Captain J. C. K. Dowding Royal Naval Reserve

Arctic Encounter by Robert Bailey
Its a long shot but I wonder if I might ask you a question please. Do you think that the person you describe below:
Commodore J C K Dowding led convoy P.Q. 17, consisting of 36 heavily laden Merchant Ships out of Reykjavik, on the 27th June, 1942. Their cargo contained 297 aircraft, 594 tanks, 4246 military vehicles, both lorries and gun carriers, and 150,000 tons of military stores and general cargo; it was both a large and important load, designed to assist in rearming the Red Army.
On your web site on the following page: 
Is the same person I have listed as C/O of the Prince of Wales Sea training School at: 
Like I say its a long shot.
best regards, 
Andy Gale
online editor
Prince of Wales Sea Training School (Hostel)
Sponsored by the British & International Sailors Society

Hello Andy,

When I called the leader of convoy PQ 17, Commodore, I was of course refering to his function in leading the convoy as opposed to the Escort Commander. In 1941, Captain J. C. K. Dowding Royal Naval Reserve, is listed as the Commodore of a small convoy of only 6 ships he led to Archangel.

The Officer you refer to with the same name and initials is listed as a Commander in 1945. I would be doubtful they are one and the same officer, unless in 1941, my Captain Dowding is in fact acting as such in that rank, and was a substantive Commander, and post war reverted to that rank.

Have you any idea if your Commander J. C. K. Dowding was a Reserve Officer? You pose an intriguing question which I am unable to give you a definitive answer on Andy.

Nice to hear from you.
Mackenzie Gregory.

For Andy Gale,


I have just had this message about Commodore J C K Dowding, which should help with your question about Commander Dowding to me.


Best regards,
Mackenzie Gregory

Commodore John Charles Keith Dowding,CBE,DSO,RD,RNR (1.11.1891-13.2.1965)

There was only one JCK Dowding.  At the start of WW2 he was a Commander RNR with seniority 30.6.33 and was in command of HMS 'Mona's Isle' an Auxilliary Armed Boarding Vessel.  He was awarded a DSO for services at Dunkirk.

He was promoted to Captain RNR 31.12.40 and in 1942 with the Temporary Rank of Commodore 2nd Class RNR he was the Commodore of Convoy PQ17 for which he was awarded the CBE and he kept the Temporary rank until 1946 when he retired as Commodore RNR.

At Normandy he is listed as a Staff Officer to the Flag Officer Assault Area and in the Navy List July 1945 he is listed as Captain RNR (Commodore 2nd Class) (Acting) and is in the Sea transport Department List as Principal Sea Transport Officer for the British Army of Occupied Germany.

In addition to the CBE and DSO he was awarded the RNR Decoration, Mentioned in Dispatches and wasa member of The Order Of the Crown of Belgium.  There is also reference in another site which I cannot substantiate to Commodore Dowding, Royal Navy in WW2, and there was only one,  as being a 'key member of Churchill's War Staff'.

There is mention of Dowding in the site for PWSTS and it lists him as Commander.  He was a Commander before the war but from 1919 he worked for the Orient Line, being promoted to Staff Captain in 1936.  I have no idea if he was also involved then with PWSTS.  It is possible that the mention is post war and a misprint of his rank as I am sure that PWSTS would be more than happy to have such a distinguished officer associated with their establishment.  It certainly looks as though it was the same person.

With best wishes,
Alex A (Sandy) Christie

I'm truly grateful to you for going to such trouble in researching the information on behalf of all our old PWSTS boys. Its really appreciated.
I've just updated the web site and have taken the liberty of using the research information so gratefully received from Sandy. I hope this is okay?
I have added a post script to explain where the information has come from.
I would also be grateful if you could please pass my sincere thanks to Sandy. Do you think it would be possible to obtain a photo of Commodore JCK Dowding?
I am constantly trying to obtain more information about the PWSTS members of staff but the internet hasn't been able to help and archives from the British & International Sailors Society were destroyed long ago.
online editor
Prince of Wales Sea Training School (Hostel)


Here is a photo of  Convoy PQ 17 which Commodore Dowding commanded. I am still looking for a photo of him.


Convoy PQ 17 which Commodore Dowding commanded

Convoy PQ 17 which Commodore Dowding commanded

Thank you, you're a gent. I've just update the web site to include the convoy photo (courtesy of your web site). I have also placed you at the top of our links page.
best regards

Link to Robert Bailey Aviation Art picture of PQ-17



I was seeking approval to use a picture of German JU 88's attacking convoy PQ17.

Have now gone to the actual artist with the same question.



October 4, 2003
Mr. Gregory:
The print that you refer to is called "Artic Encounter".  The artist is Robert Bailey.  He can be contacted at:

Bailey Art & Publishing, Inc.
53504 Range Road 280, Lot 14
Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada T7X 3V6
Phone:  780-963-5480

I would appreciate a link to your site, or any other references to my site  www.oldgloryprints.com , in case someone is interested in purchasing copies of the print.
Thanks for your inquiry.
Bob Rubel
Old Glory Gallery & Frame Shoppe, In

Dear Sir:
Greetings from Canada, and thanks for your message.
Yes, you may use the picture on those sites.
All the best!
Robert Bailey.


Thank you for your approval to use your painting Arctic Encounter, very kind of you.

Mackenzie Gregory.

You're a gentleman indeed. Many thanks, I have just updated the web site.
kind regards

8 December 2003

I am forwarding this letter written by Commodore Dowding in 1938 at the request of Andy Gale.

May you havean enjoyable and safe Christmas and a productive 2004.

Best regards,


Regarding Commodore JCK Dowding. I've progressed a little further after discovering a letter signed by him on the 25th March 1938. See: http://www.pwsts.org.uk/limehousecert.htm
It would appear that he was the Commanding Officer of the Sea Training Hostel at Limehouse during this period.
I would be grateful I you could pass this onto Sandy. Best wishes to you both for Christmas.
Andy Gale
Director and Online Editor
Prince of Wales Sea Training School Society

Sponsored by the British & International Sailors Society


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