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

Warship Weeks

Ely adopts HMS Walpole

Warships Week 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 Schofield’s article on ‘National Savings and Warship Weeks’.


Painting of HMS Walpole presented to Ely by her CO
This painting of HMS Walpole was presented to Ely Museum by Rear Admiral George C. Crowley CBE DSO
the Commanding Officer of HMS Walpole 1943-45.

The crest of HMS Walpole pesented to Ely by the Admiralty
Ely Porta - Walpole's GateEly Porta - Gateway to Ely Monastery
Walpole's Gate

The Porta is also known as Walpole`s Gate which explains why Ely choose HMS Walpole as the warship to adopt duruing Warships Week. It was named after Prior Walpole, dates from the 14th century and was once the main entrance to the monastery. For many centuries travellers, pilgrims, monarchs and other nobility passed through the Walpole Gate. The gate was begun in 1396, completed in 1417 and is now part of the King's School, a public school.


In response to a ‘War Weapons Week’ in 1940, over 300,000 was raised in Ely alone, and during during the National Warship Week in March 1942  a further 259,000 was raised. A year later a delegation of Ely citizens led by Ely Urban District Council, Ely Rural District Council and the Dean of Ely Cathedral visited the ship in Harwich to meet the crew.

HMS Walpole hit a mine on the 6th January 1945, was beyond repair and was sold for scrap the following month. A ceremony to commemorate HMS Walpole was held in Ely Cathedral in June 1949. It was attended by the whole crew and the ensign of the HMS Walpole was laid up in the North Transept of the Cathedral where it can still be seen.

Dean of Ely visits HMS Walpole 1943Demonstrating Y Gun to the Dean of Ely and Councillors
Citizens of Ely visit their adopted ship at Harwich on 8 December 1943
The Dean of Ely with with the CO of the Walpole, Lieutenant G C Crowley, DSC, RN, talking to men and drawn up at Divisions Crown Copyright: IWM A 20860
Right: The Dean of Ely and Councillors being shown the working of Y Gun Crown Copyright: IWM A 20857

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

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