John Albert O’Toole, born in Boston, 16 May 1916, entered the Naval Reserve as Ensign 7 May 1942. Assigned to Joesph Hewes (AP–50) following instruction at the Naval Reserve Midshipmen’s School in Chicago, he commanded a boat wave from that transport during the assault on Fedhala, Morocco, 8 November 1942. Killed while withdrawing from the beach, Ensign O’Toole was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for “his great personal valor and relentless fighting spirit...” as he led his wave to the beach and calmly directed the offloading of men and materiel, despite heavy artillery fire from the enemy.
DE–274 was laid down as O’Toole, 20 May 1943, at the Boston Navy Yard. Transferred to the United Kingdom, 28 September 1943, she served the Royal Navy as HMS Gardiner (K–478) until she was returned to the US Navy, at Boston, 12 February 1946. She was subsequently sold 10 December 1946 to Atlas Steel & Supply Co. Resold to Kulky Steel and Equip. Co., Alliance, Ohio, in 1947 she was scrapped in June.
DE–327 was laid down as O’Toole, 14 June 1943, at the Consolidated Steel Corp., Orange, Tex., but was renamed Brister (q.v.) when DE–527 was named O’Toole, 23 July 1943.
(DE–527: dp. 1,140; l. 289’5”; b. 35’1”; dr. 8’3”; s. 21 k.; cpl. 156; a. 3 3”, 4 1.1”, 9 20mm., 2 dct., 8 dcp., I dcp. (hh.); cl. Evarts)
O’Toole (DE–527) was laid down at the Boston Navy Yard 25 September 1943; launched 2 November 1943; sponsored by Mrs. John A. O’Toole, and commissioned 22 January 1944, Lt. Comdr. J. G. Enzensperger, Jr., in command.
Following shakedown off Bermuda, O’Toole served as a training ship for the Fleet Sound School, Key West, Fla. Detached 15 July, she sailed north to Casco Bay, thence proceeded south to Norfolk to escort Tripoli (CVE–64) to Recife, Brazil. Escorting Solomons (CVE–67) on the return voyage, she arrived at Norfolk, 25 August, and continued on to New York where she joined CortDiv 80 for transatlantic convoy duty.
On 9 September, O’Toole stood out of New York Harbor on her first escort of convoy mission. Acting as communication liason ship between CTG 27.5 and convoy NY 119, she shepherded the small craft convoy to the Azores, thence to Falmouth, England, arriving 18 October. On 8 November she departed for Reykjavik as escort to Abnaki (ATF–96). From Iceland she proceeded to Norfolk and New York, where she rejoined CortDiv 80. In mid-December the escort sailed with convoy UGS 64 for North Africa, returning 23 January 1945. Completing another Mediterranean run in April, she was enroute home from Algeria when the war in Europe ended.
Arriving at New York 23 May, she operated off the New England coast until mid-July when she proceeded to Miami, for a brief tour as schoolship. In September, she moved north, reporting for inactivation at Charleston on the 10th. Decommissioned there 18 October, she was struck from the Navy List 1 November, and scrapped in March 1946.