Jump to content
Free downloads from TNA ×
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Ships and Adopted Cities


Guest mruk

Recommended Posts

Dear All,

The case of the 'Ark Royal' in WWII is well documented, in which the folk of Leeds raised something approaching £5m for a replacement ship after the carrier was torpedoed and sunk in 1941. This was more than the £1.5m originally set during fund-raising activities of the Leeds Warship Week between late-January and early-February of the same year, and strong links between the city and present ship remain. The market town of Wetherby, on the outskirts of Leeds, also adopted HMS Selkirk [Minesweeper] around the same time, and I was wondering if this is a recent phenomenom, or does the custom of adopting a ship go much further? Can anyone help please? Preferably with a list of ships and adopted towns and cities.

Kind Regards,

Dave

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting that Wetherby adopted a minesweeper in WW2, as HMS Wetherby was an 'Improved Racecourse class' paddle minesweeper in WW1. I don't know whether there was any link between the town and the ship at that time - but would imagine that, if racing continued during the war, collections taken up at Wetherby meetings would have been generously supported. My grandfather was a regular Wetherby racegoer, but alas is no longer with us to be consulted.

Mick

Link to comment
Share on other sites

HMS Violet (Flower class corvette WW2) was adopted by Ulverstone in WW2. There is a display related to her in the local heritage centre.

My late father in law was her commanding officer for a large chunk of the war.

Nigel

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Mick,

I think it was more of the Ship's Company adopting Wetherby in WW11, as it is said that one of the crew contacted a nurse, and then the Wetherby people began to knit/send gloves and jumpers for the lads on patrol. I know from my brief time in the RN [80s] that a good few of the lads applied for drafts to ships bearing their home name or locality: Newcastle, Manchester, Sheffield. Alas, the Sheffield was hit in the Falklands with a substantial loss of life, along with the Antelope, Coventry, and Ardent. I was thinking though that the ties may have been around much longer, and maybe started as early as WW1.

Regards,

Dave

PS: The horse racing link was interesting, and, coincidently, I'd just finished reading a small piece in Asa Briggs's 'A Social History of England', and the divide between the two wars. The 'difference', according to Briggs, was 'striking...First, there were few trenches and fewer horses.' He then goes on to quote from the diary of someone involved in the Mass Observation [Movement]: 'Horses have ration books... I wonder when they'll issue them for cats.' "Hurricane Flyer" on the ration book, perhaps?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Nigel,

I'm sorry I missed your reply earlier. Give my regards to the 'Mighty Fine' pub in Pompey town centre-- if its still standing! It was like 'Gunfight at the OK Coral' on a weekend in the early 80s.

Regards,

Dave

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dave

I haven't yet seen any incidence of such adoptions in WW1. You may be interested in the website

http://www.penmaenmawr.com/war_week_fundrasing.htm

Don't add the missing "i"in fundrasing !!

This was for Warship Week 1942 and you could apparently sponsor a square yard of deck for 3 quid!

Best wishes

Sotonmate

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dave

I see that the underlining of the website has obscured some of the characters needed to connect:

war_week_fundrasing is how it is !

Sotonmate

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Sotonmate,

£17 quid for a pair of 'binos', you could buy five or so yards of deck, and a 100 bolts for that. This is great. A real community effort, not to mention event, complete with 'Al Ross and his Band', and what looks like a 'bring and buy' sale at the Clifton Cafe. I especially like the 40's version of 'Shop till you Drop'--'Buy Till It Hurts'. A great advertising slogan, with a little civic pride and rivalry thrown in as well. Do you know if the town achieved its target and managed to raise the funds for the M.T.B.?

Much Appreciated,

Dave

[PS: There's some interesting info here on the many organizations involved too]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
Guest clippers

Hi

Im new to this site but i followed the link from my website (Penmaenmawr) to here, sorry about the link spelling mistake,

As far as i know they raised a lot of money that week, im still trying to find out the total amount, so hopefully i should find out soon.

All the best

Emma

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest clippers

Turns out the towns tried to out do each other, Colwyn Bay and Conwy and Abergele and Penmaenmawr all bought ships, and had some cash left over,

Penmaenmawr bought a Moter Torpedo Boat (mtp) it is not known what happed to it, Colwyn bay, Conwy and Abergele ships all sank, Colwyn Bay held another War Week and bought a Spit Fire plane, many towns held a couple of warship weeks.

In the times of second world war the local historian said large companies from the cities came to north wales and set up admin centres and that there was lots of money being spent here and the guilt factor made them donate thousands of pounds and villages tried to out do each other,

Im still trying to get the final total of money raised, the local paper, (north wales weekly news) have published the total amounts, i need to go to the archives to see them.

Colwyn bay was known as the Goverment food admin offices, llandudno was known as the goverment Tax admin offices and Penmaenmawr was the insurances offices,

I hope that helps

Emma

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Emma,

This helps enormously, and thanks for looking further afield than the town of Penmaenmawr. I wonder if the MTB and the other craft were named after the town and villages. The use which each of the towns were put to is also interesting, and I have an older mate who's father met his mother in Llanelli during the war.

Kind Regards,

Dave

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest clippers

The Penmaenmawr one wasnt named after the town, only numbers, i dont know about any others.

I also know that north wales was a very large area of storage for major cites, i know an elderly lady who was in the land army and one of her major jobs was to check barns that was used for storage, she told me about a fancy dress war party that was held and all of the party guest wore the costumes from BBC wardrobe dept that was in safe keeping, plus she used to check many museum objects in safe keeping, they where dotted all over snowdonia range.

