HMCS Forrest Hill

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HMCS Forrest Hill
Name: HMCS Forrest Hill
Namesake: Forrest Hill, Ontario
Ordered: 22 July 1942
Builder: Ferguson Bros. Ltd., Port Glasgow
Laid down: 5 February 1943
Launched: 30 August 1943
Commissioned: 1 December 1943
Decommissioned: 9 July 1945
Identification: Pennant number: K486
Honours and
Atlantic 1944[1]
General characteristics
Class and type: Flower-class corvette (modified)
Displacement: 1,015 long tons (1,031 t; 1,137 short tons)
Length: 208 ft (63.40 m)o/a
Beam: 33 ft (10.06 m)
Draught: 11 ft (3.35 m)
Propulsion: single shaft, 2 × oil fired water tube boilers, 1 × 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: 90
Sensors and
processing systems:
One Type 271 SW2C radar, one Type 144 sonar

HMCS Forrest Hill was a modified Flower-class corvette that served with the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War. She served primarily as a convoy escort in the Battle of the Atlantic. She was originally laid down by the Royal Navy as the HMS Ceanothos but was never commissioned into the RN, being transferred to the RCN before completion. She is named for Forrest Hill, Ontario, a town that was eventually amalgamated into the larger city Toronto, Ontario.[2]


Flower-class corvettes like Forrest Hill 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]


Ceanothos was ordered 22 July 1942 as part of the Royal Navy 1942–43 Increased Endurance Flower-class building program. She was laid down 5 February 1943 by Ferguson Bros. Ltd. at Port Glasgow, Scotland and launched 30 August 1943.[10] As part of an exchange for Algerine-class minesweepers that the RCN intended to use as convoy escorts, the Royal Navy transferred four Flower-class corvettes and twelve Castle-class corvettes to Canada in order to acquire them. Ceanothos was transferred on 1 December 1943 and commissioned as HMCS Forrest Hill into the RCN on the River Clyde. The only significant differences between the RCN and RN 1942–43 Flower classes was a shortened mainmast and varying anti-aircraft armament.[9]

During her career, Forrest Hill had one significant refit. It took place at Liverpool, Nova Scotia from December 1944 until February 1945.[2]

Service history[edit]

After commissioning, Forrest Hill was sent to work up at Tobermory, the location of the Royal Navy's convoy escort training centre. After working up, she was assigned to the Mid-Ocean Escort Force as a trans-Atlantic convoy escort. She was allocated to escort group C-4 and served with the group until departing for refit in December 1944.[2]

After the refit she worked up in Bermuda. Upon her return she was assigned to Halifax Force in April 1945 as a local escort and patrol duty. She remained with the unit until the end of the war.[2]

Forrest Hill was paid off 9 July 1945 at Sorel, Quebec. She was transferred to the War Assets Corporation and sold for scrapping. She was broken up in 1948 at Hamilton, Ontario.[2][11]


  1. ^ "Battle Honours". Britain's Navy. Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  2. ^ 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. 104. ISBN 0-00216-856-1. 
  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. ^ a b Macpherson, Ken; Milner, Marc (1993). Corvettes of the Royal Canadian Navy 1939–1945. St. Catharines: Vanwell Publishing. ISBN 1-55125-052-7. 
  10. ^ "HMCS Forrest Hill (K 486)". Retrieved 6 October 2013. 
  11. ^ 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. ISBN 978-1-86176-281-8. OCLC 67375475. 

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