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HMCS Lévis (K115)

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HMCS Levis K115 sinking E-50812.jpg
HMCS Lévis sinking after being torpedoed, 19 September 1941
History
Canada
NameLévis
NamesakeLévis, Quebec
Ordered24 January 1940
BuilderG T Davie, Lauzon
Laid down11 March 1940
Launched4 September 1940
Commissioned16 May 1941
Out of service19 September 1941
IdentificationPennant number: K115
Honours and
awards
Atlantic 1941[1]
FateTorpedoed and sunk 19 September 1941 by U-74 while escorting convoy SC-44 east of Cape Farewell at 60-07N, 38-37W. 18 crew killed and 91 rescued.
General characteristics
Class and typeFlower-class corvette (original)[2]
Displacement925 long tons (940 t; 1,036 short tons)
Length205 ft (62.48 m)o/a
Beam33 ft (10.06 m)
Draught11.5 ft (3.51 m)
Propulsion
  • single shaft
  • 2 × fire tube Scotch boilers
  • 1 × 4-cycle triple-expansion reciprocating steam engine
  • 2,750 ihp (2,050 kW)
Speed16 knots (29.6 km/h)
Range3,500 nautical miles (6,482 km) at 12 knots (22.2 km/h)
Complement85
Sensors and
processing systems
  • 1 × SW1C or 2C radar
  • 1 × Type 123A or Type 127DV sonar
Armament

HMCS Lévis was a Royal Canadian Navy Flower-class corvette which took part in convoy escort duties during the Second World War. She was sunk in 1941. She was named for Lévis, Quebec.

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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.

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.

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.

Lévis, Quebec

Lévis, Quebec

Lévis is a city in eastern Quebec, Canada, located on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River, opposite Quebec City. A ferry links Old Quebec with Old Lévis, and two bridges, the Quebec and the Pierre-Laporte, connect western Lévis with Quebec City.

Background

Flower-class corvettes like Lévis serving with the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War were different from earlier and more traditional sail-driven corvettes.[3][4][5] 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.[6] 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.[7] The generic name "flower" was used to designate the class of these ships, which – in the Royal Navy – were named after flowering plants.[8]

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.[9]

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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

Lévis was ordered on 24 January 1940 as part of the 1939-1940 Flower-class building program. She was laid down at George T. Davie Shipbuilding in Lauzon on 11 March 1940 and launched on 4 September of that year.[10] She was commissioned into the RCN on 16 May 1941 at Quebec City, Quebec.[11]

War service

Upon joining the fleet, Lévis was assigned to convoy escort duty in the Northwest Atlantic. In June 1941 she joined the Newfoundland Escort Force. She did one round trip to Iceland before joining convoy SC-44.[11] Lévis was part of the 19th Escort Group escorting convoy SC-44 when she was torpedoed at 0205 local time on 19 September 1941 by U-74 under the command of Eitel-Friedrich Kentrat east of Cape Farewell at position 60°07′N 38°37′W / 60.117°N 38.617°W / 60.117; -38.617Coordinates: 60°07′N 38°37′W / 60.117°N 38.617°W / 60.117; -38.617.[10]

The explosion of the torpedo on the port side killed all but 2 of the ratings on the stokers' messdeck. Compartments up to the No. 2 bulkhead were flooded. The surviving crew abandoned ship to Mayflower except for a damage control party of 10 officers and ratings. Mayflower took Lévis under tow for approximately 12 hours, however No. 2 bulkhead was buckled and not watertight and the ship sank at 1710 local time later that day. 91 crew were rescued and 18 were killed as a result of the torpedo attack.[12] Lévis was the first Canadian Flower-class corvette to be sunk.

