For Posterity's Sake
A Royal Canadian Navy Historical Project
HMCS BRANTFORD K218
Then Honduran Whale Catcher OLYMPIC ARROW (1950)
Then Japanese Whale Catcher OTORI MARU NO. 11 (1956)
Built at the Midland Shipyards, Brantford was the last "Flower" class corvette to be built - all further builds were modified from the original plans. Launched on 06 Sep 1941, she sailed form the Midland Shipyard to the dry dock at Collingwood on 01 May, 1942. Here she received further fittings before proceeding on to Toronto for gun and depth-charge trials. From there she sailed to Montreal for installation of wireless equipment. She was commissioned at Montreal on 15 May 1942. The city of Brantford, Ontario, had adopted the ship, and she was amply supplied with comforts of her crew, including radios, heavy winter clothing, magazines and cigarettes.
On 12 May 1942, three days before Brantford's commissioning, the freighter SS Nicoya and the Dutch merchantman Leto were torpedoed North of Cap Magdalen. Emergency plans put into effect and all St. Lawrence shipping destined for the transatlantic route, or arriving from the Atlantic, was organized in convoys. Merchant ships were to stop at Sydney on their way to the St. Lawrence, and at Quebec on the way down, picking up their river escorts at those points. Such convoys were designated as SQ and QS, respectively. Since Brantford was due to sail from Montreal to Halifax she was used temporarily to escort two QS convoys. She sailed from Quebec with QS-2 on 22 May 1942, arriving at Sydney with her four charges three days later, and immediately sailed back to Gaspe to pick up QS-3.
Brantford arrived at Halifax on 30 May 1942. After working up at Pictou, she joined WLEF in July. When this force was divided into escort groups in Jun 1943, she became a member of EG W-3, transferring to W-2 in Apr 1944. Lent in Jun 1944, to EG C-3 for one round trip to Londonderry, she left Halifax on 02 Jun 1944 with convoy HX.294 and returned at the end of the month with ONS.242. Brantford underwent two refits during her career: the first at Quebec City during the summer of 1943; the second at Sydney, completing 12 Sep 1944, following which, on 26 Sep 1944, she was she was assigned to HMCS Cornwallis for training duties until the end of the war. On 16 July 1945, she returned to Halifax to de-ammunition and then to Sydney to de-store. Her last trip under White Ensign was completed on 03 Aug 1945, when she arrived back at Halifax. Paid off on 17 Aug 1945, she was turned over to War Assets Corporation for final disposal. She was one of the few corvettes to never have her fo'c's'le extended - maintaining her original configuration. She was brought by George E. Irving of New Brunswick, and in 1950 was sold to a Honduran company who fitted her out as the steam whaler Olympic Arrow. Sold into Japanese hands, she was renamed Otori Maru No. 11 in 1956, last appearing in Lloyd's list for 1962-63.
Her ship's bell was presented to the City of Brantford, Ontario where it is displayed.