HMCS Glace Bay (K414)

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HMCS Glace Bay
Name: Glace Bay
Namesake: Glace Bay, Nova Scotia
Ordered: June 1942
Builder: G T Davie, Lauzon, Quebec
Yard number: 27
Laid down: 23 September 1943
Launched: 26 April 1944
Commissioned: 2 September 1944
Decommissioned: 17 November 1945
Identification: K 414
Honors and
Atlantic 1944–1945[1]
Fate: sold to Chilean Navy
Name: Esmeralda
Acquired: 1946
Out of service: 1960
Renamed: Baquedano (1952)
Fate: sold for breaking up 1968
General characteristics
Class and type: River-class frigate
Displacement: 1445
Length: 301.5 ft (91.90 m)o/a
Beam: 36.6 ft (11.16 m)
Draught: 9 ft (2.74 m)
Draft: 13 ft (3.96 m)
Installed power: 5,500 hp (4,100 kW)
Propulsion: 2 × Admiralty Boilers
Speed: 20 knots (37.0 km/h)
Range: 7,200 nautical miles (13,334 km) at 11 knots (20.4 km/h)
Complement: 8 officers, 133 ratings

HMCS Glace Bay was a River-class frigate built for the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) in 1943. Commissioned in 1944 she served in the Battle of the Atlantic until the end of the Second World War. After the war she was sold to the Chilean Navy and renamed Esmeralda.

Glace Bay was ordered as HMCS Lauzon in June 1942 as part of the 1943-1944 River-class building program.[2][3][4] She was laid down on 23 September 1943 by G T Davie Shipbuilding Ltd. at Lauzon, Quebec and was launched on 26 April 1944.[4] Her name was changed to Glace Bay and she was commissioned into the RCN on 2 September 1944 at Lévis, Quebec.[2][3]


The River-class frigate was designed by William Reed of Smith's Dock Company of South Bank-on-Tees. Originally called a "twin-screw corvette", its purpose was to improve on the convoy escort classes in service with the Royal Navy at the time, including the Flower-class corvette. The first orders were placed by the Royal Navy in 1940 and the vessels were named for rivers in the United Kingdom, giving name to the class. In Canada they were named for towns and cities though they kept the same designation.[5] The name "frigate" was suggested by Vice-Admiral Percy Nelles of the Royal Canadian Navy and was adopted later that year.[6]

Improvements over the corvette design included improved accommodation which was markedly better. The twin engines gave only three more knots of speed but extended the range of the ship to nearly double that of a corvette at 7,200 nautical miles (13,300 km) at 12 knots.[6] Among other lessons applied to the design was an armament package better designed to combat U-boats including a twin 4-inch mount forward and 12-pounder aft.[5] 15 Canadian frigates were initially fitted with a single 4-inch gun forward but with the exception of HMCS Valleyfield, they were all eventually upgraded to the double mount.[6] For underwater targets, the River-class frigate was equipped with a Hedgehog anti-submarine mortar and depth charge rails aft and four side-mounted throwers.[5]

River-class frigates were the first Royal Canadian Navy warships to carry the 147B Sword horizontal fan echo sonar transmitter in addition to the irregular ASDIC. This allowed the ship to maintain contact with targets even while firing unless a target was struck. Improved radar and direction-finding equipment improved the RCN's ability to find and track enemy submarines over the previous classes.[5]

Canada originally ordered the construction of 33 frigates in October 1941.[5][6] The design was too big for the shipyards on the Great Lakes so all the frigates built in Canada were built in dockyards along the west coast or along the St. Lawrence River.[6] In all Canada ordered the construction of 60 frigates including ten for the Royal Navy that transferred two to the United States Navy.[5]

War service

Glace Bay worked up at Bermuda and upon her return was assigned to the Mid-Ocean Escort Force (MOEF) escort group C-4. She left for Great Britain escorting a number of American submarines destined for the Russian navy. Glace Bay was used continuously as an ocean escort for convoys in the North Atlantic until June 1945, when she returned to Canada. She then spent the next few months performing various tasks along the east coast of Canada. After making a round trip to Bermuda in October, Glace Bay was paid off on 17 November 1945 at Sydney, Nova Scotia and laid up at Shelburne.[3]

Postwar service

Esmerelda in 1946

In 1946 the ship was purchased by the Chilean Navy and renamed Esmeralda.[3] When the barquentine Esmeralda (BE-43) was launched in 1953, the frigate was renamed Baquedano and continued to serve with the Chilean Navy before being paid off in 1960 and scrapped in 1968.[7]

See also


  1. ^ "Volume 2, Part 1: Extant Commissioned Ships - HMCS Glace Bay". Directorate of History and Heritage. Retrieved 15 March 2014.
  2. ^ a b Lenton, H.T.; Colledge, J.J. (1968). British and Dominion Warships of World War II. New York: Doubleday and Company Inc. p. 230.
  3. ^ a b c d Macpherson, Ken; Burgess, John (1981). The ships of Canada's naval forces 1910-1981 : a complete pictorial history of Canadian warships. Toronto: Collins. ISBN 0-00216-856-1.
  4. ^ a b "HMCS Glace Bay (K 414)". Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Fact Sheet No. 21 - Canadian River Class Frigates". Retrieved 3 April 2014.
  6. ^ a b c d e Macpherson, Ken (1989). Frigates of the Royal Canadian Navy 1943-1974. Lewiston, New York: Vanwell Publishing. pp. 6–7, 15. ISBN 0920277225.
  7. ^ "Baquedano, fragata". Armada de Chile. Archived from the original on 19 February 2013. Retrieved 23 March 2014. (in Spanish)
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