HMCS Bittersweet (K182)

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HMCS Bittersweet about to be taken in tow by HMCS Skeena, May 1943.
HMCS Bittersweet about to be taken in tow by HMCS Skeena, May 1943.
Career (United Kingdom)
Name: Bittersweet
Namesake: Flowering vines Solanum dulcamara and Celastrus scandens
Operator: Royal Navy
Ordered: 22 January 1940
Builder: Marine Industries Ltd., Sorel-Tracy, Quebec
Laid down: 17 April 1940
Launched: 12 September 1940
Commissioned: 23 January 1941
Out of service: 15 May 1941
Identification: Pennant number: K182
Fate: Loaned to Canada 1941; Returned on 22 June 1945; scrapped November 1950.
Career (Canada)
Name: Bittersweet
Operator: Royal Canadian Navy
Acquired: loaned from Royal Navy
Commissioned: 15 May 1941
Out of service: 22 June 1945
Identification: Pennant number: K182
Fate: returned to Royal Navy
General characteristics
Class & type: Flower-class corvette (original)[1]
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 Bittersweet was a Flower-class corvette that was commissioned in the Royal Navy but served primarily in the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War. She was used mainly in the Battle of the Atlantic as an ocean escort. She was named for flowering vines Solanum dulcamara and Celastrus scandens.

Background[edit]

Main article: Flower class corvette

Flower-class corvettes like Bittersweet serving with the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War were different from earlier and more traditional sail-driven corvettes.[2][3][4] The "corvette" designation was created by the French for a class of small warships; the Royal Navy borrowed the term for a period but discontinued its use in 1877.[5] 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.[6] The generic name "flower" was used to designate the class of these ships, which – in the Royal Navy – were named after flowering plants.[7]

Construction[edit]

Bittersweet was ordered on 22 January 1940 for the Royal Navy in the 1939-1940 Flower-class building program from Marine Industries Ltd. in Sorel, Quebec. She was laid down on 17 April 1940 and launched on 12 September 1940. She was commissioned on 23 January 1941 into the Royal Navy. On 15 May 1941 she was one of ten Flower-class corvettes transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy. She could be told apart from other Canadian Flowers by her lack of minesweeping gear and the siting of the after gun tub amidships.[8] Bittersweet had three refits in her career. Her first one was at Charleston in December 1941 which lasted until February 1942. Her second refit was at Baltimore in October to November 1943 where she had her fo'c'sle extended. The last refit took place at Pictou, Nova Scotia and lasted until February 1945.[9]

War Service[edit]

Bittersweet, after commissioning, headed back to the United Kingdom, fitting out on the Tyne and working up at Tobermory. On the 15 May 1941 she was loaned to Canada and was assigned to the Newfoundland Escort Force (NEF) in June. She served as an ocean escort until December of that year. In March 1942 after resuming her duties she joined several escort groups as part of Mid-Ocean Escort Force and served with them until October 1943 before departing for another refit. Her last ocean convoy escort duty took place in October 1944.

After another refit, Bittersweet resumed duties her duties briefly with Halifax Force before transferring to Sydney Force. She remained with Sydney Force for the remainder of the war.[9]

Trans-Atlantic convoys escorted[edit]

