HMCS Agassiz (K129)

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HMCS Agassiz, sometime between 1944 and 1945.
HMCS Agassiz, taken sometime in 1944 or 1945.
Career (Canada)
Name: Agassiz
Namesake: Agassiz, British Columbia
Operator: Royal Canadian Navy
Ordered: 14 February 1940
Builder: Burrard Dry Dock Co. Ltd., North Vancouver
Laid down: 29 April 1940
Launched: 15 August 1940
Commissioned: 23 January 1941
Decommissioned: 14 June 1945
Identification: Pennant number: K129
Honours and
awards:
Atlantic 1941-45;[1] Gulf of St. Lawrence 1944[2]
Fate: sold in 1945 for scrapping.
General characteristics
Class & type: Flower-class corvette (original)[3]
Displacement: 925 long tons (940 t; 1,036 short tons)
Length: 205 ft (62.48 m)o/a
Beam: 33 ft (10.06 m)
Draught: 11.5 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)
Speed: 16 knots (29.6 km/h)
Range: 3,500 nautical miles (6,482 km) at 12 knots (22.2 km/h)
Complement: 85
Sensors and
processing systems:
1 × SW1C or 2C radar
1 × Type 123A or Type 127DV sonar
Armament: 1 × BL 4-inch (101.6 mm) Mk.IX single gun

2 × .50 cal machine gun (twin)
2 × Lewis .303 cal machine gun (twin)
2 × Mk.II depth charge throwers
2 × depth charge rails with 40 depth charges

originally fitted with minesweeping gear, later removed

HMCS Agassiz was a Flower-class corvette of the Royal Canadian Navy. She served primarily in the Battle of the Atlantic as an ocean escort for convoys during the Second World War. She was named after the community of Agassiz, British Columbia.

Background[edit]

Main article: Flower class corvette

Flower-class corvettes like Agassiz serving with the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War were different from earlier and more traditional sail-driven corvettes.[4][5][6] 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.[7] 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.[8] The generic name "flower" was used to designate the class of these ships, which – in the Royal Navy – were named after flowering plants.[9]

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.[10]

Construction[edit]

Agassiz was ordered on 14 February 1940 as part of the 1939-1940 Flower-class building program. She was laid down on 29 April 1940 by Burrard Dry Dock Co. Ltd. in North Vancouver, British Columbia and was launched on 15 August 1940.[11] Agassiz was commissioned on 23 January 1941 in Vancouver, British Columbia.[3][12]

Agassiz had two major refits during her career. The first took place at Liverpool, Nova Scotia from early January 1943 until mid-March. The second took place at New York, beginning in December 1943 and taking until March 1944 to complete. During her second refit, her fo'c'sle was extended.[12]

War duty[edit]

After completion Agassiz was sent to Halifax, arriving 13 April 1941. In May 1941 she was assigned to the Newfoundland Escort Force. She served continuously as an ocean escort until the end of 1943. During that time Agassiz participated in the battle for convoy SC 44 in September 1941. During the battle, HMCS Levis was sunk and Agassiz rescued survivors.[12]

She participated in the battle for convoy ON 102 with Mid-Ocean Escort Force (MOEF) group A3 in July 1942. She also fought the battles for convoy SC 97 with MOEF group C2 and the battles for convoy ON 115 and convoy SC 109 with MOEF group C3. Following her workups after her first major refit in early 1943, Agassiz was assigned to MOEF group C1 and escorted 12 trans-Atlantic convoys without loss before another yard overhaul in early 1944. After that overhaul, Agassiz escorted North American coastal convoys with the Western Local Escort Force from March 1944 until February 1945. In April 1944, she was assigned to escort group W-2 and in August of that year to W-7. She remained with that group until the end of the war.[13][12]

Following the end of hostilities Agassiz was paid off 14 June 1945 at Sydney, Nova Scotia.[3][12] She was sold for scrap November 1945 and broken up at Moncton, New Brunswick in 1946.[10][11]

Trans-Atlantic convoys escorted[edit]

