During her service in the Union Navy, the first Bazely carried a shortened version of her original merchant name, J. E. Bazely; the World War II destroyer escort honored John Bazely, ultimately knighted and made Vice Admiral of the Red, who gained early distinction in command of the 10 gun cutter, HMS Alert, which engaged the Continental brig Lexington (16 guns and 12 swivels) two days out of Morlaix, France, on 19 September 1777 and emerged the victor in a hard fought action. He later commanded HMS Bombay (3d Rate) in the bombardment of Algiers in 1816.
(BDE 2: dp. 1,400; l. 289'6"; b. 35'; dr. 10'; s. 19 k.; cpl. 175; a. 3 3", 2 40mm., 6 20mm., 1 dcp. (hh.); 4 dcp., 2 dct.; cl. Evarts)
The second Bazely (BDE 2) was laid down on 5 April 1942 by the Boston Navy Yard and launched on 27 June 1942. Allocated to the Royal Navy under lend lease on 18 February 1943, Bazely given the “pendant number” K.311 earned battle honors in the Atlantic between 1943 and 1945 and in the Arctic in 1945. During her wartime career under the White Ensign, she figured prominently in the destruction of three German submarines. She teamed with HMS Blackwood (K.347) and HMS Drury (K.316) on 23 November 1943 to sink U 648 and, together with Blackwood sank U 600 on 25 November. Her third and last “kill” came on 21 April 1945, shortly before the end of the war in Europe, when she cooperated with Drury and HMS Bentinck (K.314) to destroy U 648.
The Royal Navy returned Bazely to American hands on 20 August 1945 at Chatham, England. Manned by officers and men from the frigate Surprise (PG 63), that had been turned over to the Royal Navy after service in the U.S. Navy under reverse lend lease, the former “Captain” class frigate was commissioned as Bazely (DE 2) at 0810 the day of her return (20 August 1945). Lt. Lester H. Watson, USNR, in command
After having embarking 39 passengers, Bazely got underway eight days later for the first leg of her homeward voyage. The next morning, she stood out of The Downs and sailed in Task Group (TG) 21.3, one of ten former British DE's being returned to the country of their origin. She reached the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard on the evening of 8 September 1945, and remained there, inactive save for shifting berths and unloading ammunition at Fort Mifflin, through mid October. On the afternoon of 22 October 1945, Bazely was decommissioned. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 16 November 1945, and the navy yard completed breaking her up by 28 May 1946.
Robert J. Cressman
28 February 2006