be well wrapped up against the conditions.

HMS Vindex was sent to the far east after the war in Europe ended. Here we see another Wildcat desk mishap, the pilot can be seen clambering from the cockpit. The picture may have been taken on the journey south as the aircraft looks to be in a different scheme to the one above and the pilot appears to be wearing tropical kit. Its coded F-3 and appears to be also in the JV serial range, from what I can make out possibly JV5xx.

My friends father left the ship at the end of the War when it had reached South Africa. The shot below appears in the album, I assume it was taken in South Africa. At least three of the Corsairs have their engines running.
Apparently he helped in the dumping of many Lend Lease aircraft off the Cape after the wars end.

It is a fascinating find, I only wish I knew about them years ago when he was still with us. If you can help with identification or have any info to add, please feel free to comment below.

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28 responses

  1. Chris Bartlett

    My father served on HMS Vindex from August 1944 to April 1945 on at least 6 Russian convoys. I am trying to get his Arctic Star but the MoD is refusing because they say he did not go above the Arctic Circle. I have his own records from 1946 and a voice recording made before he died that say he went to Kola at least once in that time, plus numerous photos and written records from the Russian Convoy Club of which he was an active member. Does anyone remember him ? He was a Station Y radio operator, Telegraphist (Special), Ronald (‘Ron’) Bartlett. He went on convoys JW 59, 61 and 66, and RA59A, 61 and 66. He also served on seven other ships, including two convoy trips on the Kent. Does anyone know how to get documentary evidence that he was on the Vindex? All comments gratefully received. Thanks.

    January 15, 2015 at 6:35 pm

  2. Andrew Sloan

    My father, Cecil Joseph Andrew Sloan was a Petty Officer on the Vindex during the Murmansk runs. I think he had something to do with payroll. He passed away in 1991. Wish I knew more…

    February 16, 2014 at 5:03 pm

  3. Anne Griffiths

    My dad was a Fleet Air Arm pilot on HMS Vindex

    December 16, 2013 at 9:28 pm

  4. Hi there, My wifes grandfather served on the vindex through the second world war we were both wondering if there was any available pics of the crew his name was Reginald gray hope you can help…

    November 10, 2013 at 10:07 pm

  5. Guy Weller

    My late father in law, Stephen (Jack) Searing, also served on Vindex from Dec 1943. He was a fitter with 825 Squadron. I presume that he should be in that group photo although I cannot pick him out. I am not good with faces! We have a few photos as well, Some, such as the aerial shots of the ship were presumably made available to the crew, whilst there are a few others taken of his mates, air crew,, the ship in ice and in heavy weather off Iceland.

    November 9, 2013 at 11:38 pm

    • Guy Weller

      Nick, how certain are you that is 825 squadron? If Alison Webster can identify her father in the photo, and his papers say he was in 813 squadron, maybe that photo isn’t of 825 squadron? Is the photo dated? 813 Squadron were on Vindex from April 1945 with Swordfish.

      November 10, 2013 at 9:46 pm

  6. Alison Webster

    We were very pleased to see my dad in the photograph, Dennis Webster, who served on the Vindex. It says on his papers 813 squadron. He was an air mechanic and became a petty officer. He is 2nd along on the right from the chap with the glasses under the nose of the aircraft. We would also love to have a copy of the photograph if it is at all possible to enquire? We have a very tattered photograph of the Vindex from the air and also some nice photographs which might turn out to be other people’s dads if anyone is interested.

    October 17, 2013 at 7:06 pm

  7. Richard S Flint

    My Grandfather Raymond Harris served on HMS Vindex, by the facial shape and stance, it could well be him, second left at the top of the first photograph. We have no pictures of him in his uniform (only in his demob suit) would it be possible to ask for a copy of the photo that is more detailed, so that we can verify it is him in the photo?

    September 26, 2013 at 11:59 pm

    • Sadly that is the largest version of he photo I have.

      September 28, 2013 at 10:49 am

  8. Chris Black

    My father, Frank Black, served on HMS Vindex from December 1943 to February 1945. He was an Air Mechanic (O) 1st class. Sadly he was killed in Malaya in 1956 so if anyone has any photos with him on them I would love to see them.

    September 5, 2013 at 5:34 pm

  9. My dad (now deceased) also served on HMS Vindex , he was in charge of keeping the batteries charged up for the swordfish aircraft of 825 squadron. He was affectionaly known as the battery king

    June 2, 2013 at 5:36 pm

  10. My Father, Alf Walker, served on the Vindex and provided some information and pictures to Kenneth Poolman for his book about the ship.

