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’.
Bromyard is an ancient market town
in the valley of the Frome in Herefordshire midway between Leominster
and Worcester with a population of five thousand.
Urban District and Rural District raised £60,454 (£6 0s 4d. per head)
during their Warships Week from 29 November to 6 December 1941
This was significantly lower than
the amount normally required to adopt a destroyer but Bromyard was a
small town with a population of five thousand. Worcester seventeen
miles to the East on the River Severn had raised £770,000 to adopt HMS Worcester, a sister ship of Vivien,
but it had a population of close to 600,000. Leominster twenty-five
miles to the West was the largest of the five towns in Herefordshire
with a population twice that of Bromyard but had to be satisfied with
adopting the Albury Class Minesweeper HMS Fitzroy despite raising £128,146.
Be that as it may, it seems as if the Admiralty may have thought Bromyard had acquired HMS Vivien on the cheap and in 1943 Bromyard raised a further £125,000 to equip her as reported on the left in the Kington Times.
had of course been built, equipped and commissioned 25 years earlier on
28 May 1918. Warship Weeks were a means of raising money for the
building of new warships which led to morale boosting links between the
ships companies of existing ships and the towns which adopted them. The
same issue of the Kington Times which reported on the money raised to equip HMS Vivien also reported that she had received a cheque for £25 - £1 for each year her life - from the citizens of Bromyard.
We are hoping to locate the crest of HMS Vivien mounted on a wooden shield presented by the Admiralty to Bromyard
as reported in The Bromyard News and Record on 3 September 1942
and would also like to be sent stories of the links established between HMS Vivien and the men and women of Bromyard. Do please get in touch if you can help.
Kington is on
the Welsh side of Offa's Dyke but it is still in Herefordshire. It had
a smaller population than Bromyard but its local paper the
Kington Times published a lengthy article in November 1941 on the
competition between the two small towns to see which could raise the
most money. It appears that the reporter was not aware that Bromyard
was raising money to adopt a destroyer and thought Kington was raising
money to adopt a Corvette. The misunderstanding may have been
down to the Admiraty having failed to make the position clear, a
situation known to have arisen in other towns holding Warship Weeks.
Kington Times, Saturday 22 November 1941 Kington v Bromyard - A spirit of rivalry is apparent between Kington and Bromyard in the Warship Week appeal.
At the public meeting at Kington the Vicar, formerly the Vicar of
Bromyard, in seconding a resolution to increase the target to £55,000
said he could not see Bromyard beating Kington. Bromyard in reply
asks whether Kington really wishes to challenge Bromyard to a race as
to which town and district will be first to raise the £55,000 (Bromyard
as well as Kington is raising £55,000 for providing a Corvette).
Writing in the Bromyard paper, a correspondent says:
‘Bromyard is waiting to hear the challenge and she will have the
greatest pleasure in showing the erstwhile vicar just how wrong he
At a recent meeting of the Publicity Committee of
the Kington Warship Week effort, attention was drawn to this matter,
and the Vicar intimated to the committee that he had sent a letter to
the Bromyard paper explaining the purport of his remarks. As the
late Vicar of Bromyard and present Vicar of Kington he did not wish to
see his present parish fall short of his former one in its target for
Warship Week. He said that he would be delighted if his
references to both parishes served to stimulate the people of Bromyard
and Kington to friendly rivalry in this great national effort.
The Bromyard News and Record, 3 September, 1942
I am told that this issue contains
a lengthy report on the presentation of a shared plaque by the
Admiralty to the Urban and Rural Districts of Bromyard. If someby has
access to back issues and sends me a scan of this article or notes on
its content I shall add it to this web page.
Kington Times, 17 July 1943
Kington Times published a lengthy article in July 1943 on Bromyard
raising a further £125,000 to equip HMS Vivien on top of the money
already raised for her adoption. The article is briefly summarised below and can be read in full on the left. Bromyard UD and RD raised a further £125,000 to equip HMS Vivien,
the ship they adopted in December 1941. They had raised £400,000 in
National Savings (this figure probably included money raised for planes
in “War Weapons Week”). Cdr R.G. Glossop RN was presented with the
crest of the town for the ship.