HMS Duckworth (K351)

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HMS Duckworth 1945 IWM A 28186.jpg
HMS Duckworth (K351) at Belfast, April 1945
United States
Name: Gary
Namesake: Thomas J. Gary
Ordered: 10 January 1942
Laid down: 16 January 1943
Launched: 1 May 1943
Struck: 21 January 1946
Identification: DE-61
Fate: Transferred to Royal Navy under Lend-Lease 4 August 1943
United Kingdom
Name: Duckworth
Namesake: Sir John Duckworth
Commissioned: 1943
Decommissioned: 1946
Identification: K351
Fate: Returned to US and scrapped 1946
General characteristics [1]
Class and type: Captain-class frigate
Displacement: 1,300 tons
Length: 306 ft (93 m)
Beam: 36 ft 9 in (11.20 m)
Draught: 10 ft 9 in (3.28 m)
  • 2 shaft GE turbines
  • 2 boilers=12,000shp
Speed: 24 knots (44 km/h)
Range: 6,000 nmi (11,000 km) at 12 kn (22 km/h)
Complement: 186
Sensors and
processing systems:

HMS Duckworth (K351) was a Captain-class frigate of the Royal Navy. She served during the Second World War as a convoy escort and anti-submarine warfare vessel in the Battle of the Atlantic and was an effective U-boat killer, being credited with the destruction of five U-boats during the conflict.


Duckworth was ordered on 10 January 1942, as DE-61, long-hulled turbo-diesel (TE) type destroyer escort, one of more than 500 such vessels built for ASW to a collaborative British-American design.[2] Laid down on 16 January 1943, by the Bethlehem Hingham Shipyard, in Massachusetts, she was launched on 1 May 1943, as USS Gary in honour of Thomas J. Gary, a Texan who died in the attack on Pearl Harbor. She was transferred to the Royal Navy under Lend-Lease on completion on 4 August 1943, and named for John Thomas Duckworth, a RN officer of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, she replaced a previous Duckworth, numbered BDE-19, which was commissioned into the US Navy as Burden R. Hastings. Duckworth's pennant number was K351.[3]

Service history[edit]

After commissioning Duckworth was assigned to Western Approaches Command, as the senior officer's ship of 3rd Escort Group.

On her first transatlantic convoy Duckworth was involved in the battle around convoy SC 143, which saw one warship and one merchant ship sunk, for the destruction of three U-boats. On 9 October Duckworth was able to assist in saving survivors from Yorkmar, the merchant ship lost.[4]

Duckworth and 3EG were active throughout the remainder of the Atlantic campaign, as a support group and on ASW patrol.

On 13 February 1944, while on patrol, Duckworth was attacked by U-445, which fired a torpedo at her and missed. Duckworth counterattacked, damaging U-445, which was forced to return to base.

On 15 June off Cap de la Hague 3EG was attacked by U-764, which torpedoed Blackwood. Duckworth and Domett counter-attacked, damaging U-764 which escaped to Brest.

On 29 June the group followed up an attack by an RAF Liberator on a U-boat in the Channel west of Guernsey. A search by Duckworth and the group found and destroyed U-988, their first success.

On 14 August joined an attack by an RAF Liberator on U-618 in the Bay of Biscay, west of St. Nazaire. Duckworth and Essington carried out a series of attacks which destroyed U-618.[5]

in October 1944 3EG were assigned to Arctic convoys JW 61 and JW 61A, with several other Western Approaches groups. Though JW 61 came under attack by group Panther it suffered no hits and no losses; all ships arrived safely. On the return 3EG assisted the passage of RA 61 by sweeping the Kola inlet ahead of the convoy; during this operation Mounsey of 15EG was torpedoed, she survived but was later declared a constructive total loss. Both RA 61 and RA 61A returned without interference.

In December 1944 and into the new year Duckworth and 3EG were on patrol and escort duty in the Irish Sea but had little success.

On 24 February 1945, following an attack on coastal convoy BTC 78, Duckworth along with her sister ship HMS Rowley, another frigate of the Captain class, found and destroyed the U-boat responsible after a six-hour hunt. This vessel was identified post-war as the German U Boat U-480 and was thought to be sunk in the English Channel between Land's End and the Scilly Isles. However, further research following the discovery of a wreck destroyed by an underwater mine at a later time near Poole identified that vessel as U-480,[6] and the U-boat destroyed on 24 February is now thought to be U-1208, which was dived and identified by nautical archaeologist Innes McCartney in 2005.[7]

On 26 March, following an attack on BTC 108, Duckworth and 3EG found U-399 southwest of the Lizard and destroyed her with a Hedgehog attack.

On 29 March following an attack on BTC 111 Duckworth found and attacked a U-boat in Mount's Bay and destroyed it; this was later identified as U-246,[8] though recent research has suggested it was in fact U-1169.[9]

Duckworth was returned to the US after the war and scrapped in 1946.[10]


During her service Duckworth was credited with the destruction of five U-boats.

Date U-boat Type Location[11] Notes
30 June 1944 U-988 VIIC English Channel
49°37′N 03°41′W / 49.617°N 3.683°W / 49.617; -3.683
attacked by Lib L/224, Essington, Duckworth, Domett, Cooke in the English Channel/west of Guernsey[12][13]
15 August 1944 U-618 VIIC Biscay
47°22′N 04°39′W / 47.367°N 4.650°W / 47.367; -4.650
attacked by Lib G/53 and units of EG3/Duckworth, Essington[14][15]
24 February 1945 U-1208
VIIC Channel, SW of Lands End
49°55′N 06°08′W / 49.917°N 6.133°W / 49.917; -6.133
attacked by Duckworth, Rowley[16][17]
26 March 1945 U-399 VIIC Channel, SW of Lizard
49°56′N 05°22′W / 49.933°N 5.367°W / 49.933; -5.367
attacked by units of 3EG, sunk by Duckworth[18][19]
29 March 1945 U-246
(but more probably U-1169)
VII/C41 Channel, S of Lizard
49°58′N 05°25′W / 49.967°N 5.417°W / 49.967; -5.417
sunk by Duckworth[20][21]


  1. ^ Elliott p259
  2. ^ Elliott p245
  3. ^ Elliott p. 262
  4. ^ Blair p. 429
  5. ^ Blair p. 610
  6. ^ McCartney, Innes; Jak Mallmann-Showell. Lost Patrols: Submarine Wrecks of the English Channel. Periscope Publishing. p. 100. ISBN 9781904381044.
  7. ^ wreck site C: U-1208 p11 at Odyssey Marine Exploration Papers 12 (2010)
  8. ^ Blair p. 668
  9. ^ Niestle p. 225, note22
  10. ^ HMS Duckworth and 3rd Escort Group at captain class frigates association
  11. ^ Locations per Kemp; other sources may differ
  12. ^ Kemp p200
  13. ^ Neistle p95
  14. ^ Kemp p310
  15. ^ Neistle p76
  16. ^ Kemp p234
  17. ^ Neistle p61
  18. ^ Kemp p239
  19. ^ Neistle p109
  20. ^ Kemp p
  21. ^ Neistle p


External links[edit]