HMS Starling (U66)

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For other ships with the same name, see HMS Starling.
HMS Starling (U66) underway in 1943
HMS Starling underway, in 1943
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Starling
Namesake: Starling
Builder: Fairfields
Laid down: 21 October 1941
Launched: 14 October 1942
Completed: 1 April 1943
Reclassified: As a frigate in 1947
Fate: Broken up July 1965
General characteristics
Class and type: Modified Black Swan-class sloop
Displacement: 1,350 tons
Length: 299 ft 6 in (91.29 m)
Beam: 38 ft 6 in (11.73 m)
Draught: 11 ft (3.4 m)
  • 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)
Complement: 192
Service record
Part of: 2nd Support Group
Commanders: Frederick John Walker
Victories: 15 U-boats (shared)
Model of Starling on display in the Merseyside Maritime Museum.

HMS Starling, pennant number 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 Cygnet, Kite, Wild Goose, Woodpecker, and Wren.

Starling was scrapped in 1965.

Combat record against U-boats[edit]

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, 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 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 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 Loch Killin on 31 July 1944.
  • U-736 was sunk in Bay of Biscay, west 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.[1]

Post-war service[edit]

In 1953 she took part in the Fleet Review to celebrate the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.[2]

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 Walker's widow took passage on the final sailing from Bootle to Portsmouth where she paid off.[3]

She was subsequently placed on the disposal list and arrived at Lacmots, Queenborough for scrapping on 6 July 1965.

In popular culture[edit]

  • 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).


  1. ^ Blair (2000), 630-631.
  2. ^ Souvenir Programme, Coronation Review of the Fleet, Spithead, 15th June 1953, HMSO, Gale and Polden
  3. ^ served on her 1958-59.


External links[edit]