Allied Warships

HMCS Fraser (H 48)

Destroyer of the C class


Photo from Imperial War Museum (IWM), FL-20513

NavyThe Royal Canadian Navy
TypeDestroyer
ClassC 
PennantH 48 
Built byVickers Armstrong (Barrow-in-Furness, U.K.) 
Ordered9 Jul 1930 
Laid down1 Dec 1930 
Launched29 Sep 1931 
Commissioned17 Feb 1937 
Lost25 Jun 1940 
History

At 10.30 PM on the 25th of June 1940 HMCS Fraser (Cdr. Wallace Bourchier Creery, RCN) was given orders to proceed to Bordeaux, France to help in the rescue of an estimated four thousand refugees trapped in the area by the German military forces. Accompanying the Fraser was the Canadian destroyer HMCS Restigouche and the British cruiser HMS Calcutta. In rough seas and poor visibility, the captain of the Fraser decided that the three ships should move closer together and ordered a turn to port in order to bring his ship behind HMS Calcutta. In doing so the two ships collided, the bow of the heavier Calcutta sliced into the side of the Fraser with such force that the lighter vessel was cut into three pieces. Forty-five crewmembers were killed and nineteen men from the Calcutta lost their lives. Many survivors from the Fraser were later lost on October 22, 1940, after being transferred to the destroyer HMCS Margaree which sank after a collision with the freighter Port Fairy.

 
Former nameHMS Crescent

Commands listed for HMCS Fraser (H 48)

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CommanderFromTo
1Cdr. Wallace Bourchier Creery, RCN1 Sep 193825 Jun 1940

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Notable events involving Fraser include:


7 Dec 1939
HMS Cachalot (Lt.Cdr. S.W.F. Bennetts, RN) conducted exercises off Halifax. These included A/S exercises with HMS Hunter (Lt.Cdr. L. De Villiers, RN) and HMCS Fraser (Cdr. W.B. Creery, RCN). (1)

13 Jun 1940
HMS Hood (Capt. Sir I.G. Glennie, RN) and her three escorting destroyers, HMCS Restigouche (Lt.Cdr. H.N. Lay, RN), HMCS St. Laurent (Lt.Cdr. H.G. De Wolf, RCN) and HMCS Skeena are joined around 1130 hours by another Canadian destroyer, HMCS Fraser (Cdr. W.B. Creery, RCN), which came from Plymouth after effecting repairs at the Devonport Dockyard. (2)

14 Jun 1940
Convoy US 3, made up of the troopships (liners) Andes (25689 GRT, built 1939), Aquitania (44786 GRT, built 1914), Empress of Britain (42348 GRT, built 1931), Empress of Canada (21517 GRT, built 1922), Mauretania (35739 GRT, built 1939) and Queen Mary (81235 GRT, built 1936) with troop from New Zealand and Australia on board and escorted by the British heavy cruisers HMS Shropshire (Capt. J.H. Edelsten, RN), HMS Cumberland (Capt. the Hon. G.H.E. Russell, RN) and HMS Dorsetshire (Capt. B.C.S. Martin, RN) was joined around 0800 hours by HMS Argus (Capt. H.C. Bovell, RN), which came from Gibraltar, and joined around 1000 hours by the battlecruiser HMS Hood (Capt. Sir I.G. Glennie, RN) escorted by the Canadian destroyers HMCS Restigouche (Lt.Cdr. H.N. Lay, RN), HMCS St. Laurent (Lt.Cdr. H.G. De Wolf, RCN), HMCS Fraser (Cdr. W.B. Creery, RCN) and HMCS Skeena (Lt.Cdr. J.C. Hibbard, RCN) which came from the U.K. Shortly afterwards HMS Dorsetshire left the convoy to proceed to Gibraltar.

Later that day, around 1500 hours, the convoy was joined by the destroyer HMS Wanderer (Cdr. J.H. Ruck-Keene, RN) and around 1600 hours by two more destroyers HMS Broke (Cdr. B.G. Scurfield, RN) and HMS Westcott (Lt.Cdr. W.F.R. Segrave, RN). (3)

Media links


Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.

Sources

  1. ADM 173/15647
  2. ADM 53/112448
  3. ADM 53/112036 + ADM 53/111885 + ADM 53/112448

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.


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