Turbo-Electric Buckley frigate ordered under the UK/US Lease-Lend Agreement on
10th January 1942 and laid down on 3rd May 1943 by the Bethlehem Steel Shipyard at Hingham, Massachusetts USA. The
ship which had been intended for US Navy service as USS EISELE (DE75), was launched on 24th July 1943. She was the first RN ship to commemorate the service
of Sir Richard Bickerton who was captain of the 3rd
Rate TERRIBLE at the Battle of Ushant in 1779. Build completion date was 17th October
1943 when she was commissioned for RN use. This ship was not
adopted by a civil community in UK in 1941-42 after a National Savings WARSHIP
WEEK campaign. Details of manning arrangements made for commissioning of this
Class of warship in the USA are given in THE CAPTAIN CLASS FRIGATES IN WW2 by D Collingwood.
B a t t l e H o n o u r s
NORMANDY 1944 - ARCTIC 1944
ATLANTIC 1944 - ENGLISH CHANNEL 1944
B a d g e
None is recorded in the Official List of Heraldic
(Note: Many ships built during WW2 had an unofficial
crest but these were never given
D e t a i l s o f W a r
S e r v i c e
(for more ship information,
Naval History Homepage
and type name in Site Search
1 9 4 3
17th Build completion and commissioned for RN service
Commenced Acceptance Trials
Commanding Officer: Lieutenant E M Thorpe RN
completion of local trials and shakedown took passage to Bermuda to work-up
for operational service
Carried out sea work-up and shore training at
Deployed at Bermuda for work-up.
1 9 4 4
January Passage to St Johns Newfoundland.
17th Sailed from St Johns as part of escort for Convoy
On arrival in Clyde detached and took passage to
Under modification to suit RN requirements for deployment.
(Note: In addition to changes made to equipment
fit some other alterations were
made to domestic arrangements. These including
change to RN Canteen
Messing instead of the US Navy Cafeteria System
and replacement of steel
furniture by wooden items which is quite
astounding. Equipment changes
included improvement of Depth Charge allowances
and stowage, improvement
of the Sonar (ASDIC) equipment and to
Ship’s Company were given leave during the
Allocated for service as Senior Officer’s ship 5th Escort Group
based at Liverpool with sister Ships AYLMER, BLIGH, KEATS,
KEMPTHORNE and GOODSON.
New Commanding Officer: Commander D Macintyre,
and SO EG5.
On completion of modifications deployed with
ships of Group for
exercises in NW Approaches prior to operational
(Note: Commander Macintyre had achieved great
distinction as a U-Boat Killer , His
experiences as SO EG5 are recorded in his book -
April Returned to Belfast on completion of exercises.
21st Sailed from Belfast to join escort for Convoy ONS233 during
passage to St Johns with ships of Group.
(For details of defence of Atlantic convoys and
the enemy U-Boat deployments against
Atlantic shipping see THE BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC
by D Macintyre (SO EG4)
and U-BOAT WAR IN THE ATLANTIC (HMSO).)
26th Detached from ONS233 and took passage to join HM Escort Aircraft
and 9th Escort Group (RCN) in search operation
for U-Boats which were deployed in
NW Approaches for weather reporting.
May Joined HMS VINDEX.
2nd Deployed in search operations.
(Note: Extensive use was made of Radio Direction
Finding equipment to establish
bearings of wireless signals made by submarines
and thus to locate their position.
For details of tactics and weapons used in this
type of operation see SEEK AND
STRIKE by W Hackmann and THE BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC by
3rd Commenced search operations with ships of Group after the
detection of wireless transmissions.
6th Deployed with HMS KEATS, HMS AYLMER and HMS BLIGH
in hunt for submarine sighted by aircraft from
Submarine located and carried out control of
attacks by HMS BLIGH during which
U765 forced to surface and then engaged by 3in
armament with little success.
Surfaced submarine sunk by SWORDFISH aircraft of
825 Sqdn from HMS VINDEX
in position 52.30N 28.28W. See U-BOATS DESTROYED
by P Kemp..
Rescued eight survivors from U765.
