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HMCS Melville

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History
Canada
NameMelville
BuilderDavie Shipbuilding, Lauzon
Laid down17 December 1940
Launched7 June 1941
Commissioned4 December 1941
Decommissioned18 August 1945
Honours and
awards
Atlantic 1942–45, Gulf of St. Lawrence 1944 [1]
FateTransferred to Royal Canadian Mounted Police, 1946
Canada
NameCygnus
OwnerRoyal Canadian Mounted Police
Acquired1946
In service1950
FateScrapped 1961
General characteristics
Class and type Bangor-class minesweeper
Displacement592 long tons (601 t)
Length162 ft (49 m)
Beam28 ft (8.5 m)
Draught8.25 ft (2.51 m)
Propulsion2 shafts, 9-cylinder diesel, 2,000 bhp (1,500 kW)
Speed16 knots (30 km/h; 18 mph)
Complement83
Armament

HMCS Melville was a Bangor-class minesweeper built for the Royal Canadian Navy in 1940. The first diesel-engined Bangor-class vessel, Melville served in the Battle of the Atlantic during the Second World War. After the war, she was transferred to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and renamed Cygnus and served until being broken up in 1961.

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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.

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.

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.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Royal Canadian Mounted Police

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, commonly known in English as the Mounties is the federal and national police service of Canada. As police services are the constitutional responsibility of provinces and territories of Canada, the RCMP's primary responsibility is the enforcement of federal criminal law, and sworn members of the RCMP have jurisdiction as a peace officer in all provinces and territories of Canada. However, the service also provides police services under contract to eight of Canada's provinces, all three of Canada's territories, more than 150 municipalities, and 600 Indigenous communities. In addition to enforcing federal legislation and delivering local police services under contract, the RCMP is responsible for border integrity; overseeing Canadian peacekeeping missions involving police; managing the Canadian Firearms Program, which licenses and registers firearms and their owners; and the Canadian Police College, which provides police training to Canadian and international police services.

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 Bangor class was initially to be a scaled down minesweeper design of the Halcyon class in Royal Navy service.[2][3] However due to the difficulty procuring diesel engines led to the small number of the diesel version being completed.[3] The ships displaced 592 long tons (601 t) standard and 690 long tons (700 t) fully loaded. They were 162 feet (49 m) long overall with a beam of 28 feet (8.5 m) and a draught of 8 feet 3 inches (2.51 m).[3][4] However, the size of the ship led to criticisms of their being too cramped for magnetic or acoustic minesweeping gear.[3] This may have been due to all the additions made during the war with the installation of ASDIC, radar and depth charges.[2]

The Bangor class came in two versions. Melville was of the diesel-powered version, being equipped with a 9-cylinder diesel engine driving two shafts that produced 2,000 brake horsepower (1,500 kW). This gave the ship a maximum speed of 16.5 knots (30.6 km/h; 19.0 mph). The vessels carried 65 long tons (66 t) of oil.[3] The vessels had a complement of 6 officers and 77 ratings.[4]

Melville was singular among the diesel-powered Bangors by being armed with a single quick-firing (QF) 4-inch (102 mm)/40 calibre Mk IV gun mounted forward.[3][a] Melville was also fitted with a QF 2-pounder Mark VIII gun aft and was eventually fitted with single-mounted QF 20 mm Oerlikon guns on the bridge wings.[5] For those Bangors assigned to convoy duty, they were armed with two depth charge launchers and two chutes for the 40 depth charges they carried.[3][5]

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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.

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.

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.

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.

Long ton

Long ton

The long ton, also known as the imperial ton or displacement ton, is the name for the unit called the "ton" in the avoirdupois system of weights or Imperial system of measurements. It was standardised in the 13th century. It is used in the United Kingdom and several other Commonwealth of Nations countries alongside the mass-based metric tonne defined in 1799, as well as in the United States for bulk commodities.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Naval rating

Naval rating

In a navy, a rate, rating or bluejacket is a junior enlisted sailor who is not a warrant officer or commissioned officer. Depending on the country and navy that uses it, the exact term and the range of ranks that it refers to may vary.

