Gunshield Artwork carried by the RCN Corvettes

By B0b Pearson

Most people are familar with the artwork carried on the nose of aircraft during the Second World War. In fact many of the designs are now quite famous and the subject of numerous books and decal sheets. Ships, on the other hand, are usually thought of as far more 'serious' and the idea of cartoons on such staid and conservative vessels is not one that immediately comes to mind. To that end, large vessels would have crests depicting some aspect of their name or heritage, while the corvettes were thought to be too small to warrant official designs. However the mainly volunteers of the quickly growing RCN had none of these qualms. Indeed the crews of the corvettes looked for some way to distinguish their ship from others, and the solution was in adding artwork to the sides of the 4" gunshield*. These varied from cartoons based on popular items of the day, to plays on the ship's or commanding officer's name.

It would appear that the most popular designs featured either Donald Duck, or if nothing original could be thought of, an Indian head. Examples of both are fairly abundant in the book Gunshield Graffiti upon which I based most of these illustrations.

All of these markings are available as ALPS decals in any scale desired. For those building the Matchbox/Revell kit, the following are suitable for use with little or no conversion to the kit: Eyebright, Fennel, Snowberry, Trillium. All of the others require at least the correction of the engine room casing, galley and resiting of the 2pdr bandstand.

All colours are speculative and I welcome any information on correcting them.

*It should also be noted that not all ships carried their emblem on the gunshield, some had it on the front of the asdic hut.

HMCS Arvida K113

A tough, bare chested matelot with a brace of victims is the emblem carried by Arvida

HMCS Buctouche K179

a Bucking Bronco unseating Hitler was carried by the corvette Buctouche. The grey background should really be white and is just shown to indicate the shape .. much of which is speculative.

HMCS Chicoutimi K156

Bugs Bunny chewing on a U-Boat superimposed over an Indian Head comprise the markings carried by Chicoutimi

HMCS Drumheller K167

In an obvious play on the ships name, Drumheller has a drummer from hell.

HMCS Eyebright K150

One of the RN ordered Flowers, Eyebright has a leaping panther as her emblem. The Revell kit is convertable to her with the addition of a new upper bridge.

HMCS Fennel K194

Another RN ordered Flower that is an ideal conversion for the Revell kit as it appears to be in the same configuration as Snowberry.

Fennel carried two different emblems. The first being the cartoon character Alley-Oop. I have chosen to give it a green background as he appears to be on a stylzed Maple leaf.

The second being a bulldog in full boxing attire.


HMCS Forest Hill K486

Forest Hill used a beaver munching on a U-Boat as its crest.

The colours of the U-Boat and the background are darker than actual shades to better show them against a white page. They should be light gray and white

HMCS Sackville K181

The sole-survivng corvette today. Sackville shows one of the many designs incorporating Donald Duck. Previously she had an arm holding a 'Sackful' of U-boats

HMCS Shawinigan K136

A winged harp on a green field was the first emblem carried by Shawinigan. Later she got a very well executed bulldog tearing the swastika flag to shreds

HMCS Shediac K110

A cat hunting in a fishbowl for a 'U-fish' is the artwork carried by Shediac. Background colour is specualtive.

HMCS Snowberry K166

Donald Duck, on a cloud about to drop a depth charge on a U-Boat. This was the first thing I tried on my Alps printer. I still have copies of this available for the price of a stamp and a self addressed envelope.

HMCS Trillium K172

Donald makes his third appearance, this time chasing a U-Boat with a net. Trillium is another RN-ordered Flower suitable for conversion of the Revell kit.

HMCS Vancouver K240

Vancouver also used a leaping panther, which is somewhat different from Eyebright's.

HMCS Wetaskiwin K175

The 'Wet-Ass-Queen' shows where she got her name from. This is the design I am using on my model. I have since seen other photos showing the design was repainted at least once with bare legs.

Funnel emblem on many RCN Ships. During WWII the Maple Leaf was depicted in green, not the postwar red.