Canadian shipyards were to turn out 456 merchant ships and some 300 naval vessels during World War II. These ships were built by a number of shipyards and the size of the yard normally dictated the size of the ships it constructed. Fairmiles, sometimes referred to as The Little Ships, fascinate me more than any of the other naval ships constructed during WWII. The British Fairmile Company designed them, so the British and Commonwealth navies called them Fairmiles. They were designed as a sister ship to the Submarine Chaser found in the United States Navy.
At the outbreak of World War II steps were taken for the smaller Canadian shipyards to build a fleet of Fairmiles for the Royal Canadian Navy. Fifty-nine were built in yards on the Great Lakes. Fourteen were built in British Columbia and seven were built at Weymouth, Nova Scotia, for a total of 80. They were not named and were known as HMC ML followed by their number. The ML stood for Motor Launch. Their numbers commenced with 050 and terminated at 129. Their pendant commenced with the letter Q followed by their assigned number and this was painted on their bows. This was Q050 to Q129 inclusive. Their crews called them “Q Boats” or “Q Fifty” and so on.
The eighty Canadian Fairmiles were built at the following locations. A location code has been assigned to each yard.
A) Marine Industries, Sorel, Quebec.
B) Midland Boat Works, Midland, Ontario.
C) Greavette Boats Limited, Gravenhurst, Ontario.
D) Hunter Boats, Orillia, Ontario.
E) J. J. Taylor and Sons, Toronto, Ontario.
F) Minett – Shields Limited, Bracebridge, Ontario.
G) John H. LeBlanc Shipyard, Weymouth, Nova Scotia.
H) A. C. Benson Shipyard, Vancouver, British Columbia.
I) Star Shipyard (Mercer’s) Limited, New Westminster, British Columbia.
J) Vancouver Shipyards Limited, Vancouver, British Columbia.
K) Grew Boats Limited, Penetanguishene, Ontario.
L) Mac – Craft Company Limited, Sarnia, Ontario.
Each line reads as: Boat's Name, Location Code, Date Laid Down, Date Launched and the Date Delivered to the RCN..
HMC ML050 – (B) 01FEB41, 22AUG41, 18NOV41
HMC ML051 – (B) 01FEB41, 15SEP41, 24NOV41
HMC ML052 – (E) 04FEB41, 29AUG41, 31OCT41
HMC ML053 – (E) 04FEB41, 18OCT41, 17OCT41(delivered the day before launch)
HMC ML054 – (C) 24MAR41, 30AUG41, 17OCT41
HMC ML055 – (C) 24MAR41, 20OCT41, 06NOV41
HMC ML056 – (C) 24MAR41, 10NOV41, 24NOV41
HMC ML057 – (F) 03MAR41, 26JUL41, 28OCT41
HMC ML058 – (F) 03MAR41, 27SEP41, 24NOV41
HMC ML059 – (F) 11AUG41, 23APR42, 26MAY42
HMC ML060 – (D) 05APR41, 24JUL41, 01NOV41
HMC ML061 – (D) 05APR41, 24JUL41, 11NOV41
HMC ML062 – (L) 12FEB41, 26NOV41, 18APR42
HMC ML063 – (L) 12FEB41, 03DEC41, 18APR42
HMC ML064 – (G) 19APR41, 28AUG41, 15MAY42
HMC ML065 – (G) 19APR41, 27OCT41, 15MAY42
HMC ML066 – (J) 27JAN41, 12JUL41, 06MAR42
HMC ML067 – (J) 11FEB41, 27NOV41, 27MAR42
HMC ML068 – (H) 29JAN41, 25OCT41, 07AUG42
HMC ML069 – (H) 12FEB41, 04DEC41, 28MAR42
HMC ML070 – (I) 01FEB41, 17SEP41, 14MAR42
HMC ML071 – (I) 01FEB41, 06OCT41, 15APR42
HMC ML072 – (K) ..MAY41, 12NOV41, 24NOV41
HMC ML073 – (K) ..MAY41, 12NOV41, 24NOV41
HMC ML074 – (F) 18AUG41, 30APR42, 26MAY42
HMC ML075 – (F) 07SEP41, 12MAY42, 22JUN42
HMC ML076 – (F) 17SEP41, 12MAY42, 23JUN42
HMC ML077 – (C) 18AUG41, 12MAY42, 02JUN42
HMC ML078 – (C) 25AUG41, 06MAY42, 02JUN42
HMC ML079 – (E) 12AUG41, 30APR42, 27MAY42
HMC ML080 – (E) 20AUG41, 20MAY42, 17JUN42
HMC ML081 – (B) 20AUG41, 01MAY42, 27MAY42
HMC ML082 – (B) 20AUG41, 01MAY42, 27MAY42
HMC ML083 – (G) 20AUG41, 24MAR42, 25MAY42
HMC ML084 – (G) 20AUG41, 16MAY42, 18JUN42
HMC ML085 – (D) 31AUG41, 16MAY42, 13JUN42
HMC ML086 – (E) 15APR42, 03OCT42, 26OCT42
HMC ML087 – (E) 15APR42, 29OCT42, 09NOV42
HMC ML088 – (E) 15APR42, 10MAY42 – it is hard to believe they did that in less than one month and the delivery date is missing from the records.
HMC ML089 – (C) 16APR42, 01OCT42, 15OCT42
HMC ML090 – (C) 16APR42, 21OCT42, 19NOV42
HMC ML091 – (C) 16APR42, 06MAY43, 17MAY43
HMC ML092 – (D) 10APR42, 23OCT42, 02NOV42
HMC ML093 – (D) 10APR42, 01OCT42, 02NOV42
HMC ML094 – (B) 14APR42, 12NOV42, 19NOV42
HMC ML095 – (B) 14APR42, 03MAY43, 12MAY43
HMC ML096 – (F) 20APR42, 19OCT42, 09NOV42
HMC ML097 – (F) 20APR42, 19OCT42, 16NOV42
HMC ML098 – (K) 02APR42, 24OCT42, 07NOV42
HMC ML099 – (K) 02APR42, 24OCT42, 07NOV42
HMC ML100 – (K) 10APR42, 24OCT42, 07NOV42
HMC ML101 – (L) 05MAY42, 06OCT42, 07NOV42
HMC ML102 – (L) 10MAY42, 07NOV42, 14NOV42
HMC ML103 – (L) 30MAY42, 07NOV42, 18NOV42
HMC ML104 – (L) 15JAN43, 03JUL43, 04AUG43
HMC ML105 – (L) 01FEB43, 07AUG43, 05SEP43
HMC ML106 – (K) launched 15AUG43 only date on record
HMC ML107 – (K) launched 16AUG43 only date on record
HMC ML108 – (B) launched 29JUL43 only date on record
HMC ML109 – (D) launched 02JUL43 only date on record
HMC ML110 – (F) 06FEB43, 29JUN43, the delivery date is missing
HMC ML111 – (G) 05FEB43, launched date is missing, delivered on 09SEP43
I believe this is considered the division between the first or early program and the second or last program of these little ships. These 62 were nearly ready when it was decided to order the last 18.
HMC ML112 – (E) 21APR43, 18SEP43, 25OCT43
HMC ML113 – (E) 21APR43, 11NOV43, 20NOV43
HMC ML114 – (C) 21APR43, 11NOV43, 20NOV43
HMC ML115 – (L) 21APR43, 06NOV43, 16NOV43
HMC ML116 – (D) laid down is missing, 25SEP43, 16NOV43 there is a line through the delivery date so they may have been uncertain of that date. Commander Fraser McKee told me in April 2006 that HMC ML116 caught fire during construction but was finished and this must be the reason the dates are missing.
