Rugby's Warship

HMS Keppel shield

HMS Keppel Shield

This shield was presented to the Borough of Rugby by the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to commemorate the adoption of the HMS Keppel by the Borough during Warship Week. Current Image

During the Second World War, cities, towns and villages organised Warship Weeks to raise money to meet the cost of providing a particular naval ship. The scheme was introduced by the National War Savings Committee.  Once enough money had been raised for the ship, the local community would adopt the ship.

HMS Keppel was an active destroyer. Its role was sinking German submarines and picking up survivors of vessels sunk by German submarines.

Rugby’s warship week took place in March 1942 and saw the target of £210,000 reached within the first few days by local businesses including large donations from British Thomson-Houston and Rugby Building Society. This was subsequently raised to £350,000. Fundraising activities took place throughout the week and a total of £471, 215 was finally raised for the ship. 

Lord Kindersley, President of the National Savings Committee wrote to The Mayor of Rugby after the event:

"I am writing to ask you to accept personally, and to convey to all others who contributed to the success of Rugby Warship Week, my warmest thanks and appreciation.  This fine effort, resulting in the adoption of HMS Keppel, will not only forge a closer link between the people of Rugby and the Royal Navy, but will also provide a lasting record of their patriotism."

You can see the plaque on display in our current exhibition ‘A History of Rugby in 50 objects’ at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum.