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
she was commissioned for RN use. This ship
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
a t t l
e H o n o u r s
1944 - ARCTIC 1944 -
ATLANTIC 1944 -
a d g e
is recorded in the Official List of Heraldic
Many ships built during WW2 had an
crest but these were never given
e t a i l s
o f W a
S e r v i c e
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1 9 4 3
Build completion and commissioned for RN
Commenced Acceptance Trials
Commanding Officer: Lieutenant E M Thorpe RN
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
Deployed at Bermuda for work-up.
1 9 4 4
Passage to St Johns Newfoundland.
Sailed from St Johns as part of escort for
On arrival in Clyde detached and took
passage to Belfast.
Under modification to suit RN requirements
(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
Shipís Company were given leave during the
Allocated for service as Senior Officerís
ship 5th Escort Group
based at Liverpool with sister Ships AYLMER, BLIGH, KEATS,
KEMPTHORNE and GOODSON.
New Commanding Officer: Commander D
Macintyre, DSO** RN
and SO EG5.
On completion of modifications deployed with
ships of Group for
exercises in NW Approaches prior to
(Note: Commander Macintyre had achieved
great distinction as a U-Boat Killer , His
experiences as SO EG5 are recorded in his
book - U-BOAT KILLER)
Returned to Belfast on completion of
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).)
Detached from ONS233 and took passage to
join HM Escort Aircraft Carrier VINDEX
and 9th Escort Group (RCN) in search
operation for U-Boats which were deployed in
NW Approaches for weather reporting.
Joined HMS VINDEX.
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
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
Commenced search operations with ships of
Group after the
detection of wireless transmissions.
Deployed with HMS KEATS, HMS AYLMER and HMS
in hunt for submarine sighted by aircraft
from HMS VINDEX.
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.)
Deployed with ships of Group in search for
to be on passage as relief for U765.
Submarine detected and attacked by ships of
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
(Operation NEPTUNE - For details of naval activities prior to and during landings see
LANDINGS IN NORMANDY, June 1944 (HMSO) and
OPERATION NEPTUNE by K
Deployed in Molfre Bay to await support duties.
Passage to commence interception patrol in
with Group to deny access to Channel by
submarines for attack on invasion
(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
Patrol line transferred and established
Peninsular and Portland Bill.
Transferred to Plymouth Command and
continued patrol duty.
HMS MOURNE in company hit by homing torpedo
from SCHNORKEL fitted U767
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.
During patrol off Start Point detected
submarine which was attacked by depth
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
during passage to Plymouth.)
Resumed patrol deployment in Channel with
Released from Plymouth Command and returned
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.)
Took passage to Scapa Flow from Belfast.
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.
Deployed as screen for HM Escort Aircraft
Carriers NABOB and TRUMPETER and
took passage to position 50 miles north of
North Cape for launch of aircraft.
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 and abandoned.
Ordered to be sunk in view of threat of
further attacks during attempts to establish
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 when carrying
out an attack on Russian Convoy JW59 in same
area. See HITLERíS
U-BOAT WAR, Volume 2 by C Blair.)
HMS VIGILANT used three torpedoes before
ESCORT MOVEMENTS of HMS BICKERTON
convoy lists have not been cross-checked
with the text above