The Captain class was the designation given to 78 frigates of the Royal Navy, constructed in the United States, launched in 1942–1943 and delivered to the United Kingdom under the provisions of the Lend-Lease agreement. They were drawn from two classes of the American destroyer escort (originally "British Destroyer Escort") classification: 32 of the GMT (Evarts) Type and 46 of the TE (Buckley) Type. Upon reaching the UK the ships were substantially modified by the Royal Navy, making them distinct from the US Navy destroyer escort ships.

HMS Cosby, an example of the Buckley subclass.
Class overview
Operators Royal Navy
In service1943–1956
General characteristics
  • 1,140 long tons (1,158 t) (Evarts)
  • 1,400 long tons (1,422 t) (Buckley)
  • 289 ft 6 in (88.24 m) (Evarts)
  • 306 ft (93 m) (Buckley)
  • 35 ft (11 m) (Evarts)
  • 36 ft 9 in (11.20 m) (Buckley)
  • 9 ft (2.7 m) (Evarts)
  • 11 ft (3.4 m) (Buckley)
Installed power
  • 7,040 bhp (5,250 kW) (Evarts)
  • 13,500 shp (10,070 kW) (Buckley)
PropulsionSee text
  • 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph) (Evarts)
  • 24 knots (44 km/h; 28 mph) (Buckley)
  • 5,000 nautical miles (9,300 km; 5,800 mi) at 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph) (Evarts)
  • 5,500 nautical miles (10,200 km; 6,300 mi) at 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph) (Buckley)
Boats & landing
craft carried
  • 156 (Evarts)
  • 186 (Buckley)
Sensors and
processing systems

Captain-class frigates acted in the roles of convoy escorts, anti-submarine warfare vessels, coastal forces control frigates and headquarters ships for the Normandy landings. During the course of World War II this class participated in the sinking of at least 34 German submarines and a number of other hostile craft; 15 of the 78 Captain-class frigates were either sunk or written off as a constructive total loss.

In the post-war period, all of the surviving Captain-class frigates except one (HMS Hotham which was used as a power station and for powerplant experiments) were returned to the US Navy before the end of 1947 in order to reduce the amount payable under the provisions of the Lend-Lease agreement; the last Captain-class frigate was returned to United States custody in March 1956.

Naming edit

It was the intention of the Admiralty that these ships would be named after captains who served with Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar, but as building continued it became necessary to delve back further into history for the names of well-regarded admirals and captains.[1]

Of the 78 frigates, 66 bore names that had not been allocated to earlier Royal Navy ships. Lawford, Louis, Manners, Moorsom, Mounsey, Narborough, Pasley and Seymour had been used for destroyers during World War I.[1] HMS Rupert was the fifth of that name since 1666.[1] Torrington was the fourth of that name since 1654.[1] Holmes had been used once before in 1671 and Fitzroy had previously been used for a survey vessel in 1919.[1]

Early history edit

Two of the Buckley subclass under construction.

In June 1941 the British government, seeking to take advantage of the US Lend-Lease program, asked the United States to design, build and supply an escort vessel that was suitable for anti-submarine warfare in deep open ocean situations.[2] The requested particulars were a length of 300 feet (90 m), a speed of 20 knots (37 km/h), a dual purpose main armament and an open bridge.[3] The United States Navy had been looking into the feasibility of such a vessel since 1939, and Captain E. L. Cochrane of the US Navy's Bureau of Ships – who, during his visit to the United Kingdom in 1940, had looked at Royal Navy corvettes and Hunt-class destroyers – had come up with a design for such a vessel.[4] This design anticipated a need for large numbers of this type of vessel, and had sought to remove the major production bottleneck for such vessels: the double helical reduction gearing required for the steam turbine machinery of destroyers.[5][3] The production of reduction gears could not be easily increased, as the precision machinery required for their construction alone took over a year to produce.[3] Therefore, a readily-available and proven layout of diesel-electric machinery, also used on submarines, was adopted. When the United Kingdom made its request, Admiral Stark of the US Navy decided to put these plans into motion and recommended that the British order be approved.[6] Gibbs and Cox, the marine architects charged with creating working plans, had to make several alterations to the production methods and to Captain Cochrane's original design, most notably dropping another production bottleneck – the 5-inch/38-caliber gun – and replacing it with the 3-inch/50-caliber gun, which allowed adding a superfiring third gun (at the "B" position, forward);[3] also, the original design specified eight engines for 24 knots (44 km/h; 28 mph) but other priority programs forced the use of only four with a consequent shortening of the hull and reduction of the ship's maximum speed by an estimated 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph).[7] The design had relatively light armour with for example the steel plate used on the Buckleys ranging from 1/2 inch to 7/16 inch with 1/4 inch plate being used for the majority of the hull and deck plating.[8]

