(photos and associated captions are from the Navsource Naval History Website)
This post is another of a series of excerpts from my book Tin Can Canucks. As the book is still under development these posts should be considered as part of a work in progress. These excerpts are presented as they’ve been developed and may not be in chronological (or any logical) order.
HMCS Buxton Specifications:
Length : 314’ 3″
Beam: 30’ 9”
Draft: 9’ 3″
Displacement: 1190 tons
Laid Down: 20 April 1918
Launched: 10 June 1918
Commissioned : 4 November 1943
Paid Off: 2 June 1945
Armament: 2 × 12pdr LA guns; one 14″ Torpedo Tube
HMCS Buxton began life as USS Edwards. She was built by Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation at their Squantum, Massachusetts shipyard and named after Midshipman William W. Edwards. Edwards was an officer of the US Navy during the War of 1812 assigned to USS Argus when he was killed in action against HMS Pelican 14 August 1913. The ship bearing his name was launched 10 October 1918 by Ms. Julia Edwards Noyes, Midshipman Edwards uncle’s great granddaughter. USS Edwards was commissioned on April 24, 1919 under the command of Commander P.L. Wilson.
In May 1919 Edwards was assigned to transport seaplane spares to St. John’s, Newfoundland as part of the historic first transatlantic seaplane flight by the US Navy. Later that month she sailed to European waters to take up duties with the Food Administration and reporting to the Commander of US Naval Forces in Europe. After arriving in Gibraltar she joined the escort of USS George Washington, the former ocean liner carrying President Woodrow Wilson to Brest, France. Subsequently Edwards visited England and Germany before arriving back in the United States in late August.
In September she was transferred to the Pacific Fleet and upon arrival at San Diego she was placed in reduced commission with a minimal complement. In February of 1920 she moved to Puget Sound Navy Yard only to return to San Diego a year later still in reserve and only occasionally at sea for gunnery practice. Finally in June of 1922 she was placed out of commission.
Edwards was recommissioned in December of 1939 to take up Neutrality Patrol duties. She underwent an overhaul on the west coast before traveling east in March of 1940, making port in Galveston, Texas. She continued to patrol the Gulf of Mexico until the fall of 1940 when she was selected for transfer to the Royal Navy and was handed over in Halifax on October 8, 1940.
Commissioned into the Royal Navy as HMS Buxton she set out to cross the Atlantic on her way to Devonport for refit when she was delayed in St. John’s, Newfoundland with serious defects. Back to Halifax she went and repairs weren’t completed until March 1941. Further defects arose and ultimately Buxton would go to Boston for a two month refit starting in July. Upon her return she was assigned for local escort work until she joined the troop convoy TC 14 and crossed the Atlantic headed for the Clyde to join EG-26. She wasn’t with that posting long before more defects cropped up and she was in Chatham dockyard for repairs and refit in November 1941 not to emerge until February 1942. While working up after this period she grounded and subsequently those repairs kept her idle until the end of May.
Finally back at sea she joined Escort Group B6 undertaking convoy and individual ship escort duties out of Liverpool until August 1943 when she was posted back to Canada to join the Western Local Escort Force (WLEF) out of Halifax. WLEF held the operational responsibility of escorting convoys between the ports of New York and Halifax out to the Western Ocean Meeting Point (WOMP) which was east of St. John’s, Newfoundland where WLEF handed off responsibility to the Mid-Ocean Escort Force (MOEF).
HMS Buxton served on this rout for several months until her persistent defects required she return to Boston for a three-month refit in December. In March 1943 she rejoined WLEF as part of the newly formed escort group W-1, but finally her ongoing mechanical issues and defects drove the RN to offer the Royal Canadian Navy Buxton for static training purposes. In this manner she joined the RCN as HMCS Buxton on 4 November 1943—the last of the Canadian Town’s commissioned. She arrived at Digby, Nova Scotia in December and continued to serve as a static training vessel until decommissioned and sold for scrap 16 January 1945. She was broken up in Boston that same year after an undistinguished wartime career in which she appeared to spend more time in dock under repair than at sea.