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Ships Companies

Between 170 to 180 Officers and men made up the crews of these Frigates, and it must have given the Admiralty quite a headache to find the numbers of personnel required to man the 78 ships within a 9/10 month period. The bulk of the men were Hostilities Only (HO) and all had to be trained from scratch in which ever branch of the Navy they had chosen to serve, after initial joining routine and approximately 5/7 weeks square bashing and getting physically fit, they moved onto the job training.

Chief and Petty Officers who were in the regular service filled the major posts, and many of the Leading Hands were men who had been in the Navy from the beginning of the war and had been promoted.

Another problem which arose with the senior engineering personnel, was being faced with Diesel engines and also Electric propulsion which did not occur in any other Royal Navy ships, but it has to be said they were quick to learn all about their new charges.

But despite all the problems the Drafting Officers of the three main bases Plymouth, Portsmouth and Chatham had, they did the job even if it did become a struggle at times especially later in 1943 when due to the efficiency of the American dock yards ships were being built at high speed (4 to 5 months).

The next problem was getting the crews over to the U.S.A. to commission the ships, this was accomplished by them taking passage from the Clyde or Liverpool on liners such as the Queen Mary or the Andes, some 12000 were transported this way which for most of the H.O's who were young lads and had never been to sea before was quite a novelty, despite the cramped conditions on board a troop ship, but these were fast ships which completed the voyage in a few days.

Picture of the crew of HMS Hargood K582, at Aberdeen, Scotland October 1945, donated by John Lang

Crew of HMS Hargood, K582 [Buckley Class] at Aberdeen, Scotland October 1945. Picture donated by John Lang.

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Author: Roy Tynan © 2003
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