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HMCS Fort William (J311)

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History
Canada
NameFort William
NamesakeFort William, Ontario
BuilderPort Arthur Shipbuilding Co, Port Arthur
Laid down18 August 1941
Launched30 December 1941
Commissioned25 August 1942
Decommissioned23 October 1945
IdentificationPennant number: J311
Honours and
awards
Gulf of St. Lawrence 1942,[1] Atlantic 1943, Normandy 1944
FateTransferred to Turkish Navy 1957
Turkey
NameBodrum
Acquired29 November 1957
FateDiscarded 1971
General characteristics
Class and type Bangor-class minesweeper
Displacement672 long tons (683 t)
Length180 ft (54.9 m) oa
Beam28 ft 6 in (8.7 m)
Draught9 ft 9 in (3.0 m)
Propulsion2 Admiralty 3-drum water tube boilers, 2 shafts, vertical triple-expansion reciprocating engines, 2,400 ihp (1,790 kW)
Speed16.5 knots (31 km/h)
Complement83
Armament

HMCS Fort William (pennant J311) was a Bangor-class minesweeper that served with the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War. Entering service in 1942, the minesweeper participated in the Battle of the Atlantic as a convoy escort and in the invasion of Normandy. Following the war, the ship was laid up, but was reacquired during the Korean War. Fort William never re-entered service with the Royal Canadian Navy and in 1957, was sold to Turkey. Renamed Bodrum by the Turkish Navy, the ship was discarded in 1971.

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Pennant number

Pennant number

In the Royal Navy and other navies of Europe and the Commonwealth of Nations, ships are identified by pennant number. Historically, naval ships flew a flag that identified a flotilla or type of vessel. For example, the Royal Navy used a red burgee for torpedo boats and a pennant with an H for torpedo boat destroyers. Adding a number to the type-identifying flag uniquely identified each ship.

Bangor-class minesweeper

Bangor-class minesweeper

The Bangor-class minesweepers were a class of warships operated by the Royal Navy (RN), Royal Canadian Navy (RCN), Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN), and Royal Indian Navy (RIN) during the Second World 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.

Convoy

Convoy

A convoy is a group of vehicles, typically motor vehicles or ships, traveling together for mutual support and protection. Often, a convoy is organized with armed defensive support and can help maintain cohesion within a unit. It may also be used in a non-military sense, for example when driving through remote areas.

Korean War

Korean War

The Korean War was fought between North Korea and South Korea from 1950 to 1953. The war began on 25 June 1950 when North Korea invaded South Korea following clashes along the border and rebellions in South Korea. North Korea was supported by China and the Soviet Union while South Korea was supported by the United States and allied countries. The fighting ended with an armistice on 27 July 1953.

Design and description

A British design, the Bangor-class minesweepers were smaller than the preceding Halcyon-class minesweepers in British service, but larger than the Fundy class in Canadian service.[2][3] They came in two versions powered by different engines; those with a diesel engines and those with vertical triple-expansion steam engines.[2] Fort William was of the latter design and was larger than her diesel-engined cousins. The minesweeper was 180 feet (54.9 m) long overall, had a beam of 28 feet 6 inches (8.7 m) and a draught of 9 feet 9 inches (3.0 m).[2][4] Fort William had a displacement of 672 long tons (683 t). She had a complement of 6 officers and 77 enlisted.[4]

Fort William had two vertical triple-expansion steam engines, each driving one shaft, using steam provided by two Admiralty three-drum boilers. The engines produced a total of 2,400 indicated horsepower (1,800 kW) and gave a maximum speed of 16.5 knots (30.6 km/h; 19.0 mph). The minesweeper could carry a maximum of 150 long tons (152 t) of fuel oil.[2]

Fort William was armed with a single quick-firing (QF) 12-pounder (3 in (76 mm)) 12 cwt HA gun mounted forward.[2][5][a] The ship was also fitted with a QF 2-pounder Mark VIII aft and were eventually fitted with single-mounted QF 20 mm Oerlikon guns on the bridge wings.[6] The 2-pounder gun was later replaced with a twin 20 mm Oerlikon mount.[5] Those ships assigned to convoy duty had two depth charge launchers and four chutes to deploy the 40 depth charges they carried.[2][5]

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Halcyon-class minesweeper

Halcyon-class minesweeper

The Halcyon class was a class of 21 oil-fired minesweepers built for the British Royal Navy between 1933 and 1939. They were given traditional small ship names used historically by the Royal Navy and served during World War II.