HMC ML117 – (K) 21APR43, 06NOV43, 16NOV43
HMC ML118 – (B) 21APR43, 30NOV43, 06NOV43 delivered before launched
HMC ML119 – (F) 02JUN43, 30OCT43, 16NOV43
HMC ML120 – (G) 20JUN43, 08JAN44, 27JAN44
HMC ML121 – (G) 27JUN43, 30MAR44, 17APR44
HMC ML122 – (J) 20AUG43, 23FEB44, the delivery date is missing
HMC ML123 – (J, 28MAY43, 11MAR44, the delivery date is missing
HMC ML124 – (J) 08NOV43, 04APR44, the delivery date is missing
HMC ML125 – (I) 04AUG43, 18APR44, the delivery date is missing
HMC ML126 – (I) 07SEP43, 18APR44, the delivery date is missing
HMC ML127 – (I) 08NOV43 date launched and delivered missing
HMC ML128 – (H) 27SEP43, 22APR44, delivery date missing
HMC ML129 – (H) 04JAN44 date launched and delivered missing
HMCS PRESERVER – (A, 10JUL41, 28DEC41, 12JUL42 (Base Ship)
HMCS PROVIDER – (A, 24DEC41, 12JUN42, 01DEC42 (Base Ship)
The seven Canadian Fairmiles built by the John H. LeBlanc Shipyard, Weymouth, Nova Scotia are listed below.
The dates are: the Date Laid Down, the Date Launched, the Date Delivered to the navy and the Date the first commanding officer joined the vessel.
HMC ML064 – 19APR41 – 28AUG41 – 15MAY42 - 20FEB42
HMC ML065 – 19APR41 – 27OCT41 - 15MAY42 - 01MAY42
HMC ML083 – 20AUG41 – 24MAR42 – 25MAY42 - 09MAY42
HMC ML084 – 20AUG41 – 16MAY42 – 18JUN42 - 04JUN42
HMC ML111 – 05FEB43 – n/a – 09SEP43 - 09SEP43
HMC ML120 – 20JUN43 – 08JAN44 – 27JAN44 - 10JAN44
HMC ML121 – 27JUN43 - 30APR44 – 17APR44 - 17APR44
The launch date for HMC ML111 is not available at this time. The eighty Canadian Fairmiles and the following four letter international call signs assigned:
Ronald Kinney helped build the Weymouth built vessels and the thing he remembers most from their construction was trying to paint the interiors. Due to the overpowering solvents in the paint fumes due to poor ventilation in the bilge area, he and his partner, the late Bill Brooks each spent short intervals at this painting, with one relieving the other.
These Canadian shipyards built eighty-eight Fairmiles and eight were turned over to the United States Navy. All eight were of the early program and were absorbed within their Submarine Chaser fleet complete with Submarine Chaser number/names.
Each Canadian Fairmile cost from eighty to eighty-one thousand 1942 Canadian dollars and a couple of the original bids were less at just over seventy-five thousand, but most were much higher, and some nearly one hundred and twenty nine thousand dollars. Apparently the higher bids were to cover the cost of a shed sufficient to build these vessels under cover. But as near as I can tell from the records I found they leveled off at around eighty thousand each. One wonders if we could get two of them today for the amount paid for all eighty-eight back then.
Some parts for the Fairmiles were built from a kit. The kits for the Canadian built boats were manufactured in Canada. My former neighbour, the late Camille Comeau, helped construct the Weymouth built vessels here in Nova Scotia. He spoke of fitting the prefabricated bulkheads in place. These kits were shipped to Weymouth by the railroad. He and I used to talk about these little ships quite often.
Apparently there were nearly seven hundred Fairmiles built in thirteen nations from 1940 until 1945. An article written by James Davies titled "Fairmile B Type Motor Launch" that I managed to find is most interesting. He included a life-like colour painting by Tim Brown of HM ML192 in action shortly before she took a direct hit and was lost. Apparently there were ten Fairmiles lost in that action that included HM ML192 in the early morning of Saturday March 28th, 1942, on the approach to St. Naziere.
All Canadian naval ships were assigned a four letter international call sign, during World War II, which was not listed with the International Telecommunication Union in Switzerland. These four letter call signs commenced with either a CG, CY or CZ prefix. The Canadian Fairmiles used a four character coded call sign during World War II which had a prefix of 4X. The two-letter suffix was changed about every two months. Using any two letters at a time would make for 676 possible combinations. There was less than half this number of ships in Canadian naval service so this left many possibilities. The larger ship, the minesweeper, corvette, frigate, destroyer and so on up the scale used a two letter coded call sign. This was done to confuse the enemy. Which enemy, theirs or ours, became the most confused from this is hard to say.
The Royal Navy did not use a pendant number for their Fairmiles. They simply painted the boat's name on the bow. ie ML123 and so on up and down the list. These eight Royal Navy ships constructed at Weymouth were numbered as follows:
The dates shown are RN Name, USN Name, Date the Keel was laid, the Date Launched, the Date Commissioned into the U.S. Navy and the Date Disposed of.
HM ML392 - USS SC1466 – 27OCT41 – 27JUL42 – 22OCT42 - Transferred to Mexico 20NOV43
HM ML393 - USS SC1467 – NCPV - 31OCT41 – 03AUG42 – 22OCT42 - 31JAN46
HM ML394 - USS SC1468 – NCQE - 28NOV41 – 10JUL42 – 22OCT42 - 21JAN48
HM ML395 - USS SC1469 – 30NOV41 – 12AUG42 – 22OCT42 - Transferred to Mexico 20NOV43
HM ML396 - USS SC1470 – Commissioned 23OCT42 – Renamed USS PANTHER (IX-105) 26JUN43
- USS PANTHER was sold on 13FEB47
HM ML397 - USS SC1471 – 28OCT41 – 02JUL42 – 23OCT42 Transferred to Mexico 20NOV43
HM ML398 - USS SC1472 – NCTN - 30JAN42 – 24NOV42 – 05DEC42 - 04MAR48
HM ML399 - USS SC1473 – NCVH - 20MAY42 – 26NOV42 – 05DEC42 - 21MAR48
All U.S. Naval ships have a call sign with the prefix N. I only found four call signs for these eight ships.
One will probably never know what radio station was fitted in these eight American Submarine Chasers when they left the Weymouth shipyard. It is possible they sailed with a Canadian Marconi FR12. I cannot see them sailing without radio unless they were towed to the United States. They would not have American radios fitted because they were British ships. These eight little ships were commissioned as United States Ships here at Weymouth. All eight sailed to Boston as soon as they were commissioned. The naval museums in Boston and Washington have no record of the radios fitted in these eight Fairmiles.
HMC ML120 outbound from Halifax under full power. (DND photo submitted by Spud Roscoe)
There is no record of Canadian Fairmiles doing any damage to the enemy, but several U-boat commanders must have suddenly altered their courses when encountering them. These wooden vessels were 112 feet long and 18 feet wide and were powered by gasoline engines. HMC ML050 to HMC ML111 inclusive, of the early program had two 635 HP Hall Scott engines and were capable of up to twenty knots. HMC ML112 to HMC ML129 inclusive had two 850 HP Sterling Admiral Engines which were capable of up to twenty-four knots. Commander McKee claims 20 or 21 maybe, but not more. That is the official version.
HMC ML095 had V12 Supercharged Rolls Royce engines. The Rolls Royce Merlin engine was a V12 supercharged gasoline aircraft engine that won the battle of Britain. It was fitted in Spitfires, Hurricanes and the American P-51 Mustang aircraft. The Packard Company was given a license to build Rolls Royce Merlin engines in the United States. HMC ML095 was supposed to be able to do twenty-six knots with those engines but it is not known if she managed to go that fast. I do not know why HMC ML095 was fitted with these engines and I do not know if they were Merlin engines. It was probably a case that the engines were available and put to use in that vessel. The Rolls Royce was a popular engine in the smaller Motor Torpedo Boat and its sister the Air Force Crash Boat that gave those boats a speed of over forty knots. The first American made Merlin engine was on test with the 1500 HP Packard marine engine, at the Packard factory in Detroit, May 1941, This according to the book The Royal Canadian Air Force Marine Squadrons, volume two on page 167, by Geoff D. Pilborough. HMC ML095 was launched in May 1943 two years later.
All eighty-eight Fairmiles were known as the “B Class” Fairmile. The B class or type had the habit of setting their exhaust stack on fire when run at full speed for extended periods. Each Fairmile had a fuel capacity of 2,320 imperial gallons of high octane gasoline. This gave them a range of between 400 and 1,000 miles depending on speed. Each vessel displaced seventy-one tons.
