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 was a popular seaside resort and Morecambe Bay famous for it beauty and notorious for fatal accidents to visitors unfamiliar with the tracks across the sands and the speed with which the tide advances.  Government departments and their civil servants relocated to the North to escape the London Blitz, often to resort towns where accommodation awas vailable in deserted hotels. The  Ministry of Defence moved to Morecambe and the town became known as "Whitehall by the Sea". Today 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 but, surprisingly, there is no reference to Warship Week at Morecambe and Heysham in the Newspaper Archive. 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 hope local historians will 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 "Westcott Club" of veterans in 1991 and hangs with the ship's crest on its shield in the Mayor's Parlour of Morecambe's Town Hall

Veterans of HMS Wescott visit Morecambe and revive wartime links

There are believed to be only two men alive today who served in HMS Westcott, RDF Operator (Radar) Ted Cross who is 95 and 98 year old Captain Stuart W M Farquharson-Roberts RN who was a Lt in HMS Westcott in 1944. Clifford "Stormy" Fairweather, a "bunting tosser" (Signalman),
  founded the "Westcott Club" for veterans of HMS Westcott 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.

A year before HMS Westcott
was  adopted by Morecambe and Heysham in December 1941 she was informally adopted by the village of Westcott near Dorking in Surrey. In November 1940 Westcott was based at HMS Eaglet, Liverpool, escorting Atlantic Convoys. Tom Chapman describes in Water, Water, Every  Where! returning to the ship soon after her arrival at Liverpool:

"It was found that a large consignment of woollen 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 gesture 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."

The Westcott Club

Tom Chapman was exploring Liverpool when these woollen "comforts" were delivered to the ship and when he wrote his book fifty years later
may have forgotten her connection to the village of Westcott. When "Stormy" Fairweather formed the "Westcott Club" in 1989 a one day inaugural meeting was held at the Victory Services Club, near Marble Arch in London, and they decided to hold a weekend meeting at Westcott the following year. The arrangements were made by Dave Knight in Westcott and 38 veterans attended and stayed as guests in the homes of villagers or at the village pub. Tragically, Les Lawrence, the artist who painted HMS Westcott and created the "Blue Nose Certificates" presented to all crew members completing an Arctic Convoy died a month before their meeting in October 1990 but a framed copy of his painting of the ship was presented to the village and hangs in the village Hall.

The third meeting of the Westcott Club was held at Morecambe in 1991. The veterans stayed at the Rutland Hotel on the seafront and marched with a police escort to the church for a service and then to the Mayor’s Parlour in Morecambe’s grand Town Hall  and were received by the Lady Mayor and served sandwiches and tea. An identical framed copy of Les Lawrence's painting of HMS Westcott was presented to the town and hangs with the wooden shield bearing the ship's crest in the Mayor's Parlour.

Stormy formed the V & W Destroyer Association in 1993 to bring together veterans of all the V & W Class destroyers and it ran in tandem with the Westcott Club and other ship association for several years until they closed through lack of members. The V & W Destroyer Association held its last meeting in 2017 and now only exists as this website which is being archived by the British Library and should be available for decades to come -  if not longer.

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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