HMCS Chambly (K116)

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HMCS Chambly in as-built condition, circa 1941.
HMCS Chambly in as-built condition, circa 1941. Note that the ship is still fitted with minesweeping gear, and that no armament has yet been installed in the "bandstand" aft of the engine room.
Career (Canada)
Name: Chambly
Namesake: Chambly, Quebec
Operator: Royal Canadian Navy
Ordered: 20 January 1940
Builder: Canadian Vickers Ltd., Montreal, Quebec
Laid down: 20 February 1940
Launched: 29 July 1940
Commissioned: 18 December 1940
Decommissioned: 20 June 1945
Identification: pennant number: K116
Honours and
awards:
Atlantic 1941-45[1]
Fate: sold for civilian use as Sonia Vinke in 1952 and scrapped in 1966.
General characteristics
Class and 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 Chambly was a Flower-class corvette serving in the Royal Canadian Navy. She was ordered from Canadian Vickers Ltd. in Montreal, laid down on 20 February 1940, launched on 29 July, and commissioned on 18 December 1940, named after the city of Chambly, Quebec. Chambly escorted trade convoys between Halifax Harbour and the Western Approaches through the battle of the Atlantic and, together with HMCS Moose Jaw, achieved the RCN's first U-boat kill of the war.

Background[edit]

Main article: Flower class corvette

Flower-class corvettes like Chambly 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]

War service[edit]

Chambly was one of the first three Royal Canadian Navy corvettes available for Atlantic service when the St. Lawrence River froze in late 1940. Her commanding officer, Commander James D. Prentice, RCN, was designated Senior Officer, Canadian corvettes, and was responsible for organizing operational training of the remaining corvettes as they were completed and commissioned through 1942. Commander Prentice's training exercises often took the form of a support group able to reinforce the escort of convoys coming under attack.

In May 1941 she took part in the Canadian Navy's secret trials of Diffused lighting camouflage, a technology for concealing ships from submarines at night.[10]

On 23 June 1941, Chambly participated in defense of convoy HX 133, during the first battle of the Newfoundland Escort Force. A similar training exercise in September produced the first Canadian U-boat sinking when U-501 was destroyed during the battle for convoy SC 42. Chambly received the prototype Canadian 1.5-meter wavelength radar installation on 12 May 1941, and performed the testing resulting in widespread availability of production SW1C sets to escorts in 1942.[8]

Commander Prentice in Chambly became the senior officer of Mid-Ocean Escort Force (MOEF) group C1 in August 1942 and remained in that position until assigned to Admiral Leonard W. Murray's staff when Chambly commenced yard overhaul in November. Following overhaul, Chambly participated in the battles for convoy KMS 11G and convoy MKS 10 with MOEF group C2 before assignment to Support Group 9. With Support Group 9, she narrowly avoided destruction when an acoustic torpedo exploded in the propeller wash of her wake during the battle for convoys ONS 18/ON 202.[8] After another yard overhaul in early 1944, Chambly escorted 16 trans-Atlantic convoys without loss before the end of the war.[11]

Trans-Atlantic convoys escorted[edit]

Convoy Escort Group Dates Notes
SC 99 MOEF group C1 9–19 September 1942[12] 59 ships escorted without loss from Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ON 133 MOEF group C1 26 September-5 October 1942[13] 35 ships escorted without loss from Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
HX 211 MOEF group C1 13–20 October 1942[14] 29 ships escorted without loss from Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ON 143 MOEF group C1 2–11 November 1942[13] 26 ships escorted without loss from Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
KMS 11G MOEF group C2 14–24 March 1943[15] Firth of Clyde to Mediterranean Sea; 1 ship sunk by aircraft
MKS 10 MOEF group C2 27 March-5 April 1943[16] Mediterranean to Liverpool; 1 ship torpedoed & sunk
HX 237 MOEF group C2 7–16 May 1943[14] 46 ships escorted without loss from Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ON 186 25 May-2 June 1943[13] 44 ships escorted without loss from Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
HX 243 12–20 June 1943[14] 76 ships escorted without loss from Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ON 191 2–7 July 1943[13] 60 ships escorted without loss from Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
HX 248 21–28 July 1943[14] 89 ships escorted without loss from Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ON 196 9–16 August 1943[13] 78 ships escorted without loss from Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
Convoys ONS 18/ON 202 Support Group 9 19–25 September 1943[13] Northern Ireland to Newfoundland; 10 ships torpedoed (9 sank)
SC 143 2–11 October 1943[12] Newfoundland to Northern Ireland: 1 ship torpedoed & sunk
ONS 21 23 October-2 November 1943[13] 33 ships escorted without loss from Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
HX 291 15–27 May 1944[14] 99 ships escorted without loss from Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ON 239 4–15 June 1944[13] 97 ships escorted without loss from Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
HX 296 24 June-2 July 1944[14] 91 ships escorted without loss from Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ON 244 11–18 July 1944[13] 56 ships escorted without loss from Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
HX 301 30 July-8 August 1944[14] 130 ships escorted without loss from Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ON 249 19–28 August 1944[13] 153 ships escorted without loss from Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
HX 306 6–17 September 1944[14] 120 ships escorted without loss from Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ONS 33 30 September-10 October 1944[13] 51 ships escorted without loss from Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
HX 314 20–29 October 1944[14] 63 ships escorted without loss from Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ON 265 10–19 November 1944[13] 55 ships escorted without loss from Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
HX 322 29 November-7 December 1944[14] 38 ships escorted without loss from Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ON 273 19–30 December 1944[13] 64 ships escorted without loss from Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
HX 330 7–17 January 1945[14] 45 ships escorted without loss from Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ONS 41 30 January-15 February 1945[13] 34 ships escorted without loss from Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
HX 339 23 February-3 March 1945[14] 79 ships escorted without loss from Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ONS 44 12–27 March 1945[13] 21 ships escorted without loss from Northern Ireland to Newfoundland

Post war service[edit]

Chambly was decommissioned at the end of hostilities on 20 June 1945. She was sold as Dutch civilian Sonia Vinke in 1952, and scrapped in 1966.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Battle Honours". Britain's Navy. Retrieved 23 August 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Lenton, H.T.; Colledge, J.J (1968). British and Dominion Warships of World War II. Doubleday & Company. pp. 201, 212. 
  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. ^ a b c 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. ^ "Naval Museum of Quebec". Diffused Lighting and its use in the Chaleur Bay. Royal Canadian Navy. Retrieved 19 January 2012. 
  11. ^ "Convoy Web". Andrew Hague Convoy Database. Retrieved 2011-06-27. 
  12. ^ a b "SC convoys". Andrew Hague Convoy Database. Retrieved 2011-06-19. 
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "ON convoys". Andrew Hague Convoy Database. Retrieved 2011-06-19. 
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "HX convoys". Andrew Hague Convoy Database. Retrieved 2011-06-19. 
  15. ^ "KMS convoys". Andrew Hague Convoy Database. Retrieved 2011-07-10. 
  16. ^ "MKS convoys". Andrew Hague Convoy Database. Retrieved 2011-07-10. 

External links[edit]