(Note: Credit for this sinking was shared by the
three frigates and 825 Squadron.
Commander Macintyre awarded DSC.)
7th Deployed with ships of Group in search for U-Boat believed
to be on passage as relief for U765.
8th Submarine detected and attacked by ships of Group without
9th Released from operations because of low fuel state and took return
passage to Belfast
On arrival prepared for deployment in support of
planned allied landings in Normandy.
(Operation NEPTUNE - For details of naval activities prior to and during landings see
LANDINGS IN NORMANDY, June 1944 (HMSO) and
OPERATION NEPTUNE by K
31st Deployed in Molfre Bay to await support duties.
June Passage to commence interception patrol in SW
with Group to deny access to Channel by
submarines for attack on invasion operations.
(Note: Other Ships of Group deployed were HM
Frigates AYLMER, BLIGH,
GOODSON, KEATS and HM Frigate MOUNSEY as
replacement for HMS
KEMPTHORNE which was under repair.)
Patrol carried out between Ushant and Cornish
9th Patrol line transferred and established between Cherbourg
Peninsular and Portland Bill.
10th Transferred to Plymouth Command and continued patrol duty.
15th HMS MOURNE in company hit by homing
torpedo from SCHNORKEL fitted
and sank rapidly after forward magazine
Only 12 of the 180 on board survived. (D Kindell
and other sources - 110 lost)
Carried out anti-submarine operations to locate
U767 which were unsuccessful.
(Note: U767 was sunk on 18th by ships of 14th
Escort Group. See above reference.
25th During patrol off Start Point detected submarine which was attacked
by depth charges
and forced to surface.
Crew of U269 abandoned the submarine which was
engaged by 3in gunfire with little
effect but sank quickly in position 50.01N
(Note: 39 survivors were rescued although some
died from their injuries and were buried
during passage to Plymouth.)
27th Resumed patrol deployment in Channel with Group.
July Released from Plymouth Command and returned to
Nominated for detached service in Home Fleet
with Group for escort of Fleet units
during planned attacks by Fleet aircraft
carriers on German battleship TIRPITZ in
Altenfjord, Norway (Operation GOODWOOD) and
cover for transit of Russian convoys.
(For details of Russian convoy operations and attacks on TIRPITZ,
see CONVOYS TO
RUSSIA by RA Ruegg, THE RUSSIAN CONVOYS by B
Schoefield, CONVOY! by P
Kemp and ARCTIC CONVOYS by R Woodman.)
12th Took passage to Scapa Flow from Belfast.
13th At Scapa Flow.
(Note: Other Home Fleet ships involved in
GOODWOOD included HM Battleship
DUKE OF YORK, HM Aircraft Carriers INDEFATIGABLE, FORMIDABLE
FURIOUS, NABOB and TRUMPETER, HM Cruisers
BERWICK with 14 Fleet destroyers.
15th Deployed as screen for HM Escort Aircraft Carriers NABOB and
took passage to position 50 miles north of North
Cape for launch of aircraft.
22nd Arrived in position and on completion of air operations withdrew away
from coast to
HMS NABOB hit by homing torpedo fired by U354
and two minutes later BICKERTON
also hit in stern structure by second torpedo
from same submarine salvo.
Extensive damage caused with 38 killed and many
seriously injured some of whom
were taken on board HMS KEMPTHORNE.
Ship disabled due to loss of propeller shafts
Ordered to be sunk in view of threat of further
attacks during attempts to establish tow,
and torpedoed by HM Destroyer VIGILANT after
survivors rescued by HMS BLIGH
and HMS AYLMER of Group.
note on casualties)
(Note: U 354 was sunk on 24th August by HM
Sloops MERMAID and PEACOCK,
HM Frigate LOCH DUNVEGAN and HM Destroyer KEPPEL
out an attack on Russian Convoy JW59 in same
area. See HITLER’S
U-BOAT WAR, Volume 2 by C Blair.)
HMS VIGILANT used three torpedoes before
CONVOY ESCORT MOVEMENTS of HMS
by Don Kindell
These convoy lists have not been cross-checked
with the text above
(Note on Convoys)