For Posterity's Sake
A Royal Canadian Navy Historical Project
HMCS ST FRANCIS I93
Commissioned on 30 Jun 1919 as USS Bancroft, her career almost exactly paralleled that of her sister, USS McCook, and she was turned over to the RCN at Halifax on the same day (24 Sep 1940), becoming HMCS St. Francis. HMCS St. Francis and it was refitted for escort duty. During the refit one boiler was removed to increase fuel capacity, the four inch deck guns were replaced with anti-aircraft weapons and the torpedo tubes were replaced with depth charge projectors. She spent the remainder of the year based at Halifax, and on 05 Nov 1940, searched for the Admiral Scheer following the latter's attack on convoy HX.84. Ordered to Scotland, she left Halifax on 15 Jan 1941 for the Clyde where she joined the 4th Escort Group, January 26, 1941. May 20th she rescued survivors from the steamer Starcross, which had been torpedoed. In July 1941 St. Francis joined the Newfoundland Escort Force. Between 1941 and 1943 St. Francis escorted numerous Atlantic convoys and made several attacks on submarines. On completion of her refit in Apr 1943, she returned to MOEF, but by Nov 1943 was again urgently in need of repairs, which were carried out at Shelburne, N.S. In Feb 1944, she was allocated to HMCS Cornwallis as a training ship. On 01 Apr 1945 she was declared surplus and paid off on 11 Jun 1945. On July 14, 1945, she was under tow of the tug Peter Norman, and bound for Baltimore to be broken up for scrap. After passing through the Cape Cod Canal, the vessels encountered a thick fog, which enshrouded Buzzards Bay. Near the entrance to the bay the collier Windward Gulf collided with the old destroyer opening a hole in its hull. The Peter Norman tried to ground the destroyer, but it was taking on water too quickly and soon sank on an even keel in 60 feet of water approximately 2 miles off Acoaxet with no loss of life.
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