During World War Two, across the country, local authorities were asked to designate one week each year as a 'war savings week'. The previous post looked at the first two campaigns - 'Spitfire Week' (1940) and 'War Weapons Week' (1941). The next focus, in 1942, was on supporting the Royal Navy through 'Warship Week'. In Fife, 'Warship Week' ran 18-25 April 1942. The county was specifically tasked with raising sufficient savings for a cruiser - H.M.S. Bellona - the construction of which had already begun.
The advert above from the Dundee Evening Telegraph (21 April 1942) details some of the ways that this could be supported. In addition to investment in bonds and certificates, communities came together to put on programmes of fund-raising events. Towards the end of February 1942, Largo Community Council formed a Warships Committee to plan a programme of events similar to the previous years' national savings efforts. Below is a notice of a meeting of the Committee, plus details of the Warship Week Programme for Largo and Newburn, which appeared in the 15 April Leven Mail.
The Parade of Services on the Monday began at the east end of Upper Largo, proceeded down Donaldson's Wynd (now Durham Wynd) to Lower Largo and then to Lundin Links Common, where the salute was taken by Commander Moore of the Royal Navy. Wednesday evening's event at La Scala was crowded and Mr Clayton the cinema owner gave permission to interrupt the programme with a speech on the need for warships by Flight Lieutenant W. Lindsay Burns, convener of Largo's Warship Committee, which created a "deep impression". Another inspiring speech was given at the concert in the Montrave Hall the following evening, this time by Brig. General J.D. Crosbie.
The 'cinema van' did a tour of the Parish, with showings at the Common, Lundin Links, the Orry, Lower Largo and the Green Upper Largo, as well as Woodside and New Gilston. This showed "propaganda films accompanied by descriptive commentaries on their loud speaker" (Leven Mail 29 April 1942). Other activities included a poster competition for children, a slogan competition (I wonder what that involved?) and enthusiastic door to door collecting.
All of this resulted in Largo doubling their original target, with around £30,000 being raised. Fife as a whole also exceeded its target of £2,500,000 by raising almost £3 million. Construction of the HMS Bellona (pictured below) had begun in Govan in November 1939 but it didn't launch until September 1942 and didn't enter service until early 1944. Named after the Roman goddess of war, her motto was 'Battle is our Business'. Notably, she supported the D-Day landings. The ship was eventually broken up in 1959.
Largo's contribution to the Bellona was recognised with a certificate. As the Leven Mail piece from 10 November 1943 below details, after being displayed in the various local Post Offices, the certificate was to be hung in the Simpson Institute, Upper Largo. Can anyone confirm that this was the case? Does this still exist?