According to the James Davies article, the Fairmile was to be fitted with three marine diesel engines. These engines were impossible to find so they settled on the American Hall Scott gasoline engine. The Hall Scott engines could not be produced to meet this high demand so it was decided to fit the Fairmiles with just two engines. This was found to be sufficient.
According to the book Maverick Navy by Alexander W. Moffat, Captain, USNR (Ret.), page 149 the propulsion of the World War I Submarine Chaser was triple-propellers 39 inches in diameter with a 57 and ½ inch pitch. The three six-cylinder gasoline engines were rated at 220 horsepower at 500 revolutions per minute. These engines had a bore of 10 inches and a stroke of 11 inches and were directly connected to the propeller shafts. Each engine had compressed air starting and reversing. The cylinders were individually cast and mounted on an open based crankcase. The ignition consisted of Bosch, waterproof, magnetic spark plugs with low-tension wiring.
George Crowell was the Telegraphist in HMC ML064 and HMC ML095. He went aboard the ’64 right after she was built. The ’64 carried a crew of 15:
1 Chief Stoker
1 Leading Seaman Coxswain
2 Ordinary Seamen
1 Asdic Operator
1 Torpedo Rate
George transferred from HMC ML064 to HMC ML095 where there was one extra crew member making a total of 16. By the time George went aboard the HMC ML095 the navy had trained a sufficient number Radar Operators so one was assigned to HMC ML095. "Radar Operator" is George’s terminology.
George Crowell told me he worked the Gaspe from the Canso Strait on what was called the Port Wave frequency of 425 kcs. This was a common frequency used by all the small naval radio stations around the coast when communicating with vessels that were not that far from shore. An example of the calling format would be: CFL CFL CFL V 4XYZ 4XYZ 4XYZ K – or whatever the two-letter suffix in his coded call sign happened to be at the time.
The Lists of World War II stations provide the following possible Port Wave Stations on 425 kcs:
CFH - Halifax, Nova Scotia
CFI - Quebec City, Quebec
CFL - Gaspe, Quebec
CGH - Rigolet, Labrador (Lake Melville - Goose Bay area)
CKH – Toronto, Ontario
CKK - Shelburne, Nova Scotia 
CKR - Mulgrave, Nova Scotia (Canso Strait)
CZC - Saint John, New Brunswick
CZD - Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
CZE - Sydney, Nova Scotia
CZJ - Quoddy, Nova Scotia (Eastern Halifax County)
CZP - St. John's, Newfoundland
CZS - Bridgewater, Nova Scotia
The two we know for certain are CFH and CFL
On the West Coast, the Port Wave stations may have been.
CFV – York Island, British Columbia (location not known)
CKE - Discovery Island, British Columbia (location not known)
CKF - Vancouver, British Columbia
CKG – Prince Rupert, British Columbia
CZZ - Coal Harbour, British Columbia (Northern Vancouver Island)
CFL (Gaspe, Quebec) was a naval radio station in a building just outside the main gate at HMCS FORT RAMSEY. The transmitters (probably Canadian Marconi PV500’s) and receivers were housed in the same building. It is very hard to get a good electrical connection (a ground connection) to the earth’s surface on the Gaspe Peninsula because of the mineral content of the soil. The antenna for this station had a large counterpoise to serve as the electrical connection, the ground of this station.
The Fairmiles operating in the Gulf of St. Lawrence copied the CFL broadcast a very low frequency, probably 125 kcs. The transmission from CFL was hard for the Fairmiles to copy once they sailed up the river past Cape Chat, Quebec. This counterpoise was installed with hopes of improving performance but there is no record of improvement.
One finds it hard to believe that CFL was able to make these broadcasts and still communicate with the ships. This would involve two transmitters and two receivers. The transmitters were probably Canadian Marconi PV-500’s. The receivers and transmitters were housed in the same building and the receivers would probably be Canadian Marconi SMR-3’s or CSR-5’S and maybe an MSL-5 or CSR-4.
George was running a Canadian Marconi FR-12 fifteen-watt input transmitter/receiver with metal 6L6 tubes in the finals. This was a very low power transmitter and with HMC ML064’s wooden hull, it made for a very poor electrical connection with the earths surface. Once telegraphists had spent some time with the boat's radios they could tell when the ship passed from salt water into brackish or fresh water. This transition affected the all important electrical connection to the earth's surface. A wooden hull vessel can be a real headache at times. There has to be a sheet of copper  attached to the wooden hull to serve as a ground connection. It is very hard to make the electrical connection between this sheet of copper and the electronic equipment. A ¾ inch brass bolt was normally used between the copper sheet and the hull of the vessel. The ground strap had to be fairly large between that bolt and the electronic equipment if it was any distance from the bolt to the electronic equipment. Working CFL from the Canso Strait was a very good range and George was rather surprised he was able to communicate at that distance with this type of radio gear.
As mentioned, George Crowell sailed in HMC ML064 and ML095 but we do not know when the change was made to have the FR-12/MSL-5 combination replaced with the Marconi CM-11 transmitter/receiver. The CM-11 had not been fitted when George was transferred from these boats in late 1943.
There was another station south of Gaspe CFL. This was the radio direction/finding station at Cap D’Espoir. Gaspe CFL transmitted an urgent message to HMC ML064 giving the position of a German U-boat transmitting coded messages from the Gulf of St. Lawrence on 7333 kcs. By the time ’64 received and decoded the message they realized they had passed through that position just one hour ago. There were several direction/finding stations tied in with each other in order to give a position and not just a bearing. Cap D’Espoir was tied in with Hartlen Point and may have been tied in with several other stations. Hartlen Point is in the eastern approaches to Halifax harbour, Nova Scotia. The more stations taking bearings the more accurate the position. This was nearly a year and a half before the opening of the navy’s monitoring and direction/finding station that eventually became HMCS COVERDALE outside Moncton, New Brunswick.
No wonder one's naval career was one course and one exercise after another. Think of the opportunity for error this presented. Getting the D/F stations on the proper frequency to take the bearings and then getting these bearings worked out into the correct position. Then, this position had to be coded, transmitted, received and decoded. HMC ML064 did well to learn she had sailed through the position just one hour previous to receiving the message. There had to be a time difference. The time the U-boat made the transmissions and the time ’64 passed that position, but there is no question the two vessels were close to each other. It could have been a case that they were close enough that Herr U-boat did not consider a mere Fairmile to be worthy of a torpedo. George was unable to locate the date of this incident and as close as he could get to it was the summer of 1942, probably sometime in September 1942.
George also told me that one time while traveling alone in HMC ML064 his commanding officer wanted a direction finding bearing from Canso D/F VAX. George explained to him, Lieutenant Norm Williams, that he would be breaking radio silence and Norm told him to go ahead. George called VAX using the CGZD call sign and got his bearing.
The monitoring operators on the East coast became so proficient that they could fix a U-boat’s position when she transmitted a ten second tuning transmission only. Hindsight is twenty-twenty as they say, but it is a shame some system had not been set up where one of our ships could simply make a short transmission. Each coastal D/F station could have sent their bearing and time of receipt via landline to a central naval office. A navigation officer at this office could have taken all the bearings received and fixed the vessels position and then transmitted this position via a short coded message to the vessel involved. Yes, I know the U-boats could have made use of this information the reason for radio silence, but it still seems feasible for some such scheme in place for emergency use only. A position would have been better than a simple bearing as in George’s case. This may have prevented a few of the many accidents around this coast, but at this late date and time one will never know.
