Isles-class file photo

Isles-class Trawler

CountryUnited Kingdom
Displacement565 tons standard; 740 tons full
Length150 feet
Beam27 feet
Draft11 feet
MachineryOne triple expansion reciprocating engine rated at 850 ihp, one shaft
Speed12 knots
Crew40
Armament1x12-pounder, 3x20mm Oerlikon cannon

Contributor: Alan Chanter

This article refers to the entire Isles-class; it is not about an individual vessel.

To counter the serious shortfall in suitable escort vessels at the outbreak of war, large numbers of civilian deep-sea trawlers were commandeered by the British Royal Navy. Hastily armed with whatever weapons were available, these proved to be of rather dubious value. Nonetheless, many such vessels were diverted to the Auxiliary Patrol as the threat of German invasion mounted during 1940. As this threat in turn receded they were again switched to convoy support. Some of the best commercial units, such as the 655-ton "Northern Gem" type (ironically, only recently completed in Germany), served throughout the war as anti-submarine escorts or armed boarding vessels enforcing the blockade. Some were even lent to the US Navy in 1942.

Of better value however were the series of armed trawler classes specifically ordered by the Admiralty from Britain's then numerous small shipbuilding yards. The first of these, the Tree-class, began to be commissioned into the Royal Navy from as early as December 1939. The Tree-class vessels spawned the similar Dance, Shakespearean and the numerous Isles-class (of which more than 130 vessels would eventually be completed) with the production programme running through to the end of hostilities.

All Isles-class trawlers displaced between 545 and 560 tons standard, though somewhat lacking the more graceful lines of their commercial counterparts. The Isles-class design was based roughly on that of the Admiralty's 1935 460-ton HMS Basset, and had a passing resemblance to the Flower-class corvettes, with the ships bridge amidships, the mast ahead of it and a long forecastle.

A second line of development followed more handsomer lines, with the 750-ton Hill-class and Military-class (seventeen in all) coming from specialist builders Cook, Welton and Gemmell of Beverley, and the 670 ton Fish-class (10 ships) from Cochranes & Sons of Selby.

Many of these armed trawlers would be disarmed and decommissioned with the ending of hostilities, and sold on as war surplus to new foreign or civilian owners where they would continue to see useful service for many years to come.

Sources:
Jane's Warships of World War II (Harper Collins, 1996)
Jane's Fighting Ships of World War II (Studio Publishing, 2001)
uboat.net
Wikipedia

Photographs

HMCS Anticosti, date unknownHMT Gulland underway off Britain, Nov 1943HMT Ailsa Craig underway off Britain, 1944




Share this article with your friends:

 Facebook  Reddit
 Twitter  Digg
 Google+  Delicious
 StumbleUpon  


Stay updated with WW2DB:

 RSS Feeds
Advertisement                    Close





Visitor Submitted Comments

  1. Anonymous says:
    7 Sep 2011 02:09:48 PM

    Good article on a under-appreciated class of ships.

All visitor submitted comments are opinions of those making the submissions and do not reflect views of WW2DB.

Posting Your Comments on this Topic

Your Name
Your Email
 Your email will not be published
Your Comments
Security Code
 

 

Note: Please refrain from using strong language. HTML tags are not allowed. Your IP address will be tracked even if you remain anonymous. WW2DB site administrators reserve the right to moderate, censor, and/or remove any comment.

Search WW2DB & Partner Sites
More on Isles-class Trawler
Ships of this Class:
» Anticosti
» Gulland


Isles-class Trawler Photo Gallery
HMCS Anticosti, date unknown
See all 3 photographs of Isles-class Trawler



Current Site Statistics

Famous WW2 Quote
"All right, they're on our left, they're on our right, they're in front of us, they're behind us... they can't get away this time."

Lt. Gen. Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, at Guadalcanal