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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2003

HMS STANLEY (I 73) - ex-US Destroyer
including Convoy Escort Movements

 HMS Stanley (CyberHeritage, click to enlarge)

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Type A  BELMONT-Class destroyer Ex-USS McALLA built by Bethlehem Steel at Quincy. Massachusetts USA. The ship was laid down on 25th April 1918 and launched on 28th March 1919. Commissioned on 19th May 1919 for service in the US Navy she had been transferred to Reserve by 1939 and laid -up. This destroyer was transferred to the Royal Navy on 3rd September 1940 under the UK/USA Lease Lend Agreement and commissioned as HMS STANLEY at Halifax on 23rd October 1940. She was the 2nd RN ship to carry this name introduced about 1778. In common with other ships of the Class she was named after a town in the USA and of Urban Districts in Durham, Yorkshire as well as a village in Perthshire, Scotland.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r




H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Badge: On Field, Blue, an eagle's leg erased Gold,

charged with a hurt thereon a mullet, White.



D e t a i l s   o f   W a r   S e r v i c e


(for more ship information, go to Naval History Homepage and type name in Site Search)



1 9 4 0



                23rd        Commissioned as HMS STANLEY at Halifax.

                                Prepared for passage to Devonport with call at St Johns, Newfoundland.


November              During Atlantic passage from St Johns developed machinery defects and had to

                                return to Newfoundland

                6th          Taken in hand for repair at St Johns.


December              Under repair

                13th        Took passage from St Johns after post repair trials.

                                Delayed at Belfast.


1 9 4 1


January                  Passage to Devonport after delay

                2nd         Arrived at Devonport and taken in hand for repair and modification to suit RN

                                use as a convoy escort.

                                (Note:  State of equipment required extensive work and ship selected for use as a Long Range


                                Two other sister ships HMS BRADFORD and HMS CLARE were also selected for

                                similar conversion, the later being done later by HM Dockyard at Devonport.

                                This work involved removal of the two forward boilers and the associated funnel so that

                                additional fuel could be carried in additional tanks. The space saved at higher levels was

                                used to provide additional accommodation and stowage for stores.

                                This type of conversion reduced boiler power and therefore speed to 25 knots but

                                increased the ship's endurance which was an essential requirement for escorts deployed

                                for ocean passages

.                               The conversion work also included fit of a new design of Bridge similar to that in RN



February                Under conversion.

to                            Nominated for escort of Atlantic convoys to and from West Africa.

August                  (See Note above.)


September             On completion of conversion carried out post refit trials and took passage to join Liverpool Sloop


                                (Note: Later this became 40th Escort Group.)

                                Worked-up for operational service.

                                Nominated for escort of military convoy in NW Approaches.


October                  Radar Type 271 had been fitted. See RADAR AT SEA by D Howse.

                1st           Joined Convoy WS12 with HM Destroyer BLANKNEY.

                                (Note: The Local Escort also included HM Cruiser CAIRO, HM Destroyers

                                SIKH, BADSWORTH, BRADFORD*, BRIGHTON*, LANCASTER*,

                                NEWARK*, VERITY, WHITEHALL and WITCH. * Sister Ex US Navy Destroyers)

                7th          Detached from Escort with HMS BLANKNEY.

                                (Note: The other escorts detached earlier.

                                HM Cruiser DEVONSHIRE was deployed as Ocean Escort until 12th October and

                                was relieved by HM Cruiser DORSETSHIRE.

                                This may have been part of the work-up period.)

                                After detachment took passage to Liverpool and joined the Ex US Navy Coastguard

                                Cutters for deployment in 40th Escort Group.

                                (Note: Ships in Group included HM Cutters CULVER, GORLESTON, LANDGUARD,

                                LULWORTH and HM Sloop BIDEFORD.

                                Deployed as part of escort for Convoy OS 10 of 34 ships with HMS GORLESTON,

                                HMS LULWORTH and HM Corvette VERBENA for passage to Freetown..

                31st         Under attack by U96 which was successfully driven off by the escort.



                1st           Drove off second attack on OS10 by U96 with HMS GORLESTON and HMS VERBENA by

                                depth charge and surface gunfire.

                                (Note: U-Boat Group STOERTEBECKER Group which had been formed specifically for

                                concerted attacks against OS 10 after sighting by U96 was unable to carry out the

                                intended offensive due to the weather conditions.)

                                After arrival of OS 10 at Freetown deployed with ships of Group for escort of inward convoy

                                SL73 to UK

                                Took passage to Gibraltar with escort of SL73.

