HMS VANSITTART




Warship Weeks

Kidderminster adopts HMS Vansittart

Warships Week 6 - 13 December 1941


tin lapel badgeBetween 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.  The cost of organising a Warship Week was raised by holding whist drives, raffles, dances and through the sale of Warship Week badges (left) and programs etc. 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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At least three of the towns and districts on the east bank of the River Severn as it flows south through Worcestershire held successful Warships Weeks. Kidderminster, midway between Birmingham and Worcester, held one of the first in the country, from 6 - 13 December 1941, and raised 407,002 (9 6s 1d per head) to adopt HMS Vansittart. Regular reports on the amounts raised appeared in the Birmingham newspapers:

Evening Despatch
Tuesday, 9 December 1941 - The target of 210,000 to pay for the cost of a destroyer by Kidderminster Warship Week has now been raised to 250,000.  The total invested up until today is 157,000.

Birmingham Daily Gazette
Tuesday, 9 December 1941 – Kidderminster Warship Week, in which it is hoped to raise 210,000 to pay for the hull of a destroyer, has already resulted in 110,000 being invested.  One woman yesterday brought in 30 in threepenny bits, the result of seven years saving.

Birmingham Daily Post
 Friday, 12 December 1941 – The amount raised for Kidderminster Warship Week up to yesterday was 225,000.  The town is aiming to bring the figure up to 300,000 by tomorrow.  The original target was 210,000.

Birmingham Daily Gazette
 Monday 15 December 1941 – Kidderminster Warship Week which closed on Saturday night raised 401,000, and there is more to be raised.

Bewdley, "next door" to Kidderminster, but on the bank of the Severn and prone to flooding with a population of less than 10,000 raised 63,000 to adopt the naval trawler, HMS Horatio, during its Warships Week from 21 - 28 March 1942. HMS Horatio was sunk with heavy loss of life off the coast of Algeria by a German MTB on 7 January 1943. The County town of Worcester 15 miles south of Bewdley with a magnificent cathedral and Guildhall, held its Warships Week from 7 - 14 March 1942, and adopted HMS Worcester.

The crew cheer the Mayor of Kidderminster And cheered by the Ship's company

The Mayor present the plaque of Kidderminster to HMS Vansittart
Western Morning News
The Western Morning News reported on the presentation of a plaque to HMS Vansittart commemorating the adoption of the ship on Saturday 13 June 1942
The crest of the ship mounted on a wooden shield was presented by the Admiralty to commemorate the adoption of HMS Vansittart -  but where is it now?


Plate for both HMS Vansittart and HMS Horatio monted on one of the standard Admiralty shields
The plate on the shield with the Admiralty anchor (right) recording the adoption by Kidderminster Rural District Council of HMS Vansittart in December 1941 and the naval trawler HMS Horatio in March 1942. HMS Horatio was sunk on 7 Jan 1943.
Shield Inscription
The commemorative plate attached to the adoption plaque bearing the crest of HMS Vansittart presented to Kidderminster Rural District. A second plaque bearing the crest of HMS Vansittart was presented to Kidderminster Urban District.
Where are these plaques ?



On Wednesday the 14 July 1948 the Birmingham Daily Gazette, reported that the Kidderminster Unit of the Sea Cadet Corps is to receive from the Mayor (John E Talbot) the plaque given by the town to HMS Vansittart
Does the Sea Cadet Unit in Kidderminster still have the plaque?
 Please get in touch if you know.







Please
get in touch if you are able to provide further details or photographs regarding the adoption of HMS Vansittart by KIdderminster


If you want to find out more about the wartime service of a member of your family who served on HMS Vansittart 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 Vansittart you would like to contribute to the web site please contact Bill Forster



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