HMCS Prescott

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Hmcs Prescott FL5767.jpg
HMCS Prescott under way.
Name: Prescott
Namesake: Prescott, Ontario
Ordered: 7 February 1940
Builder: Kingston Shipbuilding Co. Ltd., Kingston, Ontario
Laid down: 31 August 1940
Launched: 7 January 1941
Commissioned: 26 June 1941
Decommissioned: 20 July 1945
Identification: Pennant number: K161
Honours and
Atlantic 1941-45, Normandy 1944, English Channel 1944-45,;[1] Gulf of St. Lawrence 1942[2]
Fate: sold for scrapping.
General characteristics
Class and type: Flower-class corvette (original)[3]
Displacement: 950 long tons (970 t; 1,060 short tons)
Length: 205 ft (62.48 m)
Beam: 33 ft (10.06 m)
Draught: 11.5 ft (3.51 m)

Single shaft; 2 water tube boilers;

1 4-cyl. triple expansion steam engine, 2,750 hp (2,050 kW)
Speed: 16 knots (29.6 km/h)
Range: 3,450 nmi (6,390 km; 3,970 mi) at 12 kn (22 km/h; 14 mph)
Complement: 6 officers, 79 enlistend
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • Radar - SW1C or 2C (later)
  • Sonar - Type 123A, later Type 127DV

HMCS Prescott was a Flower-class corvette of the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War. She served primarily in the Battle of the Atlantic as a convoy escort. She was named for Prescott, Ontario.


Flower-class corvettes like Prescott serving with the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War were different from earlier and more traditional sail-driven corvettes.[4][5][6] 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.[7] 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.[8] The generic name "flower" was used to designate the class of these ships, which – in the Royal Navy – were named after flowering plants.[9]

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.[10]


Prescott was ordered on 7 February 1940 as part of the 1939-1940 Flower-class program. She was laid down by Kingston Shipbuilding Co. at Kingston, Ontario on 31 August 1940 and launched 7 January 1941.[11] She was commissioned at Montreal, Quebec on 26 June 1941.[12]

During her career she had four significant refits. The first took place in early 1942 after developing mechanical problems. She required two months repairs at Liverpool, Nova Scotia to fix them. The second refit took place in the United Kingdom after she was assigned to Operation Torch. There she received additional AA armament. After completing her Torch duties, she returned to Canada in April 1943 and late in that month she began a six-month refit at Liverpool. During this refit she had her fo'c'sle extended. Prescott's final refit began in September 1944 at Liverpool.[12]

Service history[edit]

After working up Prescott joined the Newfoundland Escort Force (NEF) on 31 August 1941. She remained with that force until early 1942 when she was sent back to port with mechanical problems. She returned to service on 21 April 1942 and stayed with the NEF until being transferred to the Western Local Escort Force (WLEF) in July.[12]

After a short period with the WLEF she was assigned to operations in connection with Operation Torch. On 13 March 1943 during convoy escort off Cape Finisterre, Prescott encountered and sank the U-boat German submarine U-163.[13] She returned from her Torch duties to Atlantic convoy service on 4 April 1943. She departed for a major refit later that month.[12]

After returning from a six-month refit she was worked up at Pictou and sent to join Escort Group 6 under Royal Navy command. She served with the group until April 1944 when the corvettes were replaced with frigates.[12]

Prescott then joined the Western Approaches Command as part of Operation Neptune. After the invasion she returned to Liverpool for another refit. After working up she served with Nore Command until the end of the war.[12]

Prescott was paid off on 20 July 1945 at Sorel, Quebec. She was sold for scrap on 30 August 1946[14] and broken up in 1951 at Hamilton, Ontario.[12][note 1]


  1. ^ Miramar Ship Index has the ship broken up in Montreal, Quebec.


  1. ^ "Battle Honours". Britain's Navy. Retrieved 23 August 2013. 
  2. ^ "Royal Canadian Warships - The Battle of the Gulf of St. Lawrence - Second World War". Veterans Affairs Canada. Retrieved 23 August 2013. 
  3. ^ Lenton, H.T.; Colledge, J.J (1968). British and Dominion Warships of World War II. Doubleday & Company. pp. 201, 212. 
  4. ^ Ossian, Robert. "Complete List of Sailing Vessels". The Pirate King. Retrieved 13 April 2011. 
  5. ^ Fitzsimons, Bernard, ed. (1978). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of 20th Century Weapons & Warfare. 11. London: Phoebus. pp. 1137–1142. 
  6. ^ Jane's Fighting Ships of World War II. New Jersey: Random House. 1996. p. 68. ISBN 0-517-67963-9. 
  7. ^ Blake, Nicholas; Lawrence, Richard (2005). The Illustrated Companion to Nelson's Navy. Stackpole Books. pp. 39–63. ISBN 0-8117-3275-4. 
  8. ^ 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. 
  9. ^ 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. 
  10. ^ Macpherson, Ken; Milner, Marc (1993). Corvettes of the Royal Canadian Navy 1939–1945. St. Catharines: Vanwell Publishing. ISBN 1-55125-052-7. 
  11. ^ "HMCS Prescott (K 161)". Retrieved 23 August 2013. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f g Macpherson, Ken; Burgess, John (1981). The ships of Canada's naval forces 1910–1981 : a complete pictorial history of Canadian warships. Toronto: Collins. pp. 83, 231–232. ISBN 0-00216-856-1. 
  13. ^ German, Tony (1990). The Sea is at our Gates : The History of the Canadian Navy. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart Inc. p. 136. ISBN 0-7710-3269-2. 
  14. ^ "Prescott (6112231)"Paid subscription required. Miramar Ship Index. Retrieved 14 July 2016. 

External links[edit]