Once a ship had been built and launched she then had to be out-fitted, and then complete sea trials
before being handed over to her new owners, in the case of a ship for the Royal Navy this meant she also had to be commissioned as fit for purpose, once commissioned she was then considered ready for action and would take her place in the fleet.
HMS HESPELER was in fact never commissioned into the Royal Navy and went straight to being commissioned into the Royal Canadian Navy.
She was a Castle Class Corvette, which had been developed due to the need for a more powerful and larger ship, to counter the danger of the U-Boat menace in the North Atlantic. The Castle Class ships were an inprovement on the smaller Flower Class, and with much better sea keeping qualities.
The ships were designed by Smith's Dock Company and as with the Flower Class, they used there experience with building and designing ships as whale catchers for the base design of the hull.
The ships were built using modular construction methods meaning that parts of the vessel coulld be built around the country in engineering workshops that were not used to building ships.
Henry Robb shipbuilders help pioneer this type of build and the Loftsmen at the Leith Shipyards were instrumental in this work being carried out to the highest standards.
HMCS HESPELER was to play a full part in the rest of the Battle of the Atlantic and was credited with the sinking of a U-Boat along with another ship. (See HMCS HESPELER)
HMCS HESPERUS was involved along with HMS HAVELOCK in the sinking of U-325
This action also involved the final "Kill" of World War II for the amazing Flying Boat SUNDERLAND Mk V
A Sunderland Mk V Flying Boat was called in by the two ships to deliver the final blow to the German Submarine. As part of 201 Squadron RAF and led by Lt Foster and his crew this last kill of the war was achieved on 20th April 1945
The Short Sunderland Flying Boat was a mighty and potent enemy of the many U-Boats engaged in operations against the Allied forces all over the world.
At the end of hostilities in mid 1945 the ships still had work to do with some being used as weather ships and some laid up awaiting desicions on what to do with the surplus warships.
The two "Castle Class Corvettes built in the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb transferred to the Canadian Navy were to be sold to commercial interests and would make there way around from the Atlantic side of Canada to the west coast Pacific side for work as cargo/passenger ships.
converted to passenger/cargo ships for the Union Steamship Company of British Columbia, and were known as the White Boats . They were operated from 1947 to 1958, but were heavy on fuel and had limited cargo capacity, for example they could not carry cars in the hold.
The S.S.Chilcotin as she was then remamed to, was then seen by a far sighted shipping group who seen her potential in her use as a luxury small cruise liner, so she was purchased by the Greek Sun Lines and more work was carried out on her, she was re-named again this time as the S.S.STELLA MARIS so she was a real fore runner in this new emerging industry, and wonder how many wealthy passengers she carried who had no clue as to her past wartime exploits as a submarine hunter and chaser.
To be continued.
We try here to give as full an account of her history as time and research permits, if you know of missing info
or you have any photographs of her, then please get in touch and we shall update her story as we go along.