Fundy-class minesweeper

Fundy-class minesweeper

The Fundy-class minesweepers were a class of four minesweepers operated by the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War. All four ships entered service in 1938 and the class were discarded in 1945, sold for mercantile service. Three ended up sold to Chinese interests, while one remained active in Canada until 1987.

Diesel engine

Diesel engine

The diesel engine, named after Rudolf Diesel, is an internal combustion engine in which ignition of the fuel is caused by the elevated temperature of the air in the cylinder due to mechanical compression; thus, the diesel engine is called a compression-ignition engine. This contrasts with engines using spark plug-ignition of the air-fuel mixture, such as a petrol engine or a gas engine.

Length overall

Length overall

Length overall is the maximum length of a vessel's hull measured parallel to the waterline. This length is important while docking the ship. It is the most commonly used way of expressing the size of a ship, and is also used for calculating the cost of a marina berth.

Beam (nautical)

Beam (nautical)

The beam of a ship is its width at its widest point. The maximum beam (BMAX) is the distance between planes passing through the outer extremities of the ship, beam of the hull (BH) only includes permanently fixed parts of the hull, and beam at waterline (BWL) is the maximum width where the hull intersects the surface of the water.

Draft (hull)

Draft (hull)

The draft or draught of a ship's hull is the vertical distance between the waterline and the bottom of the hull (keel). The draught of the vessel is the maximum depth of any part of the vessel, including appendages such as rudders, propellers and drop keels if deployed. Draft determines the minimum depth of water a ship or boat can safely navigate. The related term air draft is the maximum height of any part of the vessel above the water.

Displacement (ship)

Displacement (ship)

The displacement or displacement tonnage of a ship is its weight. As the term indicates, it is measured indirectly, using Archimedes' principle, by first calculating the volume of water displaced by the ship, then converting that value into weight. Traditionally, various measurement rules have been in use, giving various measures in long tons. Today, tonnes are more commonly used.

Knot (unit)

Knot (unit)

The knot is a unit of speed equal to one nautical mile per hour, exactly 1.852 km/h. The ISO standard symbol for the knot is kn. The same symbol is preferred by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), while kt is also common, especially in aviation, where it is the form recommended by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The knot is a non-SI unit. The knot is used in meteorology, and in maritime and air navigation. A vessel travelling at 1 knot along a meridian travels approximately one minute of geographic latitude in one hour.

Fuel oil

Fuel oil

Fuel oil is any of various fractions obtained from the distillation of petroleum. Such oils include distillates and residues. Fuel oils include heavy fuel oil, marine fuel oil (MFO), bunker fuel, furnace oil (FO), gas oil (gasoil), heating oils, diesel fuel and others.

Oerlikon 20 mm cannon

Oerlikon 20 mm cannon

The Oerlikon 20 mm cannon is a series of autocannons, based on an original German Becker Type M2 20 mm cannon design that appeared very early in World War I. It was widely produced by Oerlikon Contraves and others, with various models employed by both Allied and Axis forces during World War II. Many versions of the cannon are still used today.

Bridge (nautical)

Bridge (nautical)

The bridge, also known as the pilothouse or wheelhouse, is a room or platform of a ship from which the ship can be commanded. When a ship is under way, the bridge is manned by an officer of the watch aided usually by an able seaman acting as a lookout. During critical maneuvers the captain will be on the bridge, often supported by an officer of the watch, an able seaman on the wheel and sometimes a pilot, if required.

Depth charge

Depth charge

A depth charge is an anti-submarine warfare (ASW) weapon. It is intended to destroy a submarine by being dropped into the water nearby and detonating, subjecting the target to a powerful and destructive hydraulic shock. Most depth charges use high explosive charges and a fuze set to detonate the charge, typically at a specific depth. Depth charges can be dropped by ships, patrol aircraft, and helicopters.

