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HMCS Fergus

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HMCS Fergus
History
Canada
NameHMCS Fergus
NamesakeFergus, Ontario
OperatorRoyal Canadian Navy
Ordered2 January 1942
BuilderCollingwood Shipyards Ltd., Collingwood, Ontario
Laid down10 December 1943
Launched30 August 1944
Commissioned18 November 1944
Decommissioned14 July 1945
IdentificationPennant number: K686
Honours and
awards
Atlantic 1944-45[1]
FateSold for mercantile use, sunk 1949
General characteristics
Class and typeFlower-class corvette (modified)
Displacement1,015 long tons (1,031 t; 1,137 short tons)
Length208 ft (63.40 m)o/a
Beam33 ft (10.06 m)
Draught11 ft (3.35 m)
Propulsion
  • single shaft
  • 2 × oil fired water tube boilers
  • 1 triple-expansion reciprocating steam engine
  • 2,750 ihp (2,050 kW)
Speed16 knots (29.6 km/h)
Range7,400 nautical miles (13,705 km) at 10 knots (18.5 km/h)
Complement90
Sensors and
processing systems
  • 1 Type 271 SW2C radar
  • 1 Type 144 sonar
Armament

HMCS Fergus was a modified Flower-class corvette that served with the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War. She fought primarily in the Battle of the Atlantic as a convoy escort. She was named for Fergus, Ontario. She was originally named Fort Frances but was renamed before launching.[2] She was the last corvette launched by the Royal Canadian Navy.[3]

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Flower-class corvette

Flower-class corvette

The Flower-class corvette was a British class of 294 corvettes used during World War II by the Allied navies particularly as anti-submarine convoy escorts in the Battle of the Atlantic. Royal Navy ships of this class were named after flowers.

Corvette

Corvette

A corvette is a small warship. It is traditionally the smallest class of vessel considered to be a proper warship. The warship class above the corvette is that of the frigate, while the class below was historically that of the sloop-of-war.

Royal Canadian Navy

Royal Canadian Navy

The Royal Canadian Navy is the naval force of Canada. The RCN is one of three environmental commands within the Canadian Armed Forces. As of 2021, the RCN operates 12 frigates, four attack submarines, 12 coastal defence vessels, eight patrol class training vessels, two offshore patrol vessels, and several auxiliary vessels. The RCN consists of 8,570 Regular Force and 4,111 Primary Reserve sailors, supported by 3,800 civilians. Vice-Admiral Angus Topshee is the current commander of the Royal Canadian Navy and chief of the Naval Staff.

World War II

World War II

World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global conflict that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries, including all of the great powers, fought as part of two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. Many participants threw their economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind this total war, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. Aircraft played a major role, enabling the strategic bombing of population centres and the only two nuclear weapons ever used in war.

Battle of the Atlantic

Battle of the Atlantic

The Battle of the Atlantic, the longest continuous military campaign in World War II, ran from 1939 to the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945, covering a major part of the naval history of World War II. At its core was the Allied naval blockade of Germany, announced the day after the declaration of war, and Germany's subsequent counter-blockade. The campaign peaked from mid-1940 through to the end of 1943.

Fergus, Ontario

Fergus, Ontario

Fergus is the largest community in Centre Wellington, a township within Wellington County in Ontario, Canada. It lies on the Grand River about 18 km NNW of Guelph. The population of this community at the time of the 2016 Census was 20,767, but the community is growing as new homes are being built for sale.

Background

Flower-class corvettes like Fergus serving with the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War were different from earlier and more traditional sail-driven corvettes.[4][5][6] The "corvette" designation was created by the French as a class of small warships; the Royal Navy borrowed the term for a period but discontinued its use in 1877.[7] During the hurried preparations for war in the late 1930s, Winston Churchill reactivated the corvette class, needing a name for smaller ships used in an escort capacity, in this case based on a whaling ship design.[8] The generic name "flower" was used to designate the class of these ships, which – in the Royal Navy – were named after flowering plants.[9]

Corvettes commissioned by the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War were named after communities for the most part, to better represent the people who took part in building them. This idea was put forth by Admiral Percy W. Nelles. Sponsors were commonly associated with the community for which the ship was named. Royal Navy corvettes were designed as open sea escorts, while Canadian corvettes were developed for coastal auxiliary roles which was exemplified by their minesweeping gear. Eventually the Canadian corvettes would be modified to allow them to perform better on the open seas.[10]

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Flower-class corvette

Flower-class corvette

The Flower-class corvette was a British class of 294 corvettes used during World War II by the Allied navies particularly as anti-submarine convoy escorts in the Battle of the Atlantic. Royal Navy ships of this class were named after flowers.

Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill was a British statesman, soldier, and writer who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom twice, from 1940 to 1945 during the Second World War, and again from 1951 to 1955. Apart from two years between 1922 and 1924, he was a Member of Parliament (MP) from 1900 to 1964 and represented a total of five constituencies. Ideologically an economic liberal and imperialist, he was for most of his career a member of the Conservative Party, which he led from 1940 to 1955. He was a member of the Liberal Party from 1904 to 1924.

Percy W. Nelles

Percy W. Nelles

Admiral Percy Walker Nelles, was a flag officer in the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) and the Chief of the Naval Staff from 1 January 1934 to 15 January 1944. He oversaw the massive wartime expansion of the RCN and the transformation of Canada into a major player in the Battle of the Atlantic. During his tenure U-boats raided the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Canadian Northwest Atlantic command was created, and the RCN provided up to 40% of all escort forces in the North Atlantic. His handling of the RCN's war effort had its opponents however, and he was removed from his post as Chief of the Naval Staff in January 1944. He was sent to London as Overseas Naval Attaché, coordinating RCN operations for Operation Overlord. He retired in January 1945 as a full admiral.

Construction

Fergus was ordered 2 January 1942 as part of the 1942-43 modified Flower-class building programme. This programme was known as the Increased Endurance (IE). Many changes were made, all from lessons that had been learned in previous versions of the Flower-class. The bridge was made a full deck higher and built to naval standards instead of the more civilian-like bridges of previous versions. The platform for the 4-inch main gun was raised to minimize the amount of spray over it and to provide a better field of fire. It was also connected to the wheelhouse by a wide platform that was now the base for the Hedgehog anti-submarine mortar that this version was armed with. Along with the new Hedgehog, this version got the new QF 4-inch Mk XIX main gun, which was semi-automatic, used fixed ammunition and had the ability to elevate higher giving it an anti-aircraft ability.[10]

Other superficial changes to this version include an upright funnel and pressurized boiler rooms which eliminated the need for hooded ventilators around the base of the funnel. This changes the silhouette of the corvette and made it more difficult for submariners to tell which way the corvette was laying.[10]

She was laid down as Fort Francis before being renamed Fergus.[11] The keel was laid by Collingwood Shipyards Ltd. at Collingwood, Ontario on 10 December 1943 and was launched 30 August 1944. She was commissioned into the Royal Canadian Navy 18 November 1944 at Collingwood.[12] Due to her late arrival into the war Fergus never had a refit.

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Service history

After working up in Bermuda, Fergus joined the Mid-Ocean Escort Force (MOEF) as a trans-Atlantic convoy escort. She was assigned to MOEF escort group C-9 and remained with them until the end of the war. She returned to Canada in June 1945.[3]

Fergus was paid off at Sydney, Nova Scotia 14 July 1945 and was placed in reserve at Sorel, Quebec.[3] She was transferred to the War Assets Corporation later that year and sold for mercantile conversion. She reappeared as Camco II (1,076 GRT) in 1945. In 1948 she was sold to the Kent Steamship Company and renamed Harcourt Kent.[12][13] On 22 November 1949, while carrying a load of coal from Sydney, Nova Scotia to Bay Roberts, Newfoundland, Harcourt Kent wrecked 2.5 nautical miles (4.6 km; 2.9 mi) west of St. Shott's, Newfoundland and Labrador.[11] She went down in a storm but all eighteen of her crew were saved.[3][13]

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Bermuda

Bermuda

Bermuda is a British Overseas Territory in the North Atlantic Ocean. The Bermuda archipelago consists of 181 islands with a total land area of 54 km2 (21 sq mi). The closest land outside the territory is in the US state of North Carolina, approximately 1,035 km (643 mi) to the northwest.

