HMCS Melville

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

HMCS Melville (J263)

The HMCS Melville was a Bangor Class minesweeper. The Bangor Class ships were built in order to replace the old Basset Class minesweepers, as they were larger, faster, had much greater endurance, and burned oil as opposed to coal. Most of the Bangors were named after Canadian towns and cities, the rest after bays. As enemy mines were laid only once in 1943 in Canadian waters, the Bangors were used primarily as escorts to coastal shipping or as local escorts to ocean convoys. Sixteen of them, however, assisted in sweeping the approaches to Normandy before D-Day, and stayed to help clear German and Allied minefields in the Channel for some months afterward.

The first of the diesel-engined Bangors, HMCS Melville was commissioned at Québec City, Quebec, on December 4, 1941. She arrived at Halifax, Nova Scotia, on December 13, worked-up, and was assigned to Western Local Escort Force.

In May 1942, she was transferred to Shelburne Force, returning to Western Local Escort Force that September. She arrived at Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, for refit on February 3, 1943, with the work completed in Halifax. She did not resume service until July 8, when she joined Western Local Escort Force’s recently created Escort Group W-5. In March 1944, she underwent further repairs at Lunenburg and on June 6, sailed to Bermuda for work-ups. Returning to Halifax on July 2, she was assigned to Sydney Force until June of 1945.

HMCS Melville was paid off at Sydney, Nova Scotia, on August 18, 1945, and handed over to the marine section of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Renamed Cygnus, she was broken up in 1961.

  • Builder: Davies Shipbuilding and Repairing Co. Ltd., Lauzon, Quebec
  • Date commissioned: December 4, 1941
  • Date paid off: August 18, 1945
  • Displacement: 592 tons
  • Dimensions: 49.4 m x 8.6 m x 2.5 m
  • Speed: 16 knots
  • Crew: 83
  • Armament: one 4-inch (102-mm) gun, three 20-mm guns (3 single mounts), and depth charges.

Battle honours

  • Atlantic 1942-1945
  • Gulf of St. Lawrence 1944

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