The last heroine of the Atlantic

HMCS SACKVILLE

Allan George profiles a lasting legacy to the hard-fighting corvettes that helped win World War Two

HMCS Sackville moored in Halifax as a museum ship, and the sole survivor of her class
JEAN-FRANÇOIS PELLETIER/ALAMY

Nestled alongside in Halifax, Nova Scotia, is a unique survivor, a Flower-class corvette – one of the unglamorous escorts that helped keep the lifeline of sea trade to Britain open. HMCS Sackville is the last ‘heroine’ of the Battle of the Atlantic, the last of a class of simple ships that were arguably the most important to serve in the Royal Navy and the Royal Canadian Navy. The Atlantic lifeline brought troops, equipment, food and essential supplies crucial to keep Britain fighting. More than 1,000,000 tons a week were needed to feed Britain and keep fighting Germany. Based on the experience of unrestricted submarine warfare in World War One, it was obvious to naval planners in the late 1930s that a large number of ocean-going convoy escorts would be needed for the forthcoming conflict.

Wartime whaler

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