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HMCS Hespeler

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Hmcs hespeler k489.jpg
As HMCS Hespeler during the Second World War
History
United Kingdom
NameGuildford Castle
NamesakeGuildford Castle
Ordered19 January 1943
BuilderHenry Robb Ltd, Leith
Laid down25 May 1943
Launched13 November 1943
IdentificationPennant number: K378
FateTransferred to the Royal Canadian Navy
Canada
NameHespeler
NamesakeHespeler, Ontario
Acquired1943
Commissioned28 February 1944
Decommissioned15 November 1945
IdentificationPennant number: K489
Honours and
awards
Atlantic 1944–45[1]
FateSold for mercantile service
Name
  • Chilcotin (1946)
  • Capri (1958)
  • Stella Maris (1960)
  • Westar (1965)
Port of registry
In service1946
Out of service28 January 1966
FateDestroyed by fire 1966
General characteristics (as built)
TypeCastle-class corvette
Displacement1,060 long tons (1,077 t)
Length252 ft (77 m)
Beam36 ft 8 in (11.18 m)
Draught13 ft 6 in (4.11 m)
Installed power
  • 2 × water-tube boilers
  • 2,750 ihp (2,050 kW)
Propulsion
  • 1 × 4-cylinder triple-expansion steam engine
  • Single screw
Speed16.5 knots (30.6 km/h; 19.0 mph)
Range6,200 nmi (11,500 km) at 15 kn (28 km/h; 17 mph)
Complement120
Sensors and
processing systems
  • Type 272 radar
  • Type 145 sonar
  • Type 147B sonar
Armament

HMCS Hespeler was a Castle-class corvette of the Royal Canadian Navy which served during the Second World War as a convoy escort that was originally ordered as HMS Guildford Castle for the British Royal Navy but before completion was transferred and renamed. Following the war, the ship was sold for mercantile use, renamed Chilcotin in 1946, Capri in 1958, Stella Maris in 1960, and Westar in 1965. The ship was destroyed by fire in 1966 while at Sarroch, Sardinia. The hulk was taken to La Spezia, Italy where Westar was broken up.

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Castle-class corvette

Castle-class corvette

The Castle-class corvette was an ocean going convoy escort developed by the United Kingdom during the Second World War. It was the follow-on to the Flower-class corvette, and designed to be built in shipyards that were producing the Flowers. The Castle-class was a general improvement over the smaller Flowers which were designed for coastal rather than open ocean use.

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.

United Kingdom

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western coast of the continental mainland. It comprises England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands within the British Isles. Northern Ireland shares a land border with the Republic of Ireland; otherwise, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the North Sea, the English Channel, the Celtic Sea and the Irish Sea. The total area of the United Kingdom is 242,495 square kilometres (93,628 sq mi), with an estimated 2020 population of more than 67 million people.

Royal Navy

Royal Navy

The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare force. Although warships were used by English and Scottish kings from the early medieval period, the first major maritime engagements were fought in the Hundred Years' War against France. The modern Royal Navy traces its origins to the early 16th century; the oldest of the UK's armed services, it is consequently known as the Senior Service.

Sarroch

Sarroch

Sarroch is a comune (municipality) in the Metropolitan City of Cagliari in the Italian region Sardinia, located about 20 kilometres (12 mi) southwest of Cagliari.

La Spezia

La Spezia

La Spezia is the capital city of the province of La Spezia and is located at the head of the Gulf of La Spezia in the southern part of the Liguria region of Italy.

Ship breaking

Ship breaking

Ship-breaking is a type of ship disposal involving the breaking up of ships for either a source of parts, which can be sold for re-use, or for the extraction of raw materials, chiefly scrap. Modern ships have a lifespan of 25 to 30 years before corrosion, metal fatigue and a lack of parts render them uneconomical to operate. Ship-breaking allows the materials from the ship, especially steel, to be recycled and made into new products. This lowers the demand for mined iron ore and reduces energy use in the steelmaking process. Fixtures and other equipment on board the vessels can also be reused. While ship-breaking is sustainable, there are concerns about the use by poorer countries without stringent environmental legislation. It is also labour-intensive, and considered one of the world's most dangerous industries.

