Commonwealth frigates were specifically designed as anti-submarine escorts for trans-Atlantic convoys. River class frigates offered the size, speed, and endurance of escort sloops using inexpensive reciprocating machinery of corvettes.
River class were designed for North Atlantic weather conditions and included the most effective anti-submarine sensors and weapons. HMS Rother and HMS Spey were launched in late 1941, and Canadian and Australian construction continued through 1944. Early River class units were available for the turning point convoy battles of the winter of 1942-43. River class frigates generally replaced the old Town and V&W class destroyers which had been assigned to ocean escort groups.
Commonwealth Frigates were not the same as the American destroyer escorts although they were both meant to fill the same need and thus did not differ greatly from one another. Strong argument can be made that the USN term destroyer escort was adapted by Admiral King due to his dislike for the British. After the war all destroyer escorts were renamed as frigates.
All Frigate classes
The list is divided by navy, then ordered by commissioned date of each class (oldest first).
|River (141)||1942 - 1947|
|Captain (78)||1943 - 1944|
|Colony (21)||1943 - 1944|
|Loch (28)||1944 - 1946|
|Bay (19)||1945 - 1949|
|Tacoma (75)||1943 - 1945|
Please note that we list the classes by navies that initiated/owned the class. Often vessels of certain classes were then built for other nations (or lent), those ships are not visible here but only through the navies pages or by looking into each class.
War losses: Frigates
|23 Sep 1943||HMS Itchen (K 227)||River|
|7 Jan 1944||HMS Tweed (K 250)||River|
|1 Mar 1944||HMS Gould (K 476)||Captain|
|7 May 1944||HMCS Valleyfield (K 329)||River|
|8 Jun 1944||HMS Lawford (K 514)||Captain|
|15 Jun 1944||HMS Mourne (K 261)||River|
|16 Jun 1944||HMS Blackwood (K 313)||Captain|
|22 Aug 1944||HMS Bickerton (K 466)||Captain|
|6 Dec 1944||HMS Bullen (K 469)||Captain|
|26 Dec 1944||HMS Capel (K 470)||Captain|
|29 Apr 1945||HMS Goodall (K 479)||Captain|
11 Frigates lost. See all Allied Warship losses.
Frigates of the Royal Canadian Navy 1943-1974
Books dealing with this subject include:
British destroyers & frigates, Norman Friedman, 2006