Canadian Escort Ships Colour Photographs

A beautiful photograph of HMCS Arrowhead (K145) underway.  Arrowhead was a Flower class corvette, which were designed to provide a number of cheap, easy to construct convoy escorts and were based upon a commercial whaling ship hull.  Displacement was 925 tons with a crew of 85, maximum speed was a modest 16 knots.  Armament was light but sufficient, with a four-inch gun forward and a variety of lighter guns for anti-aircraft protection.  They carried depth charges and were later fitted with a Hedgehog projector for anti-submarine work.  Many were also fitted with minesweeping gear.  Ships of the class were named for types of flowers in Royal Navy service, Arrowhead being a flowering water plant.  HMCS Arrowhead was commissioned in November 1940 and survived the war.
Another Flower class corvette, here is HMCS Midland (K220) airing her signal flags while moored to a pier.  She was a Canadian-build ship, being constructed (and named for) Midland, Ontario.  She spent her wartime service escorting shipping along the North American seaboard.  She was active in a countering a series of incursions by German U-boats into Canadian coastal waters collectively known as the Battle of St. Lawrence.
HMCS Regina (K234) was named after Regina, Saskatchewan.  She was commissioned in January 1942 and had an active service career.  She was assigned as part of the screening force for Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of North Africa in November 1942.  Subsequently she screened convoys between England and Gibraltar.  On 08FEB43 she depth charged and sank the Italian Acciaio-class submarine Avorio off Algeria.  She later was part of the invasion fleet for the landings at Normandy.  On 08AUG44 Regina was rescuing survivors of the American Liberty ship Ezra Weston when she was torpedoed by the U-667, sinking with the loss of thirty of her crew.
HMCS Restigouche (H00) was originally commissioned into the Royal Navy as the C-class destroyer Comet in June of 1932.  Original armament was four 4.7-inch guns in single mounts, eight 21-inch torpedo tubes in two quadruple mounts, and depth charges.  Later refits would reduce the numbers of main guns and torpedo tubes in favor of increased anti-submarine and anti-aircraft capability.  Maximum speed was a respectable 36 knots, complement was 165.
Restigouche was very active during the Battle of the Atlantic, screening several local and trans-Atlantic convoys.  She was part of the screening force during the Normandy invasion, and participated in the sinking of three German patrol boats on 06JUL44 off Brest.  She survived the war and was scrapped in 1946.
River-class frigates were designed to be larger, more capable, and more sea-worthy convoy escorts than the Flower class corvettes, while still being less expensive to build and operate than destroyers.  They were armed with a twin 4-inch mount forward (although the first units completed were initially fitted with a single mount as seen here) and a 3-inch gun aft along with Oerlikon 20mm cannon, Hedgehog and depth charges.  They were four knots faster than the Flowers and had twice the range.  Pictured here is HMCS Waskesiu (K330), which was built at Esquimalt, British Columbia and commissioned on 16JUN43.  On 24FEB44 Waskesiu and HMS Nene engaged the German submarine U-257.  After multiple depth charge attacks the U-257 was forced to the surface where she was sunk by gunfire from Waskesiu.  She survived the war and was sold to India.
HMCS Weyburn (K173) was another Flower-class corvette, built at Port Arthur, Ontario on Lake Superior.  She was commissioned in November 1941, escorting shipping in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.  She escorted convoys in support of the Torch landings in North Africa.  On 22FEB43 she struck a mine laid by the German submarine U-118 and began to sink.  The British destroyer HMS Wivern came alongside to remove the crew, but the Wivern was severely damaged when Weyburn’s depth charges exploded as she sank, killing many of the crew of both ships.


Two interesting photographs taken from the crow’s nest of HMCS Thetford Mines (K459), a River-class frigate.  These views show details of the fo’c’sle, twin 4-inch gun mount, and open bridge which should be of use to modelers.  Thetford Mines participated in the sinking of U-1302 in St. George’s Channel on 07MAR45.  She survived the war.