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HMCS Oakville

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HMCS Oakville K178 CN-6040.jpg
HMCS Oakville seen on 7 August 1943 near Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, while on passage from Saint John, New Brunswick, to Halifax, Nova Scotia, as an escort to convoy FH-70
History
Canada
NameOakville
NamesakeOakville, Ontario
Ordered1 February 1940
BuilderPort Arthur Shipbuilding Co., Port Arthur
Laid down21 December 1940
Launched21 June 1941
Commissioned18 November 1941
Decommissioned20 July 1945
IdentificationPennant number: K178
Honours and
awards
Atlantic 1942-45[1]
FateSold in 1946 to Venezuela as Patria.
Venezuela
NamePatria
Acquiredpurchased from Royal Canadian Navy
Commissioned1946
General characteristics
Class and typeFlower-class corvette[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 Oakville was a Royal Canadian Navy Flower-class corvette which took part in convoy escort duties during the Second World War. She fought primarily in the Battle of the Atlantic. After the war she was sold to the Venezuelan Navy. She was named after Oakville, Ontario.

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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.

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.

Oakville, Ontario

Oakville, Ontario

Oakville is a town in Halton Region, Ontario, Canada. It is located on Lake Ontario between Toronto and Hamilton. At its 2021 census population of 213,759, it is Ontario's largest town. Oakville is part of the Greater Toronto Area, one of the most densely populated areas of Canada.

Background

Flower-class corvettes like Oakville 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 and career

Oakville was laid down by Port Arthur Shipbuilding Co. at Port Arthur on 21 December 1940 and was launched on 21 June 1941. She was commissioned into the RCN on 18 November 1941.

Attempted capture and sinking of U-94

Poster by Hubert Rogers, 1942-1945 (McGill WP2.V3.F1)
Poster by Hubert Rogers, 1942-1945 (McGill WP2.V3.F1)

On 28 August 1942, in the company of American warships and the corvettes Halifax and Snowberry, Oakville was escorting a convoy off Haïti when she attacked the German submarine U-94. The submarine, which had been on the point of attacking the convoy, was first spotted and bombarded by an American seaplane. Oakville dropped depth charges to force it to surface, and after bombarding it, rammed the submarine twice, sustaining minor damages to its hull. The submarine, struck by a depth charge on the surface, gave up the fight. A boarding party was dispatched to seize the vessel.

Eleven sailors, under the command of Commander Clarence King, including Sub Lieutenant Hal Lawrence, and Petty Officer A.J. Powell, leapt onto the deck of the crippled U-94 and rushed toward the conning tower, which was riddled by shellfire.[10] After clearing away the dead bodies covering the hatchway, Lawrence and Powell headed below. They were then surprised by two Germans who emerged from an escape hatch. After ordering them back inside, the Canadians opened fire on the two men, who were dashing toward them.

The German crew surrendered reluctantly.[11] Despite the danger of the U-boat sinking, Lawrence went searching for the Enigma machine and documents. But finding that U-94 had been scuttled, he retraced his steps, having to swim to the ladder which led to the conning tower. After giving the order to abandon ship, Lawrence leapt into the water just before the submarine went down. The Allied sailors and the 19 German survivors were recovered by Oakville and the American destroyer Lea.[12]

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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.

Port Arthur, Ontario

Port Arthur, Ontario

Port Arthur was a city in Northern Ontario, Canada, located on Lake Superior. In January 1970, it amalgamated with Fort William and the townships of Neebing and McIntyre to form the city of Thunder Bay.

HMCS Halifax (K237)

HMCS Halifax (K237)

HMCS Halifax was a Royal Canadian Navy revised Flower-class corvette which took part in convoy escort duties during the Second World War. She served primarily in the Battle of the Atlantic. She was named for Halifax, Nova Scotia.

German submarine U-94 (1940)

German submarine U-94 (1940)

German submarine U-94 was a Type VIIC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. She was laid down on 9 September 1939 at the F. Krupp Germaniawerft in Kiel as yard number 599, launched on 12 June 1940 and commissioned on 10 August 1940 under Kapitänleutnant Herbert Kuppisch.

Hal Lawrence

Hal Lawrence

Harold Ernest Thomas Lawrence (1920–1994) was a Canadian naval officer and author. He was born in the Corps of Royal Engineers barracks at Chatham, England; and moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Enigma machine

Enigma machine

The Enigma machine is a cipher device developed and used in the early- to mid-20th century to protect commercial, diplomatic, and military communication. It was employed extensively by Nazi Germany during World War II, in all branches of the German military. The Enigma machine was considered so secure that it was used to encipher the most top-secret messages.

Destroyer

Destroyer

In naval terminology, a destroyer is a fast, manoeuvrable, long-endurance warship intended to escort larger vessels in a fleet, convoy, or battle group and defend them against powerful short-range attackers. They were originally developed in 1885 by Fernando Villaamil for the Spanish Navy as a defense against torpedo boats, and by the time of the Russo-Japanese War in 1904, these "torpedo boat destroyers" (TBDs) were "large, swift, and powerfully armed torpedo boats designed to destroy other torpedo boats". Although the term "destroyer" had been used interchangeably with "TBD" and "torpedo boat destroyer" by navies since 1892, the term "torpedo boat destroyer" had been generally shortened to simply "destroyer" by nearly all navies by the First World War.

USS Lea (DD-118)

USS Lea (DD-118)

USS Lea (DD-118) was a Wickes-class destroyer in the United States Navy during World War I and World War II. She was named in honor of Edward Lea, a US Navy officer killed during the American Civil War.

Post-war service

Oakville was paid off from the RCN and decommissioned on 20 July 1945. She was sold in 1946 to Venezuela as Patria.

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

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References

Notes

  1. ^ "Battle Honours". Britain's Navy. Retrieved 21 August 2013.
  2. ^ 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. p. 184. ISBN 978-1-86176-281-8.
  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. ^ "Two Canadians board U-Boat, capture crew at gunpoint". Toronto Evening Telegram. 10 November 1942. Retrieved 21 June 2010.
  11. ^ "August 28 1942". The Maple Leaf. 28 August 1942. Retrieved 24 December 2022.
  12. ^ "August 28, 1942". The Maple Leaf. 9 (29). 23 August 2006. Archived from the original on 1 April 2012. Retrieved 21 June 2010.

References

  • Livingston, Sean E. (2014). Oakville's Flower: The History of HMCS Oakville. Toronto: Dundurn Press.
External links

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