HMS Bickerton (K466)

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This article is about the British naval vessel. For the Mozart concerto, see Piano Concerto No. 20 (Mozart).
HMS Bickerton.jpg
HMS Bickerton in the foreground, with Kent and Trumpeter.
History
United States
Name: Eisele
Builder: Bethlehem-Hingham Shipyard Inc., Hingham, Massachusetts
Laid down: 3 May 1943
Identification: DE-75
Fate: Transferred to Royal Navy
United Kingdom
Name: Bickerton
Namesake: Sir Richard Bickerton
Launched: 26 July 1943
Commissioned: 17 October 1943
Identification: Pennant number K466
Fate: Scuttled 22 August 1944
General characteristics
Class & type: Captain-class frigate
Displacement: 1,800 long tons (1,800 t) (fully loaded)
Length: 306 ft (93 m) (overall)
Beam: 36 ft 6 in (11.13 m)
Draught: 11 ft (3.4 m) (fully loaded)
Speed: 24 knots (44 km/h; 28 mph)
Range: 5,500 nmi (10,200 km; 6,300 mi) at 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph)
Complement: Typically between 170-180

HMS Bickerton was a Captain-class frigate of the Buckley type during World War II. Named after Sir Richard Bickerton commander of HMS Terrible at the First Battle of Ushant during the American Revolutionary War.

Originally this ship was provisionally given the name USS Eisele (this name was reassigned to DE-34) however the delivery was diverted to the Royal Navy before launch. The Commanding Officers were Lieutenant EM Thorpe RN and Commander D. MacIntyre, (Senior Officer 5th Escort Group).

Construction and career[edit]

Bickerton served exclusively with the 5th Escort Group earning battle honours for service in the Arctic (Russian Convoys), North Atlantic, off Normandy and in the English Channel.

On 6 May 1944, the German submarine U-765 was sunk in the North Atlantic — in position 52°30′N 28°28′W / 52.500°N 28.467°W / 52.500; -28.467 — by depth charges from Bickerton, operating alongside two Fairey Swordfish (No. 825 Squadron) of the escort carrier Vindex and frigates Bligh and Aylmer. Of the crew of U-765, 37 died and 11 survived.

On 25 June, U-269 was sunk in the English Channel south-east of Torquay — in position 50°01′N 02°59′W / 50.017°N 2.983°W / 50.017; -2.983 — by depth charges from Bickerton. Of the crew of U-269, 13 died and 39 survived.

Sinking[edit]

Bickerton was escorting the second group of escort carriers (Trumpeter and Nabob) from the Home Fleet (under Admiral Moore), which covered the convoy JW-59 and launched further attacks (Operation Goodwood) on the German battleship Tirpitz in Altenfjord. Before the group was able to launch an attack on Tirpitz, U-354 encountered them on her search for the convoy northwest of the North Cape in the Barents Sea. At about 01:00 on 22 August, U-354 badly damaged Nabob with a pattern-running FAT torpedo spread. The U-boat then tried to sink her at 01:22 with a GNAT homing torpedo, which struck Bickerton. She was subsequently scuttled by a torpedo from Vigilant at position 71°42′N 19°11′E / 71.700°N 19.183°E / 71.700; 19.183Coordinates: 71°42′N 19°11′E / 71.700°N 19.183°E / 71.700; 19.183.

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