The World War II Submarine Chaser had two diesel engines. There were two distinct diesel engines used and Theodore R. Treadwell describes them in his book Splinter Fleet on page 17. During WWII, 243 Submarine Chasers were built and fitted with a new “pancake” type diesel engine capable of driving the vessel at 21 knots. These new engines were fitted with variable pitch propellers making it much easier to manoeuvre. There were 438 Submarine Chasers built in the United States during World War II. The other 195 had to be fitted with a different engine because of the demand. These 195 were fitted with General Motors 8 cylinder 500 horsepower diesels. The vessels fitted with the General Motors diesels could make a top speed of fifteen knots only but all the Submarine Chasers operated together. This would mean four different types, the ones left over from World War I, the eight Canadian built, the ones with the Pancake diesels and the ones with the General Motors diesels. In other words, two types with gasoline engines and two types with diesel engines. It appears as though the gasoline types remained around the East Coast of the United States with some of the diesel types. The rest of the diesel types roamed around the world, especially in the Mediterranean and South Pacific. Theodore R. Treadwell mentions in Splinter Fleet that at least one diesel type managed to get the diesel fuel and the water in the wrong tanks. One can only imagine the problems in operating a diesel and gasoline fleet simultaneously.
The International Telecommunication Union List of Ship Stations of 1933 lists twenty-seven Submarine Chasers still in the United States Navy. Twenty-four were still serving in the list of 1935 . Fifteen were still on the 1940 and 1943 lists. The four-letter call sign has the prefix NO for 25 and NI is the prefix of the other two. Mr. Treadwell states that fifty-three were transferred to the United States Coast Guard after World War I, but I have not found them. It would be interesting to see if they were assigned call signs with the NO and NI prefix. They probably were because it appears from the gaps in the call signs of the twenty-seven listed above that at one time they were in alphabetical order. Those in service during World War II were no doubt involved in this war one way or another, but in coast guard patrols and not as submarine chasers. The Coast Guard apparently listed them as WPC, gave each an assigned number different than the previous naval number, and they apparently gave each a name. A WPB is a Patrol Boat so a WPC probably meant a Patrol Cutter. Therefore, according to these records it would appear that the U.S. Navy had twenty-three gasoline Submarine Chasers during World War II, the fifteen from World War I and the eight Canadian Fairmiles.
The website "NavSource Online: Submarine Chaser Photo Archives" provides some of the four letter call signs of the Submarine Chaser fleet but they do not follow this NO and NI theory. They seem to simply have a four letter call sign with the N prefix. USS SC508 had a nice radiotelegraph call sign, NURR.
According to information I found at the above website, USS SC1470 was laid down at Weymouth in 1942. She was launched on June 17th, 1942 and commissioned at Weymouth on October 23rd, 1942. She was renamed PANTHER and assigned pendant number IX105 on June 26th, 1943. She was recommissioned on July 7th, 1943, and decommissioned on January 21st, 1946. She was then sold for scrap on February 13th, 1947.
Ship’s Data U.S. Naval Vessels Volume II dated April 15th, 1945, gives the detail on USS PC1123 and the Weymouth built Submarine Chasers. USS PC1123 was built at Bay City, Michigan, and was commissioned on February 5th, 1943.
Splinter Fleet states that the American submarine chaser was the smallest vessel commissioned in the United States Navy. The vessels smaller than the submarine chaser were commissioned as a complete unit. It is rather odd that they had the prefix USS and not simply US, as in United States Submarine Chaser rather than United States Ship Submarine Chaser and their assigned number/name.
OPERATIONS AT SEA
Accommodation aboard a Fairmile was rather cramped but comfortable for two or three officers and fourteen men. Armament varied, but a typical Canadian Fairmile had three twenty millimeter Oerlikon guns, one nine millimeter Sten gun, two .303 machine-guns, two .303 rifles, three .45 revolvers, and twenty depth charges of 300 pounds each.
Each vessel was sheathed for operation in ice. Ice is like glass and will cut or gouge the sides of a wooden vessel as the hull passes through it. This includes the ice found in salt water as well as the ice in fresh water. I do not know what material was used to sheath each Fairmile but most wooden vessels built on the East Coast are given an extra half inch of planking in the area where ice will rub against a vessels hull.
Each Fairmile was fitted with sonar, radar, and radiotelegraph. These boats were fitted the Canadian SWC radar whose Yagi antenna looked like a TV antenna mounted on the masthead. The antenna was named for Dr. Yagi the Japanese scientist who invented it. This antenna was manually trained The returning echoes from the target would be viewed on an oscilloscope-type indicator which would provide range information. True bearing would have to be calculated based on the azimuth position of the Yagi antenna. It was rather primitive by today's standards, but being of Canadian design, the people who developed the SWC radar felt proud of this equipment.
Fairmiles sat so low in the water that they were mistaken for a surfaced U-boat on occasion. This fact created some confusion around Convoy BX-141 in January 1945. USS PC1123, a 136-foot steel patrol craft, mistook USS SC1470, a Weymouth built Fairmile, for a surfaced U-boat and rammed her one night off Alligator Reef, Florida, and nearly cut her in half. Naval crews were trained to take that action against an enemy submarine. USS SC1470 was repaired and when she went back in service she was renamed USS PANTHER with pennant number IX105. The IX prefix stands for an Unclassified Miscellaneous Unit. I have no idea what use was made of her after that. Theodore R. Treadwell describes this accident on page 43 of his book Splinter Fleet. He does not state she was built in Canada and does not indicate she was repaired. I learned that she was repaired, renamed and her new pendant number from Paul H. Silverstone’s book US Warships of World War II published in 1965. He also states that Weymouth built USS SC1466, USS SC1469, and USS SC1471, were transferred to the Mexican Navy. Bob McQuaid Lt. USN (Ret.) joined USS SC1471 in July 1943 and was with her until she was transferred to the Mexican Navy at Miami in November 1943. The other two transferred at the same time.
When it came time for HMC ML120 to sail out the Sissiboo River to St. Mary’s Bay in early 1944, the river was covered in ice. The local authorities decided to dynamite a path through this ice, which is as unfeasible as it is to tow a ship through ice. This dynamite killed most of the fish in the Sissiboo River and accomplished little else. Many in the area helped break this ice after that unfeasible performance.
The late Scott Kinney, Ron’s younger brother, told me it has been years since the Sissiboo River froze over. The only ice has been some slush ice up at the head of St. Mary’s Bay. Scott could remember standing on the bank at Kinney Shore looking across St. Mary’s Bay when he could see nothing but ice. There was no open water and this seemed to happen nearly every winter years ago. Kinney Shore is behind the village of Ashmore. Actually Ashmore was Kinneytown until 1905 and is next to and east of Weymouth North.
Canadian Fairmiles made quite a name for themselves during the war. They patrolled the whole of the North American East Coast from Labrador to the West Indies. They also patrolled the West Coast but I am not sure of their range on the West Coast. None was lost during the war although three, HMC ML081, HMC ML079, and HMC ML072 were badly shaken up when on March 10th, 1943 they were fairly close to the Liberty ship JAMES SPRUNT when it was torpedoed and blew up like a huge bomb. This occurred in position 19.49N 74.38W off Cape Maysi, Cuba, which is on the eastern tip of that country. JAMES SPRUNT was on a voyage from Charleston, South Carolina, to Karachi and needless to say was loaded with explosives. The explosion was nearly twice the size of the one that devastated Halifax on December 6th, 1917. It picked these three Fairmiles out of the water, then slammed them back down and showered them with debris, smashing their wheelhouse windows, tearing doors off hinges, and scattering everything movable in all directions. It is indeed a miracle that the only injuries were minor bruises. These three Fairmiles managed to rendezvous with HMCS PROVIDER shortly after this incident, and kept her busy around the clock for several days getting them back in top shape.
In Commander Fraser M. McKee’s book “The Armed Yachts of Canada” he states HMC ML065 was with convoy QS33 from Quebec to Sydney on page 141. I believe that should read HMC ML064. HMCS RACCOON was sunk by submarine U-165 on September 7th, 1942, while a member of that convoy. HMC ML064 was a part of the escort force of QS33. Sub-Lieutenant Norman L. Williams was her commanding officer and George Crowell was her telegraphist. Norm Williams and George Crowell had to identify the body of Lieutenant R. H. McConnell. No other crewmen were found from HMCS RACCOON.