QF 2-pounder naval gun

QF 2-pounder naval gun

The 2-pounder gun, officially the QF 2-pounder and universally known as the pom-pom, was a 40 mm (1.6 in) British autocannon, used as an anti-aircraft gun by the Royal Navy. The name came from the sound that the original models make when firing. This QF 2-pounder was not the same gun as the Ordnance QF 2-pounder, used by the British Army as an anti-tank gun and a tank gun, although they both fired 2 lb (0.91 kg), 40 mm (1.6 in) projectiles.

Service history

Melville was ordered as part of the 1940–41 building programme. The minesweeper's keel was laid down on 17 December 1940 by Davie Shipbuilding at Lauzon, Quebec. The ship was launched on 7 June 1941 and commissioned into the Royal Canadian Navy at Quebec City with the pennant number J263 on 4 December later that year.[6]

After performing her work ups, Melville was assigned to the Western Local Escort Force (WLEF). In May 1942, the minesweeper was reassigned to Shelburne Force, a local convoy escort force deploying out of Shelburne, Nova Scotia. In September, the vessel was reallocated to WLEF and remained with them until February 1943. On 3 February Melville began a major refit at Lunenburg which was eventually completed at Halifax on 6 June.[6]

After the ship's return to service, Melville was assigned to Sydney Force, a local escort group that worked out of Sydney, Nova Scotia. The minesweeper remained with this unit until June 1945. The minesweeper was paid off on 18 August 1945 at Sydney.[6]

The ship was handed over to the RCMP in 1946 for conversion to a fisheries patrol vessel.[7] The ship emerged in 1950 as the 581 GRT Cygnus.[6][7][8] The vessel remained in RCMP service until 1961 when she was sold for scrap and broken up.[6][7]

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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. The laying of the keel is often the initial step in the construction of a ship. In the British and American shipbuilding traditions, this event marks the beginning date of a ships construction.

Davie Shipbuilding

Davie Shipbuilding

Davie Shipbuilding is a historic shipbuilding company located in Lauzon, Quebec, Canada. The facility is now operating as Chantier Davie Canada Inc. and is the oldest continually operating shipbuilder in North America.

Lauzon, Quebec

Lauzon, Quebec

Lauzon is a former city in southern Quebec, Canada, located on the St. Lawrence River northeast of Lévis. Founded in 1867 as a village it became a town in 1910, Lauzon had a population of about 14,500 when it merged with Lévis in 1989. The then-amalgamated city had the name of Lévis-Lauzon for about one year in 1991, before merging again and changing its name for good to Lévis.

Ship commissioning

Ship commissioning

Ship commissioning is the act or ceremony of placing a ship in active service and may be regarded as a particular application of the general concepts and practices of project commissioning. The term is most commonly applied to placing a warship in active duty with its country's military forces. The ceremonies involved are often rooted in centuries-old naval tradition.

Quebec City

Quebec City

Quebec City, officially Québec, is the capital city of the Canadian province of Quebec. As of July 2021, the city had a population of 549,459, and the metropolitan area had a population of 839,311. It is the eleventh-largest city and the seventh-largest metropolitan area in Canada. It is also the second-largest city in the province after Montreal. It has a humid continental climate with warm summers coupled with cold and snowy winters.

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.

Western Local Escort Force

Western Local Escort Force

Western Local Escort Force (WLEF) referred to the organization of anti-submarine escorts for World War II trade convoys from North American port cities to the Western Ocean Meeting Point near Newfoundland where ships of the Mid-Ocean Escort Force (MOEF) assumed responsibility for safely delivering the convoys to the British Isles.

Shelburne, Nova Scotia

Shelburne, Nova Scotia

Shelburne is a town located in southwestern Nova Scotia, Canada.

Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

Lunenburg is a port town on the South Shore of Nova Scotia, Canada. Founded in 1753, the town was one of the first British attempts to settle Protestants in Nova Scotia.

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.

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".

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

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References

Notes

  1. ^ The 40 calibre denotes the length of the gun. This means that the length of the gun barrel is 40 times the bore diameter.

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 Brown, p. 124
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Chesneau (1980), p. 61
  4. ^ a b Macpherson and Barrie (2002), p. 185
  5. ^ a b Macpherson (1997), p. 58
  6. ^ a b c d e Macpherson and Barrie (2002), p. 187
  7. ^ a b c "Melville (6112064)". Miramar Ship Index. Retrieved 6 August 2016.
  8. ^ Colledge, p. 404

Sources

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