HMCS Fort Erie (K670)

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Career (Canada)
Name: Fort Erie
Namesake: Fort Erie, Ontario
Operator: Royal Canadian Navy
Ordered: June 1942
Builder: Davie Shipbuilding & Repairing Co. Ltd., Lauzon
Laid down: 3 November 1943
Launched: 27 May 1944
Commissioned: 27 October 1944
Decommissioned: 22 November 1945
Identification: pennant number: K670
Recommissioned: 17 April 1956
Decommissioned: 26 March 1965
Reclassified: Prestonian-class frigate
Identification: pennant number: FFE 312
Fate: sold for scrap, broken up La Spezia, Italy 1966
Notes: Colours:Red and Black
Badge: Blazon Argent, out of a mural crown sable, a demi cat rampant guardant gules armed azure, collared and chained or, holding erect a trident azure, the base end resting on the mural crown.
General characteristics
Class & type: River-class frigate
Displacement: 1,445 long tons (1,468 t; 1,618 short tons)
2,110 long tons (2,140 t; 2,360 short tons) (deep load)
Length: 283 ft (86.26 m) p/p
301.25 ft (91.82 m)o/a
Beam: 36.5 ft (11.13 m)
Draught: 9 ft (2.74 m); 13 ft (3.96 m) (deep load)
Propulsion: 2 × Admiralty 3-drum boilers, 2 shafts, reciprocating vertical triple expansion, 5,500 ihp (4,100 kW)
Speed: 20 knots (37.0 km/h)
20.5 knots (38.0 km/h) (turbine ships)
Range: 646 long tons (656 t; 724 short tons) oil fuel; 7,500 nautical miles (13,890 km) at 15 knots (27.8 km/h)
Complement: 157
Armament:

2 × QF 4 in (102 mm) /45 Mk. XVI on twin mount HA/LA Mk.XIX
1 × QF 12 pdr (3 in / 76 mm) 12 cwt /50 Mk. V on mounting HA/LA Mk.IX (not all ships)
8 × 20 mm QF Oerlikon A/A on twin mounts Mk.V
1 × Hedgehog 24 spigot A/S projector

up to 150 depth charges

HMCS Fort Erie was a River-class frigate that served in the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War and as a Prestonian-class frigate from 1956-1965. She was named for Fort Erie, Ontario.

Fort Erie was ordered in June 1942 as part of the 1943-1944 building program.[1][2] She was laid down as HMCS La Tuque on 3 November 1943 by Davie Shipbuilding & Repairing Co. Ltd. at Lauzon and launched 27 May 1944.[3][2] Her name was changed and she was commissioned as Fort Erie at Quebec City on 27 October 1944 with the pennant K670.[1]

Background[edit]

Main article: River-class frigate

The River-class frigate was designed by William Reed of Smith's Dock Company of South Bank-on-Tees. Originally called a "twin-screw corvette", its purpose was to improve on the convoy escort classes in service with the Royal Navy at the time, including the Flower-class corvette. The first orders were placed by the Royal Navy in 1940 and the vessels were named for rivers in the United Kingdom, giving name to the class. In Canada they were named for towns and cities though they kept the same designation.[4] The name "frigate" was suggested by Vice-Admiral Percy Nelles of the Royal Canadian Navy and was adopted later that year.[5]

Improvements over the corvette design included improved accommodation which was markedly better. The twin engines gave only three more knots of speed but extended the range of the ship to nearly double that of a corvette at 7,200 nautical miles (13,300 km) at 12 knots.[5] Among other lessons applied to the design was an armament package better designed to combat U-boats including a twin 4-inch mount forward and 12-pounder aft.[4] 15 Canadian frigates were initially fitted with a single 4-inch gun forward but with the exception of the HMCS Valleyfield, they were all eventually upgraded to the double mount.[5] For underwater targets, the River-class frigate was equipped with a Hedgehog anti-submarine mortar and depth charge rails aft and four side-mounted throwers.[4]

River-class frigates were the first Royal Canadian Navy warships to carry the 147B Sword horizontal fan echo sonar transmitter in addition to the irregular ASDIC. This allowed the ship to maintain contact with targets even while firing unless a target was struck. Improved radar and direction-finding equipment improved the RCN's ability to find and track enemy submarines over the previous classes.[4]

Canada originally ordered the construction of 33 frigates in October 1941.[5][4] The design was too big for the shipyards on the Great Lakes so all the frigates built in Canada were built in dockyards along the west coast or along the St. Lawrence River.[5] In all Canada ordered the construction of 60 frigates including ten for the Royal Navy that transferred two to the United States Navy.[4]

War Service[edit]

After working up in Bermuda, Fort Erie was assigned to escort group EG 28 which operated out of Halifax, Nova Scotia, a support group that would aid any convoy under attack. She remained with that unit for the entire war. On 2 June 1945, Fort Erie began a tropicalization refit in preparation for service in the Pacific Ocean. However, in August 1945, that was cancelled and she was paid off into the reserve 22 November, and laid up at Shelburne, Nova Scotia.[1]

Postwar Service[edit]

In 1946, she was sold to Marine Industries Ltd.[1] Fort Erie was among the River-class frigates reacquired by the RCN when the need for more anti-submarine forces were required for combating the increased Soviet submarine threat.[6] She underwent conversion to a Prestonian-class frigate from 1953-1955 and was recommissioned with pennant 312 on 17 April 1956. She served primarily as a training ship until 26 March 1965, when she was paid off.[1] She was sold for scrap and broken up at La Spezia, Italy, in 1966.[3][1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ a b c d e f Macpherson, Ken; Burgess, John (1981). The ships of Canada's naval forces 1910-1981 : a complete pictorial history of Canadian warships. Toronto: Collins. ISBN 0-00216-856-1. 
  2. ^ a b "HMCS Fort Erie (K 670)". Uboat.net. Retrieved 22 March 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Lenton, H.T.; Colledge, J.J. (1968). British and Dominion Warships of World War II. New York: Doubleday and Company Inc. p. 230. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Fact Sheet No. 21 - Canadian River Class Frigates". Retrieved 3 April 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Macpherson, Ken (1989). Frigates of the Royal Canadian Navy 1943-1974. Lewiston, New York: Vanwell Publishing. p. 6-7, 15. ISBN 0920277225. 
  6. ^ German, Tony (1990). The Sea is at Our Gates: A History of the Canadian Navy. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart Limited. p. 233. ISBN 0771032692. 
References
  • Macpherson, Ken; Burgess, John (1981). The ships of Canada's naval forces 1910-1981 : a complete pictorial history of Canadian warships. Toronto: Collins. ISBN 0-00216-856-1.