Crest of the V&W Destroyer AssociationCrest of the V&W Destroyer AssociationHMS MACKAY
took part in the attack on the  Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Prinz Eugen
by HMS Campbell, Vivacious, Worcester, Mackay, Walpole and Whitshed
during the "Channel Dash" of the German Battle Fleet through the Straits of Dover on 12 February 1942

Warship Weeks

Wigtownshire adopts HMS Mackay

Warships Week 18 - 24 April 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’.


Dunskey Castle, perched on a rocky cliff above Portpatrick was built in the mid-16th century
From Scotland's Insider Guide: Wigtownshire
Copyright The Herald Scotland

Wigtownshire and HMS Mackay

Wigtownshire is in the South West of Scotland, a short ferry crossing from Northern Ireland, and is now part of Dumfries and Galloway. HMS Mackay 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.

Controversially, she was first offered by the Admiralty to Morayshire on the south side of the Moray Firth in the North East of Scotland as an alternative to HMS Moray, their preferred choice, as reported in the Sunday Post. Such conflicts between local wishes and ships available for adoption were often a cause of controversy and may have hindered local commitment to Warship Weeks in some areas.

Sunday Post
Sunday, 8 March 1942

Moray people object to the name ‘Elgin’ given to the county’s minesweeper, cost of which has been subscribed during the past week.  Feeling is that the warship should have been HMS Moray.  The Admiralty offered the local committee the choice of HMS Mackay, if HMS Elgin was not suitable, but the former was not considered of territorial interest to Moravians. It is pointed out that the County of Moray is still noted as the county of Elgin on Admiralty charts.  The Admiralty say they will place no barrier in the way of Moray people if they care to present a second ship bearing the name of HMS Moray.

Wikipdia provides a good overview of the history of HMS Mackay which we hope to supplement by providing the families of the men who served in her an opportunity to add their own personal stories of family members illustrated by photographs from their albums. Other untold stories in the archives of the RNM at Portsmouth and the Imperial War Museum in Lodon will also be added.

HMS Mackay (
Capt. John Piachaud Wright, DSO, RN) led the 2nd Division in the attack on the German Battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen during their Channel Dash from Brest to the Elbe on 12 February 1942. From  April to  August 1942 HMS Mackay was being converted to a Short Range Escort (SRE) and in September escorted Arctic Convoy JW18 and return convoy QP 14 from the Kola Inlet inlet in Northern Russia.

 I am hoping that a naval enthusiast or local historian in Wigtownshire will take up the challenge of researching the history of HMS
Mackay 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 and contact Bill Forster for more information.

Warships Week in Wigtownshire
18 - 24 April 1942

Poster for Warships Week
Sunday Post
Sunday 19 April 1942

Wigtownshire Warship Week was opened at Newton Stewart yesterday by Lord Inverclyde, D.M.  The target is 300,000, for the destroyer HMS Mackay.
The Scotsman
Monday 20 April 1942

Sir Dudley Pound, First Sea Lord, was present on Saturday at the opening of Wigtownshire Warship Week in Stranraer.  There was a parade of contingents of the fighting forces, auxiliary and civil defence services, at which the Earl of Stair. Lord-Lieutenant, took the salute, and Sir Dudley Pound accompanied Lord Stair to the saluting base.
The Scotsman
Monday 11 May 1942

The total realised by Wigtownshire Warship Week was 274,905.

If you want to find out more about the wartime service of a member of your family who served on HMS Mackay you should first obtain a copy of their service record
To find out how follow this link:

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

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