Publisher’s search for his father’s best friend

Gunnery officer on HMS Venomous, Thomas Thorp. NNL-150213-163719001
Gunnery officer on HMS Venomous, Thomas Thorp. NNL-150213-163719001

A publisher is looking for the family of a man who may have served with his father during the Second World War.

Bill Forster lives in St Albans and is a retired academic publisher, formerly of University of Hertfordshire Press.

He is trying to trace the family of Thomas Thorp, a gunnery officer on the HMS Venomous from 1944 to 1945 alongside Mr Forster’s father, William.

Mr Thorp is believed to have been living in Banbury when he died and his son, Thomas, may still be alive and living in the town.

Mr Forster, who is publishing a new edition of the book, A Hard Fought Ship: The Story of HMS Venomous, said his search for more information about his father led him to put the book together.

Mr Forster, 75, wants to include more about Mr Thorp in the next edition.

He said: “My father was a stranger to me. He was always away at sea, I hardly knew him. On retirement, I set about trying to find out more about him.”

HMS Venomous was nearly lost in a hurricane off Scotland’s east coast in January 1945 and, in May, it was sent to Kristiansand, Norway, to accept the surrender of German naval forces.

Lt Forster and Mr Thorp were close friends and they both came from Manchester.

After the war, Mr Thorp worked for Williams Deacon’s bank in Fleetwood from 1947 while Lt Forster went back to sea as chief engineer on MV Thorium, based in Fleetwood, in March of that year.

The ship took limestone from Llanddulas in Wales to the ICI Alkali Division’s plant on the River Wyre.

Mr Forster urged anyone who knew Mr Thorp to get intouch by e-mail:

He said: “I am hoping a Banbury Guardian reader, perhaps his son if alive today, will get in touch and provide further details of his life and photographs for the new edition of my book.”