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SERVICE HISTORIES of ROYAL NAVY WARSHIPS in WORLD WAR 2

by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2005

HMS ESSINGTON (K.353) - Captain-class Frigate including Convoy Escort Movements

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMS Thornborough, sister-ship  (Navy Photos/Charlie Chivers, click to enlarge) return to Contents List 
 

CAPTAIN Class Turbo-Electric BUCKLEY-Type Frigate ordered under the UK/US Lease-Lend Agreement on 10th January 1942 and laid down on 15th March 1943 by Bethlehem Steel †Shipyard at Hingham, Mass. USA The ship was launched on 19th June1943 as the first RN ship to carry the name of William Essington who was captain of the 3rdc Rate TRIUMPH at the Battle of Camperdown in 1797. Build completion date was 7th Sept. 1943. This ship was not adopted by a civil community in UK in 1941-42 after a National Savings WARSHIP WEEK campaign. The original ship selected for transfer was laid down at Mare Island in April 1942 but retained by the US Navy and was named HAROLD C THOMAS. Details† of† arrangements made for manning 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

 

BISCAY 1943-44† - ATLANTIC 1943-45 - ARCTIC 1944 - NORMANDY 1944 - ENGLISH CHANNEL 1944-45

 

H e r a l d i c†† D a t a

Badge: None is recorded in the Official List of Heraldic Crests.

(Note: †Many ships built during WW2 had unofficial crest but these

were never given formal approval.)

 

 

D e t a i l s† o f†† W a r††† S e r v i c e

 

(for more ship information, go to Naval History Homepage and type name in Site Search

 

 

1 9 4 3

 

September             Contractor's Trials

                7th          Commissioned for service and commenced Acceptance Trials in Casco

                                Commanding Officer: Act/Lieut. Commander Wilfred Lambert RNVR (arrived with ship's company

                                at Bethlehem Yard in March 1943 to take over command. Commissioned her 19 June 1943.)

                              

October                 On 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 Bermuda.

 

November              On completion of working-up took passage to St Johns, Newfoundland.

                8th          Took passage to UK from St Johns as part of escort for convoy

                                Transferred on passage to join escort for Convoy MKS30/SL139 which was under

                                attack by SCHILL Group of U-Boats

                21st         Took part in defence of MKS30/SL139 with ships of 4th Escort Group against U-Boat

                                attacks. See HITLERíS U-BOAT WAR, Volume 2 by C Blair.

                                On release from escort took passage to Belfast.

 

December              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 for

                                communications facilities.)

                                Shipís Company were given leave during the refit.

                25th        Completion of refit.

 

1 9 4 4

 

January                  Joined sister ships DUCKWORTH, DOMETT, BLACKWOOD

                                and COOKE in 3rd Escort Group based at Belfast.

                                Nominated for special duties and took passage to Scapa Flow.

                5th          Sailed from Scapa Flow with ships of Group as escort for HM Battleships VALIANT,

                                QUEEN ELIZABETH, HM Battlecruiser RENOWN, HM Aircraft Carriers

                                ILLUSTRIOUS and UNICORN during passage to Suez.

                                (Note: These ships were to join the Eastern Fleet at Colombo.)

                7th          Called at Gibraltar after rough passage in Atlantic.

                12th        Detached with Escort on arrival at Suez.

                14th        Sailed for UK from Alexandria with ships of Group as escort for HM Battleship

                                RAMILLIES returning to UK from Eastern Fleet for support of planned allied landings

                                in Europe.

                20th        Called at Gibraltar.

                26th        Carried out attack on submarine contact in NW Approaches during

                                passage.

 

February                After arrival Group resumed Atlantic convoy defence duties.

                21st         Deployed for anti-submarine patrol in NW Approaches.

                26th        Returned to Belfast.

 

March

                9th          Deployed for ant-submarine patrol and convoy escort in NW Approaches

 

April                       NW Approaches deployment in continuation.

                5th          Returned to Belfast for maintenance.

                                On completion deployed in SW Approaches for ant-submarine patrol

 

May                        Channel and SW Approaches deployment in continuation.

                                Replenishment from HM Dockyard Devonport.

                                (Note: Many support stores peculiar to this Class of US built ships were not available.)

                15th        Returned to Belfast.

 

June                        Nominated for further service in Channel and SW Approaches

                                with ships of Group to prevent access by U-Boats during allied landings in Normandy.

                                (Note: Other ships of Group deployed were HM Frigates BLACKWOOD,

                                BRAITHWAITE, COOKE, DOMETT and DUCKWORTH.

                                For details of Western Approaches Command ships detached for service in

                                Plymouth Command during Operation NEPTUNE See LANDINGS IN

                                NORMANDY, June 1944 (HMSO) and OPERATION NEPTUNE by K

                                Edwards.

                7th          Deployed for anti-submarine patrols in Channel with Group.

                                (Note: HM Frigate BLACKWOOD was hit by a torpedo from U764 and later sank off

                                Portland.

                                HM Frigates DUCKWORTH, COOKE and DOMETT carried out attack on

                                submarine target NW of Guernsey believed to be U988 but this is now in

                                doubt. However credit for a sinking was given to these ships and an RAF

                                aircraft of 224 Squadron. See U-BOATS DESTROYED by P Kemp.)

