Royal Naval Museum



Biography: William J Whitworth


Born 29th June 1884, at Earls Barton, Northamptonshire. In 1914, at the outbreak of World War One, Whitworth was serving as a Lieutenant on the destroyer HMS Cockatrice. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order on 8th March 1918, for his war service, and in the same year was promoted Commander. Between the wars, Whitworth served as Commanding Officer of the Port School, Portsmouth from 1926 to 1928. He then became Captain of HMS Stuart in the Mediterranean Fleet from 1928 to 1931. This was followed by his appointment as Head of the Naval Personnel Committee from 1931 to 1933. He was then appointed Captain of the Fleet to the Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean which he held until 1935. In 1936 he commanded HMS Rodney and was promoted to Rear Admiral. He then spent time at the Admiralty, until he was given command of the Battle Cruiser Squadron in 1939. His flagship was firstly HMS Renown and then HMS Warspite. He took part in operations against the German invasion of Norway, and both battles at Narvik.

Whitworth was knighted in 1941, and in the same year became Second Sea Lord, a position he held until 1944, when he was appointed Commander-in-Chief, Rosyth. He held this command until his retirement in 1946.

Whitworth died on 25th October 1973.

© Royal Naval Museum Library, 2004
The information contained in this information sheet is correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the library for a bibliography of further reading materials, if available.

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