Wednesday, 21 October 2015

HMCS SACKVILLE - Return to Dockyard 2015

Every year, HMCS SACKVILLE - the last Flower class corvette remaining from the hundreds that were built during the Second World War - spends the summer (June to October) on the Halifax Waterfront near the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, where she is open to the public. During the remainder of the year, however, she berths in the more sheltered HMC Dockyard where a closer eye can be kept on her. It is hoped that sometime in the near future she will find a home in the proposed Battle of Atlantic Place, but until then will continue to make her annual pilgrimage back to Dockyard.

As a fairly recent trustee of the Canadian Naval Memorial Trust, this was my second year to tag along on this short trip.

SACKVILLE on her last morning on the waterfront.
Arriving on board before 9:30, I got to see all the preparations before the tugs arrived. 

The rails on the brow (gangway) are struck so that it can be hoisted and swiveled alongside.
Lines have to be readied to be slipped before SACKVILLE can leave the pier.
This year, sailors were shanghaied from several ships for the morning to handle the lines and help take SACKVILLE back.

A flag hoist is readied to indicate which Dockyard jetty SACKVILLE is headed to.

The 4" main gun reflects in a pool of water.
SACKVILLE's one remaining boiler and triple expansion steam engine have not seen service since the 1970s, and at any rate, her propeller has been removed. She therefore relies on two Navy tugs for motive power, typically one Pup (Ville class) forward and one larger Glen class at the stern. 

The smaller Pup, in this case Granville, can slide her way between SACKVILLE and the next pier.
Crewmember on Granville throwing a line up to SACKVILLE.

The larger Glenevis arriving.

Sailors handling a line from Glenevis.

Recovery of the brow.

SACKVILLE's Captain, Jim Reddy, watching all the preparations from the bridge.
Once all the preparations were complete and SACKVILLE was judged ready to go, the lines to the pier were slipped and Glenevis and Granville took up strain on their tow lines. Under their guidance, SACKVILLE backed out into the harbour, turned 90 degrees, and briefly headed south before reversing course and heading up the harbour.

Once the last line was slipped, the flag hoist went up the mast.
Flag hoist.

The view from the bridge as SACKVILLE backed out into the harbour.
With her bow headed in the right direction, SACKVILLE starts to move north.

While underway, a Navy pilot guides SACKVILLE back to the Dockyard, by radioing commands to the two tugs.

Panorama from SACKVILLE's bridge of the Halifax waterfront.
SACKVILLE's winter berth is near the south end of the Dockyard, not too far from the casino. We rounded the bow of HMCS FREDERICTON as we approached the jetty.


Once alongside the the first line from the jetty on board, the flag hoist came down once again.

Sailors were once again busy handling lines to tie SACKVILLE up alongside.

Rope being paid out to the jetty.

Granville remained alongside keeping SACKVILLE against the jetty until enough lines were fixed.

SACKVILLE's ensign flies in front of her new neighbours.
HMCS MONCTON, with FREDERICTON aft (background, left).
SACKVILLE's own gangway isn't used in the Dockyard, exchanged instead for this brow and stand.

As I left, sailors were still fixing lines to the jetty.
Keeping a 74 year old warship afloat is no simple task, and various maintenance activities will occur during the off-season while SACKVILLE rests in the Dockyard. SACKVILLE will return to the Halifax waterfront in 2016.

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