St Joseph’s Schoolkids “sink u-boats”

1944 havelock

1938 Havelock in port before war

In 1944, during a day trip to Glasgow to visit HMS Havelock, the School children of St Joseph’s Primary School ended up with an exciting and memorable task. Officially ‘adopting’ the warship HMS Havelock, the children had been following it’s history, war efforts and had been closely following the warships successes and failures, via local newspaper reports. However, being up close to the ship when it called into Glasgow, was too good an opportunity to miss and the excited children had a wonderful day out.

Each child was permitted to write a message on the Navy’s depth charges, which the Navy intended to drop on to German U Boats. Wildly excited by this prospect, some of the children wrote messages including “Love to Adolf”

HMS Havelock entered duty in 1938 on patrols  and properly entered the war in 1939 as defence to Atlantic convoys. The life of the ship was short lived and repairs took it’s toll, with the ship decommissioned in 1946 when the war ended. However, in wartime years, it caused some havoc for the Germans. Hitler’s henchman Goebells described the ship as “the black devil” as the wartime camoflage was so successful. During a 1944 Norwegian campaign, the Nazi’s reported back to Germany that they had sunk “the black devil”, but were enraged later to learn Havelock had survived, repaired and gone on to sink two more German u boats in the area. To think those Blantyre children’s messages were scribbled on those charges when that happened!

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