Convoy Escort Group Dates Notes
HX 140 22 July-2 Aug 1941[10] Newfoundland to Iceland
ON 4 11-18 Aug 1941[11] Iceland to Newfoundland
HX 148 7-10 Sept 1941[10] Newfoundland to Iceland
SC 45 21-30 Sept 1941[12] Newfoundland to Iceland
ON 21 5-11 Oct 1941[11] Iceland to Newfoundland
SC 50 19-31 Oct 1941[12] Newfoundland to Iceland
ON 32 6-14 Nov 1941[11] Iceland to Newfoundland
SC 56 24 Nov-6 Dec 1941[12] Newfoundland to Iceland
HX 178 3-6 March 1942[10] Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ON 79 24 March-3 April 1942[11] Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
HX 185 MOEF group A3 18-26 April 1942[10] Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ON 92 MOEF group A3 7-18 May 1942[11] Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
SC 85 MOEF group C4 31 May-2 June 1942[12] Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ON 102 MOEF group A3 21-25 June 1942[11] Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
HX 196 MOEF group A3 2-10 July 1942[10] Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ON 114 MOEF group A3 20-30 July 1942[11] Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
SC 95 MOEF group A3 8-18 Aug 1942[12] Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ON 125 MOEF group A3 29 Aug-7 Sept 1942[11] Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
SC 100 MOEF group A3 16-28 Sept 1942[12] Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ON 135 MOEF group A3 3-15 Oct 1942[11] Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
HX 212 MOEF group A3 5-14 Jan 1943[10] Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ON 163 MOEF group C3 25 Jan-6 Feb 1943[11] Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
HX 226 MOEF group C3 14-23 Feb 1943[10] Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ON 172 MOEF group C3 10-21 March 1943[11] Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
SC 124 MOEF group C3 28 March-8 April 1943[12] Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ON 180 MOEF group C3 25 April-7 May 1943[11] Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
HX 238 MOEF group C3 13-21 May 1943[10] Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ON 187 2-10 June 1943[11] Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
HX 244 20-29 June 1943[10] Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ON 192 10-18 July 1943[11] Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
HX 249 29 July-5 Aug 1943[10] Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ONS 16 21-29 Aug 1943[11] Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
SC 150 3-14 Jan 1944[12] Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ONS 32 22 Jan-11 Feb 1944[11] Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
HX 279 17-28 Feb 1944[10] Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ON 227 9-17 March 1944[11] Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
HX 284 26 March-5 April 1944[10] Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ON 232 14-23 April 1944[11] Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
HX 289 3-13 May 1944[10] Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ON 237 20-29 May 1944[11] Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
HX 294 9-19 June 1944[10] Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ON 242 25 June-5 July 1944[11] Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
HX 299 16-23 July 1944[10] Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ON 247 3-10 Aug 1944[11] Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
HX 304 23 Aug-1 Sept 1944[10] Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ON 253 14-25 Sept 1944[11] Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
HX 311 3-12 Oct 1944[10] Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ON 262 26 Oct-7 Nov 1944[11] Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
ON 298 WLEF 3-5 May 1945[11] Newfoundland to Halifax
ON 299 WLEF 9-10 May 1945[11] Newfoundland to Halifax
ON 300 WLEF 14-15 May 1945[11] Newfoundland to Halifax

Post-war service[edit]

Bittersweet was returned to the Royal Navy on 22 June 1945 at Aberdeen, Scotland. She was broken up at Rosyth in 1950.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lenton, H.T.; Colledge, J.J (1968). British and Dominion Warships of World War II. Doubleday & Company. pp. 201, 214. 
  2. ^ Ossian, Robert,"Complete List of Sailing Vessels", www.thepirateking.com, Retrieved 13 April 2011.
  3. ^ Fitzsimons, Bernard, ed. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of 20th Century Weapons & Warfare (London: Phoebus, 1978), Volume 11, pp.1137–1142.
  4. ^ Jane's Fighting Ships of World War II, New Jersey: Random House, 1996, ISBN 0-517-67963-9, page 68.
  5. ^ Blake, Nicholas and Lawrence, Richard, The Illustrated Companion to Nelson's Navy, Stackpole Books, 2005, pp 39-63. ISBN 0-8117-3275-4
  6. ^ Chesneau, Roger and Gardiner, Robert, Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships (1922-1946), US Naval Institute Press (June 1980), p. 62 ISBN 0-87021-913-8
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ Macpherson, Ken; Milner, Marc (1993). Corvettes of the Royal Canadian Navy 1939-1945. St. Catharines: Vanwell Publishing. ISBN 0-92027-783-7. 
  9. ^ a b c Macpherson, Ken; Burgess, John (1981). The ships of Canada's naval forces 1910-1981 : a complete pictorial history of Canadian warships. Toronto: Collins. p. 71. ISBN 0-00216-856-1. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q "HX convoys". Andrew Hague Convoy Database. Retrieved 2011-06-19. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z "ON convoys". Andrew Hague Convoy Database. Retrieved 2011-06-19. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h "SC convoys". Andrew Hague Convoy Database. Retrieved 2011-06-19. 

External links[edit]