A plaque bearing a photo of HMCS Amherst and the history of the Second World War corvette was presented recently to the Town of Amherst by 258 Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps Amherst in commemoration of the 125th anniversary of the Navy League of Canada.
The plaque was presented to the town by navy Lieutenant Stephen Rayworth, the corps’ commanding officer, and local Navy League of Canada representative Darrell Jones.
“HMCS Amherst was and is the only vessel in the history of the Royal Canadian Navy that bore the name of Amherst,” Jones said, in presenting the plaque to Mayor David Kogon.
Established in 1895, the Navy League of Canada is a civilian non-profit organization that promotes an interest in maritime affairs throughout Canada, while also keeping watch over policies relevant to Canada’s waters.
As part of its effort to promote maritime affairs, the league supports Canada’s youth through two, maritime-themed programs: Navy League Cadets, for youth aged nine to 12, and the Royal Canadian Sea Cadet program, in partnership with the Canadian Armed Forces, for youth aged 12 to 18.
HMCS Amherst, a flower class corvette, was built in Saint John, N.B., and commissioned on Oct. 5, 1941. After workups, the ship was employed as an ocean escort for the rest of the war, which ended in 1945. The corvette was involved in two hard-fought convoy battles, both of which took place in 1942, and made one round-trip to the United Kingdom.
Its battle honours include the Battle of the Atlantic 1941-45 and the Battle of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence 1944.
The corvette was decommissioned in July 1945 following the conclusion of the war.
The ship’s original bell is on display in the Col. James Layton Ralston Armoury next to the offices of the local sea cadet corps.
Kogon said the town was honored to accept the plaque from 258 RCSCC, which has operated in the town for more than 40 years, and to mark the 125th anniversary of the Navy League of Canada.
“The ship, which was named after our community, is an important part of our history. It and its crew played a key role in helping to keep the shipping lines open during the Second Word War,” Kogon said.
“The town is also a strong supporter of youth programming, such as the sea cadet program the league, along with the Canadian Forces, supports here in Amherst. The cadet program is an excellent program for our youth. We offer the league our congratulations for supporting youth throughout the country for more than a century.
“We will proudly display this plaque in a prominent location in Amherst town hall.”