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Garlies (DE-271)


The name assigned to the ship when she was allocated to the Royal Navy under Lend Lease. Lord Garlies served as captain of the frigate HMS Lively at St. Vincent and of the frigate HMS Bellerophon in 1801 during the blockade of Brest, France.

(DE-271: displacement 1,140; length 289'5"; beam 35'1"; draft 11'10"; speed 21 knots; complement 198; armament 3 3-inch; 4 1.1-inch, 9 20 millimeter, 8 depth charge projectors, 1 depth charge projectors (hedgehog), 2 depth charge tracks; class Evarts)

Fleming (DE-271) was laid down on 7 April 1943 by the Boston [Mass.] Navy Yard; launched on 19 May 1943; and sponsored by Mrs. Michael E. Fleming, mother of the late Capt. Richard E. Fleming, USMC, killed in action during the Battle of Midway (4-6 June 1942) and the recipient (posthumously) of the Medal of Honor. The name Fleming was cancelled from assignment to DE-271 on 13 June 1943 and then reassigned to another escort vessel, DE-32, when DE-271 was allocated to the Royal Navy under Lend Lease. Transferred to Great Britain on 13 July 1943, the ship was commissioned into the service of the Royal Navy as HMS Garlies (K.475) on 13 September 1943.

During World War II, Garlies, classified as a frigate, operated in the Atlantic on convoy escort duty, and in June 1944 supported the Allied invasion of Europe off Normandy. She served in the Royal Navy until 20 August 1945 when she was returned to the U.S. Navy at Chatham, England. Retaining her British name, and with officers and men transferred from the gunboat Saucy (PG-65) when that ship was decommissioned and returned to the Royal Navy, Garlies (DE-271) was commissioned at His Majesty’s Dockyard, Chatham, on 20 August 1945, Lt. Byron H. Farwell (D) USNR in command. 

Underway early in the afternoon watch on 28 August 1945, Garlies departed Chatham and proceeded independently to Deal, England, the rendezvous point for Task Group (TG) 23.1, and anchored at 1740. Weighing anchor at 0520 on the 29th, the escort vessel got underway soon thereafter in company with TG 23.1, Cmdr. Robert P. Walker, the task group commander, riding in Grindall (DE-273). After pausing briefly at anchor (0530-0932), she got underway once more, setting course for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The voyage back to the U.S. proceeded uneventfully until the forenoon watch on 4 September 1945, when, less than an hour after the crew mustered on stations, the engine room watch reported an explosion on number 2 engine at 0855. Fortunately, as Lt. (j.g.) Clifford W. O’Dell, Jr., USNR, Garlies’s assistant engineering officer and the officer of the deck, noted in the log, the ship suffered “no casualties” to either people or machinery. The following day, also during the forenoon watch, Garlies experienced a steering engine casualty at 0855, prompting a stopping of the engine for repairs, an evolution that took 10 minutes. Moving ahead at two-thirds speed soon thereafter, Garlies maneuvered alongside Kempthorne (DE-279) “to transfer film.”  

On 8 September 1945, TG 23.1 encountered foggy conditions during the morning watch that prompted Garlies to lie-to at 0616, all engines stopped, until 1030, when the ship got underway again “all engines ahead one third.” The ships eventually sighted land at 1417 when the fog cleared, Garlies embarking a pilot, Lt. Cmdr. H. F. Virden, USCGR, twenty minutes later. Passing the Overfalls Lightship abeam to starboard at 1451, the escort vessel conformed to the Delaware River Channel, standing in to Philadelphia. The little harbor tug YTL-358 came alongside at 2120 and assisted in placing Garlies beside Bazely (DE-2) alongside Pier 2, Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, at 2147. A Public Health Officer gave the newly arrived ships of TG 23.1 a “clean bill of health.”

The venerable (1890) YTL-16 and the big harbor tug Pawtucket (YTB-359) moved Garlies to Pier Three (0855-0924) on 12 September 1945. Two days later (14 September), she set Hurricane Condition Two in obedience to a dispatch from the senior officer present afloat (SOPA) embarked in the heavy cruiser Macon (CA-132).

Pawtucket and YTL-16 again assisted in moving Garlies, this time to Fort Mifflin on 1 October 1945 (0815-0900). After the escort vessel had offloaded her allowance of ammunition (0910-1125), Pawtucket and Achigan (YTB-218) took the ship into the Schuykill River, then into the back channel of the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, mooring her alongside Witter (DE-636) in the Reserve Basin. Garlies got underway the following day (2 October), when Achigan and another venerable (authorized 1895) yard craft, the medium harbor tug YTM-5, took the ship from the Second Street, West, berth alongside Witter to Pier “B,” where she rejoined her sister ship Grindall. There, Garlies was decommissioned at 1024 on 19 October 1945. Her name was stricken from the Navy Register on 1 November 1945.

Ultimately, authorized "to be sold as a hulk for scrap," the veteran of service under the White Ensign and, briefly, the Stars and Stripes, was sold to Thomas Harris Barker of New Jersey on 18 July 1947 to be broken up for scrap.

Commanding Officer                         Date Assumed Command

Lt. Byron H. Farwell (D) USNR                     20 August 1945

Robert J. Cressman

23 September 2016

Published: Fri Sep 23 20:43:52 EDT 2016