HMCS Armentieres

by John MacFarlane 2017

HMCS Armentieres

HMCS Armentieres (Photo courtesy of the MMBC. )

HMCS Armentieres was built in 1918 at Montreal QC by Canadian Vickers Ltd. 129.7’ x 25.2’ x 13’ steel hull 351gt 159rt She was powered by a single screw steam triple expansion, 480 ihp (360 kW). On September 2, 1925 the ship sank in Pipestem Inlet, near Barkley Sound. The vessel was salvaged on 26 October Armentières was recommissioned again in 1926.

In 1918 she was owned by the Minister of the Naval Service, Ottawa ON. In 1923 she returned to Royal Canadian Navy. In 1926 she was recommissioned as a training ship also doing fishery patrols. In 1946 she was paid off from naval service. In 1947 she was sold to Oswald New (Coastal Towing Co. Ltd.), Vancouver BC. In 1953–1958 she was owned by Andys Bay Industries Ltd., Vancouver BC. In 1958 she was sold to Arctic Transportation Co. Ltd., Edmonton AB. In 1958 under command of Captain Hill Wilson. In 1958 in service between Vancouver, Western Arctic & Mackenzie River. In 1959 she made her last voyage to the Arctic. In 1959 she was placed in log barge service by Kingcome Navigation Co. In 1962 she was sold to Vancouver Tug Boat Co. Ltd., Vancouver BC. In 1962 she was renamed as La Force. In 1963 she was owned by Vancouver Tug Boat Co., Vancouver BC. In 1972 she was owned by Seaspan International Ltd., Vancouver BC. In 1973 she was sold to Michael Skalley, Seattle WA. In 1972 she was renamed as Polaris. In 1975 she was owned by West Indies Metal Co., St. Croix US Virgin Islands.In 1978 she was owned by E.H.B. Enterprises, Phillipsburg, St. Maarten.

Following the end of the war Armentières was paid off on 8 February 1946. Subsequently she was sold as surplus, The Armentieres was purchased by the Coastal Towing Company of Vancouver on February 8, 1946, who renamed her A.G. Garrish, installed a new Yarrow boiler, and made changes to adapt the ship for towing log rafts and scows.

In 1952 she placed sixth in Maritime Day tugboat races in Seattle WA and was the only steamer entered. In 1956 under bare boat charter to Island Tug & Barge Ltd. Victoria BC. She carried one 12–pounder gun. She struck Armentieres Rock (uncharted) in Pipestem Inlet, 02/09/1927 under command of LT C.D. Donald RCN. She was refloated on October 27, 1927 by the tug Salvage King and recommissioned the following year. She continued in service as a training vessel, with some customs patrols. During World War Two she served as an examination vessel at Prince Rupert. In 1925 she was sunk at Pipestone Inlet BC and raised. In 1978 she was engaged in carrying tourists from St. Maarten to St. Barts. In 1980 she was engaged in the drug trade. She was lost somewhere in South America.

HMCS Armentieres

HMCS Armentieres (Photo courtesy of the MMBC. )

In the winter months of each year the Navy stationed a small warship at Bamfield. This vessel was intended to work with the lifeboat to assist vessels in distress. Lieutenant C.D. Donald, a very prominent name in west coast history, was in command and carried out extensive patrols of the coast. On one such patrol, September 2nd, 1925. he was passing between Refuge Island and Bazett Island in Pipestone Inlet relying on a chart drawn by Captain G.H. Richards RN in 1861. An uncharted rock was hit by the hull in spite of it being high tide. The ship passed part way over the rock before contact was made immobilizing the vessel with the bow afloat. As the tide started to fall Lieutenant Donald ordered ropes and cables to be made fast to trees on teh shore tin an attempt to prevent the ship from sinking by the bow. The strain was too great and the cables all broke or tore out the trees from the ground. The vessel sank in spite of the efforts and on teh rising tide she was submerged. Her sister ship, HMCS Thiepcal and the salvage tug Salvage King carried out a successful recovery operation.

To quote from this article please cite:

MacFarlane, John M. (2017) HMCS Armentieres. 2017.

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