HMS Lancaster Castle
The Castle class were the final class of corvettes built by the British during the Second World War, they resembled a larger version of the later Flower class corvettes between 39 were built with a planned total of 95 ships.
The Flower class of ships were designed for costal defence which became more of an issue for the British when the Germans started to use the ports of France for U-boat striking in the mid Atlantic, this promoted to the eventual cancelation of the Flower class in favour of the production of the River Class Frigates. Although the Flower Class ship would be sent into the Atlantic their slow speeds and lack of habitability made them not nice to work on for the Ocean-going escort missions.
Although the River class was small at only 300 foot (91.4m) in overall length not every shipyard could produce it which is where the Castle Class comes in. The Castle Class appeared as stretched flower classes or mini versions of the Loch Class itself being a cheaper alternative to the River class which could not be built in the quantities needed for the mass scale of escorting needed to protect the Atlantic from the U-boat threat during 1941-1942. The proposal for the Castle Class came from Smith’s Dock Company who had also proposed the Flower Class.
39 ships of the class would be built and armed for escort roles whilst a further 5 were built to be used in the merchant navy as convoy rescue ships. The naming convention for the Castle Class would be to use existing castles in the United Kingdom with mostly castles located in England. Either way the class would be the first ships to be armed with the newer squid anti-submarine mortars with the first one being fitted to the HMS Hadleigh Castle, the squid anti-submarine launchers were to large for the Flower Class which was one advantage to the Castle Class over it’s predecessor. The other main armament of the ship was the newer QF 4 inch Mk XIX which also allowed for a limited anti air capability alongside the shells being slightly heavier, this gun could also allow star shells to illuminate the air during night battles as an additional bonus.
HMS Denbigh Castle
Despite the newer weaponry equipped to this class the class still had the same shortcomings of the previous Flower Class of being slow and hard to handle at low speeds making it the final British corvette class to see service as the British would go on to favour the Frigates into the post war and modern era of service without the need of the smaller corvettes. 12 ships of the class served in the Canadian navy during the war and some would be sold off after the war to the Republic of China for mercantile services. The Ships sold to China would be rearmed with some being captured by the People’s Republic of China being the last military capable vessels of the class in service till the late 1960’s.
Only three ships of the class would be sunk during the war, these ships being the Hurst Castle sinking to U-482 northwest of Ireland on the 1st of September 1944, HNoMS Tunsberg Castle originally named Shrewsbury Castle but being transferred to Norway but would be sunk on the 12th of December 1944 after hitting a mine just 4 months after the ship had been completed and finally Denbigh Castle surviving a torpedo hit from U-992 on the 13th of February 1945 however later capsizing after an attempt of towing the ship to Kola Inlet by the Flower Class vessel HMS Bluebell. 7 U-boats were confirmed to be sunk by Castle’s being U-744, U-484, U-1200, U-387, U-877, U-425 and U-878.
HMS Rising Castle
Max Speed, Knots, KN: 16.5
Displacement Standard, T: 1010-1060
Displacement Full, T: 1590-1630
Power, HP: 2750
Length, M: 76.8
Breadth, M: 11.2
Draught, M: 4.11-4.19 (deep load)
fuel, T: Oil 480
Electronic Equipment: Type 271 or Type 272 radars, Type 144 and type 147 sonars
1x1 - 102/40 QF Mk XIX
2x2 20/70 Oerlikon Mk II/IV
1x6 20/70 Oerlikon Mk II/IV (not all ships of this class had 6 some only had 2)
1x3 305 Squid ASWRL
1 DCR (15)
Comparison of the Castle Class to it’s predecessors from Navy Encyclopedias Flower Class page.
HMS Portchester Castle from theblueprints.com
1/350 size mode of HMCS Copper Cliff
HMS Oxford Castle
HMS Nunney Castle
HMS Leeds Castle
HMS Flint Castle
HMS Farnham Castle
Flower class corvettes (1940) (for comparison with the Flower Class image)