HMCS Buctouche

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HMCS Buctouche K179 O-741-31.jpg
HMCS Buctouche, circa 1944-1945
Name: Buctouche
Namesake: Bouctouche, New Brunswick
Ordered: 22 January 1940
Builder: Davie Shipbuilding & Repairing Co. Ltd., Lauzon
Laid down: 14 August 1940
Launched: 20 November 1940
Commissioned: 5 June 1941
Out of service: paid off 15 June 1945
Identification: Pennant number: K179
Honours and
Atlantic 1941-45[1]
Fate: Sold on 23 Oct 1945. Scrapped in 1949 at Hamilton.
General characteristics
Class and type: Flower-class corvette (original)
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)
  • 1 × shaft
  • 2 × firetube 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 × SW1 Cor 2C radar
  • 1 × Type 123A or Type 127DV sonar

HMCS Buctouche was a Flower-class corvette that served in the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) during the Second World War. She served primarily in the Battle of the Atlantic as a convoy escort. She was named for Bouctouche, New Brunswick.


Flower-class corvettes like Buctouche 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 as 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]

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.[8]


Originally named Bathurst, but due to conflict with a Royal Navy vessel her named was changed to Buctouche.[8] She was ordered on 22 January 1940 from Davie Shipbuilding & Repairing Co. Ltd., Lauzon, Quebec as part of the 1939–1940 Flower-class building program. She was laid down on 14 August 1940 and was launched on 20 November that year. Buctouche was commissioned into the RCN on 5 June 1941. In October 1943, Buctouche was sent for a four-month refit where her forecastle was extended at Saint John Dry Dock & Shipbuilding Ltd. on 29 January 1944.[9][10]

Service history[edit]

After working up, Buctouche joined the Newfoundland Escort Force in July 1941. She escorted convoys from St. John's to Iceland from August 1941 to January 1942.[10] During that time under Lt. W.W. Hackney, RCNR she rescued 43 survivors from the British merchant ship Empire Gemsbuck that was torpedoed and sunk on 3 November 1941 by U-203 northeast of Cape Charles, Labrador at 52-18N, 53-05W.[9]

In June 1942 Buctouche transferred to the Western Local Escort Force (WLEF). This posting was permanent until the end of the war, with the exception of two months in the summer of 1944 where she was assigned to Quebec Force.[10] On 7 July 1942, Buctouche under Skr. Lt. G.N. Downey, RCNR, rescued 15 survivors from the Norwegian merchant ship Moldanger that was torpedoed and sunk by U-404 on 27 June at 30-03N, 70-52W.[9] In June 1943 she was assigned to WLEF escort group W-1.[10]

Following the war, Buctouche was paid off on 23 October 1945. She was sold for scrap and broken up in 1949 at Hamilton.[10]


Unofficial badge of HMCS Buctouche.
Gunshield art showing HMCS Buctouche's unofficial badge.

While under the command of Skr. Lt. G.N. Downey, RCNR, Buctouche appeared in a feature-length Hollywood war movie titled CORVETTE K225, starring Randolph Scott as the commanding officer. She was only filmed from her starboard side, which carried the K225 pennant number for the movie. Her port side carried her actual number K179 as she was still an active-duty warship.[citation needed]

The ship's badge depicted Adolf Hitler being tossed off a bucking bronco, a play being made both on the name "Buctouche" and the rolling pitching motion which Flower-class corvettes were renowned for.


  1. ^ "Battle Honors - Atlantic 1939-1945". Britain's Navy. Retrieved 4 August 2013.
  2. ^ Ossian, Robert. "Complete List of Sailing Vessels". The Pirate King. Retrieved 13 April 2011.
  3. ^ Fitzsimons, Bernard, ed. (1978). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of 20th Century Weapons & Warfare. 11. London: Phoebus. pp. 1137–1142.
  4. ^ Jane's Fighting Ships of World War II. New Jersey: Random House. 1996. p. 68. ISBN 0-517-67963-9.
  5. ^ Blake, Nicholas; Lawrence, Richard (2005). The Illustrated Companion to Nelson's Navy. Stackpole Books. pp. 39–63. ISBN 0-8117-3275-4.
  6. ^ 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.
  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. ^ a b Macpherson, Ken; Milner, Marc (1993). Corvettes of the Royal Canadian Navy 1939-1945. St. Catherines: Vanwell Publishing. p. 117. ISBN 1-55125-052-7.
  9. ^ a b c "HMCS Buctouche (K179)". Retrieved 4 August 2013.
  10. ^ 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. 72. ISBN 0-00216-856-1.

External links[edit]