3 Conversion for commercial use

Basically hull, arrangement and engines were similar for the Isle, Dance, Tree and Shakespearean classes.

Mizar Tn


M/V Mizar, formerly HMS Mincarlo. NSS Jenssen Collection


The hulls were rather sharp forward wit rounded bilges and a free fin-type rudder. The boiler and engine rooms were placed amidships with fuel and water tanks, while accommodation for 35-40 officers and men and messes were to be found forward and aft. However, as they had been fitted out for a number of duties, they appeared rather different when brought home to Norway.


How would escort trawlers be rated for commercial service?

To take the negative aspects first: The hull shape was rather sharp and narrow in front of the boiler room and the draft was rather high for such a small vessel. The steam engines were rather powerful for commercial service and thus uneconomical. On the other side, the vessels were of robust construction and could be converted into cargo vessels of 500-700 tdw, depending on design and costs.

It should be remembered that everything was in short supply in 1946/47, including steel materials, with rapidly rising prices and extensive delivery time for new vessels. A rapid conversion job could be a favorable investment.


There were several ways to go about conversion.

The simple thing was to take the vessel as it was with engine and boiler and strip out the sections ahead of the boiler room and aft of the engine to two cargo holds. This could be done quite simply, but would leave a rather small and less competitive vessel.

The other end of the scale would be to strip the hull entirely of superstructure, propulsion and accommodation and install a diesel engine as far aft as practicable. Out of this a cargo vessel of 600-700 tdw could emerge, but still rather narrow forward and with an excessive draft.


The 41 vessels converted for Norwegian owners would be spread over the entire scale, although of six basic designs:


Type 1:  Steam propulsion and original arrangement, superstructure retained

Type 2:  Boiler room stripped, diesel engine fitted in engine room, original superstructure retained

Type 3:  Diesel engine fitted in boiler room, cargo holds forward and aft, parts of original superstructure

Type 4:  Diesel engine fitted in engine room, new superstructure aft

Type 5:  Diesel engine placed further aft with new superstructure

Type 6:  As type 4, but also lengthened and fitted with partial shelterdeck


Vessels categorized by conversion type:


Type 1 6 Hamlet, Harris, Henken, Gygra, Bonita, Skogholm, Bay
Type 2 10 Vollen, Velox, Crowlin, Farne, Hoy, Tilthorn, Vingtor, Ulva, Argo (1), Ran
Type 3 2 Rumba, Grassholm
Type 4 6 Fandango, Tottan, Macbeth, Fjellberg, Aalesund
Type 5 11 Maiken, Jannikke, Elsa, Lillen, Kristianborg, Rousay, Artemis, Westray, Guløy,Cleveland, Turøy, Marøy
Type 6 2 Zero, Argo (2)


About a third of the converted trawlers were fitted out as reefers with insulated holds and refrigerating plant. These were intended for the fruit and fish trade but also to meet expected demand from frozen fish and whale meat for consumption. Tonnage supply, however, far exceeded this market.




When reappearing as commercial vessel, Lloyd’s Register for many years refrained from giving the original naval name. In some cases the identities have been in dispute.

For example HMCS Flint has been stated as going to Germany as Trave, while Norwegian sources indicate that she became the Argo. As pointed out above, the original Interim Nationality Certificates were generally made out to the vessels’ original names, which tends to confirm the reliability of this source.


The Swedish Sarabande went to Canada to become Guard Mavoline, whereas Lloyd’s gives the latter as ex HMS Romeo.


Ships imported, to Norway except where noted


HMS compl comm name call sign acquired
Bay 40-06 Bay LMJD 47 03
Blackthorn 40-06 Klan LCDP 55 04
Fir 40 Vollen LMMJ 47 03
Olive 40 Samba 48 06 to Sweden
Rowan 39 Maiken LMLU 47 05
Walnut 39-12 Walnut 48 06 to Sweden
Cotillion 40 Brand V LMJL 47 05
Coverley 41 Jannikke LMHU 47 03
Fandango 40-07 Fandango LLQU 46 06
Morris Dance 40-10 Tottan LMMG 47 06
Quadrille 41-07 Elsa LLZA 46 09
Rumba 40 Rumba LMMF 46-03
Sarabande 41 Sarabande 47 05
Hamlet 40-12 Hamlet LMFN 47 01
Macbeth 41-01 Macbeth LMYJ 47 02
Ailsa Craig 44-04 Veslemøy LLOE 46-04
Gweal 42-11 Velox LLPT 46 04
Bryher 43-09 Bryher LMHF 47 05
Crowlin 44-02 Crowlin LLVY 46 08
Eday 41-11 Fjellberg LMFB 47 01
Farne 43 Farne LMEE 46
Harris 44-04 Harris LMIM 46
Gillstone 43-11 Gillstone LLJK 46 04
Grassholm 43-09 Grassholm LLVL 46 04
Gulland 43-11 Henken LLYM 46 09
Hoy 41-07 Hoy LLQL 46 05
Hunda 42 Gygra LLOP 46 05
Inchmarnock 41-12 Tilthorn LMOB 46 12
Kerrera 41-10 Jason LMPI 46 11
Kittern 43-11 Bonita LLQI 46 04
Mewstone 43 Vingtor LLPU 46 04
Minalto 43-10 Lillen LMAG 46 11
Mincarlo 44-10 Kristianborg LMFJ 46 11
Rousay 42 Henøy 46 08
Shiant 41-11 Artemis LMFI 46 11
Skokholm 43-12 Skogholm LLSI 46 06
Ulva 42-12 Ulva LLPO 46 04
Westray 42-03 Westray LMJM 47 04
Anticosti 42-04 Guløy LLUO 46 07
Cailiff 42 Borgenes LLQN 46
Campenia 42-06 Cleveland LLQM 46 05
Flint 42-07 Argo LLOR 46 03
Herschell 43-06 Eirikur hin Reidi OXSP 46 to the Faroes
Ironbound 42 Turøy 46 04
Liscomb 42 Aalesund LLQV 46 06
Magdalen 42 Marøy LLPV 46 04
Manitoulin 42 Mantoulin LLQK 46 04