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Sunday, 13 June 2010



Ship No 341

Twin screw “River Class” Frigate.

She was Laid down 18 Nov 1942

Launched 16 Aug 1943

Commissioned 9 Feb 1944

H.M.S. WYE was scrapped 22 February 1955.

The 'Flower' class Corvettes were not fast enough or big enough for the North Atlantic, so, in 1940 the Admiralty decided on speedier and larger vessels.

Orders for these vessels, first referred to as 'Twin Screw Corvettes' were quickly placed with various yards around the U.K. They were to be known as 'River' class Frigates.

Flying the Red Duster Flying the Red Duster
Following the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force from Dunkirk in 1940, Britain was at her most vulnerable. France had capitulated and the Germans had control of ports from the Arctic to the Mediterranean. Nazi U-boats were at Britain's doorstep, and in that year alone they sunk 204 ships, a gross tonnage of 2,435,667. Britain stood alone against Germany and a vital lifeline was the supplies carried by the civilian Merchant Navy, defended only by the thinly stretched Royal Navy. Winston Churchill conceded that his greatest fear was the slaughter of merchant seaman, who worked in harsh conditions, were often poorly fed, and were always at the mercy of the Kriegsmarine. In Flying the Red Duster, Morris Beckman tells the story of his experiences as a merchant seaman during the Battle of the Atlantic, part of the civilian force which enabled Britain to avoid capitulation to Nazi Germany. Based on his wartime diary - the unique document now held at the Imperial War Museum - this work allows the reader unique access to a time which is fast slipping from living memory.

“River Class" Frigate.

This class was developed to have the same capabilities as the pre WW11 "Black Swan" class. However, they were much simpler, cheaper and easier to build with "Reciprocating" rather than "Steam Turbine" power plants. They were designed to be 50ft. longer, at 300ft., than the contemporary "Castle Class", and so the task of building them could not be carried out in many smaller "Civilian" yards.

Designed as an improved Flower Class Corvette the River Class were highly successful Convoy Escorts with long range, heavy depth charge load and good sea keeping. Built in both Canada and Britain they became the mainstay of the Atlantic Escorts in the latter stages of the war.

They were however amongst the first vessels to be built part welded and riveted, which meant that units could be built around the country and delivered to the shipyard for building. A method pioneered by the British yards, and indeed the way ships are still built to this day.

The design was also used as the basis of the USN "Tacoma class", known to the RN as the "Colony Class". The hull design was later elaborated into the "Loch and Bay Class" Frigates

Atlantic Escorts Atlantic Escorts
Winston Churchill famously claimed that the submarine war in the Atlantic was the only campaign of the Second World War that really frightened him. If the lifeline to north America had been cut, Britain would never have survived; there could have been no build-up of US and Commonwealth forces, no D-Day landings, and no victory in western Europe. Furthermore, the battle raged from the first day of the war until the final German surrender, making it the longest and arguably hardest-fought campaign of the whole war. The ships, technology and tactics employed by the Allies form the subject of this book. Beginning with the lessons apparently learned from the First World War, the author outlines inter-war developments in technology and training, and describes the later preparations for the second global conflict. When the war came the balance of advantage was to see-saw between U-boats and escorts, with new weapons and sensors introduced at a rapid rate. For the defending navies, the prime requirement was numbers, and the most pressing problem was to improve capability without sacrificing simplicity and speed of construction. The author analyses the resulting designs of sloops, frigates, corvettes and destroyer escorts and attempts to determine their relative effectiveness.

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