HMS Fortune (H70)

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For other ships of the same name, see HMS Fortune.
"HMCS Saskatchewan (H70)" redirects here. For other ships of the same name, see HMCS Saskatchewan.
HMS Fortune 1943 IWM FL 13249.jpg
Fortune in June 1943
Career (United Kingdom)
Name: Fortune
Builder: John Brown & Company, Clydebank
Laid down: 25 July 1933
Launched: 29 August 1934
Commissioned: 27 April 1935
Fate: Transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy as HMCS Saskatchewan on 31 May 1943
Career (Canada)
Name: Saskatchewan
Namesake: Saskatchewan River
Acquired: 31 May 1943
Decommissioned: 27 January 1946
Identification: Pennant number: H70
Honours and
Atlantic 1944
Normandy 1944
Biscay 1944
General characteristics
Class and type: F-class destroyer
Displacement: 1,405 long tons (1,428 t) (standard)
1,940 long tons (1,970 t) (deep load)
Length: 329 ft (100.3 m) o/a
Beam: 33 ft 3 in (10.13 m)
Draught: 12 ft 6 in (3.81 m) (deep)
Installed power: 36,000 shp (26,800 kW)
3 × Admiralty 3-drum boilers
Propulsion: 2 × shafts; 2 × geared steam turbines
Speed: 35.5 knots (65.7 km/h; 40.9 mph)
Range: 6,350 nmi (11,760 km; 7,310 mi) at 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph)
Complement: 145
Sensors and
processing systems:

HMS Fortune was an F-class destroyer of the Royal Navy. She was transferred to Canada in 1943, becoming HMCS Saskatchewan.


The F-class ships were repeats of the preceding E-class. They displaced 1,405 long tons (1,428 t) at standard load and 1,940 long tons (1,970 t) at deep load. The ships had an overall length of 329 feet (100.3 m), a beam of 33 feet 3 inches (10.1 m) and a draught of 12 feet 6 inches (3.8 m). They were powered by two Brown-Curtis geared steam turbines, each driving one propeller shaft, using steam provided by three Admiralty three-drum boilers. The turbines developed a total of 36,000 shaft horsepower (27,000 kW) and gave a maximum speed of 35.5 knots (65.7 km/h; 40.9 mph). Fortune carried a maximum of 470 long tons (480 t) of fuel oil that gave her a range of 6,350 nautical miles (11,760 km; 7,310 mi) at 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph). The ships' complement was 145 officers and ratings.[1]

The ships mounted four 45-calibre 4.7-inch (120 mm) Mark IX guns in single mounts. For anti-aircraft (AA) defence, they had two quadruple Mark I mounts for the 0.5 inch Vickers Mark III machine gun. The E class was fitted with two above-water quadruple torpedo tube mounts for 21-inch (533 mm) torpedoes.[2] One depth charge rack and two throwers were fitted; 20 depth charges were originally carried, but this increased to 35 shortly after the war began.[3]

Construction and career[edit]

HMS Fortune was laid down on 25 July 1933 at John Brown Shipbuilding & Engineering Company Ltd Clydebank and launched on 29 August 1934. Following her commissioning on 27 April 1935, Fortune joined the Home Fleet; in 1938 she was commanded by Charles Pizey, who would go on to be the Chief of Naval Staff of the Indian Navy.

Fortune was commanded by Commander Edward Albert Gibbs from July 1939 to November 1940. In September 1939, while on anti-submarine patrol in the North Western Approaches, Fortune shared the credit for sinking the German submarine U27 with HMS Forester.[4] In the following spring, while escorting units of the Home Fleet north-west of the Shetlands, she was credited with sinking the U44, although later research suggests that the submarine was destroyed in a minefield which had been laid by other British destroyers on 13 March 1940.[5] In April, Fortune escorted the aircraft carriers HMS Ark Royal and HMS Glorious while they provided air cover for the evacuation of British forces from Åndalsnes and Namsos during the Norwegian campaign.[6]

In September 1940, Fortune was part of Operation Menace escorting Force M for the intended Free French landings at Dakar, an important Vichy held base in West Africa. On 24 September during the naval bombardment of Dakar she sank the Vichy French submarine Ajax but rescued 76 of the crew.

In May 1941, Fortune was damaged by air attack off Algeria. After temporary repairs in Gibraltar she was repaired at Chatham but did not become fully operational again until February 1942 when she participated in the Malta Convoys. She later joined the Eastern Fleet.

In January 1943 it was agreed to refit Fortune in a commercial yard in the UK. This occurred after the decision to transfer to the RCN had been made. Formal transfer was completed in mid-June, by which time Fortune had already been commissioned as HMCS Saskatchewan. Her operational history is documented in a book by Donald Forbes, "Two Small Ships", A Grey Arrow press production of 1957, this covers her operations until handover to the RCN.

As HMCS Saskatchewan[edit]

Saskatchewan was grouped in the River class of destroyers, a heterogenous group of destroyers which had mostly come from the Royal Navy. Formal completion of the transfer was finished in June 1943 and in July she joined the 3rd Canadian Escort Group as the "Senior Officer's" ship.[7]

Saskatchewan joined Escort Group C3 in August 1943 and continued this duty through the end of the year. From 6 to 30 June 1944, she was deployed with the 11th Escort Group providing anti-submarine support to Operation Overlord. There is some mention of this period in Alan Easton's book 50 North: Canada's Atlantic Battleground. Easton was Captain of the ship for a time.

She was decommissioned from the RCN on 28 January 1946.

Ship's bell[edit]

The ship's bell of Saskatchewan is currently at the Vancouver Island Military Museum in Nanaimo British Columbia. The Christening Bells Project at Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum includes information from the ship's bell of Saskatchewan, which was used for baptism of babies onboard ship.[8]


  1. ^ Lenton, p. 156
  2. ^ Whitley, p. 103
  3. ^ English, p. 141
  4. ^ Masona - September 1939
  5. ^ - List of all U-boats - U-44
  6. ^ Masonb - April 1940
  7. ^ Masonc - April 1940
  8. ^ Christening bells


  • English, John (1993). Amazon to Ivanhoe: British Standard Destroyers of the 1930s. Kendal, England: World Ship Society. ISBN 0-905617-64-9. 
  • Friedman, Norman (2009). British Destroyers From Earliest Days to the Second World War. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1-59114-081-8. 
  • Lenton, H. T. (1998). British & Empire Warships of the Second World War. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-048-7. 
  • Rohwer, Jürgen (2005). Chronology of the War at Sea 1939-1945: The Naval History of World War Two (Third Revised ed.). Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-59114-119-2. 
  • Whitley, M. J. (1988). Destroyers of World War Two: An International Encyclopedia. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-326-1. 
  • ^a ^b ^c Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN; (edited Gordon Smith), "HMS Fortune (H 70), later HMCS Saskatchewan - F-class Destroyer including Convoy Escort Movements", Service Histories of Royal Navy Warships in World War 2 (Naval-History.Net) 

External links[edit]