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Friday, 18 June 2010



Ship No 344

Twin screw “Castle Class” Corvette.

Second of the class to be built in Leith, started life as HMS Guildford Castle (K378) 13th November 1943 Served with the Canadian Navy as H.M.C.S. Hespeler (K489) in 1944.
Her keel was laid down on 25th of May 1943

She was launched from the Leith yard on the 13th Nov 1943

After successful sea trials she was commissioned on the 28th Feb 1944

Fondly remembered by Canadians who served with her, during the Battle of the Atlantic

Converted to the merchant ship “Chilcotin” in 1947, then renamed “Stella Maris” in 1958.

Castle Class Corvette.

Designed as an improved Flower Class Corvette with a strengthened bow to mount the Squid Anti Submarine Mortar and longer to accommodate the sonar’s and improve sea keeping. However the Castle used the same power plant as the Flower and being larger she was hopelessly under powered. Helmsmen found it difficult to hold the ship in heavy seas and at low revs they lacked manoeuvring ability, crucial for the Squid which could not be aimed, the ship had to turn onto the target.

Despite the design difficulties their crew’s stuck to the job and were very successful in the battle of the Atlantic and they also fought in the bitter waters of the Artic Convoys to Russia.

These Castle Class Corvettes were a much improved vessel to the Flower class Corvettes The improved length designed by William Reed of Smith's Dock made these more suitable for Atlantic Weather conditions. With the Addition of Squid which improved its anti Submarine capabilities.

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