Mid-Ocean Escort Force

Mid-Ocean Escort Force

Mid-Ocean Escort Force (MOEF) referred to the organisation of anti-submarine escorts for World War II trade convoys between Canada and Newfoundland, and the British Isles. The allocation of United States, British, and Canadian escorts to these convoys reflected preferences of the United States upon their declaration of war, and the organisation persisted through the winter of 1942–43 despite withdrawal of United States ships from the escort groups. By the summer of 1943, United States Atlantic escorts were focused on the faster CU convoys and the UG convoys between Chesapeake Bay and the Mediterranean Sea; and only British and Canadian escorts remained on the HX, SC and ON convoys.

Sydney, Nova Scotia

Sydney, Nova Scotia

Sydney is a former city and urban community on the east coast of Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, Canada within the Cape Breton Regional Municipality. Sydney was founded in 1785 by the British, was incorporated as a city in 1904, and dissolved on 1 August 1995, when it was amalgamated into the regional municipality.

Gross register tonnage

Gross register tonnage

Gross register tonnage or gross registered tonnage, is a ship's total internal volume expressed in "register tons", each of which is equal to 100 cubic feet (2.83 m3). Replaced by Gross Tonnage (GT), gross register tonnage uses the total permanently enclosed capacity of the vessel as its basis for volume. Typically this is used for dockage fees, canal transit fees, and similar purposes where it is appropriate to charge based on the size of the entire vessel. Internationally, GRT may be abbreviated as BRT for the German "Bruttoregistertonne".

Bay Roberts

Bay Roberts

Bay Roberts is located on the north shore of Conception Bay on the northeastern Avalon Peninsula in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. The growth of the local economy can be connected to the town's proximity to other major Newfoundland markets, by road and by water.

Source: "HMCS Fergus", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2023, January 25th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMCS_Fergus.

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Notes
  1. ^ "Battle Honours". Britain's Navy. Retrieved 8 September 2013.
  2. ^ Colledge, J. J.; Warlow, Ben (2006) [1969]. Ships of the Royal Navy: The Complete Record of all Fighting Ships of the Royal Navy (Rev. ed.). London: Chatham Publishing. ISBN 978-1-86176-281-8.
  3. ^ a b c d Macpherson, Ken; Burgess, John (1981). The ships of Canada's naval forces 1910-1981 : a complete pictorial history of Canadian warships. Toronto: Collins. p. 95. ISBN 0-00216-856-1.
  4. ^ Ossian, Robert. "Complete List of Sailing Vessels". The Pirate King. Retrieved 13 April 2011.
  5. ^ Fitzsimons, Bernard, ed. (1978). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of 20th Century Weapons & Warfare. Vol. 11. London: Phoebus. pp. 1137–1142.
  6. ^ Jane's Fighting Ships of World War II. New Jersey: Random House. 1996. p. 68. ISBN 0-517-67963-9.
  7. ^ Blake, Nicholas; Lawrence, Richard (2005). The Illustrated Companion to Nelson's Navy. Stackpole Books. pp. 39–63. ISBN 0-8117-3275-4.
  8. ^ Chesneau, Roger; Gardiner, Robert (June 1980). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922-1946. Naval Institute Press. p. 62. ISBN 0-87021-913-8.
  9. ^ Milner, Marc (1985). North Atlantic Run. Naval Institute Press. pp. 117–119, 142–145, 158, 175–176, 226, 235, 285–291. ISBN 0-87021-450-0.
  10. ^ a b c Macpherson, Ken; Milner, Marc (1993). Corvettes of the Royal Canadian Navy 1939-1945. St. Catharines: Vanwell Publishing. ISBN 1-55125-052-7.
  11. ^ a b "Fergus (6117861)". Miramar Ship Index. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  12. ^ a b "HMCS Fergus (K 686)". Uboat.net. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
  13. ^ a b "Canadian ship wrecked, 18 seaman saved". Lewiston Evening Journal. 23 November 1949. Retrieved 8 September 2013.
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