HMCS Eyebright

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HMCS Eyebright MC-2317.jpg
HMCS Eyebright, between 1943-1945.
United Kingdom
Name: Eyebright
Namesake: Euphrasia
Ordered: 20 January 1940
Builder: Canadian Vickers Ltd., Montreal
Laid down: 20 February 1940
Launched: 22 July 1940
Commissioned: 26 November 1940
Out of service: 15 May 1941 - loaned to Canada
Identification: Pennant number: K150
Fate: Loaned to Canada 1941; returned 1945; sold 1947
Name: Eyebright
Acquired: loaned from Royal Navy
Commissioned: 15 May 1941
Out of service: 17 June 1945
Identification: Pennant number: K150
Fate: Returned to the Royal Navy 17 June 1945.
General characteristics
Class and type: Flower-class corvette (original)[1]
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)
  • 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

HMCS Eyebright was a Flower-class corvette that served mainly with the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War in the Battle of the Atlantic. She was named after the medicinal flowering plant genus Euphrasia.[1]


Flower-class corvettes like Eyebright 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 for classes 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]


She was ordered for the Royal Navy (RN) as HMS Eyebright as part of the 1939-1940 Flower-class building program. She was laid down by Canadian Vickers Ltd. in Montreal, Quebec on 20 February 1940 and launched on 22 July 1940.[8] Eyebright was commissioned into the RN on 26 November 1940 in Montreal. She was towed to Halifax and was finished enough to make an ocean crossing, which she did in January 1941 with HX 104. However she was not completed until 16 April 1941 after she had arrived at Sunderland in the United Kingdom.[9] On the 15 May 1941 Eyebright 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.[10]

Eyebright underwent two major refits during her career. Beginning in November 1941, Eyebright refitted in Charlottetown. The refit took two months to complete. The second refit took place in Baltimore, beginning in July 1943 and taking two months to complete.[9]

War service[edit]

Royal Navy[edit]

After completing Eyebright was sent to work up at Tobermory, where the escort training facilities were located. Once those were finished she was assigned to the RN escort group EG-4 based in Iceland in May 1941.[9]

Royal Canadian Navy[edit]

HMCS Eyebright tied to dock wall.

Eyebright was loaned to the Royal Canadian Navy in May 1941. Upon arrival, she was assigned to Newfoundland Command as an ocean escort. There she was placed in the escort group 18N and then beginning in October 1941, group N16. In December 1941 she left for a two-month refit returning in January to serve briefly with escort groups N14 and N13.[9] Eyebright participated in the battle for convoy SC 44 in September 1941. It was to be the only convoy she escorted to lose ships to submarine torpedoes.[11]

Eyebright served with Mid-Ocean Escort Force (MOEF) groups C1, C3 and C4 from April 1942 through to November 1944. After returning from her second refit, Eyebright transferred to the Western Local Escort Force (WLEF) in November 1944 as part of escort group W-3. She stayed with that group until the end of the war with two exceptions, one trip with MOEF group C-5 and escorting the last HX convoy of the war to the United Kingdom.[9][11]

Trans-Atlantic convoys escorted[edit]

Post-war service[edit]

On 17 July 1945 she was returned to the Royal Navy. Laid up, she was and sold for civilian use in 1947 and converted into the Dutch whale-catcher Albert W. Vinke of 717 GRT in 1950.[1][15] Albert W. Vinke last appeared on Lloyd's Register in 1964-65.[9] The ship was broken up by South African Metal & Machinery Pty Ltd in Cape Town in February 1965.[15]


  1. ^ a b c Lenton, H.T.; Colledge, J.J (1968). British and Dominion Warships of World War II. Doubleday & Company. pp. 201, 212. 
  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. ^ "HMCS Eyebright (K 150)". Retrieved 10 August 2013. 
  9. ^ 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. p. 76. ISBN 0-00216-856-1. 
  10. ^ Macpherson, Ken; Milner, Marc (1993). Corvettes of the Royal Canadian Navy 1939-1945. St. Catharines: Vanwell Publishing. ISBN 1-55125-052-7. 
  11. ^ a b "Convoy Web". Andrew Hague Convoy Database. Retrieved 2011-06-27. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s "HX 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 p q r s t u v "ON convoys". Andrew Hague Convoy Database. Retrieved 2011-06-19. 
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "SC convoys". Andrew Hague Convoy Database. Retrieved 2011-06-19. 
  15. ^ a b "Eyebright (5008617)"Paid subscription required. Miramar Ship Index. Retrieved 13 July 2016. 

External links[edit]