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







Warship Weeks

Wrexham adopts HMS Veteran

Warships Week 29 November - 6 December 1941


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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Wrrexham was just one of the seven districts in East Denbyshire which held a Warship Week from 29 November to 6 December 1941 as reported in the Liverpool Echo on 8 November 1941:

Liverpool Echo, Saturday 8 November 1941
Mr. A.V. Alexandra, will speak at Wrexham Odeon Theatre on Sunday, 30 November in connection with the local Warship Week, Wrexham aims at the provision of a destroyer, and seven other districts of East Denbighshire are holding a Warship Week during the same period, which ends on 6 December.  The aggregate value of the targets is 505,000.


Wrexham and the neighboring villages of Holt, Isycoed and Marchweil raised 366,061 - 11 3s 11d per head - during a successful Warship Week
. in June 1942 the Town Clerk submitted the replica of the badge of HMS  Veteran which had been received from the Admiralty mounted on a wooden shield  and the Council resolved that the Badge be exhibited in the town and later be hung in the Council Chamber. It had been planned to affix the plaque from the Borough to the Admiralty onto the ship’s Quarter-deck but unfortunately it was sunk before this could happen.

Wrexham Leader, November 27th 1942
Vice-Admiral C. Tibbits attended the Wrexham Town Council on Tuesday evening for the ceremony of exchanging plaques relating to HMS Veteran, the destroyer adopted by Wrexham, as a result of Warships Week in December last. The Mayor said the sad news was recently received of the loss of HMS Veteran in action, and he thought it would be appropriate if they stood in silence as a mark of esteem and respect for the gallant ships company who lost their lives in the service of their country.

Both plaques are now in the care of Wrexham County Borough Museum.

Plaque presented to Wrexham by the Admiralty after arshipps Weel

The Wrexham Evening Leader article of 29 January 2004 includes the following :
 
John has been researching HMS Veteran for about 20 years since he stumbled across a plaque depicting the vessel at the Guildhall in Wrexham.  He said “I have been researching this ship since the early 1980s; it has been difficult as there is not much information available about it.  It all started when I saw the plaque of HMS Veteran in the Guildhall, and no one could tell me anything about it”.  His research uncovered a whole host of interesting tales, including the fact that Wrexham had sponsored HMS Veteran.
 
An article in the Wrexham Evening Leader on 29 August 2006 included:
 
It was seeing the plaque whenever he visited the Guildhall that first kindled John’s interest.  He comes from a naval family – an ancestor fought at Trafalgar on the Tonnant – and a number of relatives went to sea.  But when the family divided into naval or farming interests, John’s branch opted for the farming.  He now lives at Pentre Maelor, Wrexham ………. John says “Veteran was built in 1919 and spent the first five years of her life in the Atlantic fleet.  There was a spell of other duties before 1937 when she went to Spain to rescue British nationals from the Spanish Civil War.  The Germans were also lifting their nationals from Spain at that time and, coincidentally, on board the cruiser Deutschland was a cadet named Otto von Bulow.  The man who was later to command U404 when it sunk HMS Veteran in September 1942”.

I suppose the relatively short period between the adoption of the ship by Wrexham and its sinking meant that there was little time for twinning events to have been arranged, especially since ship movements would surely have been classified in 1942.  Wrexham is quite some distance inland and so a visit by the ship to Wrexham would have been out of the question!


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



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