HMCS Fort William

A ship travelling on the water.

HMCS Fort William J311 / 195.

There has been only one vessel named Fort William in the Royal Canadian Navy.

HMCS Fort William (J311 / 195)

Fort William was a Bangor Class minesweeper. The Bangor Class ships were built in order to replace the old Basset Class minesweepers, as they were larger, faster, had much greater endurance, and burned oil as opposed to coal. As enemy mines were laid only once in 1943 in Canadian waters, the Bangors were used principally as escorts to coastal shipping or as local escorts to ocean convoys. Sixteen of them, however, assisted in sweeping the approaches to Normandy before D-Day, and stayed to help clear German and Allied minefields in the English Channel for some months afterward.

Commissioned at Port Arthur, now Thunder Bay, Ontario, on 17 November 1942, Fort William arrived at Halifax, Nova Scotia, on 24 September with a good many defects, and did not commence working up until mid-October. A month later she was assigned to Halifax Force for local convoys.

On 11 January 1943, she suffered considerable damage in a collision with the government vessel Lisgar at Halifax, and was under repair there for a month. In June 1943, she was transferred to Newfoundland Force. She returned to Halifax in February 1944 for a short refit, and on 20 February left with her sister-ships HMCS Blairmore, Milltown and Minas for Plymouth, United Kingdom, arriving on 8 March. Assigned to the 31st Minesweeping Flotilla, she was present on D-Day in Normandy.

Fort William refitted at St. John’s, Newfoundland, in March 1945, rejoining the 31st Flotilla in July and remaining until 21 September, when she left Plymouth for Canada. She was paid off on 23 October 1945 at Sydney, Nova Scotia, and was placed in strategic reserve at Sorel, Québec, in 1946. Re-acquired in June 1951 and extensively modernized, she lay in reserve at Sydney until 29 November 1957, when she was transferred to the Turkish Navy and renamed Bodrum. She was removed from service in 1971 and broken up.

  • Displacement: 672 tons
  • Dimensions: 55 m x 8.7 m x 2.5 m
  • Speed: 16 knots
  • Crew: 83
  • Armament: one 3-inch gun (76-mm), four 20-mm guns (1 x II, 2 x I) and depth charges.

Battle honours

  • Gulf of St. Lawrence 1942
  • Atlantic 1943
  • Normandy 1944
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