David Norman Walter Joel

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Commander (retired) David Norman Walter Joel, (23 May, 1890 – ) served in the Royal Navy.

Life & Career

Joel was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on 15 January, 1911.

He was appointed to Bellona of the Second Destroyer Flotilla on 11 March, 1913. He served in her until being appointed to a signal course in Portsmouth on 15 February, 1915. He emerged on 25 August with a second-class certification as a Lieutenant (S) and was appointed to St. Vincent as Flag Lieutenant to Rear-Admiral Gaunt. He followed Gaunt to Colossus on 24 October, 1915 and was in the ship when she fought at the Battle of Jutland. After the battle, he recorded a humourous account of the action,[1]

When it was obvious to HMS Colossus that the situation was, 'Let Battle commence' I at once hustled the 'old Navy' Admiral to whom I was Flag Lieutenant Signal Officer into the 12" thick armoured conning tower - for his own protection! Here I was much unnerved by the noise of the full calibre firings of the two twin 13.5" turrets just forward of us. Suddenly we were struck by a large shell, fired by the cruel Germans, which burst amongst the 4" Battery just abaft the conning tower. All their ready use ammunition blew up all around us. My urgent desire was to escape and jump in the sea! But unfortunately my Admiral of small stature was standing on our boxes containing gas masks with his head out of the small hole in the roof, which was the only way in and out. He always made me carry, wherever we went the Kings Regulations and Admiralty Instruction. This I quickly consulted and learned that to drag him down by his feet so that I could escape would be an 'act to the prejudice of good order and naval discipline'. So with the utmost courage I remained in the shelter of the conning tower. For this I was 'mentioned in despatches'. My natural modesty prevents me from allowing any mention of my bravery in that action to be made publicly.

Joel followed Gaunt again into Emperor of India on 12 June 1916.

In June, 1917, Joel was appointed to the R.I.M. troopship Northbrook for wireless and signaling duty. He received his first-class signaling certificate on 18 April, 1918.

Joel was ordered back to England, leaving Bombay on 13 January in Pentakota and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Commander on 15 January, 1919.

Joel was placed on the Retired List at his own request on 15 December, 1924.

Joel was promoted to the rank of Commander on 23 May, 1930.

World War II

Joel was brought back in 1938 for signal duties ashore. In late 1941, he became Port Signal Officer, Greenock. He may have served there through the war, but his Service Record is badly faded here. He was commended in July 1945 by C-in-C, Western Approaches for good service and devotion to duty.

See Also


Naval Appointments
Preceded by
Edward C. Watson
Captain of H.M.S. Truant
26 Jul, 1922[2] – 3 May, 1924[3]
Succeeded by
Hugh R. Troup


  1. Jutland 1916. p. ?.
  2. The Navy List. (January, 1923). p. 823.
  3. Troup Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/50/225. f. ?.