BANGOR Class Minesweeper - Radio Fit 

GENERAL

The following excerpt from The Ships of Canada's Naval Forces 1910-2002 provides a brief description of the Bangor Class.

"The RCN had four minesweepers in 1939, Canadian-built copies of the RN's Basset class, and consideration was being given to building more of these when the Naval Staff learned of the RN's newer Bangor class. The Bangor was larger and faster, had much greater endurance, and burned oil unlike the coal-burning Bassets. Accordingly, twenty-eight Bangor class minesweepers were ordered in 1940 and twenty more under subsequent programs. Another six, built at Vancouver for the RN, were loaned to the RCN for the duration of the war. Ten Bangors of the first program were of a smaller, diesel-engine variety and one of these, Granby, survived until 1966. Most of the Bangors were named after Canadian towns and cities; the rest after bays.

Like the corvettes, the Bangors were small enough to be produced at shipyards on the Great Lakes, and sixteen were built at Toronto and Port Arthur. The Toronto yard turned out six others of the class for the RN. As enemy mines were laid only once (1943) in Canadian waters, the Bangors were used principally 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.

Two classes of wooden-hulled ships were built in Canada for magnetic minesweeping, the Llewellyn and Lake classes. None of the latter class had been commissioned by VJ Day, and the ten most nearly complete were turned over to the USSR".
 
 

bangor_clayoquot1.jpg
On the morning of 24 December 1944, the Bangor minesweeper HMCS Clayoquot was carrying out an anti-submarine sweep in the Halifax approaches under the command of LCdr Campbell. Near noon, just around "up-spirit" time, the ship was hit by a torpedo when it was some two miles distant from the Sambro Light Vessel. The GNAT torpedo, fired from U806, hit the Clayoquot aft killing the depth charge crew and trapping two officers in their cabins. The ship quickly settled by the stern and sank in 25 fathoms. There was no time to withdraw the primers in the depth charges so they detonated. Sixty-seven of the ships company were picked up from the frigid waters within fourty minutes. (From an original oil painting by Pat Burstall imprinted on a Christmas card of the Atlantic Chief and Petty Officers' Association) 

 
VITAL STATISTICS
Length:  180 feet Beam: 28 feet
Draught: 8 ft. 3 in. Displacement : 672 tons
Top Speed: 16 knots Crew Complement : 6 officers, 77 men
Armament: One 4" gun; one 3" gun; One 12 pdr; two 2 mm Oerlikons.  Programs: 1939-40; 1940-1941; 1941-42

Bangors built at the Burrard Shipyard in Vancouver cost $620,000. in 1940 dollars.

bangor_wasaga.jpg
 HMCS Wasaga is being used to represent the Bangor Class. Note the  SW1C navigation radar (Yagi type) antenna atop the foremast. The Bangors were bluff-bowed ships, very wet in a head sea, and arguably less comfortable even than corvettes in rough weather.  (Photo courtesy Naval Museum of Manitoba)

Ten of the fifty-four Bangor class minesweepers had diesel engines and the rest had steam engines. After WWII, the RCN kept three of the ten after it was realized the RCMP could not afford them. These were:

178 CYQP BROCKVILLE "Barmaid Y"
179 CYQK DIGBY "Mariner I"
180 CYQX Granby "Fancy Ball Y"

The navy used HMCS GRANBY as a Diving Tender based at Halifax, N.S. The other two took on the role of training vessels. When the Korean War broke out the navy decided to recommission eighteen more Bangors:

181 CGKS DRUMMONDVILLE
182 CGJT KENTVILLE "Native M"
183 CGRQ PORT HOPE
184 CZDN GANANOQUE
185 CGVB SWIFT CURRENT
186 CGYF MALPEQUE
187 CZCP WESTMOUNT
188 CGLW NIPIGON
189 CZDH MINAS
190 CGRH SARNIA
191 CGXE KENORA
192 CGQV MAHONE
193 CZFI BLAIRMORE
194 CZCR MILL TOWN
195 CGVS FORT WILLIAM
196 CGRC RED DEER
197 CZGF MEDICINE HAT
198 CZJD GODERlCH

