HMCS Mayflower (K191)

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HMCS Mayflower, circa 1942.
HMCS Mayflower, circa 1942.
Career (United Kingdom)
Name: Mayflower
Namesake: Maianthemum canadense
Operator: Royal Navy
Ordered: 20 January 1940
Builder: Canadian Vickers Ltd. Montreal, Quebec
Laid down: 20 February 1940
Launched: 3 July 1940
Commissioned: 28 November 1940
Out of service: 15 May 1941 - loaned to Canada
Identification: Pennant number: K191
Fate: Loaned to Canada 1941; returned 1945; scrapped 1949
Career (Canada)
Name: Mayflower
Operator: Royal Canadian Navy
Acquired: loaned from Royal Navy
Commissioned: 15 May 1941
Out of service: 31 May 1945
Identification: Pennant number: K191
Honours and
awards:
Atlantic 1941-43; Normandy 1944; English Channel 1945[1]
Fate: Returned to the Royal Navy 31 May 1945
General characteristics
Class & type: Flower-class corvette (original)[2]
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 Mayflower was a Flower-class corvette that served mainly in the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War but began her service with the Royal Navy. She saw action primarily in the Battle of the Atlantic as an ocean escort. She was named after the flowering plant Maianthemum canadense.

Background[edit]

Main article: Flower class corvette

Flower-class corvettes like Mayflower 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]

Construction[edit]

Mayflower was ordered 20 January 1940 for the Royal Navy as part of the 1939-1940 Flower-class building program. She was laid down on 20 February 1940 by Canadian Vickers Ltd. at Montreal and was launched on 3 July 1940.[9] She was commissioned on 28 November 1940 and sailed to the United Kingdom in February 1941 for completion on the Tyne River in May.[10] On the 15 May 1941 Mayflower was one of ten corvettes loaned to Canada. She could be told apart from other Canadian Flowers by her lack of minesweeping gear and the siting of the after gun tub amidships.[11]

During her career, Mayflower had three significant refits. The first took place at Charleston, South Carolina from 9 December 1941 until February 1942. Her second major refit took place from 29 October 1942 until 11 January 1943 at Pictou, Nova Scotia. Mayflower '​s final refit was done at Norfolk, Virginia from 29 November 1943 to 14 February 1944. During this refit, she had her fo'c'sle extended.[10]

War Service[edit]

Royal Navy[edit]

After workups, Mayflower had a brief period under Royal Navy command. She was assigned to escort group EG 4 before being transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy.[10]

Royal Canadian Navy[edit]

After her transferal, Mayflower was assigned to Newfoundland Command in June 1941. With this force, she escorted convoys from St. John's to Iceland for the rest of the year with escort groups 19N and N16.[10] In her first month with the group, she was escorting convoy SC 44 when one of the other escorts, HMCS Levis was torpedoed. Mayflower evacuated all non-essential personnel from the derelict ship except for the damage-control party.[12] On 2 October 1941, Mayflower picked up 35 survivors from the British tanker San Florentino that was torpedoed and sunk by U-94.[9]

After returning from refit in early 1942, she was deployed as an ocean escort under Mid-Ocean Escort Force (MOEF) command on convoys between St. John's and Londonderry. She continued performing this duty until April 1944. Mayflower was initially assigned to escort group A-3 in April 1942, but was transferred to C-3 in February 1943.[10]

In April 1944 she was assigned to Western Approaches Command to take part in Operation Neptune, the naval aspect of the invasion of Normandy. On 31 May 1944, she set out to escort the blockships from Oban, which would become part of the beachhead after D-day. After the invasion, Mayflower spent the rest of the war in the waters around the United Kingdom. She was returned to the Royal Navy 31 May 1945.

Trans-Atlantic convoys escorted[edit]

Convoy Escort Group Dates Notes
HX 136 30 June-13 July 1941[13] Newfoundland to Iceland
HX 143 8-17 Aug 1941[13] Newfoundland to Iceland
ON 8 21-25 Aug 1941[14] Iceland to Newfoundland
SC 44 14-22 Sept 1941[15] Newfoundland to Iceland
ON 19 27 Sept-6 Oct 1941[14] Iceland to Newfoundland
SC 49 13-22 Oct 1941[15] Newfoundland to Iceland
ON 29 28 Oct-11 Nov 1941[14] Iceland to Newfoundland
SC 55 19 Nov-1 Dec 1941[15] Newfoundland to Iceland
ON 42 7-14 Dec 1941[14] Iceland to Newfoundland
SC 71 22-25 Feb 1942[15] Newfoundland to Iceland
HX 177 1-8 March 1942[13] Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ON 77 18-25 March 1942[14] Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
HX 184 12-20 April 1942[13] Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ON 91 2-11 May 1942[14] Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
HX 190 MOEF group A3 20-27 May 1942[13] Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ON 102 MOEF group A3 10-21 June 1942[14] Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
HX 196 MOEF group A3 2-10 July 1942[13] Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ON 114 MOEF group A3 20-30 July 1942[14] Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
SC 95 MOEF group A3 8-18 Aug 1942[15] Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ON 125 MOEF group A3 29 Aug-7 Sept 1942[14] Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
SC 100 MOEF group A3 16-28 Sept 1942[15] Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ON 135 MOEF group A3 3-15 Oct 1942[14] Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
Convoy SC 118 WLEF 27-31 Jan 1943[15] Halifax to Newfoundland
HX 226 MOEF group C3 14-17 Feb 1943[13] Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ON 172 MOEF group C3 10-21 March 1943[14] Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
SC 124 MOEF group C3 26 March-6 April 1943[15] Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ON 180 MOEF group C3 25 April-7 May 1943[14] Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
HX 238 MOEF group C3 13-21 May 1943[13] Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ON 187 2-10 June 1943[14] Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
HX 244 20-29 June 1943[13] Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ON 192 10-18 July 1943[14] Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
ONS 16 21-29 Aug 1943[14] Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
HX 255 8-15 Sept 1943[13] Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ONS 19 27 Sept-9 Oct 1943[14] Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
HX 261 17-25 Oct 1943[13] Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ON 210 7-17 Nov 1943[14] Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
ONS 22 WLEF 22 Nov 1943[14] Newfoundland to Halifax
ON 211 WLEF 26-29 Nov 1943[14] Newfoundland to Halifax

Post-war Career[edit]

After her return to the Royal Navy, Mayflower was laid up at Grangemouth. She was sold for scrapping and broken up at Inverkeithing in 1949.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Battle Honours". Britain's Navy. Retrieved 18 August 2013. 
  2. ^ 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. p. 184. ISBN 978-1-86176-281-8. OCLC 67375475. 
  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 "HMCS Mayflower (K 191)". Uboat.net. Retrieved 18 August 2013. 
  10. ^ 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. pp. 80, 231–232. ISBN 0-00216-856-1. 
  11. ^ Macpherson, Ken; Milner, Marc (1993). Corvettes of the Royal Canadian Navy 1939-1945. St. Catharines: Vanwell Publishing. ISBN 0-92027-783-7. 
  12. ^ German, Tony (1990). The Sea is at our Gates : The History of the Canadian Navy. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart Inc. p. 108. ISBN 0-7710-3269-2. 
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "HX convoys". Andrew Hague Convoy Database. Retrieved 2011-06-19. 
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s "ON convoys". Andrew Hague Convoy Database. Retrieved 2011-06-19. 
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h "SC convoys". Andrew Hague Convoy Database. Retrieved 2011-06-19. 

External links[edit]