HMS Starling (U66)
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HMS Starling (U66) underway, in 1943
|Laid down:||21 October 1941|
|Launched:||14 October 1942|
|Completed:||1 April 1943|
|Reclassified:||As a frigate in 1947|
|Fate:||Broken up July 1965|
|Class and type:||Modified Black Swan-class sloop|
|Length:||299 ft 6 in (91.29 m)|
|Beam:||38 ft 6 in (11.73 m)|
|Draught:||11 ft (3.4 m)|
|Propulsion:||Geared turbines, 2 shafts
4,300 hp (3.21 MW)
|Speed:||20 knots (37 km/h)|
|Range:||7,500 nmi (13,900 km) at 12 kn (22 km/h)|
|Armament:||6 × 4-inch (102 mm) AA guns (3 × 2)
4 × 2 pdr AA pom-pom
12 × 20 mm Oerlikon AA (6 × 2)
|Part of:||2nd Support Group|
|Commanders:||Frederick John Walker|
|Operations:||Battle of the Atlantic
|Victories:||15 U-boats (shared)|
HMS Starling (U66) was a Modified Black Swan-class sloop of the Royal Navy. She was built by Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company at Govan, Scotland, launched on 14 October 1942, and commissioned on 1 April 1943.
In the Battle of the Atlantic in World War II, Starling was the flagship of Captain Frederic John Walker's 2nd Support Group, a flotilla of six sloops not tied down to convoy protection, but free to hunt down U-boats wherever found. The other ships of the group were HMS Cygnet, HMS Kite, HMS Wild Goose, HMS Woodpecker, and HMS Wren.
Starling was scrapped in 1965.
Combat record against U-boats
Starling participated in the sinking of fourteen U-boats:
- U-202 was sunk south-east of Cape Farewell, Greenland, by depth charges and gunfire from Starling on 2 June 1943.
- U-119 was sunk in the Bay of Biscay by Starling on 24 June 1943.
- U-226 was sunk east of Newfoundland by Starling, HMS Woodcock and Kite on 6 November 1943.
- U-842 was sunk by Starling and Wild Goose on 6 November 1943.
- U-592 was sunk south-west of Ireland by Starling, Wild Goose and HMS Magpie on 31 January 1944.
- U-734 was sunk south-west of Ireland by Wild Goose and Starling on 9 February 1944.
- U-238 was sunk south-west of Ireland by Kite, Magpie and Starling on 9 February 1944.
- U-264 was sunk by Woodpecker and Starling on 19 February 1944.
- U-653 was sunk by a Fairey Swordfish from the escort carrier HMS Vindex, Starling and Wild Goose on 15 March 1944.
- U-961 was sunk east of Iceland by Starling on 29 March 1944.
- U-473 was sunk south-west of Ireland by Starling, Wren and Wild Goose on 6 May 1944.
- U-333 was sunk west of the Scilly Isles by Starling and the frigate HMS Loch Killin on 31 July 1944.
- U-736 was sunk in Bay of Biscay, w. of St. Nazaire by Starling and Loch Killin on 6 August 1944.
- U-385 was sunk in the Bay of Biscay by Starling and a Short Sunderland flying boat on 11 August 1944.
During the war the Starling was credited, along with the sloops Amethyst, Peacock, Hart, and frigate Loch Craggie, with sinking the U-482 in the North Channel on 16 January 1945. The British Admiralty withdrew this credit in a post-war reassessment.
Post War Service
She was modified to a Navigation training ship in support of Navigators training at HMS Dryad. During her last year in commission she visited the Norwegian Fjords and the U Boat base at Kiel. Her final voyage was a call at Bootle Liverpool to attend a farewell celebration provided by the local authority and Captain Walkers widow took passage on the final sailing from Bootle to Portsmouth where she paid off.
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- Blair (2000), 630-631.
- Souvenir Programme, Coronation Review of the Fleet, Spithead, 15th June 1953, HMSO, Gale and Polden
- served on her 1958-59.
In popular culture
- Starling's service in the Arctic convoys (fictionalised as "HMS Sparrow") is described in the prologue to children's adventure novel The Salt-stained Book by Julia Jones (2011).
- Colledge, J. J.; Warlow, Ben (2006) . Ships of the Royal Navy: The Complete Record of all Fighting Ships of the Royal Navy (Rev. ed.). London: Chatham Publishing. ISBN 978-1-86176-281-8. OCLC 67375475.
- Blair, Clay (2000). Hitler's U-Boat War: The Hunted 1942–1945. New York: Modern Library. ISBN 0-679-64033-9.
- Hague, Arnold (1993). Sloops: A History of the 71 Sloops Built in Britain and Australia for the British, Australian and Indian Navies 1926–1946. Kendal, England: World Ship Society. ISBN 0-905617-67-3.
- Conway's All the World's Fighting ships 1922-1946 (1980) ISBN 0-85177-146-7
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