HMS Hedingham Castle corvette (1944) High resolution picture

The HMS Hedingham Castle was a British corvette launched in 1944, belonging to the Castle class; these were the last and most evolved corvettes of the Royal Navy during the Second World War. Shortly before the outbreak of the war, when Great Britain was preparing its defense against a probable submarine warfare, the director of naval constructions received the order of creating an antisubmarine ship. For this purpose had been used until then, mainly, destroyers and minelayers, but it was believed that these units would be needed for other missions and therefore it should be built another type of ship.

It is said that a company dedicated to whale's hunt suggested that a submarine hunter should resemble a whaler ship, and so the new units were built according with the lines and forms of the small whaler ships. The ships were denominated corvettes because this name was given to the smallest war units in the age of sail. They had a displacement of 925 tonnes and a length of 60 meters, and their equipment comprised listening devices, small cannons and, above all, depth charges. The ships of the Castle class were an advanced version of those pioneering ships.

The HMS Hedingham Castle in particular served as escort for convoys during the last year of the war, being decommissioned just after the end of the conflict. In 1953 she took part in the Fleet Review in occassion of the celebrations for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. In 1958 she was finally broken up for scrap. The illustration shows the HMS Hedingham Castle fully equipped for her mission; note the launchers attached to both sides of the cannon shield and the numeral F 386, given after being reclassified as frigate in 1947.

Class: Castle (44 units including: Allington Castle, Bamborough Castle, Hedingham Castle, Lancaster Castle, Maiden Castle, Oxford Castle, Pembroke Castle, Scarborough Castle and York Castle)

Type: Antisubmarine corvette

Length: 78.81 meters

Beam: 11.14 meters

Draught: 4.77 meters

Displacement (full load): 1630 tonnes

Propulsion: 1 shaft, 1 x triple-expansion steam engine, 2 x boiler Admiralty, 2750 horsepower

Speed: 16.5 knots (30.6 kilometers/hour)

Range: 9500 nautical miles (17600 kilometers) at 10 knots

Complement: About 110

Armament (as built): 1 x 102-millimeter 40-caliber cannon, 10 x 20-millimeter cannon, 1 x Squid antisubmarine mortar, 15 x depth charge (one rail)

Armament (after 1947): 1 x 102-millimeter 40-caliber cannon, 2 x 40-millimeter cannon, 2 x 20-millimeter cannon, 1 x Squid antisubmarine mortar, 2 x antisubmarine launcher

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