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’.
The Albert Street Cutting on the Bridgwater to Taunton Canal
Each beam is carved with a line from the Navigator's Poem Photographed by Pat Trout - Courtesy of Pictures of England
HMS Wolfhound was half a ship when adopted by Bridgwater
came close to being sunk by a Stuka dive bomber on her first trip
to Dunkirk with Captain Tennant to direct the evacuation of the
BEF and her luck ran out on the 3 September 1941 when she was bombed
while escorting East Coast Convoy FS84 off the Norfolk coast. Wolfhound
broke in two, her bow sinking 15 miles off shore. She was towed into
Immingham on the Humber and was under repair until March 1943.
Bridgewater and its surrounding villages held their Warships Week two
months after Wolfhound was bombed while she was in dockyard hands. It
seems unlikely that this news would have been released at the time.
Bridgwater Urban and Rural Councils raised raised £300,000 during their Warship's Week and the
Admiralty presented them with a replica of the crest of HMS Wolfhound mounted on a
wooden shield. The surrounding villages made a significant contribution as reported below in the Somerset County Herald on Saturday, November 22nd 1941 and each village received an inscribed scroll for framing and hanging in a public place.
Top of the list was Wembdon
which raised £11,000, twenty times its target! Others: Ashcott,
Bawdripp, Cannington, Catcott, Chedzoy, Chilton Polden, Durleigh,
West Huntspill, Middlezoy, Moorlinch, Cont.
Villages continued:North Petherton, Shapwick, Spaxton, Thurloxton, Westonzoyland and Woolavington.
Schools: County School for Girls, Westover Senior Girls, St Margaret's, St Leonard's, St John's.
This plaque bearing the Coat of Arms of Bridgwater
was returned before Wolfhound was scrapped and is in theBlake Museum
The villages which contributed to the £300,000 raised by Bridgwater received inscribed paper scrolls.
Most of these were created for the Admiralty by John Buchanan, who was
born without hands in 1908 and was put into care at the age of 9. His
creative ability was nurtured at the Oxford Art School and he excelled
at lettering. The Board of Admiralty had undertaken to present to each
parish which reached its target of National Savings a certificate with
the name of the parish, the ship adopted, and the week in which the
effort was made, duly engrossed upon it. John Buchanan was eventually
given the bulk of the work, and completed over 3,500 certificates in
considerably under twelve months.
Is your village on the list of those which raised money to adopt HMS Wolfhound in Bridgwaters Warship Week 1in November 1941? And if it did do you know where its scroll is now?
Taunton Courier and Western Advertiser
Saturday 1 November 1941
In connection with the Bridgwater and District Warship Week, 8-15
November, North Petherton aims to raise £5,000 towards the purchase of
a destroyer. North Petherton should have no difficulty in raising
the amount, and an appeal is made to residents throughout the parish to
invest to their utmost through the local savings group, post-office or
bank during the week. The largest village in the Bridgwater rural
area, North Petherton should easily exceed their task.
Saturday 3 December 1941
The final meeting of Bridgwater Warship Week Executive Committee was
held on Friday under the Chairmanship of Alderman Deacon CBE. It
was reported that the proceeds of the sale of programmes was £12 3s
3d., and of badges £76 11s 4d., and after deducting the cost there
remained a net profit of £44 6s 1d. The Committee decided to pay
£2 10s out of this balance for expenses incurred in entertaining the
visiting bands, and to utilise the portion of the remainder in payment
of the plaque which is being prepared, and which will be affixed to the
quarter-deck of HMS Wolfhound.
Thus, all who purchased a badge or a programme during Warship Week will
have an interest in the plaque. It is intended to display the
plaque for a week or so before it is despatched to the Admiralty.
