HMCS Timmins

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HMCS Timmins.jpg
HMCS Timmins about 1943
Name: Timmins
Namesake: Timmins, Ontario
Builder: Yarrow Shipbuilders, Esquimalt, British Columbia
Cost: $600,000 CAN
Laid down: 14 December 1940
Launched: 26 June 1941
Commissioned: 10 February 1942
Decommissioned: 15 July 1945
Identification: Pennant number: K223
Honours and
Atlantic 1942–45[1]
Fate: Sold in 1948 as mercantile ship named Guayaquil. Lost on 3 August 1960
General characteristics
Class and type: Flower-class corvette (original)[2]
Displacement: 950 long tons (970 t; 1,060 short tons)
Length: 205 ft 1 in (62.51 m)o/a
Beam: 33 ft 1 in (10.08 m)
Draught: 13 ft 5 in (4.09 m)
  • single shaft
  • 2 × Scotch marine boilers
  • 1 × 4-cycle triple-expansion reciprocating steam engine
  • 2,750 ihp (2,050 kW)
Speed: 16 kn (30 km/h)
Range: 3,450 nautical miles at 12 knots (6,390 km at 22 km/h)
Complement: 85 (6 officers)
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • 1 × SW1C or 2C radar
  • 1 × Type 123A (ASDIC) or Type 127DV sonar
  • 1 × BL 4 in (102 mm) Mk.IX single gun
  • 1 × 2-pounder (pom-pom)
  • 2 × 0.5 (50 cal) machine guns
  • 4 × Mk.II depth charge throwers
  • 2 × depth charge rails with 40 depth charges
Notes: 1940–1941 Short Forecastle Program[3]

HMCS Timmins was a Flower-class corvette of the Royal Canadian Navy that served during the battle of the Atlantic from 1942 to 1945. She was ordered from Yarrows Ltd. in Esquimalt, British Columbia and laid down on 14 December 1940. She was launched on 26 June 1941 and commissioned on 10 February 1942. She was named after the community of Timmins, Ontario.

She was lightly armed with a 4-inch gun and a 2-pounder naval gun. She used depth charges for anti-submarine warfare. She was crewed by a complement of 85 sailors and 6 officers. Her unofficial badge was a smug cat clutching a u-boat in its paw.

For the first six months she performed coastal defense duties on the west coast. In October 1942 she was ordered to the east coast travelling via the Panama Canal. From November 1942 to July 1945 she escorted convoys with the Western Local Escort Force which operated from New York City to St. John's, Newfoundland. In November 1942, Timmins was assigned to escort convoy ON145. On 21 November the convoy was attacked by U-518. The U-boat torpedoed and sank the British merchant Empire Sailor. Timmins along with HMCS Minas rescued 42 survivors from the ship. She was decommissioned on 15 July 1945. In 1948 she was sold off and turned into a mercantile freighter called Guayaquil. She was reported lost on 3 August 1960.


Timmins was laid down by Yarrows Ltd. on 14 December 1940 and completed 6 months and 12 days later on 26 June 1941. Total cost for construction was about $600,000 CAN. She was commissioned for active duty on 11 September 1941.[4]


Timmins was part of a second order of corvettes commissioned by the Royal Canadian Navy. After the crisis of 1940 six additional ships were ordered. She was identical to the original corvettes except that she had no minesweeping gear and her bridge wings were extended. She had an overall length of 205 ft 1 in (62.51 m) and was 33 ft 1 in (10.08 m) at her widest point. She had a draught of 13 ft 5 in (4.09 m) and weighed 950 long tons (970 t; 1,060 short tons).

She was powered by a pair of Scotch marine boilers and was driven by a single screw, triple expansion reciprocating engine of 2,750 ihp (2,050 kW) which gave her a top speed of 16 knots (30 km/h). She had a capacity of 230 tons of fuel which gave her a maximum range of 3,450 nautical miles (6,390 km) cruising at a speed of 12 knots (22 km/h).

Like most corvettes, Timmins was installed with a Type 123A ASDIC detection system. This technology was designed in 1934 for armed trawlers and minesweepers of the Royal Navy. The system was outdated but was the best system available to the Canadian Navy at the time. Type 123A could detect the distance to underwater sounds but could not determine the depth.[5]


Timmins was armed with one 4-inch (102 mm) gun forward and a 2-pounder pom-pom gun mounted aft. Twin 0.5 in (12.7 mm) Vickers machine guns were mounted in the aft gun tub for air defence. Depth charges were used for anti-submarine warfare which were rolled from the stern through two ports or thrown from four launchers near the stern.[6]


Timmins was built for a crew of 85 including 6 officers and the commanding officer. She was commanded by eight different officers, one of whom was J.H.S. MacDonald who also commanded HMCS Windflower and HMCS Fredericton.[7][8]

