View Full Version : Funding a Submarine Destroyer in 1939

01-27-2007, 03:05 PM
Hard to nail this one down for copyrights. More than 25 people and the Estonian Archives http://www.eha.ee/ collectively.
I was the primary translator 4 years ago.

It was 31 MAY 33 in Estonia; a new collection campaign was starting with the original intent of financing the construction of a submarine for the Estonian Navy using collected donations. That same day, the Government of the Republic registered the Submarine Fleet Fund. With that, the nationwide collection was announced and 12 local committees established. At first the actions of the fund created great interest, but later this waned. In the spring of 34 a scandal broke in connection with the sale of two warships, which created a considerable stir and political tension rose. In any event, by the end of 1934, 52,700.00 kroons (at today’s ROE $4,391.00) had been collected; the largest donated sum ever collected in Estonia at that time. However, a submarine would have cost 4 million kroons to build and raising this kind of money from donations was a hopeless task. Furthermore, the State itself began building the necessary submarines.

In March 1935, in response to government inquiries, General Johan Laidoner, Commander of the Army advised the Submarine Fleet Fund to concentrate on a more realistic goal; to raise 300,000 kroons and build a fully armed submarine destroyer. The Fund agreed with the Commander and started to act by establishing a contest. With 20 local committees founded and several hundred helping committees, with thousands of active members, the first collection contest was announced on 20 March 1935 and ended on 1 April 1936 with established collection targets for each committee.

The campaign raised 200,000 kroons, which was ceremoniously handed over to the Head of State in two parts – 160,000 on 28 November 1935 and 40,000 on 29 September 1936. 200 thousand just happened to be the price of an unarmed submarine destroyer. Of course, it would have been possible to arm the ship using state finances, but then the proud title “Submarine Destroyer built with the people’s donations” would be lost.

On 1 September 1936 a new collection campaign was started to purchase the weaponry for the submarine destroyer. 27 domestic committees and one foreign-based were established. 402 sub committees with a total of 2,677 active members. Contribution boxes were prominently placed in financial institutions, shops and companies, so that every citizen could make a suitable contribution. In Tartu the so-called Golden Book was opened, in which everyone who paid one kroon could write his or her name in it.

In addition to chest badges, committees, sub committees and donation collectors were further rewarded in several ways: The name of the committee’s chairman of the management board was engraved on a silver plaque to be later hung in a place of honor aboard the ship; pictures of the submarine destroyer were also promised, and more tangible rewards such as sea cruises. By 5 June 1937, the second campaign had collected 120,000 kroons and the aim was accomplished.

On 28 October 1937, the Fund began a third campaign by collecting scrap metal. It was the first of the Fund’s campaigns aimed at young people, and its novel approach was successful. By April 1939 3,900 tons of scrap metal worth 120,000 kroons had been collected. Iron, steel and tin were sold directly abroad, while the cast iron and precious metal were utilized in local foundries.

The order for a submarine destroyer was placed with an English shipyard in January 1930 with delivery expected in early autumn the following year.

Regards, Stan

01-27-2007, 07:55 PM
he order for a submarine destroyer was placed with an English shipyard in January 1930 with delivery expected in early autumn the following year.

Actually, the order was placed in JAN 1939.

Regret the confusion, Stan