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

Solihull adopts HMS Vivacious

Warships Week 7 - 14 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’s article ‘National Savings and Warship Weeks’.

HMS Vivacious on a postcard sold on e-bay

Solihull and HMS Vivacious

HMS Vivacious and HMS Venetia escorted HMS Codrington when she transported the Dutch Royal Family from the Hook of Holland to Britain (Operation J) and from 26 May - 1 June took part in Operation Dynamo to evacuate the troops from Dunkirk bringing home some 1,500 men on four trips and had fifteen casualties when fired on by German howizers at Bray-Dunes. On 3 June she escorted the ships sunk to block the harbour entrances at Dunkirk (Operation K) and brought back their crews.

After transfer to Sheerness on anti-invasion patrols with the 21st Destroyer Flotilla she detonated a mine and was under repair until mid 1941. On 12 February 1942 HMS Vivacious was the first of the six V & W Class destroyers to attack the German battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen on their "Channel Dash" from Brest to Germany. Click on the link to read a PDF of Cdr Alexander's Report of Proceedings and to find out more about Operation Fuller and the Channel Dash. Solihul adopted a destroyer which had already distinguished herself and would face exciting times in future.

Wikipdia provides a good overview of the history of HMS Vivacious 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. You can also find out more about the wartime service of HMS Vivacious on the website of HMS Wildfire, the shore base for the destroyers at Sheerness on the Isle of Sheppey on the Thames estuary. Please e-mail BIll Forster if you have a story to tell about a family member who served in Vivacious.

Solihull's Warship Week,  27 - 14 March 1942, raised the astonishing amount of 526,265 which worked out at 8 19s 8d per person.

As was common elsewhere tin badgess were sold  to school children to advertise Warship Week and encourage their parents to contribute but apart from brief reports in the Birmingham Post and Mail we know very little about events held during the week - or contacts afterward with the ship and her crew. The plaque presented by the Admiralty to Solihull and the plaque presented by Solihull to he hip have yet to be traced. Please get in touch if you have photographs or stories to contribute to this page.

Tin  badge for Warships Week atr Solihull to raise savings to adopt HMS Valorious

Solihull’s Warship Week will be opened this afternoon by Lord Winster
Birmingham Post, Saturday 7 March 1942

Solihull’s Warship Week will be opened this afternoon by Lord Winster.  The aim is 210,000, but it is anticipated that this sum will be exceeded by a large amount.  Army and Navy units, Home Guard, ATC, Police and Civil Defence Services will take part in the procession through the district.  National Savings selling centres have been opened, and appeals are to be made at the four picture houses in the district.  Five bands have been engaged and ‘tableu vehicles’’ will tour the area.  Lord Winster will take the salute as the procession passes the Council House.

Warship Ceremony at Solihull
Birmingham Mail, Friday, 27 November 1942

During Warship Week last March, Solihull more than doubled its target figure and invested half a million pounds in National Savings.  This entitled the district to adopt the destroyer Vivacious.  Last night naval officers and ratings were present at the Council House when a ceremony of exchanging tokens between the ship and Urban District was observed. 

Accepting a plaque inscribed to commemorate the event, an officer representing the commander of the destroyer said the ships company, which previously had not heard of Solihull now knew that there was a community of people they could regard as their ‘foster parents’ and links such as this between the people at home and those at sea were a great value. 

Councillor Shaw said Solihull’s association with HMS Vivacious did not end with this ceremony but would continue in efforts of various kinds to foster the welfare of all serving aboard her.  The ships’ gift was in the form of a carved oak plaque incorporating the ship’s badge - a squirrel - and slung to a ships lifebelt.

Birmingham Daily Post, Friday 29 January 1943

WAR CHARITIES ACT, 1940 – NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that it is proposed to apply to the Solihull Urban District Council for the registration under the above-mentioned Act of HMS Vivacious Comforts Fund, the object of which is to provide comforts for the crew of Solihull’s adopted destroyer HMS Vivacious and the administrative centre of which is situate at the Council House, Solihull. Any objections to the proposed registration should be sent in writing to the above-named Council within fourteen days from the date of this notice. Dated 27 January 1943.

On 12 May 1944 the Hampshire Telegraph described a visit by one hundred crew members led by Lt N.R. Turner RNVR, the exchange of gifts and a game of football between the ship and NALGO members employrd by Solihull

Hampshire Evening Telegraph 12 May 1944
One hundred members of the crew visited Solihull in 1944
Football march between Hereford and HMS Volunteer in 1944
Crew members of HMS Vivacious  played a football match with NALGO members  during a visit to the town in 1944
The man in the top hat is Councillor James Harold Malley (1891-1955), Chairman of Solihull Urban District Council 1943-45.
Courtesy of Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council

At the invitation of Solihull Urban District Council more than one hundred members of the ship’s company paid a weekend visit to Solihull in 1944. Various events were laid on to entertain the guests, including a reception, a Ratings’ Dance at the Public Hall, and a football match.

"Royal Navy crew members from HMS Vivacious and members of the National Association of Local Government Officers (NALGO) who played a football match during the crew’s visit to Solihull in spring 1944. We think the sailors are on the right in the solid-coloured shirts and the NALGO union members are on the left in the light-sleeved tops, but do let us know if you have any further information. The man in the top hat is likely to be Councillor James Harold Malley (1891-1955), Chairman of Solihull Urban District Council 1943-45." Tracey Williams, Heritage & Local Studies Librarian, Solihull MBC.

Solihull Urban District officially adopted the destroyer after raising more than half a million pounds during Solihull’s Warship Week National Savings campaign in March 1942.

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

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