The late Kenneth Weaver from New Edinburgh, Nova Scotia, across the Sissiboo River from Weymouth North, worked on the construction of HMC ML064 and HMC ML065. He worked on the electrical end of building these two vessels, mainly installing the ASDIC equipment. He said all the ASDIC ratings were British and this work was secret. Ken became an able seaman in the tanker POINT PELEE PARK. He visited Trinidad in this vessel and found HMC ML065 there. He went over and asked about the British men he worked with and was told they were still there but he did not get to see them. He felt it was late 1944 or early 1945 that he had seen HMC ML065 in Trinidad but I have no knowledge of her making more than the one trip south in 1943. Captain J. A. Heenan, OBE, RD, CD, RCN R (Retired) stated that while on a run to the Isle of Pines on the South Coast of Cuba HMC ML065 performed an excellent feat of seamanship in saving the lives of a number of seamen in an U.S. vessel in distress. This is recorded in his article Salute to “The Little Ships”.
Captain Heenan was the commanding officer of HMCS PROVIDER. His article was my source for some of the information I have recorded here. The late Captain Heenan wanted this history made known so I am sure he would appreciate all I have tried to record here. I first read his article in 1962 and have had an interest in these ships since I read it.
The Canadian Fairmiles operated in flotillas of about six Fairmiles in each flotilla. The 70th and 78th flotillas operated out of Bermuda. The 73rd operated out of Saint John, New Brunswick, after it had been south in the Caribbean. The 82nd operated out of Shelburne, Nova Scotia. The 71st, 72nd, 76th, and the 79th operated out of Halifax, Nova Scotia, and the 77th out of St. John’s, Newfoundland. This was after 1943 when sufficient Fairmiles had entered service to permit this number of flotillas. Actually the 72nd had tried to go south with the 73rd but had received so much weather damage that it had to turn around at Savannah, Georgia, and go back to Halifax, Nova Scotia.
HMCS PROVIDER sailed south with the 73rd flotilla and was kept busy keeping this flotilla and a number of American vessels in top shape while operating in the Caribbean. She actually serviced at least some of the eight Fairmiles given to the United States Navy under reverse lend-lease, the ones that were operating as submarine chasers, the USS SC1466 through to USS SC1473 inclusive. This fact was included in a signal from the United States Navy thanking HMCS PROVIDER for her assistance as she was leaving the Caribbean for Halifax, Nova Scotia, in April 1943. She spent the next winter in Bermuda as the base supply ship for the 70th and 78th flotillas.
In addition to their normal patrol duties all these Fairmiles acted as fast runners for this, that, and the other thing, a part here, a message there, and so on. On February 22nd, 1944, during a storm, a fully laden unescorted fast tanker had arrived at the approaches to Halifax but could not enter because a U-boat was known to be in the area. The 76th Fairmile Flotilla was sent out to protect this tanker. They did this by continually circling the tanker dropping depth charges until the tanker reached safe waters. It must have been quite a sight watching these little ships circle this tanker dropping depth charges. They all arrived safely back in Halifax, except for broken crockery and some superficial damage from the storm. HMC ML097 had become separated from the others and after her return, on retracing the course she had taken, it was learned she had passed between Sambro Island and the mainland. Quite a navigational feat under excellent conditions, but during a howling blizzard it was a miracle she was not smashed to pieces. I can just picture the radio operators in these Fairmiles huddled up to their equipment and trying to hang on. They had 18 inches of foot room only under their stations. It was February and would have been quite cold so they would have been trying to catch all the heat they could from the power supplies to their equipment. These power supplies were fairly large units and were mounted under the operating positions, normally taking up most of what little foot room was available.
Although I found no record of any Fairmiles contacting Camperdown VCS during the war, I wanted to record a feat performed by one of them, of general interest to all living in the area. Especially to those who traveled back and forth to the last Ketch Harbour station.
One of the major tasks performed by these Fairmiles during the war was to assist minesweeping activities. The German Navy at one point tried to block the harbours of Halifax and St. John’s by mining them. At one time a U-boat came in to the approaches to Halifax and laid a number of mines. In order to design an effective means for destroying these mines, and to understand them so defensive measures could be taken against them, one had to be caught and examined. On June 8th, 1943, HMC ML053 managed to catch one of these mines and hook it to a ninety-yard towline. She towed it a distance of fifteen and one half-miles to the approaches of Ketch Harbour where eight members of her crew wrestled this mine ashore. Then all but Lieutenant G. H. O. Rundle, RCNR, and Able Seaman John G. Lancien, RCNVR, from Regina, Saskatchewan, hid among the rocks along the shore while these two dismantled the mine and made it safe. Once this had been accomplished the others returned to the scene and assisted in removing the primer and mine mechanism. It was quite a feat which was performed right on the back door of station VCS! Lt. Rundle was awarded the George Medal and AB Lancien the British Empire Medal and the others were mentioned in dispatches. This mine can be seen at the Maritime Command Museum, 2725 Gottingen Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia. Oh yes, HMC ML053 was one of the naval craft which stood by the wreck of CLARE LILLEY fifteen months previous, and could very well have been the naval vessel which rescued the seaman from the boat with the ship’s cat.
HMC ML121 was converted into a minesweeper, for a while, and patrolled the Digby and Weymouth areas as a minesweeper. It was believed by many that the U-boats would mine most of our harbours. This did not happen because the German navy wanted to keep the area free for their U-boats. The only mines they laid were at Halifax and St. John’s and just briefly at each port. HMC ML121 was not a minesweeper when she escorted the surrendered U-boat, U889, into Shelburne in May 1945.
Joe Casey, Digby, Nova Scotia, is a former member of the legislative assembly for the provincial government. He was one of the officers in HMC ML121 and a friend of Lieutenant Rundle, who used to visit his home. So many of our war heroes had a drinking problem or something wrong with them, it seems, so I asked him about Rundle. Joe said there was nothing wrong with him. He was one fine guy with a lot of guts. He must have had the guts to pull that mine rescue off and he not only did it the once but twice. He did it again the next day when they managed to catch another mine.
These Fairmiles had many uses. They were great “Guinea Pigs” in the experimentation of new equipment and clothing. The experiments were conducted in these small craft for what are now our common Gravol tablets for motion sickness. Because of their small size, conditions in them were as bad as any ship in service during the war. Commander Fraser McKee told me in April 2006 that they feel there may be as many as five still in service. They must have been pleasant vessels in which to sail. The crews would have been young and a very “close-knit” family, including the commanding officer. The commanding officer was usually a Lieutenant in the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve, although a few were only Sub-Lieutenants at the beginning when these little ships first went in service. Being so small they could “scoot” in and out anywhere around the coast and all things considered, those who had the privilege of operating the radiotelegraph equipment in one must have thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
AT WAR'S END
Canadian built Fairmiles served in the navy of five nations during World War II. HMC ML052, HMC ML062 and HMC ML063 were turned over to the Free French Navy on January 15th, 1943 and were based at the French islands of St. Pierre et Miquelon on the south coast of Newfoundland during the war. All three were returned to the Canadian Navy on termination of the war.
The John H. LeBlanc Shipyard, Weymouth, Nova Scotia built 15 Fairmiles. Seven; HMC ML064, HMC ML065, HMC ML083, HMC ML084, HMC ML111, HMC ML120 and HMC ML121 served with the Royal Canadian Navy with the majority of their sisters. Eight were built for the Royal Navy; HM ML392, HM ML393, HM ML394, HM ML395, HM ML396, HM ML397, HM ML398 and HM ML399. These eight were transferred to the United States Navy under reverse lend lease and were commissioned into the United States Navy in October and December of 1942. They became; USS SC1466, USS SC1467, USS SC1468, USS SC1469, USS SC1470, USS SC1471, USS SC1472 and USS SC1473.
USS SC1466, USS SC1469 and USS SC1471 were transferred to the Mexican Navy on November 20th, 1943. Therefore, Canadian built Fairmiles served in the navy of five nations during World War II.