The result was a vessel that could be produced quickly (for example Halsted was built in just 24 and half days[9]) at half the cost of a fleet destroyer,[6] ($3.5 million[10] compared to $10.4 million for a 1,620-ton destroyer such as the US Benson class[11] or $6.4 million for British Hunt-class destroyer.[12])

On 15 August 1941 President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorised the construction of 50 of the new Evarts-class design as BDE 1–50 (British destroyer escort) as part of the 1799 program.[3][13] The turbo-electric powered Buckley class were not part of the first order and were authorised later by Public Law 440 effective 6 February 1942.[14] The Royal Navy placed orders in November 1941 with four shipyards: the Boston Navy Yard, the Mare Island Navy Yard, the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard and the Puget Sound Navy Yard.[6] When the United States entered the war, they too adopted the BDE design.[6] The BDE designation was retained by the first six destroyer escorts (BDEs 1, 2, 3, 4, 12 and 46) transferred to the United Kingdom. Of the initial 50 ordered, these were the only ones the Royal Navy received; the rest were reclassified as destroyer escorts (DE) on 25 January 1943 and taken over by the United States Navy.[6] By the end of World War II the Royal Navy had received 31 Evarts from Boston Navy Yard, 1 from Philadelphia Navy Yard and 46 Buckleys from Bethlehem-Hingham.[6][3]

The Royal Navy classified these ships as frigates, as they lacked the torpedo tubes needed for a destroyer classification.[15] For those used to Admiralty-designed ships the Captains were unfamiliar: they had no break forward of the forecastle but instead had a graceful shear to deck-line from the forecastle to midship, and the Evarts had raked cowls on top of the funnels.[16] Those who served on these ships came to view these features as being very handsome.[16] Amongst the differences with British-designed vessels were using bunks instead of hammocks and welds instead of rivets.[17][18]

Propulsion edit

The Evarts subclass had diesel-electric machinery, based on an arrangement used for submarines.[3] There were two shafts. Four Winton 278A 16-cylinder engines, with a combined rating of 7,040 bhp (5,250 kW), drove General Electric Company (GE) generators (4,800 kW) that supplied power to two GE electric motors, with an output of 6,000 shp (4,500 kW), for a speed of 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph). It had been intended to provide another set of this machinery for an output of 12,000 shp (8,900 kW), to make the design speed of 24 knots (44 km/h; 28 mph), but hull production greatly outstripped that of the machinery; therefore, only one set of machinery was used per ship.[3][7]

In order to make the designed speed, the Buckley subclass had turbo-electric machinery.[3] Two Foster Wheeler Express "D"-type water-tube boilers supplied steam to GE 13,500 shp (10,070 kW) steam turbines and generators (9,200 kW).[19] Electric motors for 12,000 shp (8,900 kW) drove the two shafts, each fitted with a three-bladed propeller of solid manganese-bronze that was 8 ft 6 in (2.59 m) in diameter.[19][20] This all-electric drivetrain was considered[by whom?] particularly innovative at the time, although the Auk-class minesweepers (known as Catherine class in RN) had a similar arrangement.

Royal Navy alterations edit

The first port of call in the United Kingdom for most of the Captain-class vessels was Pollock Dock, Belfast where the ships were modified in order to match Admiralty requirements.[21] In all there were 109 items in the alterations and additions list for the Evarts and 94 for the Buckleys.[21]

One major design difference between the Royal Navy Buckley-class frigates and the US Navy Buckley-class destroyer escorts was that the Royal Navy frigates did not mount torpedo tubes.[16] (The Evarts class was not designed to carry torpedoes.)[22] The resulting reduction in top weight combined with the previous reduction in the gun battery resulted in excessive stability, causing sharp and violent rolling behaviour in the relatively short North Atlantic swells. Several solutions were discussed including reshipping the torpedo tubes and replacing the American 3"/50 caliber guns with heavier British 4.5 inch but all proved impractical due to production bottlenecks and wartime congestion in British shipyards. The problem was ultimately addressed by increasing the number of depth charges stowed on the upper deck and fitting larger bilge keels, which tamed the roll to manageable levels.[23]

