HMCS Atholl (K15)

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HMCS Atholl.jpg
HMCS Atholl
Career (Canada)
Name: HMCS Atholl
Namesake: Campbellton, New Brunswick
Operator: Royal Canadian Navy
Ordered: 2 January 1942
Builder: Morton Engineering & Dry Dock Co., Quebec City
Laid down: 15 August 1942
Launched: 4 April 1943
Commissioned: 14 October 1943
Decommissioned: 17 July 1945
Identification: Pennant number: K15
Honours and
awards:
Atlantic 1944-45[1]
Fate: Sold for scrapping
General characteristics
Class & type: Flower-class corvette (modified)
Displacement: 1,015 long tons (1,031 t; 1,137 short tons)
Length: 208 ft (63.40 m)o/a
Beam: 33 ft (10.06 m)
Draught: 11 ft (3.35 m)
Propulsion:
  • single shaft
  • 2 × oil fired water tube boilers
  • 1 triple-expansion reciprocating steam engine
  • 2,750 ihp (2,050 kW)
Speed: 16 knots (29.6 km/h)
Range: 7,400 nautical miles (13,705 km) at 10 knots (18.5 km/h)
Complement: 90
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • 1 Type 271 SW2C radar
  • 1 Type 144 sonar
Armament:
  • 1 × 4-inch (100 mm) QF Mk XIX naval gun
  • 1 × 2-pounder Mk.VIII single "pom-pom"
  • 2 × 20 mm Oerlikon single
  • 1 × Hedgehog A/S mortar
  • 4 × Mk.II depth charge throwers
  • 2 × depth charge rails with 70 depth charges

HMCS Atholl was a modified Flower-class corvette that served with the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War. She fought primarily in the Battle of the Atlantic as a convoy escort. She was named for Campbellton, New Brunswick, however due to a conflict with a Royal Navy ship with the same name, her name was chosen to commemorate the town instead of being named for it directly.[2]

Background[edit]

Main article: Flower class corvette

Flower-class corvettes like Atholl 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]

Construction[edit]

Atholl was ordered 2 January 1942 as part of the 1942-43 modified Flower-class building programme. This programme was known as the Increased Endurance (IE). Many changes were made, all from lessons that had been learned in previous versions of the Flower-class. The bridge was made a full deck higher and built to naval standards instead of the more civilian-like bridges of previous versions. The platform for the 4-inch main gun was raised to minimize the amount of spray over it and to provide a better field of fire. It was also connected to the wheelhouse by a wide platform that was now the base for the Hedgehog anti-submarine mortar that this version was armed with. Along with the new Hedgehog, this version got the new QF 4-inch Mk XIX main gun, which was semi-automatic, used fixed ammunition and had the ability to elevate higher giving it an anti-aircraft ability. [9]

Other superficial changes to this version include an upright funnel and pressurized boiler rooms which eliminated the need for hooded ventilators around the base of the funnel. This changes the silhouette of the corvette and made it more difficult for submariners to tell which way the corvette was laying.[9]

She was laid down by Morton Engineering & Dry Dock Co. at Quebec City, Quebec and was launched 4 April 1943. She was commissioned into the Royal Canadian Navy 14 October 1943 at Quebec City.[10] During her service Atholl had one refit. This began at Sydney, Nova Scotia in December 1944 and was completed in April 1945 at Halifax.[2]

War service[edit]

After arriving at Halifax Atholl was sent to Pictou for workups. She developed mechanical problems and had to return to Halifax for repairs. In February 1944, she was assigned the Royal Navy's escort group EG 9 working out of Derry. She sailed for the United Kingdom with convoy HX 281 in March. When she arrived the corvettes of her group were exchanged for newer frigates and Atholl returned to Canada in April.[2]

Later in April 1944, Atholl was assigned to the Mid-Ocean Escort Force based in St. John's. She joined escort group C-4 upon arrival and served the rest of the war with them.[2]

Post-war service[edit]

Atholl was paid off at Sydney 17 July 1945. She was transferred to the War Assets Corporation and laid up at Sorel, Quebec. She was sold for scrap and broken up at Hamilton, Ontario by the Steel Co. of Canada in October 1952.[2][11]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Battle Honours". Britain's Navy. Retrieved 6 September 2013. 
  2. ^ 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. 95, 202. ISBN 0-00216-856-1. 
  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 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. ^ a b c Macpherson, Ken; Milner, Marc (1993). Corvettes of the Royal Canadian Navy 1939-1945. St. Catharines: Vanwell Publishing. ISBN 1-55125-052-7. 
  10. ^ "HMCS Atholl (K 15)". Uboat.net. Retrieved 6 September 2013. 
  11. ^ 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. OCLC 67375475. 

References[edit]