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’.
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.
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 Western Morning News reported on the presentation of a plaque to HMS Vansittartcommemorating 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?
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.
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.
Pleaseget in touchif you are able to provide further details or photographs regarding the
adoption of HMS Vansittart by KIdderminster
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