Further alterations were:

Sea-keeping equipment edit

A crow's nest was affixed to the mainmast.[24] A standard Royal Navy 27-foot (8 m) whaler was fitted on the port side of the funnel in addition to the US-issue ship's boat on the starboard side;[25] additional Carley lifesaving rafts were also fitted: big ones on sloping launch skids aft of the funnel and small ones aft of the searchlights.[26] Wind deflectors were fitted on the leading edge of the bridge area and a canvas-covered shelter was installed on the quarterdeck to provide better weather protection for depth charge crews.[24] Oiling fairleads were fitted to the edge of the hull by the anchor winch.[26] The bilge keels were lengthened and made deeper (a process that took a minimum of three weeks).[22]

Gunnery edit

HMS Stayner acting as a Coastal Forces control frigate; note the 2-pounder (40 mm) "pom-pom" bowchaser

More 40 mm Bofors and Oerlikon 20 mm guns were mounted in place of the removed torpedo tubes,[27] and the MK IV elevating column Oerlikon mountings were replaced with the simpler MK VIA mountings;[28] those ships that were to serve as Coastal Forces control frigates hunting E-boats had extra guns fitted.[27] On some ships, either gun shields were fitted to the main armament, or a spray and blast shield was fitted to the B gun.[24] Two-inch rocket flare projectors were fitted to the B gun: six if the spray and blast shield was fitted, three if not.[24] A 40 mm QF 2-pounder Mk VIII "pom-pom" was fitted as bowchaser to ships that were to serve as Coastal Forces control frigates.[29]

The bridge layout was significantly altered; the biggest alteration was the addition of a two-tier director control tower that improved visibility and gave better protection to the equipment. Vertically fired "snowflake" parachute flare projectors were fitted to the bridge wings.[24]

Anti-submarine edit

More depth charges were fitted on the upper deck of each side of the ship, allowing for about 200 in total; Royal Navy smoke floats were fitted above the depth charges in addition to the US Navy chemical smoke cylinders fitted to the stern of the Captains.[30] A medium frequency direction finding antenna (MF/DF) was fitted in front of the bridge and a high-frequency direction finding (HF/DF, "Huffduff") Type FH 4 antenna was fitted on top of the mainmast;[30] furthermore, a radio-receiving set tuned to the frequencies used for ship-to-ship communication by German U-boats and E-boats was fitted and a German-speaking rating carried. The Captains were eventually given Type 144 series Asdic (sonar) sets,[28] an upgrade from the original Type 128D,[31] and a Foxer was fitted to the aft of the Captains (and most other Atlantic escort vessels) during 1944 to counter the new G7es acoustic torpedoes.[30]

Navigation and communications edit

The steel parts around the binnacle (the enclosure containing the compass) were replaced by non-ferrous materials.[28] In addition to the standard US Navy long-range position-fixing set (LORAN), a Royal Navy GEE short-range position-fixing set was fitted.[30] A radar interrogation system was installed that was able to challenge ships at sea (only ships likewise fitted with the system would be able to reply), along with four coloured fighting lights[30] (signalling lamps installed on the yardarm to aid recognition by friendly forces during night fighting[32]).

Camouflage and insignia edit

Following standard Royal Navy protocols, all of the Captains had large pennant numbers painted on the sides and stern of the hull, usually in blue, red or black.[33][34] The escort groups to which most Captains were assigned had their own individual insignia; these distinctive and colourful designs were painted on the side of the ship's funnel, and if the ship was home to the escort group's senior officer it would also have a coloured band painted around the top of the funnel (usually in blue or red).[30] The ship's waterline was always in black.[34]

A total of five different ship camouflage schemes were employed on the Captains.[30] The ships came from the shipyards in white with light blue polygons, the US Navy's camouflage pattern for northern latitudes.[35] For those ships assigned to the North Atlantic, a scheme consisting of light and dark blues and greens with some soft white was adopted as it was believed that this would blend with the sea colour in bad weather.[30] Ships assigned to the English Channel in 1944 (Coastal Forces control frigates and those assigned to Operation Neptune as headquarters ships) received a design in black, blue, light grey and white.[30] For ships assigned to the 16th Flotilla (Harwich) and 21st Flotilla (Sheerness) operating in the North Sea and English Channel, a scheme consisting of horizontal upper deck divisions of light and dark grey (as used by the US Navy) was used.[30] Early in 1945, a scheme was adopted that was to be common to all Royal Navy ships, consisting of white with a sky-blue stripe along the hull.[30]

Modifications to Normandy landing HQ ships edit

HMS Dacres, converted to act as a headquarters ship for the Normandy landings; note the additional smaller mainmast to support the extra aerials.

