HMCS Sackville
Flower Class Corvette
Sackville 01 stbd bow small.jpg (12777 bytes)
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Ian MacCorquodale
Halifax, Nova Scotia
July 1999

Flower Class corvettes were originally intended for coastal escort and mine clearing work. Derived from a whaler design, they were simple, highly seaworthy vessels that could be constructed in secondary yards. The dire lack of ocean escorts early in the war necessitated their being used to screen convoys traversing the North Atlantic between Nova Scotia and the UK. This was a role for which they were ill-designed, and their crews suffered accordingly. The Flowers were wet, highly cramped and impossibly lively. Many sailors could not adjust to the exhausting routine. Compounding the misery was the inexperience of the crews, most of whom had never been to sea. But any escort was better than none at all, so the yards continued to turn out Corvettes. 120 were built in Canadian yards, and slightly more in the UK. The US, Free French and Norwegians also used Flower Class corvettes, but the overwhelming majority saw service with the Royal and Canadian navies.

Sackville port profile.jpg (11084 bytes)The HMCS Sackville was part of the 1939-40 building program. Constructed at Saint John, New Brunswick, and commissioned in late 1941, she had the short forecastle "whaler" appearance characteristic of early construction. During periodic refits she was altered -as were all corvettes- in an attempt to make her both more habitable and a more capable anti-submarine escort. Her forecastle was lengthened, mine-clearing equipment eliminated; and anti-submarine capabilities enhanced via improved radar and ASDIC, Hedgehog ASW mortars, and a heavier depth charge load. Sackville has been meticulously restored to her late war 1944 fit, and carries the aforementioned enhancements.

She is the only surviving Flower Class Corvette anywhere in the world and is on display at Halifax, Nova Scotia  May through October. Modelers should be aware that she is Canadian construction, hence the pom-pom tub is further aft than on UK constructed vessels, and her deckhouse extends further aft. I highly recommend "Corvettes of the Royal Canadian Navy: 1939-1945" by Ken Macpherson for further information (click here for my review). This excellent publication is still in print. Every Corvette modeler should have it. Another outstanding publication is "The Flower Class Corvette Agassiz" by McKay and Harland. It is part of the Anatomy of the Ship series and is the absolute last word on Canadian Corvettes -160 pages, of which 120 are line drawings. It's out of print but worth tracking down. And for those of you partial to videos, rent or buy "The Cruel Sea", a 1952 British movie about a WW2 Corvette crew. It's available from for US $13.

I wish to express my thanks to Ian MacCorquodale of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, for these fine photographs. Ian waited for ideal lighting conditions before photographing Sackville, and put great effort into capturing her essence. It shows in these excellent photographs. A ship as important in WW2 naval history as the Flower Class Corvette deserves as much, and Ian has done her justice.

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HMCS Sackville

1939-40 Program Flower Class Corvette
Vital Statistics

Displacement: 950 tons
Length: 205'  Beam: 33'  Draft: 11.5'
Propulsion: 4-cylinder triple expansion steam engine, 2,750 hp, 16 knots

Range: 3,500 nm @ 12 knots
Armament: one 4" Mk IX gun forward, two 20mm Oerlikon cannons,

single 2 pdr (40mm) pom-pom in aft gun tub, one Hedgehog ASW mortar,
four Mk II depth charge throwers, two depth charge rails, 70 depth charges
Radar: Type 271 surface search, SW2C or 2 CP air warning
Sonar: Type 145
Complement: 85 - 95

