"ADOPT A SHIP" Programme for Schools in Britain

Bill Forster
29th December 2009, 15:00
Does anybody know about the adoption of ships by schools in Britain?

The SAINT GREGORY was adopted in 1955 by the boarding school I was (reluctantly) sent to by my parents.

The school was established for the education of children who had lost their father, usually in wartime, but I was sent there because my father was at sea in the Merchant Navy and I had a working Mother.

There is a longstanding "Adopt a ship" programme in American schools and I think an article in the Journal of Geography (October 1955) may have been read by our Geography teacher, Derek Mayo, and led to this adoption.

Does anybody know about the adoption of the SAINT GEGORY (formerly EMPIRE HEYWOOD) by RUSSELL SCHOOL in East Croydon? The activities which linked the school to the ship? And whether the children ever visited the ship?

Bill Forster

29th December 2009, 15:15
Author has just posted ....

29th December 2009, 15:22
Penzance had 'her own ship'.

Ron Stringer
29th December 2009, 16:35
Does anybody know about the adoption of ships by schools in Britain


You are probably referring to the British Ship Adoption Society. You can find the minutes of the Society from 1935 to 1975 in the National Archives at


29th December 2009, 17:04
Indeed Google comes up with 9,000 hits on the 'in quotes' phrase.

Bill Forster
29th December 2009, 23:06
Thanks for the details of BSAS which is I am sure the programme under which my old school was linked to SS SAINT GREGORY in 1955.

I have been mailed by Christopher Lee who served on this ship in the late fifties and posted a request for information about it for a new edition of his book about his time at sea, EIGHT BELLS AND TOP MASTS.

The BSAS programme to link schools to merchant ships is not to be confused with NATIONAL WARSHIPS WEEK in 1942 which was a government sponsored programme described as follows by Wikipedia:

“The aim was for cities to raise enough to adopt battleships and aircraft carriers, while towns and villages would focus on cruisers and destroyers. The number of warships adopted was over 1,200, and this number included the battleships, cruisers, destroyers and trawlers. The total amount raised for the war effort was £955,611,589.”

As an example, HMS VENOMOUS was adopted by Loughborough in 1942 and its Sea Cadet Unit is still named after this old V & W destroyer which was scrapped six years later in 1948.

My father served on HMS VENOMOUS in 1944-6 and I shall be publishing a book about it from construction in 1919 to scrapping which will be launched at the RN Museum, Portsmouth, in April next year.


29th December 2009, 23:15
my old school had adopted the MOOLTAN and sometime in 1952 a group of us went down to Tilbury to visit,very impressed we were ,tho i dont think that any of our lads got in to such posh companies,quite a few into bankline.

3rd January 2010, 20:47
[QUOTE=Bill Forster;389343]Does anybody know about the adoption of ships by schools in Britain?Bill Forster[/QUOTE}

My old school, Wykebeck Leeds, adopted MS Hartismere in the 1950s. We would write to members of the crew as they travelled the world. The highlight being the Captain at the time (his name escapes me as time has passed) visited the school and told such wonderful stories of around the world.