Missing from this list is J265 NORANDA CYQJ


WWII ERA RADIO FIT
(There might be variations in the radio  fit)

TYPE DESC QTY
AR-8503 Receiver 15 to 600 KHz  1
CM11 LF/HF Transmitter-receiver  1
FM-7 or MDF5 MDF-5  (42 to 1000 KHz)  MF/DF
FM-7    (42 to 1000 KHz)  MF/DF
1
FR12 LF/HF Transmitter-receiver 1
PV 500 HM HF Transmitter 1
PV 500L LF transmitter 1
RBJ-1 National receiver. 50 to  400 KHz in 3 bands..480  to 30 MHz in 6 bands 1
SMR-3 Canadian Marconi receiver 1
/te236_s.jpg TE-236 LF receiver. 15 to 600 KHz. It is not certain if the TE236 was fitted to Chignecto J160 (Bangor class) or Chignecto 156 (Bay class). One surviving TE-236 example had the name Chignecto  inscribed on it. 
Radio historian Tom Brent presents his thought process which deduces that the pictures in the table below were taken aboard the minesweeper HMCS Lockeport.  "HMCS Lockeport was one of six Bangor minesweepers built in Vancouver for the Royal Navy and transferred to the RCN upon completion. The other five were:

HMCS Bayfield
HMCS Canso
HMCS Caraquet
HMCS Guysborough
HMCS Ingonish

All six of these ships went into service between February and May 1942 and  are hereby referred to as the "RN/RCN Bangors". Because they were ordered by and built for the Royal Navy, it would be reasonable for them to have a different electronics configuration than similar ships built for the Royal Canadian Navy.

 
bangor_thumbnail.jpg This is a deck plan for HMCS Fort William circa 1939. It shows the position of the W/T office in the side view and the RDF (Radar) office in the top view.  Click on thumbnail to enlarge. (Drawing courtesy Historical Naval Ships Association) 
bangor_fort_william_radio_room.jpg From a deck plan enlargement this is the layout of the radio office aboard  the Fort William. a Bangor class vessel.  Click on image to enlarge. The receivers used in this installation are not shown. A sliding door, situated at the bottom centre of the drawing, provided access to the radio office. The dimensions of the Bangor WT Office are 12 feet by 8 feet This was determined by comparing the known dimension of  a table in the C.R.O.'s Mess 

The width of the operating desk is approximately 9.5 feet or 114 inches. Here are the widths of the various pieces of equipment which might have been  on the desk:

RBJ receiver          20.5"
SMR-3 receiver      20" (est.)
AR-8503 receiver    20.5"
AR-8503 power supply  9.5"
FR-12 trans./rec.    20" (est.)
Total                    90.5 INCHES

/bagfor_PV500H_PV500L.jpg HMCS Lockeport. This is a rare photo showing the PV500 H and PV500L transmitters adjacent to each other in a Bangor class radio office. Click on image to enlarge. (Photographer unknown)
bangor_RBJ-1_ AR8503.jpg This Bangor radio room photo shows the National RBJ-1 receiver at the left.  To it's right is the the RCA AR-8503 receiver  .(15 to 600 KHz)  Click on thumbnail  to enlarge this view . (Photographer unknown)
bangor_fm7.jpg FM7 installation aboard HMCS Lockeport.  Click on image to enlarge. The FM7 DF used square loop antennas instead of the more familiar crossed loops.  (Photographer unknown)

For a better inage of the FM7, select this link  To  summarize, the six RN/RCN Bangors had the FM7 LF/MF direction finding receivers fitted . All the other RCN Bangors carried the Canadian Marconi MDF-5.
 

