HMCS Long Branch (K487)

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HMCS Long Branch.jpg
HMCS Long Branch
Career (Canada)
Name: Long Branch
Namesake: Long Branch, Ontario
Operator: Royal Canadian Navy
Ordered: 25 July 1942
Builder: A. & J. Inglis Ltd., Glasgow
Laid down: 27 February 1943
Launched: 28 September 1943
Commissioned: 5 January 1944
Decommissioned: 17 June 1945
Identification: Pennant number: K487
Honours and
awards:
Atlantic 1944-45[1]
Fate: Sold in 1947 as mercantile Rexton Kent II. Scuttled off Canada's Atlantic coast in 1966.
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: 3,500 nautical miles (6,482 km) at 12 knots (22.2 km/h)
Complement: 90
Sensors and
processing systems:
One Type 271 SW2C radar, one Type 144 sonar
Armament:

1 × 4-inch (100 mm) BL Mk.IX single 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 Long Branch was a modified Flower-class corvette that served in the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War. She was used primarily as a convoy escort in the Battle of the Atlantic. She was laid down as HMS Candytuft but was transferred to the RCN on 5 January 1944 before completion.[2] She was named for Long Branch, Ontario, a village that was eventually amalgamated into Toronto, Ontario.

Background[edit]

Main article: Flower class corvette

Flower-class corvettes like Long Branch 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]

Candytuft was ordered 25 July 1942 as part of the Royal Navy 1942-43 Increased Endurance Flower-class building program. She was laid down 27 February 1943 by A. & J. Inglis Ltd. at Glasgow, Scotland and launched 28 September 1943.[10] As part of an exchange for Algerine-class minesweepers that the RCN intended to use as convoy escorts, the Royal Navy transferred four Flower-class corvettes and twelve Castle-class corvettes to Canada in order to acquire them. Candytuft was transferred on 5 January 1943 and commissioned as HMCS Long Branch into the RCN at Tobermory, Mull. The only significant differences between the RCN and RN 1942-43 Flower classes was a shortened mainmast and varying anti-aircraft armament.[9]

Wartime service[edit]

Upon commissioning to the RCN she was tasked to join Mid-Ocean Escort Force escort group C-5 at Londonderry Port in April 1944 following a one month work up period at Tobermory. C-5 sailed with the convoy ONS 233. Long Branch developed mechanical problems during the crossing and underwent a six week repair at the Newfoundland Drydock upon her arrival at St. John's.[2]

She departed St. John's on 14 June to resume duties but returned for further repairs with the assistance of HM Tug Tenacity. Once repaired, she left St. John's a week later to join convoy HXS 300, the largest convoy of the war.[2]

She continued as an ocean escort until her final departure from Londonderry on 27 January 1945. She arrived at Halifax under the command of A/Lt.Cdr. J.B. O'Brien, RCNVR on 11 February and commenced a refit. In April she was assigned to Halifax for local duties.[2]

Post-war service[edit]

Long Branch was paid off from the RCN on 17 June 1945 at Sorel, Quebec. She was transferred to the War Assets Corporation and sold for commercial use in 1947. She emerged from the conversion as Rexton Kent II, later renamed Rexton Kent.[11] She was scuttled off Nova Scotia in 1966.[2]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Battle Honours". Britain's Navy. Retrieved 5 October 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. p. 104. 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 Macpherson, Ken; Milner, Marc (1993). Corvettes of the Royal Canadian Navy 1939-1945. St. Catharines: Vanwell Publishing. ISBN 1-55125-052-7. 
  10. ^ "HMCS Long Branch (K 487)". Uboat.net. Retrieved 6 October 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]