A list of call signs for 1946 lists a total of 71 ships in the Royal Canadian Navy. There are three Fairmiles listed and for some unknown reason they are listed with British call signs, and they are the only ships on this list with British call signs. They are listed by pendant number and not by name. The three are listed as:
HMCS PRESERVER was sold to the Peruvian Navy in 1946 and renamed MARISCAL CASTILLA and renamed again, CABO BLANCO. She was scrapped in 1961. HMCS PROVIDER was also sold to Peruvian owners and renamed MARUBA in 1946. She was taken over by the Peruvian Navy and renamed ORGENOS until scrapped in 1961. The International Telecommunication Union and Lloyds can probably provide the international call sign to all four names, but my records could produce the one record only. CABO BLANCO had call sign OBPC. Any call sign with an OA, OB or OC prefix was a Peruvian radio station and Peru was granted the additional 4T prefix maybe as late as 1960. To my knowledge Peru did not assign the 4T prefix to a ship.
DISPOSAL AFTER THE WAR
The Canadian government kept very few Fairmiles once the war was over. Commander McKee told me they were selling them at a fixed price of $3,500 post-war, which annoyed a lot of people. A couple of letters from incensed citizens expressed dismay over this price. Some of the Fairmiles were only a year old when the war ended! The list below summarizes post war ownership. For a more detailed listing of post war ownership, please consult the list compiled by Fraser McKee. (Requires MS Word).
Disposal of Fairmiles - January 14th, 1948.
Note: All pendants are prefixed with HMC
Name Disposition ML050 Was turned over to Marine Industries Limited, Montreal and became STANBA 1. She was employed for survey work with Standard Oil of New Jersey. ML051 Was sold to Commander C. H. Hudson, Vancouver when she left government service.
After the Second World War Fairmile Q051 was registered by the name “ Radel II “, RAD- stood for RADIO, and EL- stood for ELECTRONICS. The National Research Council used former Q051 as research vessel. She designed and tested Great Lakes freighter radar, the radar reflecting bouy system and was the first boat in the world to have underwater television. Information about her experiments,remains classified. At least one crew member of the Radel II was present during these experiments and as an eye witness, knows why all this work still remains secret.
ML052 Was sold to General J. C. Escobar, Montreal. HMC ML052 was renamed CYRIUS and then LA MARIE-JO. HMC ML052 had served with the free French Navy of St. Pierre et Miquelon on the South Coast of Newfoundland from January 15th, 1943 until the end of the war. ML053 Marine Industries Limited, Montreal ML054 Captain E. J. Weaver, Sorel, Quebec. This was the second Fairmile to terminate her naval service. The last commanding officer left this one on December 6th, 1944. HMC ML082 was first and HMC ML108 was third.The rest were terminated in the summer of 1945. ML055 Marine Industries, Montreal ML056 Sold to Creole Petroleum Corporation, Venezuela and renamed ESSO AYACUCHO. ML057 Marine Industries, Montreal ML058 Sold to A. E. Griffen (& another), Toronto and renamed KATHERINE G ML059 Sold to Consolidated Shipbuilding Corp., New York
ML060 B. O. Bissette, St. John, Quebec. The crew called HMC ML060 the Mariposa Belle from a poem by a famous Canadian poet who lived in the area she was built. ML061 Sold to Creole Petroleum Corp., Venezuela ML062 Consolidated Shipbuilding Corp., New York. HMC ML062 was taken back by the navy and became HMCS WOLF in 1954, international call sign CGWR, pennant 762 and radiotelephone “Incident I”. HMC ML062 served with the free French Navy out of St. Pierre et Miquelon on the South Coast of Newfoundland from January 15th, 1943, until the end of the war. ML063 Sold to General J. C. Escobar, Montreal. HMC ML063 served with the free French Navy out of St. Pierre et Miquelon on the South Coast of Newfoundland from January 15th, 1943 until the end of the war. ML064 Wendell Graham, Montague, Prince Edward Island. HMC ML064 participated in the Battle of the Gulf of St Lawrence. George Crowell told me that at one time HMC ML064 and HMC ML080 berthed alongside each other at Rimouski,Quebec, when a good breeze of wind came up causing them to rub against each other. The bit of over hang on the upper deck of HMC ML080 caught in the same over hang on HMC ML064 ripping her upper deck off from the bow back to the wheelhouse. This put HMC ML064 out of service and she limped down to the shipyard at Pictou, Nova Scotia, where they put a tight canvas patch on her. She then proceeded back to Weymouth, Nova Scotia for repairs. ML065 Sold to Eric W. Phillips, Toronto and renamed the AUDREY A and then NADINE II. ML066 Sold to Finning Tractor & Equipment Company, Vancouver and renamed the EARLMAR. ML067 Sold to Coal Island Limited, Vancouver and renamed STRANGER II. ML068 Sold to Straits Towing & Salvage Company, Vancouver. . The HMC ML068 was renamed many times as MARINE FREIGHT NO 1, MISS LINDA, SALVOR, SECHELT NARROWS and ST&S. ML069 Sold to Willard G. Weston, Vancouver and renamed CASA MLA and then HARWOOD.
ML070 Sold to Marine Manufacturing Limited, Vancouver. The disposal list had M.V.MACHIGONNE in brackets after this entry and this is one of the names she had at one time. HMC ML070 was renamed many times as COAST RANGER, GULF RANGER, GULF TRADER, LACHAINA LADY, MACHIGONNE and SARACEN III. ML071 Sold to Gulf Lines Limited, Vancouver and was renamed GULF-WING, KONA WINDS, NIMPKISH PRINCESS, NORTHLAND PRINCESS and TROUBADOUR III. ML072 Had an explosion in her engine room in October 1944. Repaired and sold to Acme Boat and Salvage Company, New York, USA. ML073 Sold to Acme Boat and Salvage Company, New York, USA ML074 Sold to George B. Burchell, Sydney, Nova Scotia and renamed ALOMA III. ML075 Sold to Acme Boat and Salvage Company, New York, USA ML076 Sold to Acme Boat and Salvage Company, New York, USA ML077 Sold to Consolidated Shipping Corp., Sorel, Quebec ML078 Sold to George Elie Transport Tanker Company, Montreal and renamed ESSO CARDINAL. ML079 Sold to Herbert E. Corbett, Oakville, Ontario and renamed LADY ENIT and NANCY GRACE but one would expect this took place after the navy had terminated their service with her. HMC ML079 was taken back by the navy and became HMCS RACCOON in 1954, international call sign CYQT, pendant 779 and radiotelephone “Incident M”.
