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HMCS Grandmère

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History
Canada
NameGrandmère
BuilderCanadian Vickers, Montreal
Laid down2 June 1941
Launched21 August 1941
Commissioned11 December 1941
Decommissioned23 October 1945
IdentificationPennant number: J262
Honours and
awards
Gulf of St. Lawrence 1942,[1] Atlantic 1943, 1945
FateSold commercial service 1947
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 Grandmère (pennant J258) was a Bangor-class minesweeper constructed for the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War. Entering service in 1941, the minesweeper took part in the Battle of the Atlantic and the Battle of the St. Lawrence before being taken out of service in 1945. The ship was sold for mercantile service following the war, first as the yacht Elda and then the cargo ship Jacks Bay. The ship was sold for scrap in 1968.

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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.

Minesweeper

Minesweeper

A minesweeper is a small warship designed to remove or detonate naval mines. Using various mechanisms intended to counter the threat posed by naval mines, minesweepers keep waterways clear for safe shipping.

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.

Battle of the St. Lawrence

Battle of the St. Lawrence

The Battle of the St. Lawrence involved marine and anti-submarine actions throughout the lower St. Lawrence River and the entire Gulf of Saint Lawrence, Strait of Belle Isle, Anticosti Island and Cabot Strait from May–October 1942, September 1943, and again in October–November 1944. During this time, German U-boats sank over 20 merchant ships and four Canadian warships. There were several near-shore actions involving the drop of German spies, or the attempted pickup of escaping prisoners of war. Despite the 23 ships lost, this battle marked a strategic victory for Canadian forces as ultimately they managed to disrupt U-boat activity, protect Canadian and Allied convoys, and intercept all attempted shore operations. This marked the first time that a foreign power had inflicted casualties in Canadian inland waters since the US incursions in the War of 1812.

Yacht

Yacht

A yacht is a sailing or power vessel used for pleasure, cruising, or racing. There is no standard definition, though the term generally applies to vessels with a cabin intended for overnight use. To be termed a yacht, as opposed to a boat, such a pleasure vessel is likely to be at least 33 feet (10 m) in length and may have been judged to have good aesthetic qualities.

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] Grandmère was of the latter design and was larger than her diesel-engined cousins. Grandmère 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] The minesweeper had a displacement of 672 long tons (683 t). She had a complement of 6 officers and 77 enlisted.[4]

Grandmère 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]

The minesweeper was armed with a single quick-firing (QF) 3-inch (76 mm) 20 cwt gun mounted forward.[2][4][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.[5] Those ships assigned to convoy duty were armed with two depth charge launchers and four chutes to deploy their 40 depth charges.[2][5] Grandmère was equipped with SA and LL minesweeping gear for the detection of acoustic and magnetic naval mines.[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.

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.

Naval mine

Naval mine

A naval mine is a self-contained explosive device placed in water to damage or destroy surface ships or submarines. Unlike depth charges, mines are deposited and left to wait until they are triggered by the approach of, or contact with, any vessel or a particular vessel type, akin to anti-infantry vs. anti-vehicle mines. Naval mines can be used offensively, to hamper enemy shipping movements or lock vessels into a harbour; or defensively, to protect friendly vessels and create "safe" zones. Mines allow the minelaying force commander to concentrate warships or defensive assets in mine-free areas giving the adversary three choices: undertake an expensive and time-consuming minesweeping effort, accept the casualties of challenging the minefield, or use the unmined waters where the greatest concentration of enemy firepower will be encountered.

Operational history

War service

The minesweeper was ordered as part of the 1940–41 building programme. The ship's keel was laid down on 2 June 1941 by Canadian Vickers at their shipyard in Montreal, Quebec. Named for a town in Quebec, Grandmère was launched on 21 August 1941. The minesweeper was commissioned into the Royal Canadian Navy on 11 December 1941.[6]

While making her way to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Grandmère broke down in the Gulf of St. Lawrence on 21 December and was towed to Sydney, Nova Scotia by the corvette HMCS Kamsack. While undergoing repairs at Sydney following the breakdown, the ship suffered damage to the No. 2 boiler. To repair that damage required being towed to Pictou, Nova Scotia. The repairs were not completed until May 1942.[6]

Grandmère arrived at Halifax on 5 May 1942. The minesweeper was assigned to the Western Local Escort Force as a convoy escort followed by an assignment with Sydney Force, the local patrol and escort unit operating out of Sydney, Nova Scotia.[6] On 14 October 1942 while with Sydney Force, Grandmère was escorting the Newfoundland Railway ferry SS Caribou on its weekly passage in the Cabot Strait from North Sydney to Port-aux-Basques, Newfoundland. The two vessels were spotted by the German U-boat U-69 with the minesweeper 2,500 yards (2,300 m) off the starboard quarter of the ferry. The submarine fired one torpedo at the ferry which caused the boilers aboard Caribou to explode. The vessel sank in minutes.[6][7]

