The Captain class were 78 frigates of the Royal Navy, built in the United States, launched in 1942–1943 and delivered to the United Kingdom under the provisions of Lend-Lease. They served in World War II as convoy escorts, anti-submarine warfare vessels and coastal forces control frigates. They were drawn from two classes of "destroyer escort"; 32 from the Evarts class and 46 from the Buckley class.
Post-war nearly all the surviving Captain class were returned to the US Navy as quickly as possible to reduce the amount payable under the provisions of the Lend-Lease agreement.
On August 15 1941 President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorised the construction of 50 of the new Evarts-class design as BDE 1 - 50 (British Destroyer Escort). The turbo-electric powered Buckley class were not part of the first order and were authorised later by Public Law 440 effective February 6 1942. The Royal Navy placed orders in November 1941 with four ship yards: Boston Navy Yard, Mare Island Navy Yard, Philadelphia Naval Shipyard and Puget Sound Navy Yard. When the United States entered the war, they too adopted the BDE design. The BDE designation was retained by the first six destroyer escorts (BDE 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 escort (DE) on January 25, 1943 and taken over by the United States Navy. By the end of World War II the Royal Navy had received 32 Evarts and 46 Buckleys from Boston Navy Yard, Mare Island Navy Yard and Bethlehem-Hingham.
The Royal Navy classified these ships as frigates, as they lacked the torpedo tubes necessary to be classified as destroyers. For those used to Admiralty-designed ships the Captains were unfamiliar: they had no break forward of the forecastle and a graceful shear to deck-line from the forecastle to midship, and the Evarts had daringly rakish cowls on top of the funnels. Those that served on these ships came to view these features as being very handsome. The ordinary sailors were also astounded to discover that they got to sleep in bunks, and it would be many years before the rest of the Royal Navy gave up their hammocks. The crews of the new Captains were also initially very suspicious of the newfangled welded design; Royal Navy ships of the time were largely riveted together.
Some of the main design difference between the Royal Navy frigates and the US Navy destroyer escorts were that the Buckley class did not have the forward torpedo tubes fitted (the Evarts class was not designed to carry torpedo tubes) and the ice cream makers, the iced water fountains, the dishwashers were removed, the "cafeteria" messing system discontinued and the replacing of the primitive American two seat "thunder trough" toilets (which did not offer even so much as a simple canvas screen to spare blushes) with an enclosed water closet.
Further alterations were:
The Evarts class had diesel-electric machinery, based on an arrangement used for submarines. There were two shafts. Four General Motors 278A 16-cylinder engines, with a combined rating of , driving General Electric Company (GE) generators (4,800 kW) supplied power to two GE electric motors, with an output of , for . It had been intended to provide a further set of this machinery, for an output of to make the design speed of , but hull production greatly outstripped that of the machinery, therefore only one set of machinery was used per ship.
To make the designed speed, the Buckleys had turbo-electric machinery. Two Foster-Wheeler Express "D"-type water-tube boilers supplied steam to GE steam turbines and generators (9,200 kW). Electric motors for drove the two shafts each fitted with a three bladed propeller of solid manganese-bronze that was in diameter.
The Captains had a crew of 156 (Evarts) and 186 (Buckley) Officers and men, the fact that the Admiralty was able to find the numbers of personnel required to man the 78 ships within a ten month period speaks to their ingenuity. The bulk of the men were Hostilities Only and all had to be trained from scratch in which ever branch of the Navy they had chosen to serve, after about six weeks square bashing and getting physically fit, they moved onto the job training. Many of the senior non commissioned officers were pre-war regular service who had been promoted.
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 ending with impressive certificates, later training was provided in the United Kingdom.
Ships Companies were shipped over to the USA by them taking passage from the Clyde or Liverpool to New York on liners such as the RMS Queen Mary. On arriving in New York the crews were initially assigned to HMS Saker until they were reassigned to a Captain class frigate. 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 that had been ordered by the Canadians.
66 of the 78 were the first to bear the names allocated. Lawford, Louis, Manners, Moorsom, Mounsey, Narborough, Pasley and Seymour had been previously used for destroyers during World War I. Rupert was the fifth of that name since 1666. Torrington was the fourth of that name since 1654. Holmes had been used once before in 1671 and Fitzroy had previously been used for a survey vessel in 1919.
A total of five different camouflage schemes were employed on the Captains.
Collectivity the Captains gained Battle honours for service in Arctic (Russian Convoys), Atlantic, Biscay, English Channel, Normandy (D-Day on the 6th June 1944 and subsequent related operations), North Foreland and Walcheren.