Click thumbnail image to view full size picture

Sackville 02 port bow.jpg (73987 bytes)
Port side forward

Sackville 03 port aft deckhouse.jpg (87793 bytes)
Aft details excellent view

Sackville 27 port side aft.jpg (83155 bytes)
Another nice aft view

Sackville 25 bow on.jpg (57528 bytes)
Head on view

Sackville 29 port aft quarter.jpg (99330 bytes)
Port quarter aft
Sackville 32 quarterdeck depth charge racks.jpg (81447 bytes)
Depth charge rails and smoke generators
Sackville 46 dressed up.jpg (41308 bytes)
Forward port quarter
Sackville 37 stbd walkway details.jpg (76631 bytes)
Starboard side looking forward from quarterdeck
Sackville 35 view from stern looking fwd.jpg (72883 bytes)
Looking forward from between aft depth charge racks
Sackville 04 2 pdr tub.jpg (58980 bytes)
Pom-pom gun tub
Sackville 28 aft 2 pdr carley floats deckhouse.jpg (83470 bytes)
Pom-pom tub, carley floats
Sackville 38 pom pom tub closeup.jpg (55976 bytes)
Sackville 11 4in platform port side from bridge.jpg (73089 bytes)
Gun platform, note ready-use shell storage.  Cordite powder was loaded separately behind shell.
Sackville 44 4in closeup.jpg (55896 bytes)
MK IX 4" gun with illumination rocket rails on side of splinter shield
Sackville 43 4in platform from bow.jpg (83745 bytes)
4" gun, depression rails to prevent gun being fired into forecastle
Sackville 19 4in mount.jpg (99388 bytes)
Gun Platform details. The 1917 vintage Mk IX had a range of 7 miles, powder and shell were loaded
Sackville 21 port bridge wing.jpg (46006 bytes)
Bridge details, not splinter matting
Sackville 22 stbd bridge wing.jpg (60843 bytes)
Bridge details, gun deck and hedgehog mount
Sackville 24 external bridge details.jpg (68314 bytes)
More bridge details
Sackville 42 hedgehog launcher.jpg (72004 bytes)
Hedgehog mortar: fired 24 hedgehogs which landed 240 yards forward of ship in an oval pattern, exploded only on contact with submarine
Sackville 30 foremast radar lantern.jpg (76788 bytes)
Port side bridge details. Note splinter matting
Sackville 10 crows nest lantern.jpg (54828 bytes)
Crow's nest above Type 271 radar
Sackville 06 port side looking fwd.jpg (67341 bytes)
Aft bridge details, Type 271 radar tower
Sackville 07 life preserver.jpg (43405 bytes)
Sackville 12 radar lantern closeup.jpg (45588 bytes)
Type 271 radar enclosed in the "lantern" used for scanning surface targets: Range: surface ships 25 miles, surfaced U-boats 8 miles, periscopes 1 mile
Sackville 13 funnel closeup.jpg (61520 bytes)
Funnel: not markings and support wires
Sackville 33 funnel viewed from aft.jpg (73229 bytes)
Funnel viewed from astern
Sackville 34 port side viewed from aft tub.jpg (58541 bytes)
Port side upper deck. Note depth charge hoists, used to lift charges onto throwers
Sackville 09 funnel vents looking aft.jpg (79370 bytes) Sackville 17 port side looking aft from bridge.jpg (72902 bytes)
Sackville 15 ships boat.jpg (67296 bytes)
Ship's boat details, one carried on starboard side
Sackville 41 ship's boat and davits.jpg (110745 bytes)
Sackville 40 stbd walkway details 02.jpg (70550 bytes)
Note depth charge hoist above thrower
Sackville 36 depth charge throwers.jpg (70720 bytes)
Depth charge thrower (one of four carried) and reloads
Sackville 05 depth charges.jpg (76360 bytes) Sackville 14 20mm tub.jpg (54928 bytes)
20mm Oerlikon cannon (one of two) mounted on each bridge wing
Sackville 18 open bridge details.jpg (56481 bytes)
Compass platform on open bridge
Sackville 08 bridge details.jpg (48697 bytes)
Note wood trim, voicepipes
Sackville 16 ASDIC room.jpg (60554 bytes)
Interior of Asdic hut forward of bridge
Sackville 20 closed bridge.jpg (58602 bytes)
Sackville 39 engine room.jpg (75013 bytes)
4 cyl triple expansion steam engine.

Good for 2,750 hp and 16 knots
Sackville 23 forecastle details.jpg (59292 bytes)
Forecastle details, anchor capstan
Sackville 45 port profile.jpg (106263 bytes)

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