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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
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Hayter

 

Hubert Montgomery Hayter was born in Abingdon, Va., 17 October 1901, and graduated from the Naval Academy in 1924. In the following years he served on battleship Arizona, destroyer Yarborough, and other ships, taking command of Ramsay (DM-16) in 1939. Lt. Comdr. Hayter was transferred to New Orleans 5 February 1941. and was killed during an action with Japanese forces off Savo Island 30 November 1942. Hayter was serving as damage control officer when New Orleans received a torpedo hit, and as Central Station, his battle post, filled with asphyxiating gas, he ordered all men without masks to leave the compartment, giving his own to a partially stricken seaman. After clearing the compartment of all personnel, Lt. Cmdr. Hayter was finally overcome by the fumes. For this extraordinary act of heroism, he was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross.

 

(DE-212: displacement 1400 tons; length 306'; beam 36'10"; draft 9'5" ; speed 24 knots; complement 186; armament 3 3-inch gins, 3 21-inch torpedo tubes, 2 depth charge tracks, 8 depth charge projectors, 1 depth charge projector (hedge hog), class Buckley)

 

Hayter (DE-212) was launched by Charleston Navy Yard, Charleston, S.C., 11 November 1943; sponsored by Mrs. Maurine K. Hayter, widow of the namesake; and commissioned at Charleston 16 March 1944, Lt. Comdr. Harold H. Theriault in command.

 

Hayter departed Charleston 7 April 1944 for shakedown training off Bermuda, and subsequently was asigned to an escort division for Atlantic duty at the end of May. Between 1 June and 30 November 1944 she made three voyages to Europe, two from Norfolk to Bizerte and one from Casco, Maine, to Bizerte. During the voyages Hayter provided anti-submarine protection and transferred the division doctor to many merchant ships in the convoy needing medical assistance.

 

After spending the month of December in the Boston Navy Yard, Hayter sailed 2 January 1945 on a special duty in the Atlantic, with other units of Escort Division 62. Their assignment—to find and sink German submarine U-248, which had been sending vital weather reports to Axis units from the Azores area. The ships conducted several search sweeps before a HF/DF fix pointed the escorts in the right direction at 0647 on 16 January. At 0908, Hayter made a sound contact on the submarine, and after a series of five depth charge patterns lasting two hours, of which Hayter made two, "clothing, books, flesh and debris" appeared on the surface. Hayter patrolled the Azores for another week before joining a convpy screen for the voyage back to Norfolk, arriving 5 February 1945.

 

Departing Casco Bay 17 March, Hayter and three other escorts proceeded into the north Atlantic for anti-submarine sweeps southeast of newfoundland. The ships made a depth charge attack 18 March, but the contact was classified non-submarine. The group returned to Argentia, Newfoundland, from their second sweep on 14 April. Five days later, the group got underway for an anti-submarine barrier patrol, cruising between escort carriers Bogue and Core. On 23 April, a Grumman TBF-1 "Avenger" torpedo bomber from Bogue, piloted by Lt. William W. South, made contact with a U-boat attempting to close the aircraft carrier. He dropped depth charges, driving the U-boat underwater but the escorts could not pick up the contact.


The next morning, just after Frederick C. Davis (DE-136) reported contact on her starboard bow, a T5 homing torpedo struck that escort on the port side amidships, breaking the warship in half. As Hayter maeuvered to attack, Davis was struck by As the stricken ship settled and sank Hayter began rescue operations, and despite rough seas, sharks, and the threat of further attacks, managed to save 65 survivors and recover 12 of the 126 dead. Three of the survivors were revived by artificial respiration given by members of Hayter's crew.


In the meantime, eight other escorts closed the scene and hammered the area with active sonar, hedgehogs and depth charges. After a long, ten hour hunt, luck ran out for U-546 and a hedgehog strike from Flaherty (*) blew the U-boat to the surface. Shattered with gunfire, the U-boat quickly sank, leaving 33 survivors to be pulled out of the water.

 

Hayter arrived Argentia 6 May and sailed two days later for Philadelphia Navy Yard via Boston. She arrived 22 May and began her conversion to high speed transport, her designation becoming APD-80 on 1 June 1945.

 

Emerging as a high speed transport, Hayter departed Philadelphia 13 August 1945 for her refresher training off Guantanamo Bay. She subsequently operated out of Norfolk and Newport in training operations until 30 October, when she departed Norfolk for Jacksonville, Fla. At Jacksonville, Hayter was placed in the Reserve Fleet at Green Cove Springs, decommissioned 19 March 1946, and was later moved to the Texas group, where she remained until struck 1 December 1966.


13 April 2005