 

July

                6th          Returned to Belfast with Group for maintenance

                11th        Sailed from Belfast with Group for further duties in Channel based at Plymouth

                12th        Ant-submarine patrols in continuation.

 

August                  Devonport deployment for patrol.

                14th        Responded to aircraft report of submarine sighting by LIBERATOR aircraft of 53 Sqdn

                                RAF and carried out depth charge attacks on bottomed target with HM DUCKWORTH.

                                Sinking of U618 was credited to these ships and the aircraft.

                                There were no survivors. See U-BOATS DESTROYED by P Kemp.

                22nd       Returned to Belfast.

 

September

                1st           Deployed with ships of Group for interception of U-Boats in NW Approaches.

                                (Note: Extensive deployments of escorts were made in Western Approaches Command

                                to intercept submarines on passage to attack Atlantic convoys from Bases in

                                Norway.)

                21st         Returned to Belfast.

               29th         Temp/Acting Lt Cdr Stanley Lampard RNVR took over command from Lt Cdr Lambert.

 

October                  Nominated for detached service with Home Fleet for defence of Russian convoys.

                                (Note: For details of mercantiles and escorts in all Russian convoys

                                see CONVOYS TO RUSSIA by RA Ruegg, CONVOY by

                                P Kemp, THE RUSSIAN CONVOYS by B Schoefield and

                                ARCTIC CONVOYS by R Woodman.)

                18th        Passage to Loch Ewe prior to departure of Convoy JW61.

                19th        Deployed in Atlantic and Barents Sea to provide cover against

                to            submarine attacks on Convoys JW61 and JW61A.

                27th        (Note: Convoy JW61A was on passage with Russian nationals

                                captured during Normandy invasion. See references.

                                Close escort was provided by Home Fleet and other ships

                                from Western Approaches Command.)

                28th        At Polyarno, North Russia.

                30th        Sailed from Polyarno to carry out anti-submar8ine search operations

                                before departure of return Convoy RA61.

 

November              Provided cover during passage of Convoy RA61 to UK from Kola

                                Inlet.

                3rd          Returned to Murmansk with ships of Group.

                9th          Took passage from Murmansk to Belfast.

                16th        Arrived at Belfast.

 

December              Deployed for ant-submarine operations in Irish Sea with Group.

                                (Note: Withdrawn from operations after fire in electrical

                                switchboard and taken in hand for repair at Belfast.)

 

1 9 4 5

 

January                  Deployed with Group in Irish Sea in continuation of support of convoy passages.

                                (Note: Increased activity by SCHNORKEL fitted U-Boats was taking place and

                                special operation (CE) was carried out to search the area including

                                St Georgeís Channel.)

 

February                On completion of Maintenance Period in Belfast deployed in

                                SW Approaches to carry out anti-submarine operations in defence of Atlantic convoys

                                now re-routed through English Channel and subject to attack by SCHNORKEL fitted

                                U-Boats.

 

March                    Remained in Channel and SW Approaches for anti-submarine patrol and convoy support

to                            duties.

April

 

May                        Returned to Belfast on release from Channel deployment.

                                Nominated for service in Far East after refit for installation of modified communications

                                equipment to suit proposed use in Pacific Fleet.

                                (Note: This ship only served in the 3rd Escort Group during war service.)

 

June                        Paid off and taken in hand for refit.

to

July

 

August                  Refit terminated after VJ Day and ship returned to Belfast.

 

Po s t†† W a r†† N o t e s

 

HMS ESSINGTON was prepared for return passage to USA and after removal of RN Stores took passage from Belfast in October 1945. The ship was formally returned to the US Navy on 19th October 1945 and remained in Reserve until December 1947 when she was sold

 

S p e c i a l† †N o t e

 

Fit of HEDGEHOG Ahead Throwing Anti-submarine Mortar in Turbine ships is to be confirmed  (see General Introduction). Both Types of the Class had Depth Charges for† anti-submarine attacks.  

 

 


 

Addendum

 

CONVOY ESCORT MOVEMENTS of HMS ESSINGTON

by Don Kindell

 

These convoy lists have not been cross-checked with the text above

 

Date convoy sailed

Joined convoy

as escort

Convoy No.

Left convoy

Date convoy arrived

 

 

 

 

 

06/11/43

09/11/43

SC 146

13/11/43

22/11/43

06/11/43

14/11/43

HX 265

16/11/43

21/11/43

16/11/43

18/11/43

SL 139MK

23/11/43

26/11/43

15/01/44

15/01/44

MKF 027A

27/01/44

27/01/44

13/02/44

23/02/44

SC 153

25/02/44

02/03/44

23/03/44

25/03/44

ON 229

29/03/44

07/04/44

21/03/44

29/03/44

HX 284

05/04/44

06/04/44

13/09/44

14/09/44

ON 253

15/09/44

28/09/44

11/11/44

14/11/44

RA 061A

16/11/44

17/11/44

17/11/44

02/12/44

SC 161

03/12/44

04/12/44

02/12/44

03/12/44

SC 162

05/12/44

17/12/44

07/04/45

07/04/45

TBC 121

10/04/45

10/04/45

12/05/45

12/05/45

ON 302

12/05/45

27/05/45

03/05/45

17/05/45

HX 354

18/05/45

18/05/45

 

(Note on Convoys)

 

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