Sunday 1 May 2016

The Last Corvette HMCS SACKVILLE (K181) - Revisted

Photo by Rick Pancham - August 2016
Today, the first Sunday in May marks the anniversary of the end of the Battle of the Atlantic which was the longest, largest and most complex naval battle in history. It was also one of the most important campaigns of the Second World War lasting from the first day of the war in 1939 until the war ended in Europe on May 8, 1945. Moored proudly in her wartime camouflaged colours sits the 205' Flower-class corvette Her Majesty's Canadian Ship SACKVILLE (K181) which is the only one of 269 allied corvettes from the Second World War that remains and since 1988 has been a museum ship and a National Historic Site of Canada in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Commissioned in 1941, HMCS SACKVILLE was one of 123 corvettes specially designed for convoy escorts that were built during WWII in Britain and at Canadian Great Lakes shipyards in Port Arthur, Midland, Collingwood, and Kingston; along the St. Lawrence at Montreal, Sorel, Quebec City, and Lauzon; and coastal yards in Victoria, Vancouver and like the SACKVILLE, at the Saint John Drydocks and Shipbuilding in Saint John, New Brunswick.
Photo by Shaun Judge - July 2015
While all of Britain's were named after "Flowers", hence the name of the class, Canada's Flowers-class and Castle-class corvettes were named after Canadian cities and communities like ALGOMA, BARRIE, CAMROSE, COLLINGWOOD, DAUPHIN, GALT, KAMLOOPS, NAPANEE, SUDBURY, OWEN SOUND, HUMBERSTONE and PRESCOTT, just to name a few. The outcome of the war was dependant on the success of the Atlantic convoys, on merchant ships reaching Britain. Canada only had 38 ocean-going vessels when the war broke out in 1939, so many Great Lakes ships or "canallers", about the size of my Dad's BIRCHTON (there rolling in the "unescorted" seas of the Gulf of St. Lawrence), suddenly became ocean-going vessels desperately needed for trans-Atlantic convoy duty.
During the six year campaign more than 70 Canadian merchant vessels and 14 RCN warships were lost along with approximately 3,600 souls. However, thanks to the gallant and courageous efforts of our RCN sailors and merchant mariners, more than 25,000 merchant ships safely made it to their destinations under Canadian and allied escort delivering approximately 165 million tons of vitally-needed supplies to Europe.

We have a lot to be thankful for today. Lest We Forget. 
Photo by Linda Noseworthy Bell - 2016


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