anti-submarine trawler Notre Dame de France

Notre Dame de France in service as trawler (photo thanks to Kornee Sterrenburg).

Construction details [1]
Name Notre dame de France
Dockyard Smith's Dock Company Limited, Stockton-on-Tees
Dockyard Number 950
Laid down 1930
Launched February 3, 1931
Commissioned March, 1931 (mercantile)
November 25, 1940 (RNethN)
Pennant P 95 (French navy)
FY.363 (RNethN/RN)
[1]: information primarily taken from [SBLD] and [LCOL].

Specifications [1]
Displacement 458.3 tons [2]
Crew 33 (at commissioning. May have increased later on.)
Dimensions 45,96 x 8,0 x 4,80 m [3]
Armament 4 x 75 mm model 1897 [4]
4 x .303 calibre (7.7 mm) Hotchkiss[5]
Asdic Installed summer 1940. Type unknown.
Depthcharges Present. Type and number unknown.
[1]: Information taken from [GB110] unless noted otherwise.
[2]: Most sources list 433 gross registered tons (grt) as her displacement. Although 433 grt is very likely the correct size and likely reflects her pre-war condition, grt is however not a measure of displacement. [GB110] is very specific about 458.3 being her displacement tonnage and probably also includes the weight of wartime additions such as guns, asdic etcetera.
[3]: Dimensions from [CHT], confirmed by [MAS].
[4]: According to [GB110], the "three" guns Model 1897 were each replaced in August 1941 by a single British-built 76-mm "12-pounder" HA/LA. The Notre Dame de France supposedly carried four 75-mm guns model 1897, not three, so it is unclear if a single 75-mm model 1897 was retained, or perhaps a single 75-mm had already been removed earlier. The French guns were replaced because they had proven to be "unreliable", but GB-110 does not mention what exactly the problem was. The reduction in armament may also have been intended to alleviate the problem of the ship being overloaded. Although it is mentioned nowhere that Notre Dame de France had this problem, the similarly-armed Jean Frederic reported having a very low freeboard.
[5]: According to [GRA], Notre Dame de France had two twin .50 Hotchkiss and 2 twin Lewis, presumably .30.

Propulsion details [1]
Boilers 1 boiler
Machinery 1 triple-expansion engine.
Performance 126 nhp [2]
Shafts 1
Max Speed 12 knots
[1]: Information primarily taken from [VML].
[2]: [CHT] says 690 hp, [MAS] says 690 ihp.

History [1]
Requisitioned by French Navy in September 1939 and commissioned as an patrol boat. Captured in Plymouth on July 3, 1940 following the surrender of France in late June. At that time, she was under command of capitaine de corvette Berriet, and the capture seems to have been uneventful. In July 1940, the Royal Navy requested this ship and others to be temporarily manned by the Royal Netherlands Navy. During her service with the Netherlands navy, the ship was known as "Her Netherlands Majesty's French Ship Notre Dame de France", and carried both the Dutch and French flag.

Commissioned on November 25, 1940 by Luitenant-ter-zee der 2e klasse Koninklijke Marine Reserve (Lieutenant, RNethN Reserve) J.H. van de Weijer. The Notre Dame de France was first engaged in "anti-invasion duties" in the Plymouth - Falmouth - Dartmouth area, but was later engaged in convoy duty in continuation in the same area until she was decommissioned.

During her service with the RNethNavy, she was attached to the 3rd Anti-Submarine Group (Order of Battle July 1941) at Milford Haven, and the 36th Anti-Submarine Group, based at Plymouth (Order of Battle January 1942).[2]

Some noteworthy facts from this period:[3]:
  • Collided with HM Destroyers HMS Ripley and Burwell at Davenport on February 13, 1941. She was under repair until February 25th.
  • Towed Dutch coaster Nottingham to safety. Nottingham lost way from the convoy Notre Dame de France was escorting due to machinery problems. Notre Dame de France towed the coaster to Yarmouth, arriving March 30, 1941.
  • Collided with merchant ships Fidele and Minx on November 12, 1941. Under repair until November 25.

    Decommissioned January 15, 1942. Returned to the Royal Navy. Commissioned as HMS Notre Dame de France in the Royal Navy on January 25, 1942. Continued service until December, 1945 and returned to owners. Scrapped in Belgium in 1956. [4]
  • [1]: Information primarily taken from [GB110] unless noted otherwise. [GB110] has a very detailed description of the ship's brief history with the RNethN.
    [2]: From [NHS].
    [3]: [GRA] remembers the trawler being damaged in an air-attack. There is no mention of this in the Dutch official history.
    [4]: Royal Navy and postwar information from [Uboat]. This site also lists the commanding officers during her Royal Navy service.

    Sketch of Notre Dame de France, showing her appearance ca. 1941. Sketch from memory by crewman Ordinary Telegraphist Thomas Grange, RN. Note the guns fore and aft, and two amidships. (Collection Alan F. Grange).

    A Sailor's War: Memoirs of Ordinary Telegraphist Thomas Grange, Royal Navy of Notre Dame de France

    CHT Jean Labayle Couhat "French Warships of World War II", Ian Allen, published 1971.
    GB110 GB110 (Mededelingen van de Marinestaf), volume 3, chapter 18: "De bewegingen en acties van Hr.Ms. Nautilus, Hr.Ms. Medusa, Hr.Ms. Van Meerlant, Hr.Ms. Douwe Aukes, F.S. Bouclier, Hr.Ms. Campbeltown, F.S. Notre Dame de France, F.S. Jean Frederic, Hr.Ms. Gruno."
    GRA A Sailor's War: Memoirs of Ordinary Telegraphist Thomas Grange, Royal Navy of Notre Dame de France (see Links-section above).
    LCOL H.T. Lenton/J.J. Colledge "Warships of World War II", published 1962.
    MAS Henri Le Masson "Navies of the Second World War - The French Navy 2", published 1969.
    NHS - Ship Movements, Actions, Losses, August 1939 - March 1942
    SBLD Shipbuilding on the river Tees
    Uboat - Allied Warships - HMS Notre Dame de France
    VML A.J. Vermeulen "De schepen van de Koninklijke Marine en die der gouvernementsmarine 1862-1962", published 1962.

    August 18, 2016 Link to special added. Minor updates.
    August 31, 2014 Minor details added to ship's history
    July 24, 2014 Further details added.

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