Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Related Content
  • Boats-Ships--Frigate
Document Type
  • Ship History
Wars & Conflicts
File Formats
Location of Archival Materials

Bostwick (DE-103)

(DE-103: dp. 1,240; l. 306'0"; b. 36'7"; dr. 11'8"; s. 21 k.; cpl. 216; a. 3 3", 2 40mm., 8 20mm., 8 dcp., 1 dcp. (hh.), 2 dct., 3 21" tt.; cl. Cannon)

Lucius Allyn Bostwick, born on 21 February 1869 in Providence, R.I., entered the Naval Academy in 1886 and graduated on 6 June 1890. Bostwick served on board Newark (Cruiser No. 1), Philadelphia (Cruiser No. 4), Alert, and Monterey (Monitor No. 6) before reporting to the Naval War College and Torpedo School on 30 November 1895 for shore duty. He next returned to sea on board Ericsson (Torpedo Boat No. 2) and then was assigned to Oregon (Battleship No. 3), to which he reported on 27 May 1898. While on board the battleship, Bostwick saw action off Santiago, Cuba, during the Spanish-American War.

Lt. Bostwick was detached from Oregon in January 1900, and served briefly on board hospital ship Solace and battleships Indiana (Battleship No. 1) and Iowa (Battleship No. 4) before receiving orders to the Naval War College in 1904. Upon graduation, Lt. Comdr. Bostwick reported to Brooklyn (Armored Cruiser No. 3) as navigator. After only two months on board the armored cruiser, he was transferred to Tacoma (Cruiser No. 18) as executive officer, in which assignment he remained for four years.

Following temporary duty as judge advocate of a court of inquiry, Lt. Comdr. Bostwick served as aide to the commandant and as inspection officer for the Norfolk Navy Yard during 1911 and 1912. Comdr. Bostwick was detached from the Norfolk Navy Yard on 10 October 1912 and reported to South Carolina (Battleship No. 26) as executive officer, then moved to Montana (Armored Cruiser No. 13) as temporary commanding officer. In January 1914, Bostwick assumed command of Nashville (Gunboat No. 7) while that gunboat cruised the West Indies and along the Central American coast protecting the interests of the United States in those regions. In April 1914, Nashville participated in the blockade of Mexico ordered by President Woodrow Wilson after the overthrow of the Mexican government by General Victoriano Huerta.

In October, Bostwick was detached from Nashville and reported to Washington, D.C., for three years of duty with the Navy Department's General Board. In 1917, after the United States had entered World War I on the side of the Allies, Capt. Bostwick returned to sea as commanding officer of South Dakota (Armored Cruiser No. 9), escorting convoys of troop and supply ships. For this service, Bostwick received the Navy Cross.

After briefly commanding New Mexico (Battleship No. 40), Bostwick served throughout 1919 as senior member of the Naval Overseas Transportation Service Demobilization Board in New York and as a member of the Joint Board of Review for the Demobilization of Troop Transports. That duty completed in September, Capt. Bostwick returned to Washington, D.C., for duty as assistant to the Chief of Naval Operations

From 4 August 1922 to 20 June 1923, Bostwick commanded California (BB-44), the flagship of the Pacific Fleet and of the Battle Fleet. Rear Admiral Bostwick earned his next position as chief of staff to the Commander in Chief, Battle Fleet. In October 1925, he moved from that staff position to the even more prestigious one of chief of staff to the Commander in Chief, United States Fleet.

Rear Admiral Bostwick assumed the duties of President of the Board of Inspection and Survey in October 1926. In May 1929, he became the Commander, Battleship Divisions, United States Fleet, which appointment carried with it the temporary rank of vice admiral. On 1 JuIy 1930, he was assigned to the concurrent posts of Commandant, 4th Naval District, and Commandant, Philadelphia Navy Yard, and served in those assignments until his retirement on 1 March 1933. Rear Admiral Bostwick died in Washington on 14 January 1940 and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Bostwick (DE-103) was laid down on 6 February 1943 at Wilmington, Del., by the Dravo Corp.; launched on 30 August 1943; sponsored by Mrs. Fred D. Pierce; and commissioned on 1 December 1943; Lt. Comdr. John H. Church, Jr., in command.

Following shakedown training near Bermuda in late December 1943 and early January 1944, the new destroyer escort joined the Atlantic Fleet to serve as school ship for training prospective crews of destroyer escorts still under construction. On 15 February, Bostwick joined Thomas (DE-102), Bronstein (DE-189), Breeman (DE-104), and Corry (DD-463) in an antisubmarine patrol that took the warships involved all the way across teh Atlantic to Casablanca, Morocco. Built around the escort aircraft carrier Block Island (CVE 21) and designated Task Group (TG) 21.16, the ships operated as a hunter-killer group in the U-boat-infested waters of the North Atlantic. Late on 29 February, Bronstein made radar contact with an unknown vessel. Bostwick and Thomas joined her in "boxing" the target, which was revealed by flares to be a surfaced German submarine, U-709. Bronstein opened fire with her guns, but the submarine managed to submerge. The three destroyer escorts tracked the U-boat, raining down a barrage of depth charges on her estimated positions. At 0324, Thomas dropped a pattern of charges that produced a huge underwater explosion, the last sounds heard from U-709.

