USS Bancroft (DD-256)
The second USS Bancroft (DD-256) was a Clemson-class destroyer in the United States Navy, which briefly served in 1919. Placed in reserve, the ship lay idle before being reactivated for World War II. She was transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy in 1940, where she served as HMCS St. Francis (I93) in the Battle of the Atlantic escorting convoys. The ship was declared surplus in April 1945, sold for scrap and sank on the way to the breakers after a collision in July.
USS Bancroft (DD-256) underway circa 1940
|Builder:||Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation, Fore River Shipyard, Quincy|
|Cost:||$1,218,962.89 (hull and machinery)|
|Laid down:||4 November 1918|
|Launched:||21 March 1919|
|Commissioned:||30 June 1919|
|Decommissioned:||24 September 1940|
|Stricken:||8 January 1941|
|Identification:||Hull number DD-256|
|Fate:||Transferred to Canada, 24 September 1940|
|Name:||HMCS St. Francis|
|Namesake:||St. Francis River|
|Commissioned:||24 September 1940|
|Identification:||Pennant number I93|
|Fate:||Declared surplus, 1 April 1945; sank off Cape Cod en route to scrapping, July 1945|
|Class and type:||Clemson-class destroyer|
|Displacement:||1,216 long tons (1,236 t)|
|Length:||314 ft 4 in (95.81 m)|
|Beam:||31 ft 8 in (9.65 m)|
|Draft:||9 ft 10 in (3.00 m)|
|Speed:||35 knots (65 km/h; 40 mph)|
|Range:||4,900 nmi (9,100 km; 5,600 mi) at 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph)|
Construction and careerEdit
Named for George Bancroft an American historian and diplomat, the destroyer was launched on 21 March 1919 by Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation's Fore River Shipyard in Quincy, Massachusetts, sponsored by Miss Mary W. Bancroft, great granddaughter of George Bancroft. The ship was commissioned on 30 June 1919, Lieutenant Commander H. S. Haislip in command.
Bancroft joined the Atlantic Fleet and took part in fleet training activities until 26 November 1919 when the ship went into reserve commission. The destroyer was placed out of commission at Philadelphia on 11 July 1922. Bancroft was recommissioned 18 December 1939 and served with the Atlantic Squadron on the east coast until decommissioned at Halifax, Nova Scotia. She was then transferred to Great Britain in the destroyer-land bases exchange on 24 September 1940.
Bancroft was allocated to the Royal Canadian Navy and was taken over by the Canadians on 24 September 1940. Following the Canadian practice of naming destroyers after Canadian rivers (but with deference to the U.S. origin), the destroyer was renamed HMCS St. Francis after the St. Francis River forming the border between northern Maine and Quebec and New Brunswick. St. Francis left Halifax 15 January 1941 and arrived in the River Clyde, Scotland, 26 January. She joined the 4th Escort Group and on 20 May she rescued all the survivors of the steamship Starcrose which had to be sunk after being torpedoed by a submarine. At the end of June she escorted a troop convoy to the Middle East and in July she joined the newly formed Newfoundland Escort Force. Between 1941 and 1943 St. Francis made several attacks on enemy submarines while escorting convoys ON-95, SC-85, ON-105, HX-197, and ON-116 with Mid-Ocean Escort Force group C-4. St. Francis subsequently escorted convoy ON-121 with Escort Group C-3, convoy SC-99 with Escort Group C-1, and convoy ON-147 with Escort Group C-4.
After refitting at Halifax, St. Francis joined Escort Group C2 in the Western Approaches Command in June 1943 but in August was transferred to the 9th Escort Group (RCN), working from Londonderry Port, Northern Ireland. She was reassigned to the Western Local Escort Force at Halifax the following month. From early 1944 she was employed on training duties at Digby, Nova Scotia, where on 1 April 1945 she was declared surplus.
Trans-Atlantic convoys escortedEdit
|SC 49||14-21 Oct 1941||Newfoundland to Iceland|
|SC 55||19-25 Nov 1941||Newfoundland to Iceland|
|SC 71||27 Feb-9 March 1942||Newfoundland to Northern Ireland|
|ON 76||16–23 March 1942||Northern Ireland to Newfoundland|
|SC 78||9–16 April 1942||Newfoundland to Northern Ireland|
|ON 90||5–9 May 1942||Northern Ireland to Newfoundland|
|SC 85||MOEF group C4||31 May-12 June 1942||Newfoundland to Northern Ireland|
|ON 105||MOEF group C4||20–27 June 1942||Northern Ireland to Newfoundland|
|HX 197||MOEF group C4||9–16 July 1942||Newfoundland to Northern Ireland|
|ON 116||MOEF group C4||26 July-1 Aug 1942||Northern Ireland to Newfoundland|
|ON 121||MOEF group C3||20-22 Aug 1942||Iceland to Newfoundland|
|SC 99||MOEF group C1||9-19 Sept 1942||Newfoundland to Northern Ireland|
|ON 147||MOEF group C4||20-23 Nov 1942||Northern Ireland to Newfoundland|
|ON 146||MOEF group B3||29 Nov-5 Dec 1942||Northern Ireland to Newfoundland|
|SC 127||WLEF||16–20 April 1943||Halifax to Newfoundland|
|ONS 4||WLEF||29 April-5 May 1943||Newfoundland to Halifax|
|HX 240||WLEF||21–25 May 1943||Halifax to Newfoundland|
|HX 242||MOEF group C2||6–14 June 1943||Newfoundland to Northern Ireland|
|ON 190||MOEF group C2||25 June-1 July 1943||Northern Ireland to Newfoundland|
|ONS 19||9th escort group||27 Sept-9 Oct 1943|
- "Table 21 - Ships on Navy List June 30, 1919". Congressional Serial Set. U.S. Government Printing Office: 762. 1921.
- Dictionary of American Fighting Ships.
- Milner 1985, p. 23.
- Milner 1985, pp. 285–289.
- "SC convoys". Andrew Hague Convoy Database. Retrieved 19 June 2011.
- "ON convoys". Andrew Hague Convoy Database. Retrieved 19 June 2011.
- "HX convoys". Andrew Hague Convoy Database. Retrieved 19 June 2011.