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The Second War Generation (1940-1950)

HMCS Napanee Ship Bell

HMCS Napanee Ship Bell

Ship's Bell, HMCS Napanee, 1940

The HMCS Napanee was a "Flower Class" Corvette produced under Canada's World War II naval program that involved the production of nearly 65 corvettes charged with coastal defence and submarine suppression during the war. DISCOVER MOREReadmore Arrow

Her keel was laid on March 20th 1940 in the yards of a Kingston shipbuilding company, and she received her commission on May 12, 1941, having been launched in Kingston August 31st, 1940. Mrs. Angus L. Macdonald, wife of the Minister of National Defence for Naval Services, sponsored the ship's launch, which was attended by the Town of Napanee's Mayor, Dr. Hall and his wife. The ship's bell was purchased by the Town and presented by the Mayor in the company of the Town Council. This event is commemorated by an engraving on the bell itself. Members of Council and the UEL Chapter I.O.D.E. were invited to inspect the new corvette at the launch.

Prior to the ceremony, the Captain of the Napanee, Lieutenant-Commander Dobson, and his second in command Lieutenant Angus, were presented with garments made for the men of the corvette by the students of Napanee Collegiate. The United Empire Loyalist Chapter I.O.D.E was later presented with a certificate recognizing their contributions to the crew by the Naval Service of Canada.

A profile drawing of the head of an Indian Chief in war paint and a headdress devouring a U-Boat was adopted by the ship's crew as an unofficial badge.

The HMCS Napanee measured 203 feet in length, 33 feet in the beam, and drew 12 feet, displacing 1,170 tons of water. Her armaments consisted of one four-inch gun forward, a two-pounder pom-pom aft, and twenty-five depth charges with two rails and two throwers. After 1943, her forecastle was lengthened, and two 20-mm Oerlikon guns and additional depth-charge throwers were added.

Napanee arrived at Halifax on May 18th 1941 to begin a period of final adjustments before beginning her first operational assignment on June 18th escorting transatlantic convoy. She was then transferred to the Sydney Force, before being allocated to the Mid-Ocean Force based at St. John's Newfoundland until May 1942, when the Napanee was ordered to escort convoys to Britain and Iceland. After a retrofit in 1942, the Napanee was charged with the escort of the damaged HMCS Assiniboine to safety. Later that August, during an escort of convoy ONS-154, the convoy was attacked by U-boats, but managed to repel the attackers and sink submarine U-356. Following her summer 1943 retrofit and training exercises in Pictou, Nova Scotia, the Napanee resumed duty, escorting convoys from Halifax for the next eight months, before completing a final refit in the winter of 1943. From then until the end of the war, the Napanee was attached to the Western Local Escort Force, venturing from St. John's to Boston and New York.

On May 31, 1945, the Napanee returned to Halifax for the last time and was decommissioned off at Sorel, Quebec, before ultimately being turned over to the War Assets Corporation on July 12, 1945. The Napanee was broken up for scrap in Hamilton at the Steel Company of Canada yard in 1946. Any subsequent ship of the same name will carry the battle honour ATLANTIC 1941-1945.

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