Design and description

The Castle class were an improved corvette design over their predecessor Flower class. The Flower class was not considered acceptable for mid-Atlantic sailing and was only used on Atlantic convoy duty out of need. Though the Admiralty would have preferred Loch-class frigates, the inability of many small shipyards to construct the larger ships required them to come up with a smaller vessel. The increased length of the Castle class over their predecessors[2] and their improved hull form gave the Castles better speed and performance on patrol in the North Atlantic and an acceptable replacement for the Flowers.[3] This, coupled with improved anti-submarine armament in the form of the Squid mortar led to a much more capable anti-submarine warfare (ASW) vessel.[2] However, the design did have criticisms, mainly in the way it handled at low speeds and that the class's maximum speed was already slower than the speeds of the new U-boats they would be facing.[4]

A Castle-class corvette was 252 feet (77 m) long with a beam of 36 feet 8 inches (11.18 m) and a draught of 13 feet 6 inches (4.11 m) at deep load.[2][note 1] The ships displaced 1,060 long tons (1,077 t) standard[2] and 1,580 long tons (1,605 t) deep load.[4][note 2] The ships had a complement of 120.[2][note 3]

The ships were powered by two Admiralty three-drum boilers which created 2,750 indicated horsepower (2,050 kW). This powered one vertical triple expansion engine that drove one shaft, giving the ships a maximum speed of 16.5 knots (30.6 km/h; 19.0 mph).[2] The ships carried 480 tons of oil giving them a range of 6,200 nautical miles (11,500 km; 7,100 mi) at 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph).[4]

The corvettes were armed with one QF 4-inch Mk XIX gun mounted forward.[2][note 4] Anti-air armament varied from 4 to 10[2] Oerlikon 20 mm cannons.[5] For ASW purposes, the ships were equipped with one three-barreled Squid anti-submarine mortar with 81 projectiles. The ships also had two depth charge throwers and one depth charge rail on the stern that came with 15 depth charges.[4]

The ships were equipped with Type 145 and Type 147B ASDIC.[4] The Type 147B was tied to the Squid anti-submarine mortar and would automatically set the depth on the fuses of the projectiles until the moment of firing. A single Squid-launched attack had a success rate of 25%.[6] The class was also provided with HF/DF and Type 277 radar.[5]

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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.

Loch-class frigate

Loch-class frigate

The Loch class was a class of anti-submarine (A/S) frigate built for the Royal Navy and her Allies during World War II. They were an innovative design based on the experience of three years of fighting in the Battle of the Atlantic and attendant technological advances. Some shipyards had trouble building these larger ships, which led to widespread use of the Castle-class corvette, introduced around the same time.

Frigate

Frigate

A frigate is a type of warship. In different eras, the roles and capabilities of ships classified as frigates have varied somewhat.

Squid (weapon)

Squid (weapon)

Squid was a British World War II ship-mounted anti-submarine weapon. It consisted of a three-barrelled mortar which launched depth charges. It replaced the Hedgehog system, and was in turn replaced by the Limbo system.

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.

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.

Nautical mile

Nautical mile

A nautical mile is a unit of length used in air, marine, and space navigation, and for the definition of territorial waters. Historically, it was defined as the meridian arc length corresponding to one minute of latitude. Today the international nautical mile is defined as exactly 1,852 metres. The derived unit of speed is the knot, one nautical mile per hour.

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.

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.

High-frequency direction finding

High-frequency direction finding

High-frequency direction finding, usually known by its abbreviation HF/DF or nickname huff-duff, is a type of radio direction finder (RDF) introduced in World War II. High frequency (HF) refers to a radio band that can effectively communicate over long distances; for example, between U-boats and their land-based headquarters. HF/DF was primarily used to catch enemy radios while they transmitted, although it was also used to locate friendly aircraft as a navigation aid. The basic technique remains in use as one of the fundamental disciplines of signals intelligence, although typically incorporated into a larger suite of radio systems and radars instead of being a stand-alone system.

Type 277 radar

Type 277 radar

The Type 277 was a surface search and secondary aircraft early warning radar used by the Royal Navy and allies during World War II and the post-war era. It was a major update of the earlier Type 271 radar, offering much more power, better signal processing, new displays, and new antennas with greatly improved performance and much simpler mounting requirements. It allowed a radar with performance formerly found only on cruisers and battleships to be fitted even to the smallest corvettes. It began to replace the 271 in 1943 and was widespread by the end of the year.