Commander[note 1] From To
T/Lt. James Albert Brown, RCNR 10 Feb 1942 18 Aug 1942
Lt.Cdr. Arthur Truman Morrell, RCNR 19 Aug 1942 30 Aug 1942
T/Lt. James Mitchell Gillison, RCNR 31 Aug 1942 11 Jan 1943
T/Lt. Nevill Spencer Charles Dickinson, RCNVR 12 Jan 1943 19 Mar 1943
T/Lt.Cdr. John Hubert Smith MacDonald, RCNR 20 Mar 1943 18 Apr 1943
T/Lt.Cdr. Herries Stirling Maxwell, RCNVR 19 Apr 1943 29 Jun 1944
T/Lt. Ralph Gordon James, RCNVR 2 Sep 1944 15 Dec 1944
T/Lt. John Kincaid, RCNR 16 Dec 1944 15 Jul 1945


Many Canadian naval ships of World War II adopted an unofficial coat of arms. The badge that Timmins chose was displayed on the front of the bridge and was a stylized smug cat clutching a u-boat in its paw.[9]


Timmins was launched in February 1942 and was initially assigned to the Pacific Coast Command based in Esquimalt, BC. In October 1942 she along with five other corvettes were transferred to the east coast travelling via the Panama Canal. Seaman Robert MacDonald who was travelling with the group on HMCS Dundas reported that wireless transmission picked up significantly which was a far cry from the relative quiet on the west coast and it took awhile to become accustomed to the increased chatter.[10]

After arriving on the East Coast in November 1942, Timmins was assigned to the Western Local Escort Force (WLEF) where she escorted convoys between New York City and Halifax, Nova Scotia as far as St. John's, Newfoundland. On 21 November 1942 while escorting Convoy ON 145 off the south coast of Newfoundland, the convoy was attacked by German submarine U-518. The U-boat torpedoed and sunk the British merchant Empire Sailor. Timmins along with HMCS Minas rescued 42 survivors from the ship.[11]

In July 1944 she underwent a four-month refit where her forecastle was extended. After the refit she continued operations with WLEF until the end of the war. She was decommissioned in July 1945 and anchored at Sorel, Quebec for disposal.

In 1948 she was sold as a mercantile carrier and renamed Guayaquil. She was registered under a Honduran flag of convenience. She served in this capacity until 3 August 1960 when she foundered and sank off the coast of Ecuador.[12]

Convoy record summary[edit]

Description Time Period Convoys Escorted[13][note 2] Ports visited
Pacific Coast Command Feb. 1942 – Sep. 1942 Esquimalt, BC
Transit from West to East Coast Oct. 1942 Esquimalt, BC, Halifax, NS
Western Local Escort Force Nov. 1942 – June 1944 ON139, HX214, ON144, SC109, ON145, HX218, ON153, SC113, ON161, HX222, ON162, HX223, ON168, HX227, SC120, ON172, ON176, HX232, ON177, ON181, HX237, HX241, HX242, ON187, SC143, ONS20, SC144, XB80 ONS22, ONS24, SC146, XB84, ONS26, SC148, SC150, XB88, ON220, XB92, HX278, ON223, ON225, HX283, ON228, HX286, ON232, SC157, HX292, ON236, HX294, ON240 New York City, Halifax, St. John's
First refit July 1944 – Sept. 1944 Liverpool, Nova Scotia
Western Local Escort Force Oct. 1944 – May 1945 HX316, ONS36, HX326, ON272, HX330, ONS40, BX144, HX338, ON284, HX342, HX344, ONS44, XB154, BX154, HX349, HX353, ON295, ON298, ON301 New York City, Halifax, St. John's



  1. ^ The "T" before some of the ranks listed stands for Temporary.
  2. ^ Convoys are listed in chronological order.


  1. ^ "Battle Honours". Britain's Navy. Retrieved 18 Sep 2013. 
  2. ^ Lenton, p. 214.
  3. ^ Macpherson, Milner, pp. 127, 129.
  4. ^ Macpherson, Milner, p. 21.
  5. ^ Hackmann, pp. 214-5.
  6. ^ "HMCS Timmins: Canadian Navy Heritage Project: Ship Technical Information". Retrieved 2012-01-27. 
  7. ^ Lynch, p.66.
  8. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "HMCS Fredericton (K245)". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 2012-09-30. 
  9. ^ "The Badge Project". CFB Esquimalt Naval & Military Museum. Archived from the original on 2012-03-14. Retrieved 2012-03-11. 
  10. ^ Johnston, pp. 163.
  11. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "HMCS Timmins (K 223)". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 2012-03-09. 
  12. ^ Macpherson, Milner, p. 126.
  13. ^ "Arnold Hague Convoy Database". Arnold Hague. Retrieved 2012-03-01. 

Works cited[edit]

  • Johnston, Mac. (2008). Corvettes Canada, Convoy Veterans of WWII Tell Their True Stories. Mississauga, ON:John Wiley & Sons Canada, Ltd. ISBN 978-0470154298.
  • Lenton, H.T. and Colledge, J.J., eds. (1968). British and Dominion warships of World War II. New York, NY:Doubleday and Company.
  • Lynch, Thomas J. (1982). Canada's Flowers. Halifax, NS:Nimbus Publishing. ISBN 978-0920852156.
  • MacPherson, Ken and Milner, Marc. (1993). Corvettes of the Royal Canadian Navy, 1939-1945. St. Catharines, ON:Vanwell Publishing Ltd. ISBN 978-0920277836.