|Date||Submarine||Position Sunk||Ships||Fate of Submarine Crew|
|October 17, 1943||U-841||HMS Byard||27 lost and 27 survivors|
|November 21, 1943||U-538||HMS Foley||55, all hands Lost|
|November 23, 1943||U-648||HMS Bazely, HMS Blackwood, HMS Drury||50, all hands Lost|
|November 25, 1943||U-600||HMS Bazely, HMS Blackwood||54, all hands Lost|
|January 8, 1944||U-757||HMS Bayntun||49, all hands Lost|
|February 26, 1944||U-91||HMS Affleck, HMS GoreHMS Gould||36 lost and 16 survivors|
|March 1, 1944||U-358||HMS Affleck, HMS Gore, HMS Gould, HMS Garlies||50 lost and one survivor|
|March 16, 1944||U-392||HMS Affleck||52, all hands lost|
|May 6, 1944||U-765||HMS Bickerton, HMS Bligh, HMS Aylmer||37 lost and 11 survivors|
|June 25, 1944||U-269||HMS Bickerton||13 lost and 39 survivors|
|June 29. 1944||U-988||HMS Duckworth, HMS Cooke, HMS Dommet, HMS Essington||50, all hands lost|
|July 18, 1944||U-672||HMS Balfour||52 survivors|
|July 21, 1944||U-212||HMS Curzon, HMS Ekins||49 all hands Lost|
|July 26, 1944||U-214||HMS Cooke||48, all hands lost|
|August 5, 1944||U-671||HMS Stayner||47 lost and five survivors|
|August 14, 1944||U-618||HMS Duckworth, HMS Essington||61, all hands lost|
|August 24, 1944||U-445||HMS Louis||52, all hands lost|
|January 26, 1945||U-1051||HMS Aylmer, HMS Bentinck, HMS Calder, HMS Manners||47. all hands lost|
|January 27, 1945||U-1172||HMS Tyler, HMS Keats, HMS Bligh||52, all hands lost|
|February 3, 1945||U-1279||HMS Bayntun, HMS Braithwaite||48, all hands lost|
|February 14, 1945||U-989||HMS Bayntun, HMS Braithwaite||47, all hands lost|
|February 17, 1945||U-1278||HMS Bayntun||48, all hands lost|
|February 27, 1945||U-1208||HMS Duckworth, HMS Rowley||49, all hands lost|
|March 26, 1945||U-399||HMS Duckworth||46 lost and one survivor|
|March 27, 1945||U-722||HMS Fitzroy, HMS Redmill, HMS Byron||44, all hands Lost|
|March 27, 1945||U-905||HMS Conn||45, all hands lost|
|March 29, 1945||U-1169||HMS Duckworth, HMS Rowley||49, all hands lost|
|March 30, 1945||U-965||HMS Conn, HMS Rupert, HMS Deane||51, all hands lost|
|April 8, 1945||U-1001||HMS Fitzroy, HMS Byron||45, all hands lost|
|April 8, 1945||U-774||HMS Bentinck, HMS Calder||44, all hands lost|
|April 15, 1945||U-1063||HMS Cranstoun, HMS Burgess||29 lost and 17 survivors|
|April 15, 1945||U-285||HMS Grindall, HMS Keats||44, all hands lost|
|April 21, 1945||U-636||HMS Bentinck, HMS Bazely, HMS Drury||42, all hands lost|
|April 29, 1945||U-286||HMS Cotton||51, all hands lost|
Additionally Captain class frigates which operated with Coastal Forces, (Motor Torpedo Boats, Motor Gun Boats and US Navy PT boats) sank at least two two-man submarines, and were involved in the destruction of at least 26 E-Boats, One KFK assault barge (coastal escort vessels constructed to a fishing-vessel design), two minesweepers, and the shooting down of a Junkers Ju 88 aeroplane.
|March 1, 1944||HMS Gould||Torpedoed and sunk by U-358 south-west of Ireland in position .||Loss of 123 hands.|
|June 8, 1944||HMS Lawford||Hit by a Glide bomb launched from a German aeroplane in her hull, port side midships, which blew out the bottom of the ship which quickly sank, off J1 Sector of Gold Beach on D-Day+2.||Loss of 26 hands.|
|June 11, 1944||HMS Halstead||Torpedoed by an E-boat in mid channel off Normandy which blew off her bow section, she was written off as Constructive Total Loss.||Loss of 27 hands.|
|June 15, 1944||HMS Blackwood||Torpedoed by U-764, the forward part of ship was blown off, the hulk sank at 04.10Hrs the next morning.||Loss of 60 hands.|
|June 26, 1944||HMS Goodson||Torpedoed by U-984 approximately south of Portland Bill in position badly damaged towed back to port and assessed as a Constructive Total Loss.||No fatalities.|
|August 22, 1944||HMS Bickerton||Torpedoed by U-354 during Operation Goodwood in the Barents Sea, in position seriously damaged and ship abandoned, sunk by own forces.||?|
|November 1, 1944||HMS Whitaker||Torpedoed by U-483 off Malin Head, near Loch Swilly, Ireland; she seriously damaged, and towed back to Belfast. Declared a Constructive Total Loss.||Loss of 92 hands.|
|November 2, 1944||HMS Mounsey||Torpedoed by U-295 outside the Kola Inlet but managed to limp back to Polyarnoe where she was patched up by the Russians and managed to get back to Belfast before Christmas for permanent repairs.||Loss of 10 hands.|
|December 6, 1944||HMS Bullen||Torpedoed midships and sunk off Cape Wrath by U-775 in position .||Loss of 55 hands.|
|December 25, 1944||HMS Dakins||Hit a ground mine off the Belgium coast, she was towed into Antwerp where she was declared Constructive Total Loss.||No fatalities.|
|December 26, 1944||HMS Capel||Torpedoed by one of two torpedoes fired by U-486, she sank having had her bows blown off. This happened north-north-east of Cherbourg, in position .||Loss of 76 hands.|
|December 26, 1944||HMS Affleck||Torpedoed by one of two torpedoes fired by U-486, which seriously damaged her stern. She was towed back to port and assessed as a Constructive Total Loss.This happened off Cherbourg.||Loss of 9 hands.|
|January 26, 1945||HMS Manners||Torpedoed by U-1051 off the Isle of Man. She was towed back to Barrow-in-Furness and declared a Constructive Total Loss.||Loss of 43 hands.|
|April 15, 1945||HMS Ekins||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 Constructive Total Loss.||No fatalities|
|April 27, 1945||HMS Redmill||Torpedoed by U-1105 west of Silgo Bay, Ireland in position towed in to Belfast with serious damage. Written off as a Constructive Total Loss.||Loss of 24 hands.|
|April 29 1945||HMS Goodall||Torpedoed by U-286 outside the Kola Inlet . HMS Goodall was the last ship of the Royal Navy sunk in the European theatre of World War Two.||Loss of 98 hands.|