Construction and career

Guildford Castle, named for Guildford Castle in Surrey, was ordered on 19 January 1943.[7] The ship was laid down on 25 May 1943 at Henry Robb Ltd in Leith and launched on 13 November 1943.[8] At some point during 1943, the ship was transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy.[9] The corvette was commissioned into the Royal Canadian Navy on 28 February 1944 as Hespeler with the pennant number K489.[8] The ship was named for Hespeler, Ontario, a community in southern Ontario.

Following her commissioning, Hespeler worked up at Tobermory. The ship was then assigned to the Mid-Ocean Escort Force as a member of the convoy escort group C-5. From April 1944 until the end of the war, Hespeler performed convoy escort duties, taking part in the largest convoy of the war, HX 300.[8]

On 9 September 1944, while on patrol south of the Hebrides, Hespeler, in conjunction with the River-class frigate Dunver attacked and sank the German submarine U-484.[8] Spotted by a Short Sunderland from 423 Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force which attacked the submarine using depth charges, the aircraft then directed three ships to U-484. Hespeler attacked the submarine using her Squid anti-submarine mortar, and after the explosions spotted large air bubbles coming to the surface.[10] The credit for the kill has been disputed by other sources, claiming that the attack was directed at non-submarine targets.[11]

In March 1945, Hespeler returned to Canada and began a refit upon arrival at Halifax. The refit was completed in July at Liverpool, Nova Scotia and following it, the corvette sailed for Esquimalt, British Columbia. Following her arrival, Hespeler was paid off into the reserve on 15 November.[8]

Mercantile service

In 1946, Hespeler was sold for mercantile use to Union Steamships Ltd. of Vancouver. Converted into the passenger ship Chilcotin, Union Steamships paid $25,000 to purchase the vessel, and another $400,000 to convert ex-Hespeler into the passenger ship.[12] The converted ship had a gross register tonnage of 1,837 tons.[13] Chilcotin sailed between Alaska and Vancouver until 1957 when Chilcotin was sold to Sunline Inc. She underwent a refit in 1957 and began service as Capri in 1958 operating under a Liberian flag.[14] In 1960, her flag was transferred to Panama and the ship was renamed Stella Maris.[8][note 5] Stella Maris was used to give round-trip cruises on the Saint Lawrence Seaway, starting from Montreal.[14]

In 1965, her flag returned to Liberia and the ship was renamed Westar.[8][9] While en route from Greece to Vancouver, on 28 January 1966 the ship was refueling at Sarroch, Sardinia when a fire broke out in her engine room. The ship was beached and one Canadian and one British sailor were killed[15] and three others injured.[13][16] Westar was taken to La Spezia, Italy to be scrapped on 30 April 1966.[8][13]

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Guildford Castle

Guildford Castle

Guildford Castle is in Guildford, Surrey, England. It is thought to have been built by William the Conqueror, or one of his barons, shortly after the 1066 invasion of England.

Keel laying

Keel laying

Laying the keel or laying down is the formal recognition of the start of a ship's construction. It is often marked with a ceremony attended by dignitaries from the shipbuilding company and the ultimate owners of the ship.

Henry Robb

Henry Robb

Henry Robb, Limited, known colloquially as Robbs, was a Scottish shipbuilding company based at Leith Docks in Edinburgh. Robbs was notable for building small-to-medium sized vessels, particularly tugs and dredgers.

Leith

Leith

Leith is a port area in the north of the city of Edinburgh, Scotland, founded at the mouth of the Water of Leith. In 2021, it was ranked by Time Out as one of the top five neighbourhoods to live in the world.

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.

Hespeler, Ontario

Hespeler, Ontario

Hespeler is a neighbourhood and former town within Cambridge, Ontario, located along the Speed River in the Regional Municipality of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. In 1973, Hespeler, Preston, Galt, and the hamlet of Blair were amalgamated to form the City of Cambridge. The first mayor of Cambridge was Claudette Millar.

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.