Saturday 3 January 1942
A letter was received from the Campaign Secretary of the recent Warship Week stating that the Admiralty had intimated that HMS Wolfhound might
be adopted by the town and district as a result of the Week’s effort,
when £301,947 was raised. The Savings Committee were supplying a
bronze plaque, which would be affixed on the quarter-deck of HMS
Wolfhound and it was understood the Admiralty would present to the Town
Council a replica of the ship’s badge, together with a history of the
ship’s name for permanent exhibition in some suitable building
belonging to the Council. On the recommendation of the Finance
Committee, it was agreed to suggest that the replica of the ship’s
badge be exhibited in the Council Chamber.
Saturday 25 July 1942
A ceremony which will commemorate the Bridgwater and District Warship
Week and inaugurate the summer savings campaign for £130,000 to provide
three Churchill tanks will take place this Saturday afternoon.
Admiral Casement will receive a plaque to be fixed to the quarter-deck
of HMS Wolfhound, to
commemorate the adoption of the destroyer by Bridgwater and District
as a result of raising over £301,000 in war saving during Warship Week
last November. The Mayor of Bridgwater, Alderman Ashton and the
Chairman of Bridgwater Rural Council, the Rev. Pryce-Mitchell, will be
presented with replicas of the ship’s badge to be hung in the
respective Council Chambers.
Saturday 27 February 1943
A joint appeal has been launched by the Mayor of Bridgwater, Alderman
R. Ashton and the Chairman of the Rural District Council. Rev. P. T.
Pryce-Michell. for funds to provide a library in HMS Wolfhound,
the ship adopted by the town and district as result of Warship Week
last February. A feeling has been expressed in many quarters.”
states the appeal, that in addition to the plaque, which was presented
to the ship, some gift should be made to the crew as an expression of
gratitude for their services. Correspondence has been taking place with
the Amenities Fund of the Royal Navy, and it has become clear that the
only worthy form which a suitable gift could take is that of a library.
An appeal, therefore is made to the people of the town and district for
subscriptions to a fund to provide a library. It is anticipated that
approximately £100 will be sufficient, and it is hoped there will be a
prompt response, so that this comparatively small amount can be sent to
Messrs. W. H. Smith & Son. who have undertaken to select the books
and dispatch them to the ship. Contributions may be sent either to His
Worship the Mayor, Town Hall, Bridgwater: or the Rev. P. T.
Pryce-Michell, Chairman to the Rural District Council, The Priory,
Bridgwater: or to the Treasurer of the Fund. Mr. M. Barnett. Midland
Saturday 3 July 1943
The Mayor of Bridgwater has received the following letter from the Commanding Officer of HMS Wolfhound: ‘I have recently been appointed to command HMS Wolfhound and
I am taking this opportunity of introducing myself and my ship to you
and the people of Bridgwater who have adopted us. Although we are
veterans of 1917, we have in the war a record of achievement at Dunkirk
and Calais of which we have some reason to be proud, and we hope that
by the end of this war we shall have added to it. ‘We especially
wish to thank those who have subscribed towards the presentation of a
library to the ship. I hope it will be soon possible for myself
and some of the crew to pay a call on your and your town so that we can
thank you in person for your generosity and the interest you have taken
"The perilous experiences of their adopted warship HMS Wolfhound"
The Taunton Courier, Saturday 3 July 1943
The people of Bridgwater and district were thrilled during the weekend to
hear and read of the perilous experiences of their adopted warship HMS Wolfhound.
The official story describes a twenty-four-hour struggle to get half
the destroyer back to harbour and how she continued with her back
broken and bows sunk to fight off enemy aircraft. The Wolfhound
a 25-year-old veteran of the V & W Class is now back at sea with a
new bow. The ship played a gallant part in the evacuation from
The Tauton Courier only reported the bombing of HMS Wolfhoundafter she was recommissioned Did the ships officers and crew visit Bridgwater while she was under repair? And is the ship's crest on public display in the town today?
you have stories or photographs of HMS Wolfhound you would like to
contribute to the web site please contact Bill Forster
to the Home Page for HMS Wolfhound Return to the Home Page of the V & W Destroyer Association Return to the Index Page for the 69
V & W Class Destroyers
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