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

Warship Weeks

Morecambe and Heysham adopt HMS Westcott

Warships Week 28 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’.


Morecombe, photographed by Amy Ster
Morecambe Bay
Copyright Amy Ster

Morecambe is situated 64 miles north of Liverpool, the headquarters for Western Approaches Command, where the escorts for the Atlantic convoys were based. Morecambe is a popular seaside resort and Morecambe Bay is both famous for it beauty and notorious for the fatal accidents which have occurred to visitors unfamiliar with the tracks across the sands and the speed with which the tide advances.  To escape the London Blitz many of the Government departments and their civil servants relocated to the North, often to resort towns where there was plenty of  accommodation available in deserted hotels. The  Ministry of Defence moved to Morecambe and the town became known as "Whitehall by the Sea". A statue of Morecambe's most famous son, Eric Morecambe, overlooks the Bay.

The Morecambe and Heysham Warships Week from 28 November - 6 December 1941,  raised 452,639. There is no reference to the Warships Week at Morecambe and Heysham in the Newspaper Archive but it is hoped that local historians will take an interest in the adoption and carry out research "on the ground". The  ship's crest mounted on its wooden shield presented to the town by the Admiralty to  commemorate the adoption is in the Mayor's Parlour in Morecambe's Town Hall, a building so large and grand that full meetings of Lancaster Council are held in it.  I would like to find out about the links established between Morecambe and Heysham and their adopted warship, reciprical visits by officers and crew and civic dignitaries or merely the exchange of letters and the sending of "comforts".

Inscribed plate on shield
The shield and crest of HMS Westcott presented to Morecambe & Heysham by the Admiralty
The ship's Crest on a wooden shield presented to Morecambe and Heysham by the Admiralty
The crest  depicts a golden trident between two silver Lotus flowers on a field of blue

Painting of HMS Westcott hanging in the Mayor's Parlour at Morecambe
This fine painting by Les Lawrence who served in HMS Westcott appears on the cover of Water, Water, Every  Where! The life story of HMS Westcott by Tom Chapman (1996)
It was presented to Morecambe by the artist and hangs with the ship's crest on its shield in the Mayor's Parlour at Morecambe

There are believed to be only two men still alive who served in HMS Westcott, Signalman Ted Cross who is 95 and 98 year old Captain S. Farquarson-Roberts RN who was a Lt in HMS Westcott in 1944. Clifford "Stormy" Fairweather, also a "bunting tosser" like Ted Cross,
  founded the "Westcott Club" with Les Lawrence and then, as numbers declined, began the V & W Destroyer Association and served as its Chairman until his death in 2017. You can read about Stormy's time in HMS Westcott as an 18 year old seasick sailor by clicking on this link.

It would appear that Morecambe's relationship with HMS
Westcott began at least a year before her adoption by the town in December 1941. After a refit at the Naval Dockyard at Devonport, Plymouth, In November 1940 Westcott was based at HMS Eaglet, Liverpool, escorting Atlantic Convoys for eighteen months. Tom Chapman describes in Water, Water, Every  Where! how on returning to the ship soon after their arrival:

"It was found that a large consignment of woolen clothing had been delivered to the ship consisting of gloves, socks, scarves and balaclavas to be shared around equally among the upper deck watchkeeping personnel. All had been knitted by the good ladies of Morecambe - a very kind geesture and I remember hoping they had been told how much their efforts had been appreciated.

Our good overcoats issued when we first joined, had mostly long gone and the few still around were used between us to keep our legs warm while huddled up on the quarter deck. They were usually passed from watch to watch. In place of our great coats we had duffel coats with hoods, fastened by toggles. Our walking-out coat was a Burberry (a light raincoat) which was a lot more convenient and presentable."

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

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