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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

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Plaque marks Ulverston’s huge wartime efforts

THE proud history of wartime Ulverston has been revisited after a 70-year-old plaque was given pride of place.

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UNVEILING Lieutenant Matthew Lister of the Royal Navy unveiled a restored plaque commemorating Ulverston’s adoption of warship HMS Violet during Warship Week in 1942. He is pictured with Brenda Marr, the Mayor of Ulverston, right, and centre, Norma Violet Lishman who was named after the ship as she was born during Warship Week MILTON HAWORTH REF: 50044982B000

During a ceremony in the Ulverston Town Council chamber on Saturday, the newly restored gift, which was presented to the town by the Royal Navy in 1942, was unveiled to a gathering of councillors and guests.

The plaque commemorates Ulverston’s adoption of HMS Violet, a flower class corvette, after a phenomenal fundraising effort in February 1942.

It was unveiled by Lieutenant Matthew Lister of the Royal Navy, who is the son of town councillor Philip Lister.

Lt Lister explained that with The Second World War raging councils across the country were called upon to take part in Warship Week, which meant making huge savings to aid the Navy’s war effort.

The people of Ulverston were set a target of £55,000 but managed to smash that figure to raise more than £81,000.

Ulverston Urban District Council was subsequently given the honour of adopting HMS Violet as a reward for its efforts, and was presented with the plaque by the Lord’s Commissioners of the Admiralty.

Lt Lister said: “This equals around £3.2m in today’s money. Our town population was around 17,000, but with 3,000 full-time servicemen, that meant the figure was spread across 14,000 people.

“This meant on average £5, six shillings and a sixpence for every man, woman and child in town.

“This was a thousand pounds from a family of four in today’s money, raised in just a week.”

Ulverston mayor Brenda Marr, who introduced the ceremony, said: “The figures were quite staggering. It’s a wonderful memory for Ulverston and a special occasion. It’s amazing that we have come together to celebrate this 70 years later.”

One special guest at the gathering was 71-year-old Norma Violet Lishman, who was born during Warship Week and was named after HMS Violet.

The retired banker, from Sun Street, said: “I was given a War Savings Certificate at the time. It would have been hard raising the money, especially in war time.”

The plaque had been stored in the Sir John Barrow Cottage by Heritage First some time ago, but was rediscovered by keen historian Peter Schofield and restored by town councillors.

HMS Violet was built in Renfrew, Scotland, and during its extremely active service escorted 60 convoys and sunk two German U-Boats.

She was eventually sold in 1947 and was broken up in Bilbao, Spain, in 1970.

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