The minesweeper closed with the sinking ship and spotted the U-boat 350 yards (320 m) away. Grandmère attempted to ram U-69, but the submarine dived beneath the site of the sinking, expecting the minesweeper to not drop depth charges among the survivors. The minesweeper continued hunting the German submarine for two hours before returning to the site of the sinking and picking up survivors. 101 passengers and crew of the ferry were recovered.[6][7]

The minesweeper then transferred to Halifax Force as a convoy escort and the Halifax Local Defence Force as a patrol vessel. In July 1943, Grandmère underwent a refit at Louisburg, Nova Scotia that took seven weeks to complete. In September 1944, a second refit was performed in Sydney and completed in Halifax. The ship was paid off on 23 October 1945 at Sydney and placed in reserve at Shelburne, Nova Scotia.[6]

Postwar service

The vessel was sold to private interests in 1947 and converted to a yacht.[6][8] Renamed Elda and operated by Saguenay Terminals Ltd, the vessel was registered in Montreal.[6][9] In 1951 Elda was sold to Three Bays Corp Ltd and converted to a 664 GRT cargo ship and renamed Jacks Bay. The ship was registered in Nassau, Bahamas. Ownership was transferred to Victorene Nav Co Ltd in 1959 and again in 1960 to Caribbean-Hamburg Ltd. In 1961 the cargo ship was sold to Proton Corp and renamed Proton. The registry was changed from Nassau to Panama. In 1968 the Jacks Bay was sold to Pinto Island Metal Co and broken up in Mobile, Alabama.[9]

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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.

Canadian Vickers

Canadian Vickers

Canadian Vickers Limited was an aircraft and shipbuilding company that operated in Canada during the early part of the 20th century until 1944. A subsidiary of Vickers Limited, it built its own aircraft designs as well as others under licence. Canadair absorbed the Canadian Vickers aircraft operations in November 1944.

Montreal

Montreal

Montreal is the second-most populous city in Canada and most populous city in the Canadian province of Quebec. Founded in 1642 as Ville-Marie, or "City of Mary", it is named after Mount Royal, the triple-peaked hill around which the early city of Ville-Marie is built. The city is centred on the Island of Montreal, which obtained its name from the same origin as the city, and a few much smaller peripheral islands, the largest of which is Île Bizard. The city is 196 km (122 mi) east of the national capital Ottawa, and 258 km (160 mi) southwest of the provincial capital, Quebec City.

Grand-Mère, Quebec

Grand-Mère, Quebec

Grand-Mère is a settlement and former municipality in central Quebec, Canada on the Saint-Maurice River. As a result of the municipal reorganization in Quebec which took effect at the beginning of 2002, Grand-Mère now forms part of the City of Shawinigan. Population in 2001 was 13,179.

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.

Gulf of St. Lawrence

Gulf of St. Lawrence

The Gulf of St. Lawrence is the outlet of the North American Great Lakes via the St. Lawrence River into the Atlantic Ocean. The gulf is a semi-enclosed sea, covering an area of about 226,000 square kilometres (87,000 sq mi) and containing about 34,500 cubic kilometres (8,300 cu mi) of water, at an average depth of 152 metres (500 ft).

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.

HMCS Kamsack

HMCS Kamsack

HMCS Kamsack was a Flower-class corvette that served with the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War. She served primarily in the Battle of the Atlantic as an ocean escort. She was named for Kamsack, Saskatchewan.

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.

Ferry

Ferry

A ferry is a ship, watercraft or amphibious vehicle used to carry passengers, and sometimes vehicles and cargo, across a body of water. A passenger ferry with many stops, such as in Venice, Italy, is sometimes called a water bus or water taxi.

Cabot Strait

Cabot Strait

Cabot Strait is a strait in eastern Canada approximately 110 kilometres wide between Cape Ray, Newfoundland and Cape North, Cape Breton Island. It is the widest of the three outlets for the Gulf of Saint Lawrence into the Atlantic Ocean, the others being the Strait of Belle Isle and Strait of Canso. It is named for the italian explorer Giovanni Caboto.

Channel-Port aux Basques

Channel-Port aux Basques

Channel-Port aux Basques is a town at the extreme southwestern tip of Newfoundland fronting on the western end of the Cabot Strait. A Marine Atlantic ferry terminal is located in the town which is the primary entry point onto the island of Newfoundland and the western terminus of the Newfoundland and Labrador Route 1 in the province. The town was incorporated in 1945 and its population in the 2021 census was 3,547.

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

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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 c Macpherson and Barrie (2002), p. 180
  5. ^ a b c Macpherson (1997), p. 46
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Macpherson and Barrie (2002), p. 182
  7. ^ a b Douglas et al., No Higher Purpose, pp. 462–63
  8. ^ Colledge, p. 270
  9. ^ a b "Grandmere (5286099)". Miramar Ship Index. Retrieved 30 October 2016.

Sources

External links

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