The corvette’s flaws became obvious with the first trials at sea. To correct those problems, naval engineer William Reed designed a larger ship, the River class frigate. The frigate is faster, more comfortable and better armed than the corvette, with twice its autonomy; it can sail 13,335 miles at a speed of 12 knots.
As frigates were too large to sail down from the Great Lakes, frigate contracts between 1942 and 1944 were given to shipyards on the West Coast and along the deeper waters of the St. Lawrence. Sixty Canadian-built frigates were provided to the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) starting in late 1943. The RCN received ten additional frigates built in Great Britain and originally destined to the Royal Navy.
Canadian shipyards also built an improved version of Bangor class vessels, known as the Algerine class. There were 41 such ships built in Canada, mostly at the Port Arthur shipyards. Of that number, only 12 served in the RCN; they were used as escort ships, and did not carry minesweeping gear.
Used mostly to escort convoys, frigates were the most valuable warships ever built in Canada for anti-submarine warfare.
|River Class Frigates|
|Maximum Speed||19 knots|
|Armament||One 4-inch (100mm) twin gun at the foreOne 12-pound gun at the aftTwo Oerlikon 20mm twin guns on deck, and two on the aft platform145 depth charges, 2 depth charge throwers on each side, 2 rails at the sternOne 24-mortar “Hedgehog”|
|Crew||140 to 160 men|
- Ken Macpherson and John Burgess, The Ships of Canada’s Naval Forces 1910-1981, A Complete Pictorial History of Canadian Warships, Collins, Toronto, 1981.
- Ken Macpherson and John Milner, Frigates of the Royal Canadian Navy 1943-1974, Vanwell, St. Catharines (Ontario), v. 1989.
- For detailed specifications and a list of RCN frigates, see the Haze Gray & Underway, River Class Frigate website
- For a detailed description, see the website of the Friends of the Canadian War Museum, Canadian River Class Frigates