HMCS Esquimalt (J272)

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HMCS Esquimalt
Career (Canada)
Name: Esquimalt
Namesake: Township of Esquimalt
Builder: Marine Industries Ltd., Sorel
Laid down: 20 December 1940
Launched: 8 August 1941
Commissioned: 26 October 1942
Out of service: 16 April 1945
Identification: pennant number: J272
Honours and
Atlantic 1943-44,[1] Gulf of St. Lawrence 1942.[2]
Fate: Sunk 16 April 1945
General characteristics
Class and type: Bangor-class minesweeper
Displacement: 592 tons
Length: 162 ft (49 m)
Beam: 28 ft (8.5 m)
Draught: 8.3 ft (2.5 m)
Propulsion: Twin shaft, 2 9-cyl H&W diesel engines, 2,400 bhp (1,800 kW)
Speed: 16 knots (30 km/h)
Complement: 71
Armament: 1 × QF 12-pounder (3 inch (76 mm)) gun

1 × QF 2-pounder (40 mm) guns
2 × QF 20 mm Oerlikon guns

2 × Mk.II DC throwers, 4 × DC rails, 40 depth charges

HMCS Esquimalt was a Bangor-class minesweeper that served in the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War. She saw service in the Battle of the Atlantic and in the Battle of the St. Lawrence. She was sunk in 1945, the last Canadian warship to suffer that fate. She was named for Esquimalt, British Columbia.

Esquimalt was laid down on 20 December 1940 by Marine Industries Ltd. at Sorel, Quebec and launched 8 August 1941.[3] She was commissioned into the Royal Canadian Navy on 26 October 1942 at Sorel.[4]

Service history[edit]

After arriving at Halifax in November 1942, Esquimalt required constant attention by the dockyard as the vessel had a series of mechanical problems, undergoing two periods of repair in March and May 1943. She was then assigned to Newfoundland Force for local patrol duties. In September 1944 she transferred to the Halifax Local Defence Force.[4]

Late that month, Esquimalt underwent a three-month refit at Halifax. She returned to duty with the Halifax Local Defense Force and remained with them until 16 April 1945. On that day, she was torpedoed and sunk off Chebucto Head, Nova Scotia by U-190, becoming the last Canadian warship lost to enemy action in the war.[5]

Last patrol[edit]

HMCS Esquimalt memorial plaque CFB Halifax

On the evening of 15 April 1945, Esquimalt sailed from Halifax to go on an anti-submarine patrol in the harbour approaches and then to rendezvous with HMCS Sarnia. In the early morning of 16 April she was fired upon by U-190, a German U Boat that had been operating around Halifax since early April. U-190's torpedo struck Esquimalt‍ '​s starboard side with the explosion knocking out the onboard power instantly, preventing any distress signal being sent. She started to list heavily to starboard pushing the lifeboat under water, but the crew managed to get four Carley floats clear of the ship. Esquimalt sank in less than five minutes. Because of the lack of distress calls or signals from Esquimalt, and the unfortunate timing of the attack itself, any rescue effort was substantially delayed which resulted in many men losing their lives to exposure. The crew was adrift on the carley floats in frigid waters with only light clothing for about six hours. Forty four men died as a result of the attack and the exposure that followed.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Battle Honours". Britain's Navy. Retrieved 18 September 2013. 
  2. ^ "Battle Honours 2". Veterans Affairs Canada. Retrieved 18 September 2013. 
  3. ^ "HMCS Esquimalt (J272)". Retrieved 30 May 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Macpherson, Ken; Burgess, John (1981). The ships of Canada's naval forces 1910-1981 : a complete pictorial history of Canadian warships. Toronto: Collins. ISBN 0-00216-856-1. 
  5. ^ a b Fisher, Robert C. (2011). "Within Sight of Shore - The Sinking of HMCS Esquimalt". CFB Esquimalt Naval & Military Museum. Retrieved 30 May 2014. 

Coordinates: 44°28′N 63°10′W / 44.467°N 63.167°W / 44.467; -63.167