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Remembered Today:

Thomas Woodrooffe serve during wartime?

Felix C

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Did BBC commentator Thomas Woodrooffe serve during the war? (1899-1978) Did he leave a memoir of wartime service if so?

I see he wrote fiction about duty in China and the postwar Med. the books are interesting and so wondering if he served in those duty stations as well. 

Edited by Felix C
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That Kew link suggests that he was appointed lieutenant commander on 15 February 1917 - at the age of eighteen?? Unlikely.

The RN officers medal roll shows his entitlement (Vic and BWM) in the rank of midshipman RN and spells his name as WOODROFFE. His medals were issued in HMS CURACOA.

Edited by horatio2
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The Kew link did give an 1899 birth date though.

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His navy service is here scroll down to his entry. unithistories.com (copied below)

Two novels are available online

Yangtze Skipper, by Thomas Woodrooffe 1937. HathiTrust Digital Library. Set in 1919 Shanghai, Toby Warren is First Lieutenant on the "Beetle", a (fictious) Royal Navy river gunboat. Note, this may be the American title. Appears to be the same book as River of Golden Sand by Thomas Woodrooffe.


Naval Odyssey by Thomas Woodrooffe 1938. HathiTrust Digital Library. Toby Warren, on the (fictitious) British cruiser HMS "Cassiopeia", participates in the events in Turkey during the 1920s, and the Royal Navy's involvement in the crises there.

Although Woodrooffe is not listed below as having served in and  around Turkey, I think it is very likely that he in fact did.





15.02.1917  entered RN

18.07.1917-(05.)1919Midshipman, HMS Resolution (Grand Fleet)

12.05.1919-(08.)1920HMS Scarab (river gunboat)

08.10.1920-(01.1921)course of instruction at Cambridge University [HMS President]

(04.1922)  short course of instruction

11.05.1923-(08.1923)HMS Philomel (light cruiser) (New Zealand Division)

16.06.1924-(05.1926)HMS Dunedin (cruiser) (New Zealand Division)

(02.1927)  New Zealand Division *

20.04.1927-(04.)1930HMS Nelson (battleship) (Atlantic Fleet)

30.06.1930-09.1932RN Barracks, Portsmouth [HMS Victory] [played cricket RN XI 1930-1932]

02.09.1932-01.1933HMS Valiant (battleship) (Home Fleet)

07.01.1933-03?.1933HMS Pembroke (RN base, Pembroke)
[sentenced by a naval court-martial to dismissal from his position, forfeiture of three months' seniority and being severely reprimanded for absenting himself without leave for a week in February 1933]

Worked as commentator for the BBC, 1936-1939.

23.09.1939-02.1940Admiralty [HMS President] (for special and miscellaneous services)

21.02.1940-06.1940Commanding Officer, HMS Coventry City (anti-submarine warfare trawler)

(10.1940)  no appointment listed

17.10.1940-02.1944Press Division, Admiralty [HMS President] (for duty with staff of Press Division at Ministry of Information)

02.1944-31.01.1946Department of the Director of Personal Services, Admiralty [HMS President]

01.02.1946-(04.1946)Department of the Chief of Naval Information, Admiralty [HMS President]

Published: Naval odyssey (1936; the voyage of a cruiser to the Mediterranean in 1921); River of golden sand (1936); Best stories of the navy (ed.; 1941); Best stories of the sea (ed.; 1945); In good company (1947; an account of the author's wartime experiences as a Naval Observer); Moanalua (1950; sketches of life in a wardroom on the New Zealand Station); The enterprise of England : an account of her emergence as an oceanic power (1958); The battle of the Atlantic (1965).
* indexed, but not listed as such



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Yes. River of Golden Sands is the same as Yangtze Skipper.

Thanks Jane, above and beyond what you did.


Hey you are up early or late.


You know, I thought he was retired in 1929 and here we have details into the 1930s.

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Don't let me take the credit for Maureene's hard work!

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whoops! sorry about that Maureene. it was late and I was droopy


Edited by Felix C
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