Allied Warships

USS Donnell (DE 56)

Destroyer Escort of the Buckley class

Photo from Bureau of Ships Collection in NARA #19-N-55732

NavyThe US Navy
TypeDestroyer Escort
PennantDE 56 
Built byBethlehem Shipyard Inc. (Hingham, Massachusetts, U.S.A.) 
Ordered10 Jan 1942 
Laid down27 Nov 1942 
Launched13 Mar 1943 
Commissioned26 Jun 1943 
End service23 Oct 1945 

On 3 May 1944 USS Donnell was on her fifth transatlantic voyage, when she made a sound contact and sighted a periscope 450 miles southwest of Cape Clear, Ireland. She prepared for a depth charge attack but was hit at 12.00 hours by one Gnat torpedo from U-473, which hit the after part and the explosion of her own depth charges blew of the stern. 29 men were killed and 28 wounded. The vessel was towed by the destroyer escorts USS Reeves (DD 156) and USS Hopping (DE 155) and the tug HMS Samsonia to Dunnstaffnage Bay, Scotland, arriving on 12 May. The damage was too extensive to be repaired, so the vessel was reclassified as IX-182 on 10 July 1944 and was used as accommodation ship at Lisahally. Later towed via Plymouth to Cherbourg where she supplied electric power to shore. 1945 she laid in Portland and Plymouth and was then towed back to the States and was decommissioned on 23 October 1945. She was stricken on 16 November 1945 and sold for scrap on 29 April 1946.


Hit by U-boat
A total loss on 3 May 1944 by U-473 (Sternberg).

U-boat AttackSee our U-boat attack entry for the USS Donnell

Commands listed for USS Donnell (DE 56)

Please note that we're still working on this section.

1Frederick Chester Billing, USNR26 Jun 194317 Nov 1943
2Gordon Marvin Street, USNR17 Nov 194313 Jun 1944
3Capt. Harold Romeyn Holcomb, USN13 Jun 194420 Jun 1944
4Kenneth Iverson Boone, USNR20 Jun 194431 Jul 1944
5Robert S Hetzel, USNR31 Jul 194423 Oct 1946

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Media links

Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.

The Buckley-Class Destroyer Escorts

Bruce Hampton Franklin

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