Allied Warships

HMS Byron (K 508)

Frigate of the Captain class

NavyThe Royal Navy
TypeFrigate
ClassCaptain 
PennantK 508 
Built byBethlehem-Hingham Shipyard Inc. (Hingham, Massachusetts, U.S.A.) 
Ordered10 Jan 1942 
Laid down24 May 1943 
Launched14 Aug 1943 
Commissioned30 Oct 1943 
End service 
History

Assigned USN penant DE 79 but not named.

Returned to the USN on 24 November 1945. Stricken and scrapped.

 
Former nameDE 79

Commands listed for HMS Byron (K 508)

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and that we only list Commanding Officers for the duration of the Second World War.

CommanderFromTo
1Lt. Kenneth George Lisle Southcombe, RN31 Oct 194312 Nov 1944
2Lt. John Blackmore Burfield, DSC, RN12 Nov 1944late 1945

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Notable events involving Byron include:


2 Feb 1944
HMS H 34 (Lt. R.L. Jay, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Byron (Lt. K.G.L. Southcombe, RN). (1)

20 Feb 1944

Convoy JW 57.

This convoy departed Loch Ewe on 20 February 1944.

On departure the convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; Alexander White (American, 7191 GRT, built 1942), Byron Darnton (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Caesar Rodney (American, 7191 GRT, built 1942), Charles Bulfinch (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Charles M. Schwab (American, 7191 GRT, built 1943), Daphnella (British (tanker), 8078 GRT, built 1938), Edward Sparrow (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Empire Carpenter (British, 7025 GRT, built 1943), Empire Celia (British, 7025 GRT, built 1943), Empire Nigel (British, 7067 GRT, built 1943), Fort Brule (British, 7133 GRT, built 1942), Fort McMurray (British, 7133 GRT, built 1942), Fort Romaine (British, 7131 GRT, built 1943), Henry B. Brown (American, 7200 GRT, built 1943), Henry Lomb (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Jefferson Davis (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), John A. Donald (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), John A. Quitman (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), John Langdon (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), John Rudledge (American, 7181 GRT, built 1942), John Sharp Williams (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), John Stevenson (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), John W. Powell (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), John Woolman (American, 7191 GRT, built 1943), Joshua W. Alexander (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Lord Delaware (American, 7200 GRT, built 1942), Louis D. Brandeis (American, 7200 GRT, built 1943), Lucerna (British (tanker), 6556 GRT, built 1930), Marie M. Meloney (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Mijdrecht (Dutch (tanker), 7493 GRT, built 1931), Nathan Towson (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Nathaniel Alexander (American, 7177 GRT, built 1942), Ocean Strength (British, 7173 GRT, built 1942), Philip F. Thomas (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Richard M. Johnson (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Robert Eden (American, 7176 GRT, 1943), Robert J. Collier (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Stevenson Taylor (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Thomas Hartley (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942) and William H. Webb (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943).

The rescue ship Copeland (British, 1526 GRT, built 1923) and the escort oilers British Valour (British (tanker), 6952 GRT, built 1927) and San Ambrosio (British (tanker), 7410 GRT, built 1935) were also part of the convoy.

The Russian patrol vessels BO-208, BO-209, BO-211 and minesweepers T-118, T-119 and T-120 were also part of the convoy.

On departure from Loch Ewe the convoy was escorted by the destroyers HMS Keppel (Cdr. I.J. Tyson, DSC, RD, RNR), HMS Beagle (Lt.Cdr. N.R. Murch, RN), HMS Boadicea (Lt.Cdr. F.W. Hawkins, RN), HMS Walker (Lt.Cdr. A.N. Rowell, RN), corvettes HMS Bluebell (Lt. G.H. Walker, DSC, RNVR), HMS Burdock (Lt. H.M. Collier, RNR), HMS Camellia (T/A/Lt.Cdr. A.H. Lyons, RNVR), HMS Dianella (T/Lt. J.F. Tognola, RNR), HMS Lotus (Lt. C.S. Thomas, RNR), HMS Rhododendron (T/Lt. O.B. Medley, RNVR) and the minesweepers Hydra (T/A/Lt.Cdr. C.T.J. Wellard, RNR), HMS Loyalty (Lt.Cdr. James Edward Maltby, RNR), Orestes (Lt.Cdr. A.W.R. Adams, RN) and Rattlesnake (Lt.Cdr. A.E. Coles, RD, RNR).