Convoy HX 300

Convoy HX 300

Convoy HX 300 was the 300th of the numbered series of World War II HX convoys of merchant ships from Halifax to Liverpool. It started its journey on 17 July 1944 and was the largest convoy of the war, comprising 166 ships.

Hebrides

Hebrides

The Hebrides are an archipelago off the west coast of the Scottish mainland. The islands fall into two main groups, based on their proximity to the mainland: the Inner and Outer Hebrides.

Frigate

Frigate

A frigate is a type of warship. In different eras, the roles and capabilities of ships classified as frigates have varied somewhat.

HMCS Dunver (K03)

HMCS Dunver (K03)

HMCS Dunver was a River-class frigate that served with the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War. She served primarily as a convoy escort in the Battle of the Atlantic. She was named for Verdun, Quebec. Her name was altered to prevent confusion with other Allied warships named Verdun.

German submarine U-484

German submarine U-484

German submarine U-484 was a Type VIIC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II.

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

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References

Notes

  1. ^ Brown states the beam at 36.5 feet (11.1 m) and the draught at 13.5 feet (4.1 m)
  2. ^ Chesneau states the displacement at deep load as 1,590–1,630 long tons (1,616–1,656 t)
  3. ^ Brown states the complement as 99 and Johnston states the complement of Canadian ships at 112 (7 officers and 105 ratings).
  4. ^ Mk XIX = Mark 19. Britain used Roman numerals to denote Marks (models) of ordnance until after World War II. This was the nineteenth model of British QF 4-inch gun
  5. ^ Miramar claims that Capri was renamed Stella Maris in 1958 and that the port of registry was changed to Panama at the same time.

Citations

  1. ^ "Battle Honours". Britain's Navy. Retrieved 21 November 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Chesneau, p.63
  3. ^ Brown 2007, p.142
  4. ^ a b c d e Brown 2007, p.127
  5. ^ a b Brown 2007, p.126
  6. ^ Brown 2012, p.129
  7. ^ "HMS Guildford Castle (K 489)". uboat.net. Retrieved 21 November 2015.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h Macpherson and Barrie, p.163
  9. ^ a b Colledge, p.297
  10. ^ Paterson, p.40
  11. ^ Niestlé, p.69
  12. ^ Johnston, p.221
  13. ^ a b c "Hespeler (5340326)". Miramar Ship Index. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
  14. ^ a b Price, Jo-Ann (12 July 1959). "Old Corvette Lets Tourists 'Discover' Seaway". Toledo Blade. Retrieved 21 November 2015.
  15. ^ "2 Sailors Die in Ship Fire". The Day. Associated Press. 31 January 1966. Retrieved 21 November 2015.
  16. ^ "2 Canadians Die". Ottawa Citizen. Reuters. 26 January 1966. Retrieved 21 November 2015.

References

  • Brown, David K. (2007). Atlantic Escorts Ships: Ships, Weapons & Tactics in World War II. Barnsley, UK: Seaforth Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84415-702-0.
  • Brown, David K. (2012). Nelson to Vanguard: Warship Design and Development 1923–1945. Barnsley, UK: Seaforth Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84832-149-6.
  • 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.
  • Goodwin, Norman (2007). Castle Class Corvettes: An Account of the Service of the Ships and of Their Ships' Companies. Liskeard, UK: Maritime Books. ISBN 978-1-904459-27-9.
  • Johnston, Mac (2008). Corvettes Canada: Convoy Veterans of World War II Tell Their True Stories. Mississauga, Ontario: John Wiley & Sons Canada Ltd. ISBN 978-0-470-15429-8.
  • Lenton, H. T. (1998). British & Empire Warships of the Second World War. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-048-7.
  • 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.
  • Niestlé, Alex (2014). German U-boat Losses During World War II: Details of Destruction. Barnsley, UK: Frontline Books. ISBN 978-1-84832-210-3.
  • Paterson, Lawrence (2008). Dönitz's Last Gamble: The Inshore U-boat Campaign 1944–45. Barnsley, UK: Seaforth Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84415-714-3.
  • Rohwer, Jürgen (2005). Chronology of the War at Sea 1939–1945: The Naval History of World War Two (Third Revised ed.). Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-59114-119-2.

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