Whitby adopts HMS Whitshed
Warships Week 7 - 14 February 1942
80 years ago on 12 February Whitshed 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
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’.
Whitby Abbey photographed by Tim Hill
Whitby's Warship Week, 7 - 14 February 1942, raised £315,169 which worked out at £14 14s 9d per person. The
Admiralty presented two adoption plaques, one to the Urban District
Council and the other to the Rural District Council, which explains why
two councillors are mentioned in this short report in the Newcastle Journal. A presentation plaque was also presented to the ship which may have been returned to Whitby after the war.
A more detailed report appeared the following day in the Whitby Gazette
Adoption Ceremony and exchange of plaques in Pannett Park, Wednesday 22 July
Whitby Gazette, 24 July 1942
Whitby & DIstrict Savings Committee was given a target of £210,000 and actually raised £313, 569. To mark this achievement a plaque was to be placed on HMS Whitshed from the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty and to the Councils for the area.
In an open air ceremony, to allow as many people as wished to attend, Commander R.H.B. Hammond Chambers DSO, RN, received a token from the town and district on behalf of the Admiralty and Councillor H. Paylor JP, Chairman of the WUDC and Councillor R. Smailes, JP, Chairman WRDC received reciprocal plaques from Commander Hammond Chambers. Mr W.G. Barker, Chairman of the War Savings Committee, presided.
Prior to the ceremony the Commander inspected a guard of honour from the local Home Guard, drawn up at the gates to the park, before proceeding to the terrace at the entrance to the Art Gallery.
The plaques read: "Presented by the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to Whitby to commremorate the adoption of HMS Whitshed during Warship Week, February 14 1942."
Cdr. R.H.B. Hammond-Chambers, RN (retd) was the Naval Officer in Command (NOIC) at Middlesborough, Rosyth Command, but in 1943 joined HMS Excallibur, a shore base for training new entrants near Crewe
Christmas Greetings 1943
"Whitby is proud of you ..."
Christmas greetings from the Rural (left) and Urban District Councils of Whitby in 1943 and the Screen Plaque of HMS Whitshed in Whitby Museum photographed in May 2020
The photographs of the Christmas cards are courtesy of Bob Baker, son of Telegrapher Reginald Ewart Baker JX 323498, and the photograph of the ship's plaque is courtesy of Steve Barnard, Librarian of Whitby Literary and Philosophical Society
click on the blue boxed image to increase the size of the poem by "H.B." - too modest or too well known to give his full name
Was "H.B." Cdr. R.H.B. Hammond-Chambers RN who presented the Plaques to the Councils in July 1942?