Crest of the V&W Destroyer AssociationCrest of the V&W Destroyer AssociationHMS DOUGLAS







Warship Weeks

Dumfriesshire adopts HMS Douglas

Warships Week 22 - 30 May 1942


Between October 1941 and the end of March 1942, Warships Weeks were organised in cities, towns and villages throughout Great Britain.  The intention was to raise a sum by investment or deposit in all types of war savings representing the cost of building one of His Majesty’s ships ranging from the smallest to the largest vessels.  Once the target had been raised the community adopted the vessel along with its crew and the bond was strengthened by presentations in recognition of the money raised. Adoption plaques were presented by the Admiralty to the community and a plaque presented by the community to the adopted vessel. Links were maintained by the writing of letters and the provision of comforts and whenever possible visits were arranged to the adopting area.

Most of the V&W Class destroyers in commission with the Royal Navy were adopted during the Warship Week scheme and in a number of cases local sea cadet units later took the name of the ship. To find more about Warship Weeks see Peter Schofield’s article on ‘National Savings and Warship Weeks’.

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Dumfriesshire and HMS Douglas

Dumfriesshire is across the border from Cumberland on the north Bank of the Solway Firth. "Douglases were one of Scotland's most powerful families, and certainly the most prominent family in lowland Scotland during the Late Middle Ages, often holding the real power behind the throne of the Stewart Kings", Wikipedia.The family were from Lanarkshire so it is not immediately clear to a Sassenach like me why HMS Douglas was an appropriate ship to be adopted by Dumfriesshire. HMS Douglas was larger than a standard V & W Class destroyer with the extras facilities required by a Flotilla Leader. She was one of eight Admiralty Class Flotilla Leaders with Scottish names, often referred to as the "Scott Class", built by Cammel Laird at Birkenhead. In May 1942 HMS Douglas was at Scapa Flow before joining the disastrous PQ17 Arctic Convoy to Russia and return convoy PQ13. I  am hoping that a naval enthusiast or local historian in Dumfriesshire will take up the challenge of researching the history of HMS Douglas from being commissioned in 1918 to going to the breakers yard thirty year later at Charlestown, Fife, in 1948. For further  details see the guidance given here then contact Bill Forster for more information.


Warships Week in Dumfriesshire
  22- 30 May 1942

Newspaper advert for Warships Week in DumfriesshireDumfriesshire raised the huge sum of  840,000 during their Warships Week, the equivalent of per head of the population.

Daily Record
Monday 30 March 1942

Dumfriesshire opens its Warship Week on 23 May, when 750,000 will be the target figure. The Secretary of State for Scotland is to be asked to open the campaign.
 
Daily Record
Thursday 14 May 1942

HMS Douglas is the destroyer chosen by Dumfriesshire Warship Week Committee.  The name Douglas is famed throughout the Borders and Dumfriesshire. 
 
Dumfries and Galloway Standard
Wednesday 20 May 1942

The end of this week will see the beginning of Dumfriesshire’s Warship Week, and we would ask all connected with the County to be prepared to do their duty to their Country and their County.  For many weeks past a great deal of work has been done in organising the county for the effort which is to be made to secure investment of at least 750,000, being the sum needed for the purchase of the warship ‘Douglas’.  It was a happy idea to make Dumfriesshire responsible for Douglas.  In Scottish history there are few more distinguished names than Douglas of Queensberry and Drumlanrig.  The Good Sir James Douglas was Bruce’s greatest captain in the Scottish War of Independence.

The "Good Sir James Douglas" was also known as "the Black’ Douglas: The Most Feared Knight in Scottish History" - especially across the border in north Cumberland where my family came from!
 
Dumfries and Galloway Standard
Saturday 22 August 1942

Commander Tennant made the presentation of a trophy from the personnel of HMS Douglas to the Dumfries Sea Cadet Corps.  When the county adopted HMS Douglas following Warship Week, the officers of the sea cadets thought it would be appropriate if the Douglas would adopt the Dumfries Company of Sea Cadets.  The suggestion was made to Commander Tennant, and he very kindly acceded to the request.  He and his ship’s company provided a silver cup for the cadets.  The silver cup was handed to Lt. Mogerley the officer commanding the cadets and bore the inscription

‘Presented to the Dumfries Sea Cadet Corps from HMS Douglas – July 1942’

Commander Tennant said that this trophy, put up by the ship and to be competed for in the Corps as the Commanding Officer should decide, was but the initial gift.  More practical contributions would follow.



The Plaque presented by Dumfriesshire to HMS Douglas
Presentation plaque in Dumfries Council Offices
Where is the shield bearing the crest of HMS Douglas
presented to the  County?


If you want to find out more about the wartime service of a member of your family who served on HMS Douglas you should first obtain a copy of their service record
To find out how follow this link: http://www.holywellhousepublishing.co.uk/servicerecords.html


If you have stories or photographs of HMS Douglas you would like to contribute to the web site please contact Bill Forster



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