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Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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Whitaker (DE-571)

(DE-571: dp. 1,300; l. 306'0"; b. 37'0"; dr. 9'0"; s. 26 k.; cpl. 200; a. 3 3", 1 2-pdr., 2 40mm., 8 20mm., 2 dct., 6 dcp., 1 dcp. (hh.); cl. Buckley)

A Royal Navy name honoring Sir Edward Whitaker (1660-1735), who distinguished himself as captain of HMS Dorsetshire in 1704 and attained the rank of vice admiral in 1708.

Whitaker (DE-571), a Buckley-class destroyer escort, was laid down on 20 October 1943 at Hingham, Mass., by the Bethlehem-Hingham Shipyard; launched on 12 December 1943; and delivered to the Royal Navy, under lend-lease, on 28 January 1944. Simultaneously commissioned as HMS Whitaker (K.580) on that day, the escort vessel (a "Captain"-class frigate in Royal Navy parlance) subsequently performed her duties under the White Ensign into the autumn of 1944, taking part in the Normandy invasion and in escorting convoys, probably in the Western Approaches area and in the English Channel in the wake of the invasion of France in the summer of 1944.

Whitaker was torpedoed by U-483 at 0210 on 1 November 1944, off the north coast of Ireland. Damage control measures brought the resultant fires under control by 0320 but not before the ship had lost much of her bow. Towed first to Londonderry and then to Belfast, Northern Ireland, Whitaker remained inactive for the rest of the war. Struck from the United States Navy list on 19 May 1945, the ship was returned to the custody of the United States Navy on 3 December 1945 but remained in the British Isles for ultimate disposition. She was sold to John Lee, of Belfast, on 9 January 1947 and was subsequently broken up for scrap.

Published: Wed Apr 20 00:59:18 EDT 2016