    December 6, 2012 at 9:48 pm

  11. Marie-Helene Oliver

    My aunt travelled on the Vindex on her final voyage when she docked at Mauritius and was the first ship to take on passengers from Mauritius in August 1946 to Britain – an epic voyage

    September 4, 2012 at 12:07 pm

  12. Jason

    My Grandfather, James Swallow, was on HMS Vindex, my cousin Nick Swallow has already comented! The brass bell from HMS Vindex is on display at the Fleet Air Arm Museum in Yeovilton Somerset, England

    May 20, 2012 at 11:54 pm

  13. david phillips

    My father served on HMS Vindex from April 44. He was at the time a Petty Officer, I’m sure he is sitting front row left in the group photo.

    March 23, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    • Tom Sleith

      My Dad Thomas Sleith, from Motherwell Scotland He was a naval airman from 2.3.45 until 18.5.1945 time on the Vindex he is in the photo in the top row third from the centre of the prop he also served on the Campania both ships were in 812 squadron

      February 2, 2014 at 3:32 pm

  14. My uncle Arthur Green was a Rated Air Mechanic 1st class, and served on the Vindex. His hearing was badly affected when a plane exploded on the deck. I have a photo of him and others in front of a plane on deck and they have written their names on the back of the photo. Some of the signatures are hard to read but the ones that I can decipher are David Horne, Edward Collins, William Collins,E. Denny, C? Drake, O Jones, J Matthews, J Harrison and D Stoddart. The photo was taken in April 1945. He never talked about the war but I have just inherited a load of family paperwork and photo’s and am enjoying researching my family’s history

    March 15, 2012 at 11:03 pm

  15. Douglas Bilsland

    My father Alexander Bilsland served on HMS Vindex from 1943 untill the end of the war great photo’s

    November 21, 2011 at 8:42 pm

  16. Nick Swallow

    Nice photo’s Nick. My Granddad served on HMS vindex, He was RPO (Regulating Petty Officer) James Swallow. I last saw him when i was 8,
    just be for we moved to Australia, He has now passed away, so i never got to ask any question or listen to any storys of his service on the Vindex.
    But i do know one of my family still in England should have a Rondal that he Cut from a Swordfish that crashed on the deck of the Vindex.
    Thanks for the blog

    November 14, 2011 at 11:24 am

  17. john.h.towell@gmail.com

    The Corsairs are 1846 Squadron, HMS Colossus in 1945. There is an aerial shot of them in Squadrons Of The Fleet Air Arm page 427 with Table Top Mountain in the background. They later sailed for the Pacific but the war ended before they saw any action.

    Nice collection of photo’s you have. 🙂

    October 4, 2011 at 9:50 pm

  18. WILDCATS FROM 811 SQN AT RAF LIMAVADY WENT TO HMS VINDEX 1944

    March 12, 2011 at 10:53 pm

  19. HI THE WILDCATS FROM 846 SQN CAME TO RAF LIMAVADY WERE I LIVE IN JUNE 1944 FROM HMS BITER AND LEFT FOR HMS VINDEX ON SEPTEMBERTHE 29TH 1944
    I HAVE A MUSEUM AT MAGILLIGAN AND HAVE A MODEL OF A WILDCAT AND IF POSSIBLE COULD I USE ONE OF YOUR WONDERFUL PICTURES OF HMS VINDEX

    March 12, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    • Norman
      Feel free to copy of the blog. If you need anything else I will have to ask.

      March 15, 2011 at 8:36 pm

  20. John Barton

    My wife’s uncle served with 825 aboard HMS Vindex. He passed away in 2009. We’re having trouble finding him in the squadron photo – any chance of a higher resolution copy?

    March 11, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    • Hi John

      I dont own the copyright to the photos but I will ask. I am not 100% sure this is the squadron in question however.

      March 12, 2011 at 1:22 pm

  21. Dave Fleming

    The JV8 serialed aircraft is a Wildcat VI (General Motors built FM-2), later one sof which were delivered in overall USN Sea Blue Gloss – the white codes indicate that is the case here.

    The camouflaged Wildcat is a Wilcdat V (FM-1)

    March 2, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    • Thanks Dave

      March 2, 2011 at 1:48 pm

  22. Interesting pictures Nick.

    Just been reading a book on the Arctic convoys which included HMS Vindex. I hadn’t realised that the Swordfish were often attacked by German flying boats whilst they were doing their ASW work and had to be either protected by the Wildcats or retreat back to the AA coverage of the convoy.

    March 2, 2011 at 10:00 am

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