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HMCS Messines

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HMCS Ypres and Messines under construction Toronto 1917 MC-10020.jpg
Messines (right) and Ypres (center) under construction in Toronto in 1917
History
Canada
NameMessines
NamesakeBattle of Messines
Ordered2 February 1916
BuilderPolson Iron Works Limited, Toronto
Launched16 June 1917
Commissioned13 November 1917
Decommissioned1920
RenamedRe-designated Lightship No. 3 1920
FateScrapped, 1962
General characteristics
Class and typeBattle-class naval trawler
Displacement320 long tons (330 t)
Length130 ft (40 m)
Beam23 ft 5 in (7.14 m)
Draught13 ft 5 in (4.09 m)
Propulsion1 x triple expansion, 480 ihp (360 kW)
Speed10 knots (12 mph; 19 km/h)
Armament1 × QF 12-pounder 12 cwt naval gun

HMCS Messines was one of twelve Battle-class naval trawlers constructed for and used by the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) during the First World War. Following the war the ship was transferred to the Canadian Department of Marine and Fisheries and converted into a lightvessel. Re-designated Lightship No. 3, the vessel was sold for scrap and broken up in 1962.

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Battle-class trawler

Battle-class trawler

The Battle-class trawlers were a class of naval trawlers built for and used by the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) during the First World War. Between the wars, some remained in RCN service, but most were transferred to the Department of Marine and Fisheries, where they performed a number of functions, including working as lightships and fisheries patrol vessels. During the Second World War, a number of these trawlers were re-acquired by the RCN, but all the navy's Battle-class trawlers were decommissioned soon after the war. A number of the class remained in civilian government and commercial service for years after the war, although most had been disposed of by the early 1960s.

Naval trawler

Naval trawler

Naval trawlers are vessels built along the lines of a fishing trawler but fitted out for naval purposes; they were widely used during the First and Second World Wars. Some—known in the Royal Navy as "Admiralty trawlers"— were purpose-built to naval specifications, others adapted from civilian use. Fishing trawlers were particularly suited for many naval requirements because they were robust vessels designed to work heavy trawls in all types of weather, and had large clear working decks. A minesweeper could be created by replacing the trawl with a mine sweep. Adding depth charge racks on the deck, ASDIC sonar below, and a 3-inch (76 mm) or 4-inch (102 mm) gun in the bow equipped the trawler for anti-submarine duties.

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 I

World War I

World War I, often abbreviated as WWI, was one of the deadliest global conflicts in history. It was fought between two coalitions, the first being the Allies, whose key members included France, the United Kingdom, Russia, Italy, Japan and their respective colonial empires, with the United States joining as an associated power in 1917. They faced the Central Powers, primarily Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire, with fighting occurring throughout Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the Pacific, and parts of Asia. An estimated 9 million soldiers were killed in combat, plus another 23 million wounded, while 5 million civilians died as a result of military action, hunger, and disease. Millions more died as a result of genocide, while the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic was exacerbated by the movement of combatants during the war.

Lightvessel

Lightvessel

A lightvessel, or lightship, is a ship that acts as a lighthouse. They are used in waters that are too deep or otherwise unsuitable for lighthouse construction. Although some records exist of fire beacons being placed on ships in Roman times, the first modern lightvessel was off the Nore sandbank at the mouth of the River Thames in England, placed there by its inventor Robert Hamblin in 1734. The type has become largely obsolete; lighthouses replaced some stations as the construction techniques for lighthouses advanced, while large, automated buoys replaced others.

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 RCN's Battle-class trawlers formed part of the Canadian naval response to Admiralty warnings to Canada about the growing German U-boat threat to merchant shipping in the western Atlantic.[1] Intended to augment anti-submarine patrols off Canada's east coast, these ships were modelled on contemporary British North Sea trawlers, since the standard types of Canadian fishing vessels were considered unsuitable for patrol work.[2]

Twelve vessels were ordered on 2 February 1917 from two shipyards, Polson Iron Works of Toronto and Canadian Vickers of Montreal.[3] Those vessels built at Polson Iron Works displaced 320 long tons (330 t) and were 130 feet (40 m) long overall with a beam of 23 feet 5 inches (7.14 m) and a draught of 13 feet 5 inches (4.09 m).[4] They were propelled by a steam-powered triple expansion engine driving one shaft creating 480 indicated horsepower (360 kW) giving the vessels a maximum speed of 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph).[3][5]

All twelve trawlers were equipped with a QF 12-pounder 12 cwt naval gun mounted forward.[4][a] This was considered to be the smallest gun that stood a chance of putting a surfaced U-boat out of action, and they also carried a small number of depth charges.[1][6] The trawlers were named after battles of the Western Front during the First World War that Canadians had been involved in. They cost between $155,000 and $160,000 per vessel.[3][b][c]

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North Sea

North Sea

The North Sea lies between Great Britain, Norway, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and France. An epeiric sea on the European continental shelf, it connects to the Atlantic Ocean through the English Channel in the south and the Norwegian Sea in the north. It is more than 970 kilometres (600 mi) long and 580 kilometres (360 mi) wide, covering 570,000 square kilometres (220,000 sq mi).

Polson Iron Works Limited

Polson Iron Works Limited

The Polson Iron Works was an Ontario-based firm which built large steam engines, as well as ships, barges and dredges.

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.

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.

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.

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.