HMS Dacres, HMS Kingsmill and HMS Lawford were converted to headquarters ships for use during Operation Neptune (the Normandy landings). These ships had their aft three-inch (76 mm) gun and all the depth charge gear removed, and the superstructure extended, to provide accommodations for extra Staff Officers; two deckhouses were built for the additional radios needed and a smaller extra mainmast was added to support the many additional aerials. Four more Oerlikons were fitted bringing the total to 16, and a number of radar sets fitted (Type 271 centimetric target identification and Type 291 air warning, and the associated Types 242 and 253 IFF sets).[3][36] The complement was reduced to 141, but with a headquarters staff of 64.[3]

Ships' companies edit

The Captains had a typical crew of either 156 (Evarts) or 186 (Buckley) officers and ratings.[19] The bulk of the ratings enlisted after the outbreak of World War II, thus having little military or seafaring experience, and had to be trained in whichever branch of the Navy they chose to serve; after about six weeks drilling, marching and generally getting physically fit they went into specific job training.[37] Many of the senior non-commissioned officers were pre-war Royal Navy ratings who had been promoted.[37]

Engineering personnel were faced with the added complication of power plants not normally found in the Royal Navy. Initially, they were trained alongside US Navy personnel at purpose-built facilities in the General Electric Company factories at Cleveland and Syracuse, and were awarded certificates at the end of their training; later, training was provided in the United Kingdom.[38]

Ship's companies were shipped over to the US by them taking passage from the Clyde or Liverpool to New York on ocean liners such as Queen Mary.[39] On arriving in New York, the crews were initially assigned to HMS Saker until they were reassigned to a Captain-class frigate.[39] Later, some of the Captains were ferried across the Atlantic by crews of the Royal Canadian Navy coming to the United Kingdom to collect River-class frigates ordered by the Canadians.[39]

Operations edit

These ships were primarily deployed to Escort Groups that were then used to provide anti-submarine cover to the convoys that they escorted. The four or more ships in an escort group, by operating together under a single commander, were able to use group tactics so that with the issue of a single short command the various ships of the group, often out of sight of each other, could be relied upon to act in a co-ordinated fashion.[40][page needed]

A small number of Captains were converted to act as headquarters ships during Operation Neptune (the Normandy landings) and as coastal forces control frigates. Captains who operated with Coastal Forces (motor torpedo boats, motor gun boats and US Navy PT boats) sank at least two two-man submarines,[41] and were involved in the destruction of at least 26 E-boats,[42] one KFK patrol vessel (coastal escort vessels constructed so as to resemble a fishing-vessel),[43] two minesweepers,[43] and the shooting down of a Junkers Ju 88 aeroplane.[44]