Task Group 21.16 pulled into Casablanca on 8 March for rest and refueling, but got underway again only three days later to resume the patrol. Bostwick returned to the United States on 31 March to prepare for a transatlantic voyage as convoy escort. The convoy made the cruise without incident, arriving at Bizerte, Tunisia, on 4 May. Bostwick set out with a return convoy on 11 May and arrived safely in New York on the 30th.

The destroyer escort spent the next few weeks at Casco Bay, Maine, in refresher training. On 25 June, she joined Card (CVE-11) on another hunter-killer patrol in the Atlantic and in the West Indies. The group's first mission was to investigate a U-boat reported to be just south of Newfoundland. Thomas rammed U-233 on 5 July, sinking the submarine; and TG 22.10 returned to Boston to land prisoners and make repairs. The hunter-killer group departed Boston again on the 10th, bound for the West Indies to search for a U-boat that had torpedoed several ships in the area. On 16 July, after a plane made a contact sixty miles from the group, Bostwick joined Bronstein in a night-long search for the supposed submarine. The effort proved futile; however, and the two destroyer escorts rejoined TG 22.10 at San Juan on 18 July. Bostwick returned to New York on 25 August for a 10 day availability.

In September, the warship sailed to Casco Bay for refresher training and then rejoined Card in TG 22.2 for three days of air and subsurface training near Bermuda. The warships returned to the hunt on the 25th. While north of the Azores en route to Casablanca, Bostwick mounted an attack against a submarine, but observed no signs of a definite kill. Task Group 22.2 spent 25 and 26 October in port Casablanca, then returned to New York, arriving there on 5 November.

Following a much needed availability in the New York Navy Yard, Bostwick returned to sea with Card for patrol duty in waters off Bermuda. Task Group 22.2 spent more than a month training in anticipation of an aggressive German submarine offensive. The group returned to New York on New Year's Eve.

Early in January 1945, Bostwick steamed to Narragansett Bay to screen Prince William (CVE-31) while she conducted pilot qualifications. The destroyer escort returned to New York on 22 January and received orders to join Core (CVE-13) in TG 22.4 for more hunter-killer activities. Bostwick met the task group at sea 600 miles south of Iceland on 16 February. The group, which consisted of 12 destroyer escorts and one escort carrier, formed a scouting line 90 miles long. Searching in vain for an enemy weather-reporting submarine, TG 22.4 soon found itself in winds of hurricane force. The mountainous seas died down as the wind lessened on the 22d, but the escorts faced rising seas again before they reached port for refueling. Bostwick put into Hvalfjordür, Iceland, late on 25 February. Task Group 22.4 got underway again just three days later to track several German submarines reportedly heading west toward the Flemish Cap. While the weather had improved, but the seas remained heavy and continued to batter TG 22.4. Bostwick and her colleages gratefully turned their duties overto TG 22.13 on 14 March.

The destroyer escort arrived in New York on 17 March for a five days of voyage repairs, after which she returned to planeguard duty for Card. On 14 April, Bostwick's escort division received orders to search for a submarine just outside the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. The division split into northern and southern groups to scout the sea lanes. On 29 April, the northern group made contact with a submarine when Natchez (PF-2) sighted the snorkel of a U-boat. Bostwick, Thomas, and Coffman (DE-191) joined Natchez in dropping depth charges until heavy debris, a large oil slick, and a huge underwater explosion indicated the destruction of U-548.

Bostwick celebrated V-E Day in New York and then steamed to New London and later to Quonset Point, R.I., for training and to planeguard for pilot qualifications. In mid-July, the destroyer escort returned to New York to participate in the three-day demonstration cruise for civilian observers in the Navy's Industrial Incentive Program. Bostwick returned to planeguard duty for Mission Bay (CVE-59) and Croatan (CVE-25) but a scheduled availability in the New York Navy Yard from 24 September to 15 October ended this duty. Late in October, Bostwick was on hand in New York for Navy Day activities.

Not long thereafter, the warship received orders for inactivation and, on 15 November, headed for Green Cove Springs, Fla. Bostwick was decommissioned on 30 April 1946 and berthed in the St. John's River with the Green Cove Springs Group, Atlantic Reserve Fleet. She was sold to nationalist China on 14 December 1948, and her name was struck from the Navy list on 10 February 1949. She operated in the nationalist Chinese Navy under the name T'al Hu.

Bostwick earned two battle stars for her World War II service.

Mary P. Walker

Published: Wed Apr 06 09:09:11 EDT 2016