Warship Week raises millions for the war effort

A splendid advertisement for just one of the local fundraising efforts that took place around Britain in early 1942. Doris A. Lloyd.

This image courtesy: BBC & Chippenham Museum & Heritage Centre.

There was a long tradition of Royal Navy warships being ‘adopted’ by local areas – formal or informal links would be established between a town and a particular ship. Often the ships company would visit the ‘adopted’ area and there might be a parade. The ship’s Arms or a plaque would be displayed in the town council. Sometimes there might be reciprocal visits to the ship by local dignitaries, see for example Canvey Island. At the beginning of 1942 a national campaign extended this idea by linking it to a fundraising efforts for War Bonds. Over 1200 cities, towns and villages took part. Many if not most exceeded their targets and an extraordinary £955,611,589 was raised in total.

Godfrey Dykes has summarised the information for just Yorkshire, illustrating the wide range of types of ship that were adopted during the fundraising process. Some towns had ships named after them – for example HMS Eastbourne.. The strength of the link established between ship and locality varied enormously but some associations have been maintained up to the present day and some towns will be celebrating the 70th anniversary of their adoption of a particular ship this year.

Members of the crew of the minesweeping trawler HMT HORNBEAM, former solicitors' clerks, commercial travellers, lorry drivers etc., have formed a dance band "The Sweepers Swingsters". When in harbour they play at naval dances, Warship Week functions etc. All the members of the band are amateurs. Here they are seen on board the HORNBEAM at Liverpool.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jason M. Pilalas July 7, 2015 at 11:09 pm

I have been a collector of Royal Navy ephemera for forty years and have a number of Warship Week plaques given to the cities, towns, hamlets and localities which raised sums large and small to underwrite the adoption of various vessels. Likewise the smaller metal plates which were placed on the warships, all from scrapped vessels. It appears the plaques have been sold or given up by the bodies which received them, and I have always wondered why. Was it anti-war sentiment, a lack of regard for history and past achievement, or something else? Please be assured they are now in a place where they are revered and thought about often, and the men who manned them are too.

Kathy Herron September 29, 2012 at 11:04 am

My dad is in this photo and I have the newspaper article which accompanied this photo at the time. K. Herron

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