HMCS FRASER (1st) (H48)


The History of the FRASER (1st)

HMS Crescent was originally a Royal Navy C-class destroyer. She was laid down on 18 December 1930 at Vickers-Armstrongs, Barrow-in-Furness and launched on 29 September 1931. She was commissioned into the Royal Navy as HMS Crescent, a C-class destroyer, in 1932.

She was decommissioned from the Royal Navy on 17 February 1937 and was commissioned into the Royal Canadian Navy as HMCS Fraser at Chatham on the same day.

At the outbreak of World War II, Fraser was ordered to the East Coast, arriving at Halifax on 15 September. She and her sisters were employed as local escorts to ocean convoys sailing from Halifax. In November the Royal Navy's North America and West Indies Station took operational control of the Canadian destroyers.

In March 1940 she was ordered to join the Jamaica Force for Caribbean patrol service before being re-assigned to British waters. On 26 May she left Bermuda for Britain, arriving at Plymouth on 3 June.

On the night of 25 June 1940, Fraser was tasked to join the destroyer HMCS Restigouche and cruiser HMS Calcutta on Operation Ariel to rescue 4,000 refugees trapped by the German Army from the coast of Bordeaux, France.

The warships encountered rough seas and poor visibility, forcing the commanding officer of Fraser to close quarters with the other two vessels. Fraser executed a turn to port to bring the ship behind Calcutta but in doing so, the two ships collided. The bow of the heavier Calcutta sliced into Fraser with such force that the destroyer was cut into three pieces. The wreck lies in an approximate position of 45?45′N 1?30′W / 45.75?N 1.5?W / 45.75; -1.5Coordinates: 45?45′N 1?30′W / 45.75?N 1.5?W / 45.75; -1.5.

Fraser lost 47 sailors, and a further 19 were lost from Calcutta. Many of the survivors from Fraser transferred that summer to HMCS Margaree and were lost when that vessel sank on 22 October 1940 as a result of a collision with the freighter MV Port Fairy.

FRASER (1st) Statistical Data

  • Pendant: H48
  • Type: Destroyer
  • Class: RIVER Class British
  • Displacement: 1375 tonnes
  • Length: 329 ft
  • Width: 33 ft
  • Draught: 10.2 ft
  • Speed: 31 kts
  • Compliment: 10 Officers and 171 Crew
  • Arms: 4-4.7", 8-21" Torpedo Tube (2 x IV), 2-2 pdrs. Modified to 2-4.7", 1-3", 4-21" Torpedo Tubes (I x IV), 6-20mm and Hedgehog as war began.
  • Builder: Vickers-Armstrongs Ltd., Barrow-in-Furness, U.K.
  • Keel Laid: 01-Feb-30
  • Date Launched: 29-Sep-31
  • Date Commissioned: 17-Feb-37
  • Paid off: 28-Jun-40


Ex HMS CRESCENT. Lost in a collision with the British cruiser CALCUTTA, while participating in the evacuation of France. 47 men lost.

Additional Information

HMCS Fraser on 25 June 1940, three days before her loss

Keywords: HMCS FRASER (1st), Royal Canadian Navy Ship, Destroyer, RIVER Class British Class