HMCS Sorel

HMCS Sorel was a Flower-class corvette that served with the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War. She served primarily in the Battle of the Atlantic as an ocean escort. She is named for Sorel, Quebec.[3]

HMCS Sorel
Name: Sorel
Namesake: Sorel, Quebec
Ordered: 22 January 1940
Builder: Marine Industries Ltd., Sorel, Quebec
Laid down: 24 August 1940
Launched: 16 November 1940
Commissioned: 19 August 1941
Decommissioned: 22 June 1945
Identification: Pennant number: K153
Honours and
Atlantic 1941–45, North Sea 1942[1]
Fate: sold for scrapping.
General characteristics
Class and type: Flower-class corvette(original)[2]
Displacement: 950 long tons (970 t; 1,060 short tons)
Length: 205 ft (62.48 m)
Beam: 33 ft (10.06 m)
Draught: 11.5 ft (3.51 m)

Single shaft; 2 water tube boilers;

1 4-cyl. triple expansion steam engine, 2,750 hp (2,050 kW)
Speed: 16 knots (29.6 km/h)
Range: 3,450 nmi (6,390 km; 3,970 mi) at 12 kn (22 km/h; 14 mph)
Complement: 6 officers, 79 enlisted
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • Radar – SW1C or 2C (later)
  • Sonar – Type 123A, later Type 127DV


Flower-class corvettes like Sorel serving with the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War were different from earlier and more traditional sail-driven corvettes.[4][5][6] The "corvette" designation was created by the French for classes of small warships; the Royal Navy borrowed the term for a period but discontinued its use in 1877.[7] During the hurried preparations for war in the late 1930s, Winston Churchill reactivated the corvette class, needing a name for smaller ships used in an escort capacity, in this case based on a whaling ship design.[8] The generic name "flower" was used to designate the class of these ships, which – in the Royal Navy – were named after flowering plants.[9]

Corvettes commissioned by the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War were named after communities for the most part, to better represent the people who took part in building them. This idea was put forth by Admiral Percy W. Nelles. Sponsors were commonly associated with the community for which the ship was named. Royal Navy corvettes were designed as open sea escorts, while Canadian corvettes were developed for coastal auxiliary roles which was exemplified by their minesweeping gear. Eventually the Canadian corvettes would be modified to allow them to perform better on the open seas.[10]


Sorel was ordered on 22 January 1940 as part of the 1939–1940 Flower-class building program. She was laid down by Marine Industries Ltd. at Sorel, Quebec on 24 August 1940 and launched 16 November later that year.[11] She was commissioned at Sorel on 19 August 1941.[12]

Sorel had three major refits during her career. Her first took place after developing mechanical defects while on escort duty. She spent ten weeks beginning in January 1942 at Leith repairing. The second major overhaul took place between October 1942 and February 1943. It began at Liverpool, Nova Scotia but she was eventually transferred to Pictou and Halifax for completion.[12] The final refit began in November 1943 and took until 31 March 1944 to complete.[11] During this refit, begun at Halifax and completed at Dartmouth, Sorel had her fo'c'sle extended.[12]

Service history

After arriving at Halifax for deployment, Sorel joined Sydney Force initially. In November 1941 she transferred to Newfoundland Command and became an ocean escort, protecting convoys between St. John's and Iceland. On her second convoy she developed mechanical problems and continued on to the United Kingdom for repairs in January 1942. She returned to service briefly as an ocean escort in April 1942.[12]

In May 1942, Sorel joined the Western Local Escort Force (WLEF). She left the force in October 1942 after departing for a major refit. After workups, she became a training ship in February 1943. She was posted at Digby, St. Margaret's and Pictou for training purposes. In September 1943, she was temporarily assigned to Mid-Ocean Escort Force escort group C-3 before undergoing another refit beginning in November 1943.[12]

After returning to service in mid-1944 she was posted to the Western Escort Force escort group W-4. She remained with this unit for the rest of the war.[12]

Sorel was paid off at Sydney, Nova Scotia on 22 June 1945. She was sold for scrap on 16 November 1945 and broken up at Moncton, New Brunswick.[11][12][13]


  1. "Battle Honours". Britain's Navy. Retrieved 24 August 2013.
  2. Lenton, H.T.; Colledge, J.J (1968). British and Dominion Warships of World War II. Doubleday & Company. pp. 201, 212.
  3. When Sorel was built, Sorel was an independent town and was not associated yet with Tracy.
  4. Ossian, Robert. "Complete List of Sailing Vessels". The Pirate King. Retrieved 13 April 2011.
  5. Fitzsimons, Bernard, ed. (1978). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of 20th Century Weapons & Warfare. 11. London: Phoebus. pp. 1137–1142.
  6. Jane's Fighting Ships of World War II. New Jersey: Random House. 1996. p. 68. ISBN 0-517-67963-9.
  7. Blake, Nicholas; Lawrence, Richard (2005). The Illustrated Companion to Nelson's Navy. Stackpole Books. pp. 39–63. ISBN 0-8117-3275-4.
  8. Chesneau, Roger; Gardiner, Robert (June 1980). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships (1922–1946). Naval Institute Press. p. 62. ISBN 0-87021-913-8.
  9. Milner, Marc (1985). North Atlantic Run. Naval Institute Press. pp. 117–119, 142–145, 158, 175–176, 226, 235, 285–291. ISBN 0-87021-450-0.
  10. Macpherson, Ken; Milner, Marc (1993). Corvettes of the Royal Canadian Navy 1939–1945. St. Catharines: Vanwell Publishing. ISBN 1-55125-052-7.
  11. "HMCS Sorel (K 153)". Retrieved 24 August 2013.
  12. Macpherson, Ken; Burgess, John (1981). The ships of Canada's naval forces 1910–1981 : a complete pictorial history of Canadian warships. Toronto: Collins. pp. 86, 231–232. ISBN 0-00216-856-1.
  13. "Sorel (6112407)". Miramar Ship Index. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  • Hazegray. "Flower Class". Canadian Navy of Yesterday and Today. Retrieved 24 August 2013.
  • Ready, Aye, Ready. "HMCS Sorel". Retrieved 24 August 2013.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
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