Submarine sinkings in which Captain-class frigates participated[45][page needed]
Submarine Date Ships Fate of submarine crew Position sunk
U-841 17 October 1943 Byard 27 lost and 27 survivors 59°57′N 31°06′W / 59.950°N 31.100°W / 59.950; -31.100 (U-841 sunk by HMS Byard, 17 October 1943)
U-538 21 November 1943 Foley 55, all hands Lost southwest of Ireland 45°40′N 19°35′W / 45.667°N 19.583°W / 45.667; -19.583 (U-538 sunk by HMS Foley, 21 November 1943)
U-600 25 November 1943 Bazely, Blackwood 54, all hands lost 40°31′N 22°07′W / 40.517°N 22.117°W / 40.517; -22.117 (U-600 sunk, 25 November 1943)
U-757 8 January 1944 Bayntun 49, all hands lost 50°33′N 18°03′W / 50.550°N 18.050°W / 50.550; -18.050 (U-757 sunk by HMS Bayntun, 8 January 1944)
U-91 26 February 1944 Affleck, Gore, Gould 36 lost and 16 survivors 49°45′N 26°20′W / 49.750°N 26.333°W / 49.750; -26.333 (U-91 sunk, 26 February 1944)
U-358 1 March 1944 Affleck, Gore, Gould, Garlies 50 lost and 1 survivor 45°46′N 23°16′W / 45.767°N 23.267°W / 45.767; -23.267 (U-358 sunk, 1 March 1944)
U-392 16 March 1944 Affleck 52, all hands lost 35°55′N 05°41′W / 35.917°N 5.683°W / 35.917; -5.683 (U-392 sunk by HMS Affleck, 16 March 1944)
U-765 6 May 1944 Bickerton, Bligh, Aylmer with Swordfish aircraft from HMS Vindex 37 lost and 11 survivors North Atlantic 52°30′N 28°28′W / 52.500°N 28.467°W / 52.500; -28.467 (U-765 sunk, 6 May 1944)
U-269 25 June 1944 Bickerton 13 lost and 39 survivors 50°01′N 02°59′W / 50.017°N 2.983°W / 50.017; -2.983 (U-269 sunk by HMS Bickerton, 25 June 1944)
U-988 29 June 1944 Duckworth, Cooke, Domett, Essington together with Liberator aircraft 50, all hands lost English Channel 49°37′N 03°41′W / 49.617°N 3.683°W / 49.617; -3.683 (U-988 sunk, 29 June 1944)
U-672 18 July 1944 Balfour 52 survivors English Channel, north of Guernsey 50°03′N 02°30′W / 50.050°N 2.500°W / 50.050; -2.500 (U-672 sunk by HMS Balfour, 18 July 1944)
U-212 21 July 1944 Curzon, Ekins 49 all hands lost English Channel south of Brighton 50°27′N 00°13′W / 50.450°N 0.217°W / 50.450; -0.217 (U-212 sunk by 21 July 1944)
U-214 26 July 1944 Cooke 48, all hands lost English Channel 49°58′N 03°30′W / 49.967°N 3.500°W / 49.967; -3.500 (U-214 sunk by HMS Cooke, 26 July 1944)
U-671 5 August 1944 Stayner 47 lost and 5 survivors English Channel 50°23′N 00°06′E / 50.383°N 0.100°E / 50.383; 0.100 (U-671 sunk by HMS Stayner, 5 August 1944)
U-618 14 August 1944 Duckworth, Essington 61, all hands lost 47°22′N 04°39′W / 47.367°N 4.650°W / 47.367; -4.650 (U-618 sunk, 14 August 1944)
U-445 24 August 1944 Louis 52, all hands lost 47°21′N 05°50′W / 47.350°N 5.833°W / 47.350; -5.833 (U-445 sunk by HMS Louis, 24 August 1944)
U-1051 26 January 1945 Aylmer, Bentinck, Calder, Manners 47, all hands lost 53°39′N 05°23′W / 53.650°N 5.383°W / 53.650; -5.383 (U-1051 sunk, 26 January 1945)
U-1172 27 January 1945 Tyler, Keats, Bligh 52, all hands lost 52°24′N 05°42′W / 52.400°N 5.700°W / 52.400; -5.700 (U-1172 sunk, 27 January 1945)
U-1279 3 February 1945 Bayntun, Braithwaite 48, all hands lost 61°21′N 02°00′E / 61.350°N 2.000°E / 61.350; 2.000 (U-1279 sunk, 3 February 1945)
U-989 14 February 1945 Bayntun, Braithwaite 47, all hands lost 61°36′N 01°35′W / 61.600°N 1.583°W / 61.600; -1.583 (U-989 sunk, 14 February 1945)
U-1278 17 February 1945 Bayntun 48, all hands lost 61°32′N 01°36′E / 61.533°N 1.600°E / 61.533; 1.600 (U-1278 sunk by HMS Bayntun, 17 February 1945)
U-1208 27 February 1945 Duckworth, Rowley 49, all hands lost English Channel 49°56′N 06°06′W / 49.933°N 6.100°W / 49.933; -6.100 (U-1208 sunk, 27 February 1945)
U-399 26 March 1945 Duckworth 46 lost and 1 survivor English Channel 49°56′N 05°22′W / 49.933°N 5.367°W / 49.933; -5.367 (U-399 sunk by HMS Duckworth, 26 March 1945)
U-722 27 March 1945 Fitzroy, Redmill, Byron 44, all hands lost 57°09′N 06°55′W / 57.150°N 6.917°W / 57.150; -6.917 (U-722 sunk, 27 March 1945)
U-905 27 March 1945 Conn 45, all hands lost 58°34′N 05°46′W / 58.567°N 5.767°W / 58.567; -5.767 (U-905 sunk by HMS Conn, 27 March 1945)
U-1169 29 March 1945 Duckworth, Rowley 49, all hands lost 49°58′N 05°25′W / 49.967°N 5.417°W / 49.967; -5.417 (U-1169 sunk, 29 March 1945)
U-965 30 March 1945 Conn, Rupert, Deane 51, all hands lost 58°19′N 05°31′W / 58.317°N 5.517°W / 58.317; -5.517 (U-965 sunk, 30 March 1945)
U-1001 8 April 1945 Fitzroy, Byron 45, all hands lost North Atlantic south-west of Land's End 49°19′N 10°23′W / 49.317°N 10.383°W / 49.317; -10.383 (U-1001 sunk, 8 April 1945)