Around 1600A/21, the light cruiser HMS Black Prince (Capt. D.M. Lees, DSO, RN), escort carrier HMS Chaser (Capt. H.V.P. McClintock, DSO, RN) and the destroyers HMS Verulam (Lt.Cdr. W.S. Thomas, DSC, RN) and HMS Vigilant (Lt.Cdr. L.W.L. Argles, RN) departed Scapa Flow to join the convoy which they did around 1400A/21. HMS Verulam and HMS Vigilant then parted company to refuel at Skaalefjord after which they were to rejoin the convoy which they did on 23 February. HMS Beagle also fuelled at Skaalefjord on 21 February before rejoining the convoy.

On 21 February 1944, HMS Loyalty was detached from the convoy to proceed to Scapa Flow with defects.

On 22 February 1944, 12 Home Fleet destroyers departed Skaalefjord to join the convoy. These were the following; HMS Milne (Capt. I.M.R. Campbell, DSO, RN), HMS Mahratta (Lt.Cdr. E.A.F. Drought, DSC, RN), HMS Matchless (Lt.Cdr. E.N. Walmsley, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Meteor (Lt.Cdr. D.J.B. Jewitt, RN), HMS Savage (Cdr. M.D.C. Meyrick, DSO, RN), HMS Serapis (Capt. P.G.L. Cazalet, DSC, RN), HMS Swift (Lt.Cdr. J.R. Gower, RN), HMS Offa (Lt.Cdr. R.F. Leonard, RN), HMS Onslaught (Cdr. the Hon. A. Pleydell-Bouverie, RN), HMS Oribi (Lt.Cdr. J.C.A. Ingram, DSC and Bar, RN), HMS Obedient (Lt.Cdr. H. Unwin, DSC and Bar, RN) and HMS Impulsive (Lt.Cdr. P. Bekenn, RN). With them was also Support Group B 1 which was made up of the frigate HMS Glenarm (Lt.Cdr. W.R.B. Noall, DSO, RNR), HMS Byron (Lt. K.G.L. Southcombe, RN) and the destroyers HMS Wanderer (Lt.Cdr. R.F. Whinney, DSC, RN) and HMS Watchman (Lt.Cdr. G.H.D. Williams, RN).

On these ships joining, HMS Hydra, HMS Orestes, HMS Rattlesnake were detached from the convoy to proceed to Skaalefjord. HMS Burdock and HMS Dianella also parted company to proceed to the Clyde and Londonderry respectively.

On 23 February 1944, the convoy is sighted by the German air reconnaissance.

Around 0815A/25, the German submarine U-362 is driven with gunfire by HMS Beagle and HMS Verulam. She is subsequently depth charged by the same destroyers.

Around 0928A/25, the German submarine U-601 is sunk by a British Catalina flying boat (210 Sqn RAF/M) in position 70°26'N, 12°40'E.

Around 2055A/25, the destroyer HMS Mahratta was torpedoed and sunk by the German U-boat U-990 in position 71°12'N, 13°30'E. There were only 16 survivors. The U-boat was subsequently depth charged by HMS Beagle and HMS Vigilant but escaped without damage.

Around 0007A/26, the German submarine U-956 attacked HMS Beagle with a T-5 homing torpedo which missed. Following this attack she was attack with gunfire and depth charges by HMS Serapis and sustained some light damage.

Around 0442A/26, U-990 was depth charged by esoprt vessels but was not damaged.

Around 0750A/26, a Swordfish (816 Sqn FAA/Y) from HMS Chaser attacked the German U-boat U-312. She was not damaged. She was subsequently depth charged by HMS Beagle and HMS Vigilant but again escaped without damage.

Around 0846A/26, the German submarine U-366 attacked the destroyers HMS Beagle and HMS Vigilant with a T-5 homing torpedo which missed. She was subsequently depth charged by these destroyers.

Around 1240A/26, a Swordfish (816 Sqn FAA/F) from HMS Chaser attacked the German U-boat U-315 with rockets. She was lightly damaged. She was subsequently depth charged by escorts but was not damaged.