Operational history

The minesweeper was ordered as part of the 1941–1942 construction programme.[5] The ship's keel was laid down on 18 August 1941 by Port Arthur Shipbuilding Co at their yard in Port Arthur, Ontario. Named for a community in Ontario, Fort William was launched on 30 December 1941. The ship was commissioned on 25 August 1942 at Port Arthur.[7]

The ship arrived at Halifax, Nova Scotia on 24 September 1942 and underwent further dockyard work after a number of defects were found in Fort William's construction. The repairs took until October to complete, when the minesweeper began her work ups. In November, Fort William was assigned to Halifax Force as a local convoy escort and patrol vessel. On 11 January 1943 the minesweeper collided with Lisgar in Halifax Harbour, suffering significant damage. Fort William underwent repairs at Halifax that took a month to complete.[7]

In June 1943, the minesweeper transferred to Newfoundland Force, the local escort and patrol unit based at St. John's, Newfoundland. Fort William remained with that group until February 1944, when the minesweeper returned to Halifax to undergo a refit. Following the completion of the refit, the ship then sailed to Europe as part of Canada's contribution to the invasion of Normandy.[7]

Upon arrival in March, Fort William was assigned to the 31st Minesweeping Flotilla. During the invasion, Fort William and her fellow minesweepers swept and marked channels through the German minefields leading into the invasion beaches in the American sector.[8] The 31st Minesweeping Flotilla swept channel 3 on 6 June.[9] While operating off Port-en-Bessin, Fort William and sister ship Caraquet fouled their sweeps on a wreck. While recovering their sweeps they came under fire from a shore battery near Saint-Laurent. The shore battery was silenced by naval gunfire from the battleship USS Arkansas.[10] The Canadian Bangors spent most of June sweeping Channel 14, the widened area that combined assault channels 1 to 4.[11]

The minesweepers spent the following months clearing the shipping lanes between the United Kingdom and mainland Europe. Towards the end of 1944, the minesweepers were also being used as a cross channel convoy escorts.[12] In March 1945, Fort William returned to Canada to undergo another refit. The vessel rejoined the 31st Minesweeping Flotilla and remained in European waters until 21 September 1945.[7]

After returning to Canada, the minesweeper was paid off at Sydney, Nova Scotia on 23 October 1945. Fort William was placed in strategic reserve at Sorel, Quebec in 1946. In June 1951 the minesweeper was reacquired by the Royal Canadian Navy during the Korean War and modernized.[7] The vessel was taken to Sydney, Nova Scotia and given the new hull number FSE 195 and re-designated a coastal escort.[7][13] However, the ship never recommissioned and remained in reserve at Sydney until 29 November 1957 when Fort William was formally transferred to the Turkish Navy.[7][14] Renamed Bodrum by the Turkish Navy, the vessel remained in service until 1971 when it was discarded.[7] The vessel was broken up in Turkey in 1971.[15]

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Keel

Keel

The keel is the bottom-most longitudinal structural element on a vessel. On some sailboats, it may have a hydrodynamic and counterbalancing purpose, as well. As the laying down of the keel is the initial step in the construction of a ship, in British and American shipbuilding traditions the construction is dated from this event.

Port Arthur, Ontario

Port Arthur, Ontario

Port Arthur was a city in Northern Ontario, Canada, located on Lake Superior. In January 1970, it amalgamated with Fort William and the townships of Neebing and McIntyre to form the city of Thunder Bay.

Ontario

Ontario

Ontario is one of the thirteen provinces and territories of Canada. Located in Central Canada, it is Canada's most populous province, with 38.3 percent of the country's population, and is the second-largest province by total area. Ontario is Canada's fourth-largest jurisdiction in total area when the territories of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut are included. It is home to the nation's capital city, Ottawa, and the nation's most populous city, Toronto, which is Ontario's provincial capital.

Fort William, Ontario

Fort William, Ontario

Fort William was a city in Ontario, Canada, located on the Kaministiquia River, at its entrance to Lake Superior. It amalgamated with Port Arthur and the townships of Neebing and McIntyre to form the city of Thunder Bay in January 1970. Since then it has been the largest city in Northwestern Ontario. The city's Latin motto was A posse ad esse, featured on its coat of arms designed in 1900 by town officials, "On one side of the shield stands an Indian dressed in the paint and feathers of the early days; on the other side is a French voyageur; the cent[re] contains a grain elevator, a steamship and a locomotive, while the beaver surmounts the whole."

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Halifax is the capital and largest municipality of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia, and the largest municipality in Atlantic Canada. Halifax is one of Canada's fastest growing municipalities, and as of 2022, it is estimated that the CMA population of Halifax was 480,582,with 348,634 people in its urban area. The regional municipality consists of four former municipalities that were amalgamated in 1996: Halifax, Dartmouth, Bedford, and Halifax County.

