22 November 2013

Captain Johnnie Walker, RN

I read the biography of this famous Naval Captain recently and have been inspired to officially declare him a Man Cave 'Gentleman of Renown'!

Captain Frederick "Johnny" Walker, CB, DSO and three bars (yes 3!!!), RN

A career naval officer, he joined the RN as a young Midshipman during WW1, and loved serving in the smaller sloops and frigates vice Bettlcruisers and above.  After the war he started a family and specialised in Anti Submarine Warfare, but his career stagnated as a Commander, mostly because he wasn't interested in the political and social requirements for advancement after hostilities.
After serving as the Executive Officer in a Battlecruiser (where, ironically, he was assessed as lacking in leadership skills) he was passed over for promotion and that would have been the end of this story - except that the Germans started another war and as an Anti Submarine Specialist he soon became involved, initially with channel defences, and then at sea.

Commanding the sloops HMS Stork and later Starling, he was personally responsible for reinvigorating convoy defence mechanisms, and the developing the tactics of the ASW Hunter-Killer groups which later supported them.  He was personally responsible for more U-Boat kills than any other man.  But all this came at a cost and shortly after D-Day, he died during shore leave from over-strain and battle fatigue.
If you want to read a rather stirring tale of personal Leadership, and motivation of men in a desperate battle, see if you can find a copy of "Walker RN".  Its out of print but well worth the effort of finding...or its available for free electronically at the second link below.

Read more about 'Johnnie' Walker here: http://uboat.net/allies/commanders/1.html
and here: http://www.captainwalker.info/

See previous Man Cave 'Gentlemen of Renown and Infamy' here:


  1. Yep, we were lucky to have such a talent come through.

  2. Nice story. Reminds you of the massive stress these guys were under.

  3. A true ace of the Battle of the Atlantic. Nice review. :)

  4. According to Wikipedia (and take this with a metric ton of salt, because there's no references backing this up), if Walker had lived, he would have been promoted to admiral and sent to the Pacific with a fleet. Imagine the hell he could have unleashed on the Japanese.

  5. Interesting story. A worthy addition to the men of renown.

  6. Excellent article.
    Thanks for bringing him into mind.