U-774 8 April 1945 Bentinck, Calder 44, all hands lost 49°58′N 11°51′W / 49.967°N 11.850°W / 49.967; -11.850 (U-774 sunk, 8 April 1945)
U-1063 15 April 1945 Cranstoun, Burges Sank by depth charges from HMS Loch Killin 29 lost and 17 survivors 50°08′N 03°53′W / 50.133°N 3.883°W / 50.133; -3.883 (U-1063 sunk, 15 April 1945)
U-285 15 April 1945 Grindall, Keats 44, all hands lost 50°13′N 12°48′W / 50.217°N 12.800°W / 50.217; -12.800 (U-285 sunk, 15 April 1945)
U-636 21 April 1945 Bentinck, Bazely, Drury 42, all hands lost 55°50′N 10°31′W / 55.833°N 10.517°W / 55.833; -10.517 (U-636 sunk, 21 April 1945)
U-286 29 April 1945 Cotton 51, all hands lost 69°29′N 33°37′E / 69.483°N 33.617°E / 69.483; 33.617 (U-286 sunk by HMS Cotton, 29 April 1945)
Captain-class frigates sunk or seriously damaged
Ship Date Incident
Gould 1 March 1944 [46] Torpedoed and sunk by U-358 south-west of Ireland at 45°46′N 23°16′W / 45.767°N 23.267°W / 45.767; -23.267 (HMS Gould sunk by torpedo from U-358, 1 March 1944). Loss of 123 hands.[47]
Lawford 8 June 1944 [48] Hit by a Glide bomb launched from a Luftwaffe aeroplane in her hull, port side midships, that blew out the bottom of the ship which quickly sank, off J1 Sector of Gold Beach on D-Day+2. Loss of 26 hands.[49]
Halstead 11 June 1944[50] Torpedoed by an E-boat in mid channel off Normandy that blew off her bow section, she was written off as a constructive total loss. Loss of 27 hands.[50]
Blackwood 15 June 1944 [51] Torpedoed by U-764, the forward part of ship was blown off; the hulk sank at 04:10 15 June 1944.[52] Loss of 60 hands.[51]
Goodson 26 June 1944 [53] Torpedoed by U-984 approximately 38 nautical miles (70 km) south of Portland Bill in position 50°00′N 02°48′W / 50.000°N 2.800°W / 50.000; -2.800 (HMS Goodson sunk by torpedo from U-984, 26 June 1944); badly damaged towed back to port and assessed as a constructive total loss.[54] No fatalities.[55]
Bickerton 22 August 1944[56] Torpedoed by U-354 during Operation Goodwood in the Barents Sea; at 72°42′N 19°11′E / 72.700°N 19.183°E / 72.700; 19.183 (HMS Bickerton sunk by torpedo from U-354, 22 August 1944) seriously damaged and ship abandoned, sunk by own forces. Loss of 39 hands.[57]
Whitaker 1 November 1944 [58] Torpedoed by U-483 off Malin Head, near Loch Swilly, Ireland; she was seriously damaged, and towed back to Belfast.[58] Declared a constructive total loss. Loss of 92 hands.[58]
Mounsey 2 November 1944 [59] Torpedoed by U-295 outside the Kola Inlet but managed to limp back to Polyarnoe, where she was patched up by the Soviets and managed to get back to Belfast before Christmas for permanent repairs.[60] Loss of 10 hands.[59]
Bullen 6 December 1944 [61] Torpedoed midships and sunk off Cape Wrath by U-775 at 58°42′N 04°12′W / 58.700°N 4.200°W / 58.700; -4.200 (HMS Bullen sunk by torpedo from U-775, 6 December 1944).[62] Loss of 55 hands.[63]
Dakins 25 December 1944 [64] Hit a ground mine off the Belgium coast; she was towed into Antwerp where she was declared a constructive total loss. No fatalities.[64]
Capel 26 December 1944 [65] Torpedoed by one of two torpedoes fired by U-486, she sank having had her bow blown off north-north-east of Cherbourg, at 49°50′N 01°41′W / 49.833°N 1.683°W / 49.833; -1.683 (HMS Capel sunk by torpedo from U-486, 26 December 1944).[66] Loss of 76 hands.[67]
Affleck 26 December 1944 [65] Torpedoed off Cherbourg by one of two torpedoes fired by U-486, which seriously damaged her stern.[68] She was towed back to port and assessed as a constructive total loss. Loss of 9 hands.[69]
Manners 26 January 1945 [70] Torpedoed by U-1051 off the Isle of Man.[71][72] She was towed back to Barrow-in-Furness and declared a constructive total loss. Loss of 43 hands.[71]
Ekins 15 April 1945 [73] Hit two ground mines in the Scheldt Estuary, towed back to port and put into dry dock, when water was pumped out she broke her back and was written off as a constructive total loss. No fatalities[74]
Redmill 27 April 1945 [75] Torpedoed by U-1105 25 nautical miles (46 km) west of Sligo Bay, Ireland at 54°23′N 10°36′W / 54.383°N 10.600°W / 54.383; -10.600 (HMS Redmill torpedoed by U-1105, 27 April 1945) towed into Belfast with serious damage.[75][76] Written off as a Constructive Total Loss. Loss of 24 hands.[75]
Goodall 29 April 1945 [77] Torpedoed by U-286 outside the Kola Inlet 69°29′N 33°38′E / 69.483°N 33.633°E / 69.483; 33.633 (HMS Goodall sunk by U-286 torpedo, 29 April 1945).[78] Goodall was the last ship of the Royal Navy sunk in the European theatre of World War II. Loss of 98 hands.[77]