Convoy Escort Group Dates Notes
OB 347 22-31 July 1941[14] 64 ships escorted without loss from Iceland to dispersal
HX 143 8-17 August 1941[15] 73 ships escorted without loss from Newfoundland to Iceland
ON 8 21-25 August 1941[16] 46 ships escorted without loss from Iceland to Newfoundland
SC 44 12-22 September 1941[17] Newfoundland to Iceland; 4 ships torpedoed & sunk
ON 19A 22 September-4 October 1941[16] Iceland shuttle
SC 50 19-31 October 1941[17] 41 ships escorted without loss from Newfoundland to Iceland
ON 32 6-14 November 1941[16] 49 ships escorted without loss from Iceland to Newfoundland
SC 56 24 November-5 December 1941[17] 45 ships escorted without loss from Newfoundland to Iceland
HX 184 12-19 April 1942[15] 30 ships escorted without loss from Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ON 91 2-11 May 1942[16] 31 ships escorted without loss from Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
HX 190 MOEF group A3 20-27 May 1942[15] 18 ships escorted without loss from Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ON 102 MOEF group A3 10-21 June 1942[16] Northern Ireland to Newfoundland; 1 ship torpedoed & sunk
HX 196 MOEF group A3 2-10 July 1942[15] 42 ships escorted without loss from Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ON 114 MOEF group A3 20-30 July 1942[16] 32 ships escorted without loss from Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
ON 115 MOEF group C3 31 July-3 August 1942[16] battle reinforcement
SC 97 MOEF group C2 22-26 August 1942[17] Newfoundland to Northern Ireland: 2 ships torpedoed & sunk
SC 98 MOEF group C3 2–8 September 1942[17] 69 ships escorted without loss from Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ON 131 MOEF group C3 19–28 September 1942[16] 54 ships escorted without loss from Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
HX 210 MOEF group C3 7–14 October 1942[15] 36 ships escorted without loss from Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ON 141 MOEF group C3 26 October-3 November 1942[16] 59 ships escorted without loss from Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
SC 109 MOEF group C3 16–27 November 1942[17] Newfoundland to Northern Ireland; 2 ships torpedoed (1 sank)
ON 152 MOEF group C3 10–28 December 1942[16] 15 ships escorted without loss from Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
SC 127 MOEF group C1 20 April-2 May 1943[17] 55 ships escorted without loss from Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ON 184 MOEF group C1 16-25 May 1943[16] 39 ships escorted without loss from Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
HX 242 6-14 June 1943[15] 61 ships escorted without loss from Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ON 190 25 June-3 July 1943[16] 87 ships escorted without loss from Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
HX 247 14-21 July 1943[15] 71 ships escorted without loss from Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ON 195 1-8 August 1943[16] 51 ships escorted without loss from Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
HX 252 20-27 August 1943[15] 52 ships escorted without loss from Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ON 201 10-18 September 1943[16] 70 ships escorted without loss from Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
HX 258 28 September-5 October 1943[15] 59 ships escorted without loss from Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ON 207 19-28 October 1943[16] 52 ships escorted without loss from Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
HX 264 5-16 November 1943[15] 65 ships escorted without loss from Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ON 213 27 November-7 December 1943[16] 60 ships escorted without loss from Northern Ireland to Newfoundland

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Battle Honours". Britain's Navy. Retrieved 15 August 2013. 
  2. ^ "Royal Canadian Warships - The Battle of the Gulf of St. Lawrence - Second World War". Veterans Affairs Canada. Retrieved 15 August 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c Lenton, H.T.; Colledge, J.J (1968). British and Dominion Warships of World War II. Doubleday & Company. pp. 201, 210. 
  4. ^ Ossian, Robert. "Complete List of Sailing Vessels". The Pirate King. Retrieved 13 April 2011. 
  5. ^ Fitzsimons, Bernard, ed. (1978). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of 20th Century Weapons & Warfare 11. London: Phoebus. pp. 1137–1142. 
  6. ^ Jane's Fighting Ships of World War II. New Jersey: Random House. 1996. p. 68. ISBN 0-517-67963-9. 
  7. ^ Blake, Nicholas; Lawrence, Richard (2005). The Illustrated Companion to Nelson's Navy. Stackpole Books. pp. 39–63. ISBN 0-8117-3275-4. 
  8. ^ 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. 
  9. ^ 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. 
  10. ^ a b Macpherson, Ken; Milner, Marc (1993). Corvettes of the Royal Canadian Navy 1939-1945. St. Catherines: Vanwell Publishing. p. 117. ISBN 1-55125-052-7. 
  11. ^ a b "HMCS Agassiz (K 129)". Uboat.net. Retrieved 15 August 2013. 
  12. ^ a b c d e Macpherson, Ken; Burgess, John (1981). The ships of Canada's naval forces 1910-1981 : a complete pictorial history of Canadian warships. Toronto: Collins. pp. 68, 231. ISBN 0-00216-856-1. 
  13. ^ "Convoy Web". Andrew Hague Convoy Database. Retrieved 2011-06-27. 
  14. ^ "OB convoys". Andrew Hague Convoy Database. Retrieved 2011-07-06. 
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "HX convoys". Andrew Hague Convoy Database. Retrieved 2011-06-19. 
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "ON convoys". Andrew Hague Convoy Database. Retrieved 2011-06-19. 
  17. ^ a b c d e f g "SC convoys". Andrew Hague Convoy Database. Retrieved 2011-06-19. 

External links[edit]