What was 'Warship Week'?

Warship week was a fund raising scheme to encourage civilians to save their money in Government accounts, such as War Bonds, Savings Bonds, Defence Bonds and Savings Certificates. Cash would be paid into Post Offices or Banks. In much the same way as War Weapons Week, it would coincide with a week of parades, exhibitions and other war paraphernalia.

In 1942 it was decided the national scheme would be themed around 'adopting' a warship.  A target of savings would be set that would equate to enough to pay for a warship.

For those parishes in the Mildenhall Rural District Council the warship was a trawler that was to be transformed into a minesweeper, H.M.S. Macbeth.


How much funds were raised?

The final total at the end of the week was £74,697 6s 9d.

The Secretary of the Admiralty sent a letter to the M.R.D.C. expressing pleasure at the result of the ‘Warship Week’ in the district. H.M.S Macbeth had been adopted and a commemorative plaque was to be sent to the district. 

The M.R.D.C. agreed to respond to the gesture by presenting a plaque to H.M.S. Macbeth. It cost £10 and was made of oak.

Scanned image from local newspaper

By their increasing attack the
men of the Navy are keeping the
life lines open. Back them up by
making your Warship Week a
smashing success. Come on, ship-
mates: the signal is SAVE. So
lash up spending, stow away

Go to a Post Office or your Bank
or 'Stockbroker' and invest your
money in 3% Savings Bonds. 1955-65,
2½% National War Bonds 1949-51,
3½% Defence Bonds, or Savings
Certificates : or deposit your savings
in the Post Office Savings Bank.
Buy Savings Stamps at 6d, and 2 6d
each from a Post Office, or your
Savings Group.


3% Savings Bonds

2½% National War Bonds

3% Defence Bonds

Saving Certificates

Post Office
Savings Banks


How did Brandon raise funds?

In February the Mildenhall Rural District Council decided to hold a ‘Warship Week’ for March 21st - 28th 1942.
The aim was to raise enough funds to ‘adopt’ a Minesweeper, H.M.S. Macbeth.  The projected figure was £62,000.

On Saturday 21st March ...

  • It was a football match - England vs Scotland; and played out on Crown Meadow, that started the Warship Week for Brandon.  England won the clash 2-0!

  • Four prizes of 15s National Savings Certificates were won by Mr Donald  Martin, Mr P. Terrington of Lakenheath, Mr B. Norton of Brandon but the final Certificate (number 54) was not claimed.

  • Toward the end of the afternoon the band of the Watts Naval Training School, with permission from Captain Lewis,  paraded through the streets.

On Sunday 22nd March ...

  • There was a parade of the fighting and civil defence services, with a further three bands in attendance, arranged by R.S.M Kentward.

  • Those taking part were National Fire Service - Brandon and Lakenheath (under Section Leader B.Olley), Special Constables (Section Leader A.J. Gascoyne), A.R.P. Casualty Service (Commandant Mrs H. Wentworth-Smith), the Parish A.R.P. Organiser Mr R.J. Woodrow, and Head Warden Mr Herbert Edwards, Home Guard (Captain W.B. Wood) and the West Suffolk Constabulary (Segt. J.A. Adams and P.C. Johnson).


Scanned image from local newspaper

  • The parade marched through the main streets and Field Marshal Lord Ironside, C.C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O., and took the salute on the Market Hill, where a service of Intercession was conducted by the Rev. R.L.Gardner.

  • Those present on the platform were General H.G.J. de Lotbiniere, Mr H. Lingwood (Chairman of the Parish Council), Mr F.W. Gentle, Major H. Wentworth-Smith and Mr T.A. Green (secretary of the Warship Week).

On Monday and Tuesday evenings ...

  • Well attended military variety concerts were held at the Paget Hall. 

On Wednesday evening ...

  • A dance was held with music being played by a military band.  Mr B.A.M. Lingwood was M.C.

On Thursday evening ...

  • A whist drive was held at the Paget Hall.


After welcoming Field Marshal Lord Ironside, General de Lotbiniere said the greatest compliment the people of the district could pay would be to raise sufficient money to buy and equip the trawler minesweeper.  There were two things which everyone could do to help the country in its time of need - to avoid waste of all kind and to lend as much money as possible to the country.

In his address, the Field Marshal made reference to the loss of the Malayan colonies, which he pointed out were very important colonies because of the rubber and tin which they supplied for the war effort.  "Why did Britain lose them?" he asked.  The answer he gave was a lack of sea power.  

H.M.S. Macbeth
H.M.S. Macbeth

It was therefore, up to Britain to bring that sea power back again so as to regain the lost colonies, and the people, to help in this respect, were asked to do their part by lending their money to the Government.  Some men were earning higher wages and had money to spare, and it was not a great sacrifice to give up the pleasure of buying something.

Lord Ironside went on to speak of several exploits of the Navy, the gallant action of the "Warspite" at Narvik was one, he said, of which they could be proud.  "Men like that are worthy of any ship or instrument that can be given them" he said.  Then there was the Fleet Air Arm's attack on the Italian Fleet which altered the whole strategy of the war in the Mediterranean, while in the Java recently, American, British, Dutch and Australian ships went down with flying colours.  He was sure everyone would realise that more ships were very necessary.

He also referred to the trawler minesweepers and the exceedingly good work they did was a job of which everyone could be proud.

Source - Bury Free Press, March/April 1942

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