HMCS Amherst

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HMCS Amherst.jpg
HMCS Amherst
Name: Amherst
Namesake: Amherst, Nova Scotia
Ordered: 24 January 1940
Builder: Saint John Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Co. Ltd., Saint John, New Brunswick
Laid down: 23 May 1940
Launched: 4 December 1940
Commissioned: 5 August 1941
Out of service: paid off 16 July 1945
Identification: Pennant number: K148
Honours and
Atlantic 1941-45,[1] Gulf of St. Lawrence
Fate: sold to Venezuelan navy
Name: Federacion
Acquired: purchased from Royal Canadian Navy
Commissioned: 1946
Out of service: 1956
General characteristics
Class and type: Flower-class corvette[2]
Displacement: 950 long tons (970 t; 1,060 short tons)
Length: 205 ft (62.48 m)
Beam: 33 ft (10.06 m)
Draught: 11.5 ft (3.51 m)

Single shaft; 2 water tube boilers;

1 4-cyl. triple expansion steam engine, 2,750 hp (2,050 kW)
Speed: 16 knots (29.6 km/h)
  • 3,450 nmi (6,390 km; 3,970 mi) at 12 kn (22 km/h; 14 mph)
  • 2,629 nmi (4,869 km; 3,025 mi) at full speed
Complement: 6 officers, 79 men
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • Radar - SW1C or 2C (later)
  • Sonar - Type 123A, later Type 127DV

HMCS Amherst was a Flower-class corvette of the Royal Canadian Navy. She served primarily in the Battle of the Atlantic on convoy protection duty during the Second World War. She was named for Amherst, Nova Scotia. Following the war, the corvette was sold to the Venezuelan Navy and renamed Federacion. The ship was discarded in 1956.


Flower-class corvettes like Amherst serving with the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War were different to 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 and career[edit]

Ordered from Saint John Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. in Saint John, New Brunswick as part of the 1939-1940 Flower-class building program, Amherst was laid down on 23 May 1940 and launched on 3 December later that year. She was commissioned on 5 August 1941 in Saint John.[10] During her service life, her forecastle was extended at Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island on 1 November 1943 during her first refit. She had a second refit in September 1944 at Liverpool, Nova Scotia.[11]

War service[edit]

After her commissioning she was sent on convoy duty from 22 August 1941 until her first refit in November 1943.[11] While escorting convoy SC 107 Amherst engaged several U-boats. During his first encounter the commanding officer, Lieutenant Louis Audette, went up to the crowsnest to direct fire down on the surfaced U-boat. The next night during her attempt to sink another submarine her ASDIC lost power and she lost contact. During the same convoy, a member of the crew earned a British Empire Medal for helping save three stranded crew from a burning vessel.[12] She later joined MOEF Group C-4 as a replacement. After her first refit she was worked up at Pictou, Nova Scotia and returned to the defence of the Atlantic until her second refit in September 1944. After work was completed she was worked up in Bermuda and lent to Escort Group C-7 for one more round trip to the United Kingdom.[11]

Post-war service[edit]

She was paid off on 16 July 1945 at Sydney, Nova Scotia. She was placed in reserve at Sorel, Quebec. She was sold to the Venezuelan navy in 1946 and renamed Federacion. As Federacion she served until 1956. She was then broken up.[11]


  1. ^ "Battle Honours". Britain's Navy. Retrieved 21 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. ^ Macpherson, Ken; Milner, Marc (1993). Corvettes of the Royal Canadian Navy 1939-1945. St. Catherines: Vanwell Publishing. p. 117. ISBN 1-55125-052-7. 
  10. ^ "HMCS Amherst (K 148)". Retrieved 28 July 2013. 
  11. ^ a b c d Macpherson, Ken; Burgess, John (1981). The ships of Canada's naval forces 1910-1981 : a complete pictorial history of Canadian warships. Toronto: Collins. p. 69. ISBN 0-00216-856-1. 
  12. ^ German, Tony (1990). The Sea is at our Gates : The History of the Canadian Navy. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart Inc. pp. 127–128. ISBN 0-7710-3269-2. 

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