The Scarborough Maritime Heritage Centre was donated some World War II mementos of a Royal Navy destroyer that Scalby District and the Borough of Scarborough “adopted” at the beginning of 1942.
The shield, along with a photograph of the destroyer, was presented by the Admiralty to the people of Scalby, in recognition of their fundraising efforts during Warship Week early in 1942.
A few months after this, in June 1942, Hasty was sunk near the island of Crete in the Mediterranean. She was torpedoed by her own sister ship, H.M.S. Hotspur.
The background to the sinking is as follows. The H-Class destroyer was built on the River Clyde and launched in 1936. In May 1940 she was sent to the Mediterranean. Here she went into battle against the Italian and German navies. By the time of her sinking she had been awarded 11 Battle Honours. On 14thJune Hasty was torpedoed by a German E-Boat. Most of the ship’s bow structure was blown off and both boiler rooms started to flood. 13 seamen died. H.M.S. Hotspur rescued the remainder of the crew. Hotspur then fired a torpedo to scuttle Hasty, ensuring that she did not fall into enemy hands.
It might be assumed that the money raised in Warship Week would go to H.M.S. Hasty, or to fund warships in general. The government had other ideas. Warship Week, and other similar campaigns throughout the war, were organised to promote wartime National Savings. Individuals and local businesses lent money to the government by buying saving certificates to help finance the war effort. The investment would be recovered with interest after the war. Therefore, during Warship Week local people were told what to do with money secreted in stockings, teapots and under mattresses: “Take it out!” Many were keen to invest as there was not a great deal to spend money on in wartime.
If the Scarborough area raised £250,000 during Warship week, it would have the honour of “adopting” H.M.S. Hasty. In the event, nearly £400,000 was invested, nearly a third from local businesses and banks. It was considered a matter of pride to be more generous than other Yorkshire towns.
Warship Week gave ordinary people the feeling that they were able to “do something” for the war effort. It also provided some colour in people’s drab wartime lives. As contributions to National Savings were drummed up, Scarborough was given over to a jamboree of military parades and bands, and exhibitions of war- fighting equipment. A column of armoured vehicles and howitzers, for example, was driven through the town on the opening day, with a number of civic dignitaries transported in a tank. Throughout the week members of the public had the chance to test their skills on a miniature tank training range, firing at stationary and moving targets – it was 5 shots for 6 pennies. As the R.A.F. had a strong presence in the town, it was able to lay on an impressive programme of musical and sporting events. Citizens were given the opportunity of attaching replica national savings stamps to 500 pound bombs destined for Germany.