All the best

Emma

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest clippers

the only ones i have at the moment are

March past "wings for victory parade" photo taken 1944

Part of a unveiling booklet of a memorial plaque in 1946

Fundraising Bazaar photo of the town band out side of the drill hall 1902

Band of hope Parade in 1911

Dance Hall photo, 1940's (my uncle is fairly young in it )

None of the photos i have are of nautical theme, but the local historian may have or the historical soceity (which are doing a photo achive online project, early days, not online yet)

most of the photos i have are from the town band scrap book i have, (1873-1956)

Is that any help

Emma

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There was a long line of RN ships named after Coventry dating from 1658. With regards to WW1, HMS Coventry, a light cruiser, was launched in 1916 and converted to an anti-aircraft cruiser just before WW2. She was sunk in 1942. Her successor was sunk in the Falklands War and her replacement was sold to Roumania in 2004.

Terry Reeves

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Terry,

I'd forgotten about the successor to the ship which was sunk in the Falklands. I wonder what the Roumanians will make of her, and what they have renamed the 'Coventry'?

Thanks Emma,

I'm not sure if you are aware [apologies if you are], but there is an on-going project regarding drill halls on the thread of 'National Importance'. If it's not inconvenient, would you be kind enough to post it? I like the sound of the 'Band of Hope Parade' as well, and if I'm not mistaken, 'The Band of Hope' was formed here in Leeds in the 1870s by the abstinence and temperance campaigner, Rev. Jabez Tunnicliffe. I also seem to remember a place in Plymouth called 'Aggie Weston's' which was run on much the same philosophy and principles.

Best Wishes,

Dave

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Let's start at the beginning: 1) the UK had a maritime empire. The connection between towns/cities and ships goes back to the Cinque Ports and the 'Middle Ages.'

2) governments like to get money from people and at its most basic geographical affiliations helped raising money. The direct connection goes back at the very least to Charles I's Ship Tax, someone has probably done links for the ships of the Spanish Amarda, but the earliest geographically linked Royal Navy I've found, London, traces back to the Ship Tax and the City funded other ships of the name after that.

3) there was a naval arms race before WW1 so they needed every penny they could get.

Australia, Canada, New Zealand were all financed by those dominions. As for other WW1 connections, the first place I learned about Boy Cornwall VC was in Chester Cathedral before I was 5!

I think the link worked both ways, some towns/cities granted the freedom of the borough/city to people with prominant connections with their named ships and I heard stories of men going on leave to the place on their cap tally because it was worth a few pints!

Per Mare

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Per Mare,

It seems that the conection between ship and city is less recent than I initially thought. I also like the idea of a goodwill visit and the thought of a few pints afterwards, although I feel sorry those lads whose adopted town is their home port. Time for a draft swap I think.

Thanks for the explanation,

Dave

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's a drawback, but it might have still worked out well, with a few locals supporting 'our ship.' Even better was to be on the county ships, imagine the pub crawl possabilities of Devonshire, Hampshire & Kent! Home port and home county!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some of the London ships to illustrate

1. supplied in 1636 under the Ship Tax

4. Loyall London paid for by the City launched 1666, burnt in 1667 by the Dutch.

5. Not funded by the city, so Charles II dropped the loyal reference!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Per Mare,

You made reference to 'Navy rig' and 'cap tallies', and I know that navy attire has gone through some dramatic changes over the years, but when did the sailor become identifiable as such, and what was the reason behind the introduction of cap tallies? When I joined in the late 70s, for instance, the lanyard, silk and ribbon, were gradually been phased out, and the collar was velcro, with a zip-up No1 and 2 uniform. The creases had also gone. A couple of years later they re-introduced the lanyard and ribbon, for purely decorative or ceremonial reasons I'm guessing. Would the introduction of cap tallies have been the same, or does it have a more regulatory and disciplinary aspect to it, thus making the recalcitrant matelot known to the authorities?

Kind Regards,

Dave

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

hi

I have found some more information on the adopted ships, 5 small towns in aprox 20 mile circle managed to adopt :

Llandudno = 1941 adopted a Fleetminesweeper at the cost of £137,000

Colwyn Bay = 1940 adopted a Spitfire fighter named 'Borough of Colwyn Bay' cost unknown

1941 adopted a destroyer warship named ' HMS Jackal' (sadly sank May 1942) cost £210,000

1942 funds raised again to replace the ship, Cost £210,000

Abergele = 1941 adopted a Corvette warship named 'HMS Hollyoak' (sadly sank Aug 1942) Cost £55,000

1943 funds raised again to replace the ship, Cost £55,000

Conwy = 1941 adopted a Corvette Warship named 'HMS Erica' (1943 lost, details unknown) Cost £55,000

1943 funds raised again to replace the ship, Cost £55,000

Penmaenmawr = 1942 adopted Moter Torpedo Boat, Cost £70,000

1943 adopted a Catalan Flying Boat cost unknown

Llanrwst = 1943 adopted a ship named 'HMS Othello' cost unknown

The amount of money raised is staggering for such a small area, the community spirit must of been amazing,

i am told that small villages raised money too but i have not come across the information yet

Emma

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Emma,

The genorosity of community is truly amazing, that's almost £1m raised for the building and replacement of ships, and I know people say the sense of community has been lost, but I remain optimistic- funds are often raised in other ways.

Many Thanks,

Dave

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...