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

HMS SPRAGGE (K 572) - Captain-class Frigate
including Convoy Escort Movements

HMS Bickerton, Sister-ship  (Navy Photos, click to enlarge)

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CAPTAIN-Class Turbo-Electric Buckley frigate ordered under the UK/US Lease-Lend Agreement on 10th January 1942 and laid down on 15th September1943 by the Bethlehem Steel Shipyard at Hingham, Mass. USA. The ship that had been intended for US Navy service as DE563, was launched on 16th October 1943. She was the third RN ship to carry this name, commemorating the service of Admiral Sir Edward Spragge who lost his life at Texel in August 1673. Introduced later 1673 for a Fireship, lost in 1677 it was selected for a destroyer being built in 1919 but the order was cancelled before launch. Build was completed on14th January 1944 and was initially manned by Royal Canadian Navy personnel who steamed the ship to Londonderry for transfer to the Royal Navy at Lisahally on 28th February 1944. Details of manning arrangements made for commissioning of this Class of warship in the USA are given in THE CAPTAIN CLASS FRIGATES IN WW2 by D Collingwood.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s




H e r a l d i c   D a t a

None is recorded in the Official List of Heraldic Crests.

(Note: Many ships built during WW2 had an

unofficial crest but these were never given

Admiralty formal approval.)



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 3


January                  Contractors trials

                14th        Build completion and commenced Acceptance Trials

                                (Note: Royal Canadian Navy provided personnel for taking the ship across

                                the Atlantic for transfer to the RN. It is assumed that Lieut. Commander

                                Grant, RNR will have taken command on completion of Acceptance

                                Trials and that the ship was then formally accepted for serve as HMS

                                SPRAGGE. Some RN personnel will have been on board.

                                On completion of trials carried out shakedown exercises and prepared for



February                Passage to St Johns to join routine convoy for passage to UK.

                                Detached from convoy and took passage to Londonderry.

                                Nominated for service in Western Approaches Command for Atlantic convoy defence.

                28th        Remainder of RN complement joined ship and Lisahally


March                    Under modification to suit RN requirements for deployment.

                                (Note: In addition to changes made to equipment fit some other alterations were made to

                                domestic arrangements. These including change to RN Canteen Messing instead of

                                the US Navy Cafeteria System and replacement of steel furniture by wooden items

                                which is quite astounding. Equipment changes included increase in number of Depth

                                Charges carried and their stowage, improvement of the Sonar (ASDIC) equipment

                                and communications.)


April                       On completion of modification took passage to Tobermory to work-up for operational

                                service Worked-up at Tobermory with three sister ships,

                                (Note: The work-up was marred by a tragic accident when the forward falls of the ships

                                whaler failed when the ship was under way. The Leading Seaman in charge was

                                flung overboard and seen to be in difficulty, possibly by striking his head against

                                the ships structure during his descent. An officer and a senior rating immediately

                                dived into the water to effect a rescue but his body was never recovered.)


May                        On completion of work-up took passage to Belfast to commence operational duties.

                                Transferred to 113th Escort Group as Senior Officerís ship for duties in support

                                of planned allied landings in Normandy (Operation NEPTUNE)

                                Joined HM Sloops HIND and MAGPIE, HM Destroyer HAMBLEDON and sister

                                ship HMS HOTHAM at Liverpool for escort of assault and follow-up convoys to

                                landing beaches

                                Fitted with additional 2Pdr Pom-Pom weapon on focísle for defence against

                                E-Boat attacks on convoys.

                                Took part in preparatory exercises prior to assault landings


June                        Passage to Milford Haven to join HM Sloops HART and WHIMBREL. HM Destroyer

                                BLENCATHRA, Sister Frigates WHITAKER and WALDEGRAVE of 112th Escort

                                Group for escort of Assault Convoy EBP2 to Western Task Force Area.

                                (Note: For details of activities before and during NEPTUNE see LANDINGS IN

                                IN NORMANDY, June 1944 (HMSO) and OPERATION NEPTUNE by K.


                4th          Operation postponed for 24 Hours.

                6th          Sailed from Bristol Channel with 112th and 113th Escort Groups as escort for military

                                Convoy EBP2.

                                (Note: Convoy comprised five Personnel ships carrying Pre-loaded US Build

                                up Division for landings on UTAH Beach, HQ Ship for MULBERRY B.

                                and three smaller mercantiles.)

                7th          Passage from Solent through Swept Channel

                8th          Arrived off UTAH Beach.

                                (Note: Present off beaches when assault troops came under heavy and unexpected fire.

                9th          Return passage from Normandy to Plymouth for escort of Follow-up convoys

                                to landing beaches.

                                Escorted Follow-up and Return convoys to landing areas.

                24th        Operation NEPTUNE terminated.

                                Remained in Plymouth Command for escort of Channel convoys.


July                         Plymouth Command convoy escort duties in continuation.

to August


September             Transferred to Portsmouth Command in continuation.

                                Joined sister frigates HMS HOTHAM in 1st Destroyer Flotilla at Portsmouth

                                with HMS HARGOOD, WALDEGRAVE for convoy escort, patrol and support

                                of military operations in Channel area including Dutch coast.


October                  Channel deployment in continuation based at Portsmouth.

to                            (Note: Increased attacks were being made by E-Boats and submarines on

December              Convoys to French and Dutch ports and escorts were reinforced.


1 9 4 5


January                  Channel deployment in continuation.

to February           Involved in collision with Landing Craft during return passage from

                                Walcheren and sustained major structural damage.

                                (Note: Forward part of ship was holed and one rating was injured.)

                                Disabled ship had to take passage, stern first, to Plymouth for repair.


March                    Under repair by HM Dockyard, Devonport.

to April                  Paid-off.



May                        Resumed service with Flotilla at Portsmouth

                                Nominated for conversion for use as a floating Power Station.

                                (Note: Armament was removed and electrical system modified provide shore supplies

                                from shipís generators to provide power to shore.)


June                        Modification in hand by HM Dockyard, Portsmouth

to August


September             Nominated for service with British Pacific Fleet.

                                Armament replaced and Electrical System changed to provide power for normal ship services

                                Recommisioned for foreign service


October                  Took passage with HMS HOTHAM to Singapore.


November              Independent passage to Hong Kong.

                                (Note: HMS HOTHAM had detached on arrival at Singapore and was used to provide

                                electric power to HM Dockyard.)


December              Deployed for Fleet duties based at Hong Kong

                                (Note: Frigates of British Pacific Fleet were used for support of military garrisons in Japan,

                                China and French Indo-China ports as well as for transport of personnel and carry

                                out patrols to ensure safe passage of British flagged mercantiles.


1 9 4 6


 January                 Hong Kong deployment in continuation

                                Nominated for return to US Navy.


February                Complement reduced to Steaming Party.

                                Passage from Hong Kong to Subic Bay, Philippines.

                28th        Returned to US Navy and paid-off.


F i n a l   P h a s e


This ship was never put into service by the US Navy and was sold for demolition on 18th November 1947. It is likely that the ship remained at Subic Bay, but if sold in USA will have been taken there in tow, which seems unlikely.






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








WP 512





WP 514





WP 529





VWP 097





VWP 102








(Note on Convoys)


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revised 29/5/11
further editing and formatting is required