Bertie Hunt, instructor at Whale Island gunnery school at Portsmouth known as HMS Excellent

June 14, 2009

Whale island

Hello Mac

While surfing the net trying to find out what DF and I Duties meant, l came across your site and letter to you about Angus Macdonald and Whale Island. What caught my eye was your quote that "in 1941, I did my gunnery course over several months at Whale Island".

I have attached a photo of my dads' real father taken in about 1932 near Ganges Shotley, as he was a gunner instructor there. An old uncle told me he thought his name was Hunt, so l done some research and came up with a Bertie Hunt who also fits some other information l have. He was at Whale Island between 1940 -1943 as staff and I wondered if you might recognise him. l contacted an old ganges boy who was at ganges in1934 but he didn't know him but gave me some information about instructors which lead me to Bertie.

I hope you may be able to help me, even if the only thing you can tell me is what exactly DF and I duties actually mean, as a lot of gunners seem to have done them!

Regards Alan

Hello Alan,

Of course Whale Island was the gunnery school at Portsmouth known as HMS Excellent.

The photo you included does have a familiar look, it is of a Chief Petty Officer who was  a senior Gunnery Rate.

The Chief's who instructed at Whale Island were the mainstay of the Gunnery School, and certainly would have been instrumental in imparting knowledge to my Sub Lieutenants time at Whaley.

D  F and I stands for Directional Finding and Information, See this Wikipidea article at URL :


1941 was a tough year we were still contemplating a German invasion, and at times were turned out to man beach defences, but we still enjoyed ourselves.

Hope this helps a little.

Best regards,

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