HMCS Shawinigan (K136)

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Corvette Shawinigan.jpg
Corvette HMCS Shawinigan circa 1942–43
Name: Shawinigan
Namesake: Shawinigan, Quebec
Ordered: 24 January 1940
Builder: Davie Shipbuilding & Repairing Co. Ltd., Lauzon
Laid down: 4 June 1940
Launched: 16 May 1941
Commissioned: 19 September 1941
Out of service: 25 November 1944
Identification: Pennant number: K136
Honours and
Atlantic 1941–43,[1] Gulf of St. Lawrence 1942, 1944[2]
Fate: sunk 25 November 1944
General characteristics
Class and type: Flower-class corvette (original)[3]
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 Shawinigan was a Flower-class corvette that served with the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War. She served primarily in the Battle of the Atlantic protecting convoys. She was sunk in 1944. She was named for Shawinigan, Quebec.


Flower-class corvettes like Shawinigan 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 as a class 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]


Shawinigan was ordered 24 January 1940 as part of the 1939–1940 Flower-class building program and laid down on 4 June 1940 by Davie Shipbuilding & Repairing Co. Ltd. at Lauzon, Quebec. However she was not launched until almost a year later on 16 May 1941.[11] Shawinigan was commissioned on 19 September 1941 at Quebec City, Quebec.[12]

War service[edit]

Upon entering active service, Shawinigan joined Sydney Force in November 1941. She served there until transferring to the Newfoundland Escort Force on 13 January 1942. She made three round trips across the Atlantic before being assigned to Halifax Force in June 1942. She spent only a few months before being assigned to WLEF. Almost simultaneous with her new assignment, she went for a major refit that was completed in March 1943. In June she joined EG W-3. In April 1944 she underwent another refit and transferred to EG W-2 and worked up in Bermuda.[12]


HMCS Shawinigan window CFB Halifax

On 24 November 1944 Shawinigan and USCGC Sassafras escorted the ferry Burgeo from Sydney to Port aux Basques. Sassafrass was detached from the escort without relief and Shawinigan was left alone. Shawinigan departed on an independent anti-submarine patrol and informed the ferry that it would meet her in the morning.

The next morning Burgeo left Port aux Basques on schedule but in the fog, could not find Shawinigan. Keeping radio silence and without informing command of Shawinigan's lack of appearance, Burgeo made for Sydney unescorted. When Burgeo arrived at Sydney at 6 PM that night, the navy knew that something had happened to Shawinigan.

Over the next three days searchers looked for survivors but could only find flotsam and eventually, six bodies. Shawinigan had been torpedoed by the German submarine U-1228 during the early morning of 25 November in Cabot Strait. All 85 hands were lost.[12][13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Battle Honours". Britain's Navy. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  2. ^ "Royal Canadian Warships – The Battle of the Gulf of St. Lawrence – Second World War". Veterans Affairs Canada. Retrieved 5 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 978-0-517-67963-0.
  7. ^ Blake, Nicholas; Lawrence, Richard (2005). The Illustrated Companion to Nelson's Navy. Stackpole Books. pp. 39–63. ISBN 978-0-8117-3275-8.
  8. ^ Chesneau, Roger; Gardiner, Robert (June 1980). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships (1922–1946). Naval Institute Press. p. 62. ISBN 978-0-87021-913-9.
  9. ^ Milner, Marc (1985). North Atlantic Run. Naval Institute Press. pp. 117–119, 142–145, 158, 175–176, 226, 235, 285–291. ISBN 978-0-87021-450-9.
  10. ^ Macpherson, Ken; Milner, Marc (1993). Corvettes of the Royal Canadian Navy 1939–1945. St. Catharines: Vanwell Publishing. ISBN 978-1-55125-052-6.
  11. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "HMCS Shawinigan (K 136)". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  12. ^ a b c Macpherson, Ken; Burgess, John (1981). The ships of Canada's naval forces 1910–1981 : a complete pictorial history of Canadian warships. Toronto: Collins. p. 85. ISBN 978-0-00216-856-4.
  13. ^ German, Tony (1990). The Sea is at our Gates : The History of the Canadian Navy. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart Inc. p. 177. ISBN 978-0-7710-3269-1.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 47°34′N 59°11′W / 47.567°N 59.183°W / 47.567; -59.183