QF 12-pounder 12 cwt naval gun

QF 12-pounder 12 cwt naval gun

The QF 12-pounder 12-cwt gun (Quick-Firing) was a common, versatile 3-inch (76.2 mm) calibre naval gun introduced in 1894 and used until the middle of the 20th century. It was produced by Armstrong Whitworth, Elswick and used on Royal Navy warships, exported to allied countries, and used for land service. In British service "12-pounder" was the rounded value of the projectile weight, and "12 cwt (hundredweight)" was the weight of the barrel and breech, to differentiate it from other "12-pounder" guns.

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.

Service history

Named after the Battle of Messines, the trawler was built by Polson Iron Works at Toronto, Ontario and launched on 16 June 1917.[7] Intended for use during the 1917 shipping season, the construction of the vessels was delayed by the entry of the United States into the war. With higher wages found south of the border, a shortage of skilled labour developed in the shipyards, coupled with a shortage of construction material.[8] Messines was commissioned on 13 November 1917.[7]

Messines sailed to the east coast where for the 1918 shipping season, all the Battle-class trawlers were assigned to patrol and escort duties based out of Sydney, Nova Scotia.[9] The vessel performed these duties until the end of the war. The ship remained in service with the RCN until 1920 when Messines was paid off.[7]

The trawler was handed over to the Department of Marine and Fisheries following her decommissioning and converted to a lightvessel, like sister ships St. Eloi, St. Julien, and Vimy.[7][10] This involved the installation of an electric light placed at the foremast head and a foghorn situated on a latticework tower.[10] Messines was re-designated Lightship No. 3 and served as such until being sold for scrap and broken up in 1962.[7][11]

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Battle of Messines (1917)

Battle of Messines (1917)

The Battle of Messines was an attack by the British Second Army, on the Western Front, near the village of Messines in West Flanders, Belgium, during the First World War. The Nivelle Offensive in April and May had failed to achieve its more grandiose aims, had led to the demoralisation of French troops and confounded the Anglo-French strategy for 1917. The attack forced the Germans to move reserves to Flanders from the Arras and Aisne fronts, relieving pressure on the French.

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.

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.

Sister ship

Sister ship

A sister ship is a ship of the same class or of virtually identical design to another ship. Such vessels share a nearly identical hull and superstructure layout, similar size, and roughly comparable features and equipment. They often share a common naming theme, either being named after the same type of thing or person or with some kind of alliteration. Typically the ship class is named for the first ship of that class. Often, sisters become more differentiated during their service as their equipment are separately altered.

HMCS St. Eloi

HMCS St. Eloi

HMCS St. Eloi was one of twelve Battle-class naval trawlers constructed for and used by the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) during the First World War. Following the war the ship was transferred to the Canadian Department of Marine and Fisheries and converted into a lightvessel. Re-designated Lightship No. 20, the vessel returned to RCN service in 1940 to become the gate vessel Gate Vessel 12 during the Second World War. After the war, the trawler returned to government service and was discarded in 1962.

HMCS St. Julien

HMCS St. Julien

HMCS St Julien was one of twelve Battle-class naval trawlers constructed for and used by the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) during the First World War. Following the war the ship was transferred to the Canadian Department of Marine and Fisheries and converted into a lightvessel. Re-designated Lightship No. 22, the ship remained as such until 1958. The ship was sold for commercial use and renamed Centennial and was in service until 1978.

HMCS Vimy

HMCS Vimy

HMCS Vimy was one of twelve Battle-class naval trawlers constructed for and used by the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) during the First World War. Following the war the ship was transferred to the Canadian Department of Marine and Fisheries and converted into a lightvessel. Re-designated Lightship No. 5, the vessel remained in Canadian government service until being possibly broken up for scrap in 1958.

Foghorn

Foghorn

A foghorn or fog signal is a device that uses sound to warn vehicles of navigational hazards such as rocky coastlines, or boats of the presence of other vessels, in foggy conditions. The term is most often used in relation to marine transport. When visual navigation aids such as lighthouses are obscured, foghorns provide an audible warning of rock outcrops, shoals, headlands, or other dangers to shipping.

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

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References

Notes

  1. ^ "Cwt" is the abbreviation for hundredweight, 12 cwt referring to the weight of the gun.
  2. ^ Adjusted for inflation to 2023 dollars, $2,466,067 to $2,545,618
  3. ^ Tucker places the cost at $191,000 (adjusted for inflation to 2023 dollars, $3,038,831)[6]

Citations

  1. ^ a b Tucker, p. 253
  2. ^ Tucker, pp. 254, 257
  3. ^ a b c Johnston et al., p. 417
  4. ^ a b Macpherson and Barrie, p. 27
  5. ^ Maginley and Collin, p. 67
  6. ^ a b Tucker, p. 257
  7. ^ a b c d e Machperson and Barrie, p. 29
  8. ^ Johnston et al., pp. 481–484
  9. ^ Johnston et al., pp. 543, 645
  10. ^ a b Maginley and Collin, p. 113
  11. ^ Colledge, p. 407

Sources

  • 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.
  • Johnston, William; Rawling, William G.P.; Gimblett, Richard H. & MacFarlane, John (2010). The Seabound Coast: The Official History of the Royal Canadian Navy, 1867–1939. Vol. 1. Toronto: Dundurn Press. ISBN 978-1-55488-908-2.
  • 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.
  • Maginley, Charles D. & Collin, Bernard (2001). The Ships of Canada's Marine Service. St. Catharines, Ontario: Vanwell Publishing Limited. ISBN 1-55125-070-5.
  • Tucker, Gilbert Norman (1962). The Naval Service of Canada, Its Official History – Volume 1: Origins and Early Years. Ottawa: King's Printer. OCLC 840569671.
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