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McCook

 

Comdr. Roderick S. McCook, USN, born 10 March 1839 at New Lisbon, Ohio, was appointed midshipman 21 September 1854. From 1859 to 1861 he cruised off the coast of Africa, searching for and capturing slavers. During the Civil War, he served in Minnesota (1861), Stars and Stripes (1862), and Canonicus (1863‑65). As executive officer of latter ship, he participated in operations along the James River and in attacks on and the surrender of Fort Fisher. He was also present at the surrender of Charleston, S.C. (February 1865). From 1866 to 1878 he was in command of vessels of war on the West India and Asiatic stations. His last duty, 1880‑82, was as lighthouse inspector, Ohio River. Promoted to commander 25 September 1873, McCook died at Vineland, N.J., 13 February 1886.

 

I

 

(DD‑252: dp. 1,190; l. 314'5"; b. 31'8"; dr. 9'3"; s. 35 k.; cpl.120; a. 4 4", 2 3", 12 21" tt.; cl. Clemson)

 

McCook (DD‑252) was laid down 10 September 1918 at the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp., Quincy, Mass.; launched 31 January 1919; sponsored by Mrs. Henry C. Dinger; and commissioned 30 April 1919, Lt. Comdr. G. B. Ashe in command.

 

Following shakedown, McCook was assigned to Destroyer Force, Atlantic Fleet. She operated along the east coast until decommissioning at Philadelphia 30 June 1922. She remained in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet until recommissioned 18 December 1939. The next year McCook was designated for exchange under the destroyers for bases agreement with Great Britain. Steaming to Halifax, she arrived 20 September 1940. Decommissioned on the 24th, she was transferred to Great Britain on the same date, but due to manpower shortages in the Royal Navy, she was retransferred immediately to the Canadian Navy and commissioned as HMCS St. Croix (1‑81).

 

Delayed by repairs necessitated by hurricane damage, on 14 March 1941 St. Croix assumed escort and patrol duties in Canadian waters. At the end of August she joined the Newfoundland Escort Force and plied between St. Johnís and Reykjavik. By May 1942 the force had been renamed the Mid‑Ocean Escort Force and its range extended to Londonderry.

 

St. Croix scored her first kill when she sank U‑90 on 24 July 1942, which, with other U‑boats, had attacked her convoy, ON 113, on the 23d, sinking two merchantmen and damaging a third. On the return voyage, convoy ON 127 was attacked by 13 U‑boats. Between 10 and 14 September 11 merchantmen and one destroyer was lost. Revenge came to St. Croix the following year. En route from Londonderry to Gibraltar on 4 March 1943 with convoy KMS 10, she assisted HMCS Shediac (K‑100) in the sinking of U‑87 some 200 miles off the Iberian coast.

 

With the addition of air escort to convoy defense in 1943, U‑boat tolls in the North Atlantic diminished and many of the boats were withdrawn during the summer. In the fall, however, Germany began a new U‑boat offensive. On 16 September, St. Croix, then on her first patrol with an offensive striking group in the Bay of Biscay, went to the aid of convoy ONS 18, followed by ON 202, both heavily beset by a wolfpack. The defense of these convoys resulted in a long‑running battle with losses to both sides. The convoys lost three escorts and six merchantmen, while two other escorts were damaged. The wolfpack lost three U‑boats.

 

St. Croix, taking three hits in the stern on the 20th, was the first escort to be sunk. HMS Polyanthus (K‑47) was sunk as she came up to screen HMS Itchenís rescue operations. Itchen (K‑227), forced to retire that evening, returned the next morning and picked up 81 survivors from St. Croix and one from Polyanthus. The following day, 22 September, Itchen was torpedoed. Three men were rescued, two from Itchen, one from St. Croix