Her first and only commanding officer was Lieutenant Charles Walter Gilding RCNR.[10]

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Newfoundland Escort Force

Newfoundland Escort Force

The Newfoundland Escort Force (NEF) was a Second World War naval command created on 20 May 1941 as part of the Allied convoy system in the Battle of the Atlantic. Created in response to the movement of German U-boats into the western Atlantic Ocean, the Newfoundland Escort Force (NEF) was instituted to cover the convoy escort gap that existed between the local convoy escort in Canada and the United Kingdom. The Royal Canadian Navy provided the majority of naval vessels to the NEF along with its commander Commodore Leonard W. Murray, with units from the British, Norwegian, Polish, French and Dutch navies also assigned. The NEF was reconstituted as part of the Mid-Ocean Escort Force in 1942.

Iceland

Iceland

Iceland is a Nordic island country in the North Atlantic Ocean and in the Arctic Ocean. Iceland is the most sparsely populated country in Europe. Iceland's capital and largest city is Reykjavík, which is home to over 65% of the population. Iceland is the biggest part of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge that rises above sea level, and its central volcanic plateau is erupting almost constantly. The interior consists of a plateau characterised by sand and lava fields, mountains, and glaciers, and many glacial rivers flow to the sea through the lowlands. Iceland is warmed by the Gulf Stream and has a temperate climate, despite a high latitude just outside the Arctic Circle. Its high latitude and marine influence keep summers chilly, and most of its islands have a polar climate.

SC convoys

SC convoys

The SC convoys were a series of North Atlantic convoys that ran during the battle of the Atlantic during World War II.

German submarine U-74 (1940)

German submarine U-74 (1940)

German submarine U-74 was a Type VIIB U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II.

Cape Farewell, Greenland

Cape Farewell, Greenland

Cape Farewell is a headland on the southern shore of Egger Island, Nunap Isua Archipelago, Greenland. As the southernmost point of the country, it is one of the important landmarks of Greenland.

Geographic coordinate system

Geographic coordinate system

The geographic coordinate system (GCS) is a spherical or ellipsoidal coordinate system for measuring and communicating positions directly on the Earth as latitude and longitude. It is the simplest, oldest and most widely used of the various spatial reference systems that are in use, and forms the basis for most others. Although latitude and longitude form a coordinate tuple like a cartesian coordinate system, the geographic coordinate system is not cartesian because the measurements are angles and are not on a planar surface.

Source: "HMCS Lévis (K115)", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2023, January 25th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMCS_Lévis_(K115).

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Notes
  1. ^ "Battle Honours". Britain's Navy. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
  2. ^ Lenton, H.T.; Colledge, J.J (1968). British and Dominion Warships of World War II. Doubleday & Company. pp. 201, 212.
  3. ^ Ossian, Robert. "Complete List of Sailing Vessels". The Pirate King. Retrieved 13 April 2011.
  4. ^ Fitzsimons, Bernard, ed. (1978). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of 20th Century Weapons & Warfare. Vol. 11. London: Phoebus. pp. 1137–1142.
  5. ^ Jane's Fighting Ships of World War II. New Jersey: Random House. 1996. p. 68. ISBN 0-517-67963-9.
  6. ^ Blake, Nicholas; Lawrence, Richard (2005). The Illustrated Companion to Nelson's Navy. Stackpole Books. pp. 39–63. ISBN 0-8117-3275-4.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ Macpherson, Ken; Milner, Marc (1993). Corvettes of the Royal Canadian Navy 1939–1945. St. Catharines: Vanwell Publishing. ISBN 1-55125-052-7.
  10. ^ a b c "HMCS Levis (i) (K115)". Uboat.net. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
  11. ^ a b Macpherson, Ken; Burgess, John (1981). The ships of Canada's naval forces 1910–1981 : a complete pictorial history of Canadian warships. Toronto: Collins. pp. 78, 231. ISBN 0-00216-856-1.
  12. ^ German, Tony (1990). The Sea is at our Gates : The History of the Canadian Navy. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart Inc. pp. 108. ISBN 0-7710-3269-2.
References
  1. Hazegray. "Flower Class". Canadian Navy of Yesterday and Today. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
  2. Ready, Aye, Ready. "HMCS Levis (1st)". Retrieved 11 August 2013.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)

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