RN Trawlers Built in Canada

This post, by Rollie Webb (RWebb56467@aol.com) appeared on the RCN-HISTORY list in November, 1998. It was triggered by a request for information on the minesweeping trawler TR12 "Probably built in Collingwood, Ontario, and employed on patrol duties on the east coast, including sweeping between New York and Norfolk, Virginia."

This vessel was one of 60 identical trwalers ordered in Canada for the Royal Navy during World War One. They were actually paid for and built under the direction of the RCN. They were ordered in two groups, the first of 36 vessels and the second of 24. They were copies of the British Castle Class trawlers. They were 123 feet in length, 22 feet in beam and 12 foot draft. They were powered with a single screw 480 IHP Steam Recip engine. Extensive descriptions of them , including detailed contract specifications of the hull and machinery were published in the magazine "Canadian Railway & Transportation" at the end of the war.

These vessels were very significant in the history of Canadian shipbuilding. The first large series contract handled by the young Navy they suffered from shortage of materials,engines experienced crews and and an "untimely" end to the war. There are extensive files in the Public Archives in Ottawa detailing the progress of the contracts. Less than half were completed by the end of the war.

They were preceeded by the twelve " Battle" class trawlers actually completed in 1917/18 and were built concurrently with 100 wooden drifters . The Battle Class were ordered by the RCN directly and were a separate design developed, I believe, in Canada.

To complete the story a further 12 , slightly larger, trawlers were built at Fort William for the French Navy and another 6 were ordered in Quebec for a commercial owner just as the war ended.

A number of the TR's ( nine, I believe) were actually loaned to the USN and commissioned in that Navy.

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Last Updated: 21 December, 1998