HMCS Arras

There has been only one vessel named Arras in the Royal Canadian Navy.

HMCS Arras (J15 / Z52) / Battle-class Trawler

The Battle-class trawlers were built during the closing days of First World War. Based on the British Castle-class trawlers, these ships were of slightly larger tonnage than the British ships, and it was the first class with a distinct Canadian designation. All 12 vessels of the class received names for land battles of the First World War in which components of the Canadian Army took part. Many of these vessels also served in the Second World War but five of them exchanged their name for numbers in 1942.

HMCS Arras was named for the Second Battle of Arras (9 April – 16 May 1917), a major battle on the Western Front in France that saw Canadian forces capture both Vimy Ridge and the town of Arleux, battles that gave their names to other vessels of this class. The Battle of Vimy Ridge was the first occasion when all four divisions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force participated in an action as a composite formation. This would prove to have a major effect on the budding, independent sense of Canadian nationalism that would take root during and after the war.

HMCS Arras was in commission in Halifax for the last few months of the First World War, after which she became a fisheries protection vessel. As such, she frequently served as hospital ship to the Grand Banks fishing fleet. Taken up again by the RCN, she was in service from 11 September 1939 to 1 April 1946. Initially stationed at Halifax from mid-1941, she was employed at Sydney, NS, as Gate Vessel 15, and was extensively damaged by fire in November 1943. She was broken up at Halifax in 1957.

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