ML080 Sold toUnited Boat Service Corp., New York, USA. and was renamed ALMETA QUEEN, COSA GRANDE and QUARTERDECK. According to the coxswain, Leading Torpedoman C. Muloine, HMC ML080 spent the summer and fall of 1942 in the Gulf of St Lawrence. She struck Prince Edward Island in the area where the present Wood Island ferry docks in a storm in mid January, 1943, and the crew was rescued by a farmer with a horse and sleigh. She was towed to Pictou, Nova Scotia and repaired but was a training vessel after that. He recorded this on page 23 in the book Fading Memories. HMC ML080 was also involved in the incident that ripped the upper deck off of HMC ML064 as noted above. The Air Force recorded Fairmile # 008 as visiting RCAF DARTMOUTH on May 3rd, 1945, on page 145 in the book The Royal Canadian Air Force Marine Squadrons, volume two, 1945 – 1985 by Geoff D. Pilborough. If this was HMC ML080 she probably served around Halifax as a training vessel. ML081 Sold to Louis Levin, Montreal, Quebec and was renamed ESSO TAPARITA. ML082 Sold to Stanley C. Alexander, Gaspe, Quebec. There is a photograph of HMCS MILLTOWN assisting HMC ML082 into a cradle at the Pictou, Nova Scotia, shipyard on page 76 of Minesweepers of the Royal Canadian Navy 1938-1945 by Ken Macpherson. HMC ML082 is flooded and about all that can be seen is her Monkey Island, the top of her wheelhouse. This is dated December 11th, 1942, and the source of this flooding would be interesting. HMC ML082 went on to serve another two years. She was the first Fairmile to terminate her naval career. Her last commanding officer was the first to leave on September 25th, 1944.Commander Fraser McKee told me in April, 2006, that HMC ML082 caught fire at Gaspe in 1944 and was sold as just a hull a couple of times after the war. ML083 Sold to Lorne Johnson, Montague, Prince Edward Island and renamed LAZY MARINER. ML084 Sold to R. E. Gamble, Toronto and was renamed NELVANA. ML085 Sold to United Boat Service Corp., New York, USA. ML086 Sold to K. U. Gamble, Toronto and was renamed MONTERY. ML087 Sold to J. R. Trembly, Toronto and was renamed TZIGANE and CHEF TEK8ERIMAT. ML088 Sold toW. F. Christie, Toronto nd was renamed EIGHTY-EIGHT, PENETANG EIGHTY-EIGHT, MIDLAND PENETANG EIGHTY-EIGHT and OLYMPIA III. The first commanding officer joined this one on May 10th, 1943, and the last one left on June 25th, 1945. Not only that, but the first commanding officer was a Lieutenant Commander and he was in command for most of her first six months in service. He is the highest rank, and the only one of that rank, to serve as commanding officer in these little ships, so she must have been a flotilla leader of some description or a senior training vessel. ML089 Sold to Northern Engineering and Supply Company, Fort William, Ontario
ML090 Sold to Brian Newkirk in Toronto and renamed LOUVICOURT and ROSAL. ML091 Sold to Wendel Graham, P.E.I and renamed NINE-ONE. ML092 Sold possibly to Radium Chemicals of Vancouver and renamed SUZETTE NO 1. ML093 ?? ML094 Sold to G. A. Griffen, P.E.I and renamed ERNEST G. ML095 This one had Rolls Royce Merlin engines fitted. These V12 engines could produce anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 horsepower depending on the variant. HMC ML095 was sold to Rudolphe Corbeil and was renamed RODCO. As the RODCO she was owned at West Pubnico, Nova Scotia and was used to haul lobsters from Western Nova Scotia to Rockland, Maine. ML096 Sold to M.I.L. then to Monsieurs Severin and Langlois. ML097 Sold to Gen Escobar, but as a re-sale when the boat returned to M.I.L Industries ML098 Sold to Irene Sicard of Montreal and was renamed CORITA, BIC and LE ST-BARNABE. ML099 Sold to Joe Dunkleman, Tip-Top Tailors of Toronto and was renamed DIPEDON and DONARVIE.
ML100 Sold to Francis Farwell, Hamilton, Ontario  ML101 Sold to Great Lakes Lumber and Shipping Company, Fort William, Ontario and was renamed EDMAR and NELLIE D. ML102 Sold to Francis Farwell, Hamilton, Ontario and was renamed QUETZAL, CURLEW, MOONDANCE, ENTERPRISE II and SALISA M  ML103 Sold to C. M. Weegar, Penetang, Ontario and renamed ONE-O-THREE and LADY SIMONE. ML104 Loaned to Quebec Provincial Government. Was taken back by the navy and became HMCS COUGAR in 1954, international call sign CYXC, pendant 704 and radiotelephone “Disband Z" ML105 Loaned to Quebec Provincial Government, then sold privately and renamed DUC d’ORLEANS. ML106 Listed in a naval call sign document dated June 8th, 1948 as HMC ML106 call sign CZGS. She became HMCS BEAVER in 1954, international call sign CZGS, pendant 706 and radiotelephone “Irium E”. ML107 Loaned to Quebec Provincial Government ML108 Sold to Radium Chemical Company Limited, Vancouver. and was renamed MACHIGONNE II. This was the third Fairmile to terminate her war service. The last Commanding Officer left this one on December 19th, 1944. HMC ML082 was first. HMC ML054 was second, and the rest terminated in the summer of 1945. ML109 Sold to Francis Farwell, Hamilton, Ontario and was renamed QUETZAL II, ARARA and ARUBA.
ML110 Sold to Louis Levin, Montreal and renamed ROSELINE, MISS KINGSTON, SAINT-LOUIS IVand LA SANTA MARIA IV. ML111 Sold to Gibson Mills Limited, Vancouver. HMC ML111 was taken back by the navy and became HMCS MOOSE in 1954, international call sign CYQF, pendant 711 and radiotelephone “Incident Q” ML112 RCMP FORT WALSH, RCMP Ottawa. International call sign CGMR and pendant MP33 until 1959. HMC ML112 is believed to have rescued some of the survivors from the British tanker ATHELVIKING, a part of Convoy BX-141 January 1945. ML113 Sold to La Co-operative Transport, Isle de la Madeleine, Quebec and renamed LAVERNIERE.. ML114 Transferred to and became RCMP FORT SELKIRK but was never commissioned and was sold to H. P. Leask and Roy Pyke, Halifax, Nova Scotia. Was renamed AMY MAE. George Drew in Clark’s Harbour, Nova Scotia bought the AMY MAE and used her to haul lobsters out of Western Nova Scotia over to Rockland, Maine. On one trip she hit a bad storm crossing the mouth of the Bay of Fundy and managed to get oil and debris in among the lobster cargo. She limped back into Abbot’s Harbour and they managed to save the lobster cargo by soaking it in clean salt water. HMC ML114 had also served with the Bermuda flotillas. ML115 Upper Lakes and St. Lawrence Transportation Company, Toronto ML116 Listed in a naval call sign document dated June 8th, 1948 as HMC ML116 call sign CYQY. She became HMCS REINDEER in 1954,international call sign CYQY, pendant 716 and radiotelephone “Flashlight D”. ML117 Transferred to RCMP and became RCMP FORT STEELE. Never commissioned and was sold to L. A. Shackleton, Mount Royal, Quebec. ML118 Sold to Frances Farwell, Hamilton, Ontario and renamed FRANLISS III.  ML119 Transferred to RCMP and became RCMP FORT PITT, RCMP Ottawa. International call sign CGMM until 1959. I have not found her RCMP pendant number and I do not believe she was assigned one.When sold, she was renamed SONDRA II.
ML120 Sold to Upper Lakes and St. Lawrence Transportation Company, Toronto and was renamed NELVANA II and OSCEOLA. Then THE LADY GALADRIEL and eventually became MV MARYLAND INDEPENDENCE. ML121 Listed in a naval call sign document dated June 8th, 1948 as HMC ML121 call sign CYXC. HMC ML121 became the INSHORE FISHERMAN and then DENIS D and was broken up in March 1972 – See note 1. ML122 Sold to Hamiltair Limited, Vancouver nd renamed MALIBOU TYEE, NANCY M SEYMOUR and SOGNO d’ORO. ML123 Sold to Hamiltair Limited, Vancouver and renamed MALIBOU MARLIN and TOLUCA. ML124 was listed in a naval call sign document dated June 8th, 1948 as HMC ML124 call sign CZDL. She became HMCS ELK in 1954, based on the West Coast with international call sign CZDL, pendant 724 and radiotelephone “Catapult A”. HMCS ELK was discarded in 1956. She was the only post World War II Fairmile to serve on the West Coast. When sold she was renamed PACIFIC GOLD and TEIRRAH. ML125 Sold to Hamiltair Limited, Vancouver and was renamed CAMPANA, GULF STREAM II, JORMHOLM, MALIBOU TILIKUM and YOKEEN. ML126 Sold to Hamiltair Limited, Vancouver and renamed PRINCESS MALIBOU. ML127 Sold to Hamiltair Limited, Vancouver and was renamed CHIEF MALIBU. ML128 Sold to Hamiltair Limited, Vancouver and renamed PRINCESS LOUISA INLET ML129 Sold to Hamiltair Limited, Vancouver and renamed HUNTRESS, ISLAND ADVENTURERS, MALIBOU INEZ and VIKING.
Notes For Table:
Overall: HMC ML066 to HMC ML071 - These Were six of the fourteen West Coast vessels. This would make one Flotilla but I do not know the number of this Flotilla.
HMC ML122 to ML-129 - These are the other eight of the fourteen West Coast vessels. This would make for another Flotilla with the other six noted above. I do not know the flotilla numbers or if the West Coast Fairmiles were divided into flotillas.
