Born on 29 June 1775 in Marblehead, Mass., Thomas Boyle went to sea at 10 or 11 years of age and assumed his first command at the age of 16. In 1794, he moved his base of operation to Baltimore. Soon after the War of 1812 began, Boyle took command of the privateer Comet and during his first cruise--conducted in the West Indies between 11 July and 7 October 1812--captured four vessels with an aggregate value of $400,000. On his second cruise, he sailed along the Brazilian coast, departing Baltimore on 25 November 1812. Though he made five captures, his second voyage was a financial disaster because British cruisers retook all five prizes. On 17 March 1813, Boyle slipped past the British blockade into Chesapeake Bay.
That blockade prevented any cruising during the summer of 1813, so Boyle accepted a warrant as sailing master in the United States Navy on 16 April 1813. In that role, he helped to protect American commerce on Chesapeake Bay from British depredations. His brief Navy career lasted only until 8 September 1813 when he began to prepare Comet for her third voyage as a privateer.
On 29 October 1813, he and his ship sneaked through the blockade in heavy weather. During that cruise to the West Indies, Boyle and his crew captured 20 prizes before returning to the United States at Beaufort, N.C., on 19 March 1814. Boyle left Comet at Beaufort and headed north to Baltimore and thence to New York where he took command of the privateer Chasseur, of which he was part owner. The privateer tried to put to sea on 24 July, but British warships obliged her to wait four days off Staten Island.
Once at sea, Boyle set a course for the British Isles via the Grand Banks. The cruise lasted three months, and he netted 18 prizes before returning to New York on 24 October. Boyle spent the next two months preparing for his fifth and final privateering voyage. On 24 December, Chasseur put to sea and shaped a course for the West Indies. There, she took a succession of prizes. On 25 February 1815, she chased what appeared to be a weakly armed coaster but which turned out to be a Royal Navy cruiser. Undaunted, Boyle raced to the attack and, after a sharp 15-minute fight, captured HBM schooner St. Lawrence. He concluded his final cruise at Baltimore on 18 March 1815.
Little is known of Boyle's life after the war. Presumably, he returned to mercantile service. The date and location of his death are unknown.
(DD-600: dp. 1,620; l. 347'9"; b. 36'1"; dr. 17'4"; s. 37.6 k.; cpl. 276; a. 4 5", 4 40mm., 7 20mm., 5 21" tt., 6 dcp., 2 dct.; cl. Benson)
Boyle (DD-600) was laid down on 31 December 1941 at Fore River, Mass., by the Bethlehem Steel Co.; launched on 15 June 1942; sponsored by Mrs. Margaret A. Glascock; and commissioned on 15 August 1942, Lt. Comdr. Eugene S. Karpe in command.
Following shakedown training, she was assigned to Destroyer Division (DesDiv) 32, Destroyer Squadron (DesRon) 16, Atlantic Fleet. On 25 October, Boyle put to sea from Norfolk in company with Task Force (TF) 34 on its way to the invasion of North Africa, Operation TORCH. The destroyer helped to cover the landings at Fedhala on 8 November and participated in the action against Vichy French naval units on 10 November. Boyle returned to the United States at the end of the month and began patrols off the east coast and in the West Indies.
That duty lasted until February 1943. At that point, the destroyer began escorting convoys across the Atlantic. In all, she made six round-trip voyages to the Mediterranean and one to Iceland between February 1943 and April 1944. During the summer of 1943, Boyle also participated in the invasion of Sicily from 9 to 15 July and from 28 July to 17 August. Later that year, on the night of 5 and 6 November, she rescued a number of survivors after Beatty (DD-640) and two transports had been sunk by aerial torpedoes when German planes attacked the Naples-bound convoy KIMF-25A northwest of Philippeville, Tunisia. In April 1944, the warship became an element of hunter-killer task group which operated off the coast of New York.
Later that month, Boyle and six other destroyers made the voyage from New York to Oran, Algeria. From there, she moved to the Italian coast to provide gunfire support for the United States 5th Army. During the last half of August 1944 the destroyer participated in the invasion of southern France during which she engaged shore batteries and provided call fire. She also conducted patrols to protect the invasion fleet from attacks by German E-boats. After a brief visit to Oran early in September, the warship got underway in the screen of battleships Arkansas (BB-33), Nevada (BB-36), and Texas (BB-35) and shaped a course for the United States. She arrived in New York on 14 September and, four days later, moved on to Boston for repairs.
Repairs complete, Boyle put to sea with the rest of DesRon 16 on 10 December, bound once more for the Mediterranean. Over the next five months, she provided gunfire support along the French-Italian Riviera and escorted convoys, principally between Gibraltar and Casablanca. Late in April 1945, the warship headed back to the United States. She arrived in New York on 1 May and began installation of additional antiaircraft armament preparatory to service off Okinawa. She departed New York on 23 May and, steaming via Cuba and the Panama Canal, arrived in San Diego on 12 June. From there, Boyle moved to the Hawaiian Islands where she operated for the first 24 days of July. On the 25th, the destroyer put to sea on her way to the western Pacific.
After a stop at Saipan early in August, she arrived off Okinawa on the 12th. She spent three days on the Okinawa picket line before hostilities ended on 15 August. Boyle remained in the Ryukyu Islands until 1 September and then got underway for Japan. She entered Tokyo Bay on the 10th and operated between Japan, Shanghai, and Okinawa until 1 November when she departed the latter place to return to the United States. After stops at Saipan and Pearl Harbor, Boyle transited the Panama Canal early in December and arrived in Charleston, S.C., on the 8th. She stayed there until decommissioned on 29 March 1946.
Boyle remained in reserve at Charleston until 5 February 1958 when she was transferred to the Boston Group, Atlantic Reserve Fleet. At some unspecified date, she was moved to Philadelphia and, on 27 July 1966, she became a part of the reserve group at Orange, Tex. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 1 June 1971. She was sunk as a target in May 1973.
Boyle earned four battle stars during World War II.
Raymond A. Mann
14 December 2005