Around 1416A/26, a Swordfish (816 Sqn FAA/G) from HMS Chaser attacked U-366 which escaped without damage.

Around 1037A/27, U-312 attack escort vessels with a T-5 homing torpedo which missed. She was subsequently depth charged by HMS Beagle and HMS Vigilant but was not damaged.

Around 1058A/27, U-366 attacked HMS Beagle with a T-5 homing torpedo which missed. She was subsequently depth charged by HMS Beagle and HMS Verulam but was not damaged.

Around 1634A/27, U-362 attacked the destroyer HMS Onslaught with a T-5 homing torpedo which missed. She was subsequently depth charged by the destroyer but was not damaged.

On 28 February 1944, the convoy split into two sections. Ten of the merchant vessels split off to proceed to the White Sea escorted by two Russian destroyers and four minesweepers. They arrived off the mouth of the Dvina river on 29 February 1944. The remainder of the convoy had entered to Kola Inlet later on the 28th.

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Cover for the convoy was provided by ' Force 1 ' which was made up of the heavy cruiser HMS Berwick (Capt. N.V. Grace, RN) and the light cruisers HMS Jamaica (Capt. J. Hugh-Hallett, DSO, RN) and ORP Dragon (Kmdr.por. (Cdr.) S.T. Dzienisiewicz). ' Force 1 ' departed Scapa Flow around 0730A/24.

Around 1600A/25, ORP Dragon parted company and returned to Scapa Flow the following day.

HMS Berwick and HMS Jamaica returned to Scapa Flow around 1000A/29.

30 Mar 1944
Around 2100A/30, HMS Nelson (Capt. A.H. Maxwell-Hyslop, AM, RN) departed Greenock for Rosyth where she arrived around 1045A/1. At Rosyth she is to be taken in hand for exchanging the gun barrels of her main and secondary armament. On leaving the Clyde she is joined by the frigates HMS Cosby (T/A/Lt.Cdr. R.S. Connell, RNR), HMS Cubitt (Lt. G.D. Gregory, RN) and HMS Curzon (Lt. A.A. Diggins, DSC, RN).

Around 1245A/31, the frigates HMS Byron (Lt. K.G.L. Southcombe, RN) and HMS Rutherford (Lt. J.G. Brookes, DSC, RN) also joined coming from Aultbea.

after having parted company with the battleship off Rosyth the frigates continued on towards Sheerness where they arrived on 2 April. (2)

10 Oct 1944
HMS Torbay (Lt. C.P. Norman, DSO, RN) proceeded from the Clyde area to Larne where she conducted A/S exercises off Larne with ships from the 21st Escort Group which was made up of the frigates HMS Byron (Lt.Cdr. K.G.L. Southcombe, RN), HMS Conn (Lt.Cdr. R. Hart, DSC and Bar, RN, Senior Officer of the group), HMS Deane (Lt. V.A. Hickson, DSO, RN), HMS Fitzroy (A/Lt.Cdr. A.J. McCullogh Miller, DSC, RNVR), HMS Redmill (Lt. J.R.A. Denne, RN) and HMS Rupert (Lt. P.C.S. Black, RN).

On completion of the exercises HMS Torbay entered Larne harbour while the frigates arrived at Belfast later the same day. (3)

27 Mar 1945
German U-boat U-722 was sunk in the North Atlantic near the Hebrides, in position 57°09'N, 06°55'W, by depth charges from the British frigates HMS Fitzroy (Lt.Cdr. O.G. Stuart, RCNVR), HMS Redmill (Lt. J.R.A. Denne, RN) and HMS Byron (Lt. J. Burfield, DSC, RN).

8 Apr 1945
German U-boat U-1001 was sunk in the Atlantic south-west of Land's End, in position 49°19'N, 10°23'W, by depth charges from the British frigates HMS Fitzroy (Lt.Cdr. O.G. Stuart, RCNVR), and HMS Byron (Lt. J. Burfield, RN).

Media links


The Captain Class Frigates in the Second World War

Collingwood, Donald

Sources

  1. ADM 173/18492
  2. ADM 53/120126 + ADM 53/120127
  3. ADM 173/19040

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.


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