Shakedown cruise

Shakedown cruise

Shakedown cruise is a nautical term in which the performance of a ship is tested. Generally, shakedown cruises are performed before a ship enters service or after major changes such as a crew change, repair or overhaul. The shakedown cruise simulates working conditions for the vessel, for various reasons. For most new ships, the major reasons are to familiarise a crew with a new vessel and to ensure all of the ship's systems are functional.

Halifax Harbour

Halifax Harbour

Halifax Harbour is a large natural harbour on the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia, Canada, located in the Halifax Regional Municipality. Halifax largely owes its existence to the harbour, being one of the largest and deepest ice-free natural harbours in the world. Before Confederation it was one of the most important commercial ports on the Atlantic seaboard. In 1917, it was the site of the world's largest man-made accidental explosion, when the SS Mont-Blanc blew up in the Halifax Explosion of December 6.

Port-en-Bessin-Huppain

Port-en-Bessin-Huppain

Port-en-Bessin-Huppain is a commune in the Calvados department in the Normandy region in northwestern France.

HMCS Caraquet

HMCS Caraquet

HMCS Caraquet was a Bangor-class minesweeper initially constructed for the Royal Navy during the Second World War. Transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy in 1942, the vessel served on both coasts of Canada and took part in the Battle of the Atlantic as a convoy escort and the invasion of Normandy. Following the war, the minesweeper was returned to the United Kingdom who then sold the ship to the Portuguese Navy in 1946. Renamed Almirante Lacerda, the vessel was used as a survey ship until 1975 when it was discarded.

Coastal artillery

Coastal artillery

Coastal artillery is the branch of the armed forces concerned with operating anti-ship artillery or fixed gun batteries in coastal fortifications.

Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer

Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer

Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer is a commune in the Calvados department in the Normandy region in northwestern France. The town is located not far from Omaha Beach, where, in World War II, Allied forces landed during D-Day.

Battleship

Battleship

A battleship is a large armored warship with a main battery consisting of large caliber guns. It dominated naval warfare in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Source: "HMCS Fort William (J311)", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2023, January 25th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMCS_Fort_William_(J311).

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References

Notes

  1. ^ "Cwt" is the abbreviation for hundredweight, 20 cwt referring to the weight of the gun.

Citations

  1. ^ "Royal Canadian Warships that Participated in the Battle of the Gulf of St. Lawrence". Veterans Affairs Canada. Retrieved 13 October 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Chesneau, p. 64
  3. ^ Macpherson and Barrie (2002), p. 167
  4. ^ a b Macpherson and Barrie (2002), p. 180
  5. ^ a b c d Macpherson (1997), p. 70
  6. ^ Macpherson (1997), p. 58
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h Macpherson and Barrie (2002), p. 190
  8. ^ Schull, pp. 233–34
  9. ^ Schull, pp. 270–73
  10. ^ Douglas et al., A Blue Water Navy, p. 255
  11. ^ Douglas et al., A Blue Water Navy, pp. 290–291
  12. ^ Douglas et al., A Blue Water Navy, p. 334
  13. ^ Blackman, p. 99
  14. ^ Colledge, p. 244
  15. ^ "Fort William (6113059)". Miramar Ship Index. Retrieved 11 November 2016.

Sources

  • Blackman, Raymond V.B., ed. (1953). Jane's Fighting Ships 1953–54. London: Sampson Low, Marston & Co. Ltd. OCLC 913556389.
  • Chesneau, Roger, ed. (1980). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922–1946. Greenwich, UK: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-146-7.
  • 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.
  • Douglas, W.A.B.; Sarty, Roger; Whitby, Michael (2007). A Blue Water Navy: The Official Operational History of the Royal Canadian Navy in the Second World War, 1943–1945 Volume II, Part II. St. Catharines, Ontario: Vanwell Publishing. ISBN 978-1-55125-069-4.
  • Macpherson, Ken (1997). Minesweepers of the Royal Canadian Navy 1938–1945. St. Catharines, Ontario: Vanwell Publishing Limited. ISBN 0-920277-55-1.
  • Macpherson, Ken; Barrie, Ron (2002). The Ships of Canada's Naval Forces 1910–2002 (Third ed.). St. Catharines, Ontario: Vanwell Publishing. ISBN 1-55125-072-1.
  • Schull, Joseph (1961). The Far Distant Ships: An Official Account of Canadian Naval Operations in the Second World War. Ottawa: Queen's Printer. OCLC 19974782.
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