                                (For details of U-Boat deployments see U-BOAT WAR IN THE ATLANTIC (HMSO)

                                For information about Atlantic convoy defence weapons and tactic see SEEK AND STRIKE

                                by W Hackmann and THE BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC by D Macintyre,)

                                Dates of sailing of convoys are given in ALLIED CONVOY SYSTEM IN WW2 by

                                A Hague.)


December              After arrival at Gibraltar nominated with ships of Group for escort of Convoy HG76 and

                                attached to 36th Escort Group

                                (Note: This Group was commanded by Commander F J Walker.

                                See Final Special Note below.

                                Departure of this convoy had been delayed pending the arrival of additional escorts.

                14th        Sailed with the 58 ships of HG76 as part of escort from Gibraltar.

                                (Note: The other ships in the escort included HM Escort Carrier AVENGER,

                                HM Sloops STORK (SO) and DEPTFORD, HM Destroyers BLANKNEY and

                                EXMOOR (ii), HM Corvette PENTSTEMON.

                                Eight U-Boats had been formed as the SEERAUBER Group to carry co-ordinated

                                attacks on this convoy.)

                15th        Passage as escort to HG76 with air cover provided by HMS AUDACITY.

                                Sighted KONDOR aircraft carrying out observation for future U-Boat attacks.

                16th        Ships of Gibraltar Escort Force detached.

                                First report of U-Boat activity in preparation for attack received from Admiralty after

                                decrypted ENIGMA signals intercepted in UK.

                17th        Following sighting of submarine by MARTLET aircraft from HMS AVENGER detached

                                with HMS BLANKNEY, HMS EXMOOR (ii) and HMS PENTSTEMON to carry out anti-

                                submarine operation in reported position.

                                Carried out depth charge attacks and joined by HMS STORK.

                                Anti- submarine sweep carried with the other ships during which firm contact was made

                                further depth charge attack carried out.

                                Submarine, identified later as U131 surfaced and attacked by surface fire from the five

                                escorts and MARTLET aircraft which was shot down by return fire from the submarine.

                                After several hits pressure hull was holed U131 was abandoned by crew and scuttled in

                                position 34.12N 13.35W off Cape St Vincent.

                                Took part in rescue of 55 German survivors with the ships from HG76 escort.

                                (Note: The body of the MARTLET pilot was recovered by HMS STORK.)

                                Returned to convoy which was being shadowed by rest of SEERAUBE Group and took

                                up position in screen.

                18th        Sighted surfaced submarine and took part in anti-submarine hunt with HMS EXMOOR (ii),

                                HMS BLANKNEY and HMS DEPTFORD.

                                (Note: Submarine dived when attackers sighted but sonar outfit defective and unable to

                                make contact.)

                                After submarine detected by HMS BLANKNEY took part in depth charge attacks which

                                forced U434 to surface.

                                Ramming attempt by HMS BLANKNEY abandoned in order to board but scuttling charges

                                had been activated and submarine sank in position 36.15 N 15.48W before arrival of

                                boarding party from HMS BLANKNEY

                                Returned to HG76 and took up allocated screening position.

                19th        Whilst deployed astern of convoy sighted submarine on surface and fired flare to indicate

                                position to HMS STORK.

                                Hit by torpedo fired by U574 and sank in position 38.12N 17.23W after a violent explosion.

                                (Note: Only 25 of the ship's company survived.

                                U574 was sunk very soon after this loss when rammed by HMS STORK which had

                                carried out depth charge attacks and forced the submarine to surface.

                                For details see HITLER'S U-BOAT WAR by C Blair, THE BATTLE OF THE

                                ATLANTIC and U-BOATS DESTROYED by P Kemp

                                HMS STORK sustained major structural damage to bow and her Sonar Dome was broken

                                away from ship's structure by U574 when it sank after the ramming.)


Special  Note


The defence of HG76 was of very great significance since it proved the advantage of having air cover provided by an auxiliary aircraft carrier attached to an Escort Group. It also fully justified the deployment of a long range escort with any ocean convoy. Most importantly it demonstrated the value of the anti-submarine tactics practiced by Commander Walker which formed the basis of future training. Later promoted Captain he was the most renowned U-Boat Hunter of WW2. For details see FIGHTING CAPTAIN by A Burn and SEEK AND STRIKE.






by Don Kindell


These convoy lists have not been cross-checked with the text above






Date convoy sailed

Joined convoy as escort

Convoy No.

Left convoy

Date convoy arrived








OS 010





SL 093





SL 094





HG 076








(Note on Convoys) 


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revised 15/8/11
further editing and formatting is required