Collectively, the Captain class gained battle honours for service in Arctic (Russian) Convoys, Atlantic, Biscay, English Channel, Normandy (D-Day on 6 June 1944 and subsequent related operations), North Foreland and Walcheren.[79] During the course of World War II they destroyed more German submarines than any other Royal Navy ship class.[80]

Post-war edit

At the end of World War II, most of the surviving Captains were returned to the US Navy as quickly as possible to reduce the amount payable under the provisions of the Lend-Lease agreement. The last of the Captains returned was Hotham, which in the post-war period served as a floating power station in Singapore until early 1948, when she sailed for Portsmouth, becoming the base for a Royal Navy Engineering research team experimenting with gas turbine engines.[81] Hotham was returned on 25 April 1952 and simultaneously transferred back to the United Kingdom under the Mutual Defence Assistance Program.[82] The partially stripped vessel was returned to United States custody on 13 March 1956.[82][83]

In film edit

Much of the Robert Mitchum film The Enemy Below (1957) was filmed in USS Whitehurst, a Buckley-class destroyer escort, of the same type as the Captain class. The rest of the film is set in the U-boat that it is hunting. USS Alfred A. Cunningham (DD-752) has a cameo in the final burial scene.

Memorial edit

On 17 April 2005 a memorial to the Captain class, those who served and those killed in action while serving in them was dedicated at the National Memorial Arboretum near Alrewas, Staffordshire.[84]

Today we come in thanksgiving for all who served on Captain-Class Frigates in the Royal Navy in the Second World War.

In particular we give thanks to those who made the supreme sacrifice on behalf of us all.

We remember all those who were shore-based, especially the Wrens who gave valuable support to those who served at sea, and who are represented here today.

