Warship Weeks

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
Whitby Abbey photographed by Tim Hill

Whitby's Warship

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.

"Following Warship Week in Whitby and district in February, commemoration plaques were exchanged between representatives of the Admiralty, Commander R.H.B.H. Chambers RN, and the chairmen of the Whitby Urban and Rural Council Messrs. Henry Taylor and Robert SmailesThe district adopted the destroyer Whitshed and the adoption ceremony took place at the Art Gallery, Whitby yesterday, when Commander Chambers presented replica badges of the Whitshed to the chairman of the two Councils.  A plaque bearing the arms of Whitby was presented to Commander Chambers by Mr Taylor."   Newcastle Journal, Thursday, 23 July 1942

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 ..."

Card from Whitby RDC to HMS Whitshed in December 1943

Christmas Card from Whitby 1943 - crest of Whitby
Christmas Card from Whiitby 1943 - poem
Ships Plaque 2020

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
"H.B." Cdr. R.H.B. Hammond-Chambers RN who presented the Plaques to the Councils in July 1942?

At present nothing further is known about the links between Whitby and its warship.
We would like to obtain a better photograph of the ship's crest mounted on the shield presented to Whitby in July 1942
Please get in touch if you have further details or photographs.

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

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