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

Warship Weeks

Todmorden adopts HMS Vidette

Warships Week March 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'.


Todmorden is a market town in the Upper Calder Valley, West Yorkshire, at the meeting point of three steep valleys. Its prosperity was based on cotton, spinning and weaving and at one time it had the largest weaving shed in the world. It was a frontier town, where the border between Yorkshire and Lancashire once ran through the town hall, but has been entirely within the White Rose County since the 1880s.  It is 17 miles north east of Manchester and had a population of 15,481 in 2011. Residents pride themselves as being quirky, nonconformist and eccentric and an article in the Yorkshire Post illustrates this by describing violent demonstrations against the building of a workhouse in the 1840s and enthusiastic local support for the Incredible Edible movement which has just celebrated its 10th anniversary. In that time thousands of vegetables and herbs have been planted on spare plots throughout the town for people to pick – and it has sparked a minor urban revolution.

Todmorden from the golf course

Todmorden raised 226,301 (11 11s 6d. per head) during the Warships Week, enough to pay for the cost of the hull and the adoption went ahead. The rectangular metal plaque presented by Todmorden Town Council to HMS Vidette on her adoption and the Admiralty plaque presented to the Town Council hang in the Council Chamber of the Town Hall.

I am hoping the local  paper will publish an article appealing to older residents
 to provide memories and photographs of the links established between the town and the officers and men who served in HMS Vidette.

The creedt of HMS Vidette on its wooden shield presented by the ADmniralty to Todmorden Coat of Srms on shield presented to HMS Vidette

Inscribed plate benesath crest on shield presentedn by Admirsty
The Coat of Arms of Todmorden presented to HMS Vidette by the town

The Crest of HMS Vidette presented to Todmorden Town Council and the Coat of Arms of the town presented to HMS Vidette

Todmorden Town HallCouncil Chamber
Both hang in the Council Chamber of the Town Hall

Halifax Evening Courier

The Halifax Evening Courier reported on the Warship Week in Todmorden but the local paper must also have covered this important event in the life of town. Lt Cdr Eric Norman Walmsley, was the CO of HMS Vidette when she was adopted (on right),  but Viddette was based at Gibraltar for the frst three years of the war and there would have been no opportunity for visiting the town or for civic dignitaries to visit the ship until her return to Britain in December 1942 for conversion to a Long Range Escort (LRE). Lt Raymond Hart took over as CO when she was recommissioned in December 1942.

Lt Cdr E N WalmsleyHalifax Evening Courier Saturday 14 March 1942
Todmorden’s Warship Week was opened today by Rear-Admiral Beamish CB.  The aim is to raise 250,000, the price of the destroyer HMS Vidette.

< Halifax Evening Courier, Monday 16 March 1942 - see on left

Friday 17 July 1942
Todmorden’s stay-at-home attractions yesterday afternoon included the presentation by the Mayor Councillor F. Spendlove, JP, on behalf of the town, of a bronze plaque (bearing the borough coat of arms), which will be placed on the quarter-deck of HMS Vidette, the destroyer adopted by the town.  It was received on behalf of the Admiralty by Captain E Elgood. OBE VD., RNR, who presented to the town a Vidette crest mounted on a wooden shield (sse above).

Wednesday 8 March 1944
The Mayor of Todmorden has received a letter from Lt Cdr. Raymond Hart of HMS Vidette, the town’s adopted destroyer, thanking local people on behalf of the ship’s company for the gift of 66 from the War Fund.  With this money several gramophone records and indoor games for the mess decks have been bought, and it is hoped shortly to replenish the stock of sport gear.

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

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