— Introduction to the Order of Service from the memorial dedication, 17 April 2005

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b c d e Collingwood 1998, p. 203.
  2. ^ Franklin 1999, p. 5.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Lenton 1998, pp. 198–199.
  4. ^ Franklin 1999, pp. 6–7.
  5. ^ NAVPERS 10813-B 1966.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Franklin 1999, p. 7.
  7. ^ a b Friedman 2004, p. 143.
  8. ^ Franklin 1999, p. 15.
  9. ^ Franklin 1999, p. 18.
  10. ^ Halsey 1943.
  11. ^ Friedman 2004, p. 141.
  12. ^ Friedman 2004, p. 140.
  13. ^ Morison 1956, p. 34.
  14. ^ Franklin 1999, pp. 11–12.
  15. ^ Collingwood 1998, p. 33.
  16. ^ a b c Collingwood 1998, p. 7.
  17. ^ Collingwood 1998, p. 20.
  18. ^ Collingwood 1998, p. 17.
  19. ^ a b c Lenton 1974, p. 14.
  20. ^ Franklin 1999, p. 17.
  21. ^ a b Collingwood 1998, pp. 30–31.
  22. ^ a b Franklin 1999, p. 21.
  23. ^ Friedman 1982, p. 159-161.
  24. ^ a b c d e Elliott 1972, p. 261.
  25. ^ Franklin 1999, p. 43.
  26. ^ a b Elliott 1972, p. 259.
  27. ^ a b Elliott 1972, p. 262.
  28. ^ a b c Collingwood 1998, p. 31.
  29. ^ Collingwood 1998, p. 104.
  30. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Elliott 1972, p. 264.
  31. ^ Franklin 1999, p. 42.
  32. ^ Admiralty 1951, p. 169.
  33. ^ Franklin 1999, p. 121.
  34. ^ a b Elliott 1972, p. 269.
  35. ^ Measure 16 (Thayer System)
  36. ^ Collingwood 1998, p. 150.
  37. ^ a b Collingwood 1998, pp. 25–26.
  38. ^ Collingwood 1998, p. 12–13.
  39. ^ a b c Collingwood 1998, p. 10.
  40. ^ Collingwood 1998.
  41. ^ Collingwood 1998, p. 120.
  42. ^ Collingwood 1998, p. 124; Collingwood 1998, p. 139.
  43. ^ a b Collingwood 1998, p. 116.
  44. ^ Collingwood 1998, p. 154.
  45. ^ Niestle 1998.
  46. ^ Collingwood 1998, p. 78.
  47. ^ Helgason Gould.
  48. ^ Collingwood 1998, p. 152.
  49. ^ Collingwood 1998, p. 153.
  50. ^ a b Collingwood 1998, p. 131.
  51. ^ a b Collingwood 1998, p. 64.
  52. ^ Helgason Blackwood.
  53. ^ Collingwood 1998, p. 96.
  54. ^ Helgason Goodson.
  55. ^ Collingwood 1998, p. 97.
  56. ^ Franklin 1999, p. 112.
  57. ^ Bickerton.
  58. ^ a b c Franklin 1999, p. 145.
  59. ^ a b Collingwood 1998, p. 165.
  60. ^ Ruegg & Hague 1993, p. 69.
  61. ^ Collingwood 1998, p. 189.
  62. ^ Helgason Bullen.
  63. ^ Collingwood 1998, p. 189-190.
  64. ^ a b Collingwood 1998, p. 134.
  65. ^ a b Collingwood 1998, p. 85.
  66. ^ Collingwood 1998, pp. 85–86.
  67. ^ Helgason Capel.
  68. ^ Helgason Affleck.
  69. ^ Collingwood 1998, p. 86.
  70. ^ Collingwood 1998, pp. 101–102.
  71. ^ a b Helgason Manners.
  72. ^ Collingwood 1998, p. 101.
  73. ^ Collingwood 1998, p. 137.
  74. ^ Collingwood 1998, p. 137-138.
  75. ^ a b c Collingwood 1998, p. 175.
  76. ^ Helgason Redmill.
  77. ^ a b Ould 2004, p. 1.
  78. ^ Helgason Goodall.
  79. ^ Tynan 2003.
  80. ^ Franklin 1999, p. x.
  81. ^ Collingwood 1998, pp. 146–147.
  82. ^ a b DANFS Hotham.
  83. ^ Lenton 1974, p. 16.
  84. ^ Order of Service 2005.

Works cited edit

Further reading edit

External links edit

This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.