Leading Seaman Sid Rimbault, RCNVR, stated they had a good war in the Fairmiles since he spent four years of the war serving in them. He stated one blew up at Gaspe from someone walking into the engine room with a lit cigarette and I believe this one was repaired at Weymouth, Nova Scotia. According to page 26 of the 70-page report, Report No. 10, Directorate of History, CFHQ, 30 Jun 66, this was HMC ML072 in October 1944. There was one death, two badly injured and this put almost half the crew in the hospital. Sid stated another ran ashore at Sydney, Nova Scotia, but I found no further detail on this incident. He recorded these statements in the book Fading Memories on page 21.
I found it rather interesting that two of the seven Weymouth, Nova Scotia, built Fairmiles were involved in the surrender of the German U-boats on termination of the war. HMC ML121 assisted in escorting U-889 into Shelburne, Nova Scotia, in May 1945. HMC ML111 assisted in escorting U-190 into St. John’s, Newfoundland, on June 3rd, 1945.
HMC ML120 met a fate the majority of our former naval vessels met on termination of the war. She was turned over to the Crown Assets Corporation and sold privately. Her owner in the 1970’s turned her upside down and left her to dry out for nine months. Her hull was then fiber glassed and she was fitted out as a beautiful yacht. The state of Maryland bought her in 1986 and renamed her MARYLAND INDEPENDENCE. She became the State’s flagship and traveled the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries promoting the unique characteristics of the State. She was powered by twin 260 HP Volvo diesel engines and had a cruising speed of twelve knots. She was operated and maintained by three full-time and one part-time personnel. She had a carrying capacity of 35 passengers and could accommodate 70 passengers while dockside. The vessel also had 3 guest staterooms, main and dining salons, 2 guest heads, galley, crew quarters, sundeck and flybridge. She was the sailing ambassador for the state of Maryland like the sailing vessel BLUENOSE II is for the province of Nova Scotia.
Robert Ehrlich was elected Governor of the State of Maryland in 2003. One of his election promises was to sell MARYLAND INDEPENDENCE. He claimed the vessel was an unnecessary expense for the state. The state put the vessel up for sale on December 11th, 2003. Governor Ehrlich is hoping someone will donate a smaller yacht to serve the state in the same way. One that is not as expensive to operate as MARYLAND INDEPENDENCE.
MARYLAND INDEPENDENCE was sold via the Internet on E-Bay for $275,100 on December 21st, 2003, to someone in Rochester, New York. Her international radio call sign at the time of her sale was WCY9690.
HMC ML121 was assigned the international call sign CYXC at the end of the war. According to the records her call sign was CYZC during the war. HMC ML121 was retained for a couple of years only at the end of the war and was not part of those kept as training vessels for cadets and the reserve navy. HMC ML104 was retained and became HMCS COUGAR. She was assigned this CYXC call sign and did not retain her CZGQ call sign. It can be confusing!
THE RAN FAIRMILES
The Royal Australian Navy was created on July 10th, 1911, over a year after the creation of the Royal Canadian Navy in May 1910. The Royal Australian Navy had 35 Class B Fairmiles in World War II. All 35 were built in Australia from kits manufactured in the United Kingdom or kits manufactured in Australia. All 35 were assigned pendant numbers and names identical to the Royal Navy Fairmiles. The pendant number was ML followed by each vessels assigned name/number. The 35 were:
HMA ML807 08APR43
HMA ML807 was the first one commissioned and was commissioned on April 8th, 1943. Eight of the Australian Fairmiles formed a command under the United States Group U.S. CTG 70.1 at Mois Woendi.
The eight were:
HMA and HMNZ Fairmiles formed the 80th and 81st Fairmile flotillas in the South West Pacific in January 1945. This would have involved 12 Fairmiles if there were six in each flotilla as in Canada. The last of the Australian Fairmiles were phased out of service in August 1945.
Jack Ruxton provides some additional information. "The bottom of RAN Fairmiles was sheathed in 'Muntz metal" not copper. This was an alloy consisting mainly of copper and brass. The hull was double cross planked pine with a layer of canvas between the inner and outer planking. Under the keel, which was solid yellow box tree timber, was a the pear shaped ASDIC dome.
There were 16 depth charges mounted in pairs and on rollers on the aft deck. Eight were mounted on each side and eight on the stern. There were two 20 mm Oerlikon guns on the rear deck and in between them was a "Y" gun that could launch two depth charges at a time, one from each side. On the fore deck was a Bofor gun . Four Vickers machine guns were mounted around the bridge. The engines were Hall Scott V8's fed by 2000 gallon , self-sealing fuel tanks. RAN Fairmiles were crewed by 16 personnel.
THE RNZN FAIRMILES
The Royal New Zealand Navy was created on October 1st, 1943. From 1921 until 1943 the New Zealand Navy was a Division of the Royal Navy. The Royal New Zealand Navy had 12 Class B Fairmiles during World War II. I do not know where they were built. All twelve were commissioned on December 20th, 1943. The twelve were:
This would provide two flotillas of six vessels each. The interesting thing I found about the New Zealand Fairmiles is that they used the same Q prefix in the pendant number as the Canadian Fairmiles.
HMNZ ML409 was brought back in service from 1953 until 1963. She was named HMNZS MAORI and assigned pendant number P3570 during this commission.
HMNZ ML411 was brought back in service from 1947 until 1965. She was named HMNZS KAHU and assigned pendant number P3571. In 1953 she was renamed HMNZS KAHU I.
The other New Zealand Fairmiles were disposed of on termination of the war in 1945.
This document does not cover the Fairmiles which saw service in the Royal Navy.
Also refer to Fairmiles of the Royal Canadian Navy by Marc-André Morin
 One of the Weymouth Fairmiles built in 1943 was named the INSHORE FISHERMAN and then DENIS D. This vessel was registered at Hamilton, Ontario, on November 17th, 1950, and was transferred to Saint John, New Brunswick, on January 30th, 1953. On October 19th, 1955, this vessel was transferred again to Grindstone, Magdalen Islands, and her registration was closed on April 11th, 1972. She became DENIS D on February 29th, 1956, but her records do not identify her Fairmile name/number. We believe HMC ML120 is MARYLAND INDEPENDENCE, HMC ML111 was HMCS MOOSE when the DENIS D was in service, and the only other Fairmile built at Weymouth in 1943 was HMC ML121, therefore this is likely HMC ML121. When she was first registered on November 17th, 1950, she was fitted with two new Cummins Diesel Engines built in 1950. Each engine had six 5-1/8 inch cylinders with a stroke of 6 inches. These engines were rated at 350 brake horsepower. The records claim this vessel was capable of making 12 miles per hour with these engines. I have no idea why they read miles per hour instead of knots but it is probably because she was registered in Ontario. They operate in miles per hour rather than knots on the Great Lakes. The records of this vessel as INSHORE FISHERMAN and DENIS D (I have three different sets) do not list any signal letters where it states Signal Letters if any. Therefore one has to assume she was not fitted with radio, or if she was fitted it was a small radiotelephone with a two-letter prefix and four digit suffix call sign and would not appear on these records. She was not listed with the International Telecommunication Union. This vessel was broken up in March 1972.
 The four Fairmiles sold to Francis Farwell of Hamilton saw the following roles:
a) One became a private yacht for Mr. Farwell. He was the owner of the Hamilton Street Railway at the time.
b) One was fitted with freezers and taken to Newfoundland on the promise of funding from Newfoundland to carry commercial fish to the market in Toronto. The vessel made it to St. John's but the funding did not materialize. The fate of the vessels is not known after that.
c) For several years, two of them sat at the foot of James Street in Hamilton. They were then towed to the North-East corner of Hamilton Bay to provide a makeshift seawall for a private property. Eventually both vessels rotted away.
 RAN Fairmiles are known to have been sheathed with Muntz metal. It is not known at this time if Canadian Fairmiles used copper or Muntz metal.
 With a leaky condenser in the tramsmitter's power supply, the signal had a distinctive hum.
Additional Contributors and Credits:
1) Paul Southall <psouthall(at)sympatico.ca>
3) Fraser McKee <fmmck22(at)rogers.com>
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