.
/bangor_telegraphist_ironside_jack.jpg
Bangor telegraphist, John (Jack) Ironside is  in front of the SMR-3 receiver. Click on image to enlarge. Also in evidence, is the Marconi  PV500H and PV500L transmitter combination. (Photographer unknown)
bangor_bayfield_radio_room.jpg
The radio room of HMCS Bayfield. To the right of the RCA AR-8503 receiver is the National RBJ receiver and possibly an FR-12 on the other side of the RBJ.(Photographer unknown)
Alan Riey, a WWII era RCN Sparker from 1939 to 1945, provides these two listings of Bangor radio fits: Unfortunately no in-service dates are provided.

First listing

1 x PV500HM
1 x CM11
1 x FR12
1 x MFDF
Loud Hail
Sound Reproducing Equipment

Second listing

1 x CM11
1X FR12
1 x MFDF
1 x PV500H
1 x PV500L
 
 

 
RADAR FITS

On-build, Bangors were fitted with the Canadian SWC radars as evidenced from photos of the early programs.  By 1944 many Bangors were sporting the 291 radar on the foremast peak.

ASDIC FIT

Bangors were equipped with the 128 set. This was the retractable dome version of the British 127 set and was superior in performance to the 123A since it relied on a gyro compass instead of a magnetic compass for bearing indication. Priority was given for the fitting of the 128 set in Bangors because it was originally intended that their primary role was to be minesweeping, a task that required accurate navigation to mark swept channels. Corvettes, which were supposed to be jack-of-all trades -- such as escort, minesweeper, and patrol craft, would have to suffice with the less accurate 123 set which employed a magnetic compass. From 1941 and onwards, both classes of ships were transferred to ocean escort duties. It was the Corvette, burdened with an older generation ASDIC, that was given the task of protecting the most vital escort groups, while the Bangors served with the less important Western Local group. On Bangors, the ASDIC hut was located on the forward and starboard side of the bridge. Training control was the same as that of a 124 set. In February of 1943, the British Admiralty announced that the 128 set in Royal Navy Bangors was being superseded by 128A. Type 128A had a training mechanism that was manipulated electrically rather than mechanically and was kept on target automatically by the ships gyrocompass. The RCN quickly approved the same change for its own Bangors, however, it had to wait for a British policy statement before work could start. There were nineteen versions of the 128 set produced during World War II.

AFTER WWII
 
 

rcmp_irvine_radio_room_b.jpg
1950: A portion of  the radio room aboard RCMP IRVINE, a former minesweeper HMCS Noranda) From left to right: Canadian Marconi FR12, CSR5 and MSL5. The CSR5 was last tuning a station around 475 kc/s. Note the knife switches on the battery charging panel at the right side of the photo. (Photo courtesy of Staff Sergeant Ben Colp, R.C.M.P. Marine Division submitted by Spud Roscoe)
bangor_kentville_195s.jpg HMCS KENTVILLE in No. 2 Lock of the LaChine Canal, Quebec on
May 24th, 1954. Click to enlarge. Several features are in evidence.

* Foremast, upper yardarm, starboard side is fitted with a vertically oriented dipole antenna.
* Foremast, lower yardarm, port side - another vertical dipole but for a lower frequency than the one above [1].
* Four flattop wire antennas.
* Sperry Mk II navigation radar antenna. This was the initial version that had the wire mesh parabola.
* Crossed loops for the Model MDF-5 MFDF.(Public Archives of Canada PA114516 submitted by Spud Roscoe VE1BC)

NOTES:

[1] None of the WWII photos show this antenna. This was a post war fitting likely done after 1949.  It looks like an antenna for a TBS radio but that would have been phased out by the late 1940's.


Contributors and Credits:

1) Ships of Canada's Naval Forces (1910-2001) by Ken Macpherson and Ron Barrie. Vanwell Publishing 2002.
2) Spud Roscoe <spudroscoe(at)eastlink.ca>
3) Alan Riley WWII Telegraphist, Toronto Ont.
4) Asdic, Sonar Radar and IFF in the RCN - http://jproc.ca/sari/asd_et1.html
5) PV500 Instruction Manual 1942. Canadian Marconi
6) Tom Brent

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