You are here...
The Captain Class Frigates as we know them, of course started out life as the British Destroyer Escorts (BDE) and as already has been stated was reduced to Destroyer Escort (DE) when the United States of America entered the war, which upset the British plans, for we had ordered a further 100 ships on top of our original 50 already on order. Now of course the U.S.Navy wanted the lions share which caused the ships for the Royal Navy to be produced from those which had been allocated to the U.S.A.
The first ship was laid down in March 1942 which became HMS Bayntun K310 (DE 1). The ships were prefabricated at various factories in the U.S.A. and the units brought together in the shipyards, where they were welded together on the slipways mainly by women before being launched and then moved to the fitting out dock where the engines, weapons and electrical equipment etc; was installed.
The ships were flush decked and the deckline flowed in a rather graceful sheer from foc.sle to midships, unlike the British who always produced a break at the foc.sle in Destroyers built in the UK. I think all who sailed in them found this new feature very pleasing to look at. They were a thin skinned vessel being built from steel plate, 1/2 inch thick along the outboard strake above the keel, most of the hull and deck plating was 1/4 inch thick, 3/16 inch steel plate was used for the superstructure bulkheads, but where greater stress was to be experienced plate up to 7/16 inch was used. The funnels on the Evarts were topped by a raked cowl which gave them a streamline look, the funnels on the Buckley were more conventional but still more modern looking than was usual with our own built ships, and they were unique in that they had two flues leading from each of the two boiler rooms which were quite a distance apart which made the funnel assembly look like a upside down letter Y.
The superstructure was different in each class, the Evarts had a break aft of the bridge superstructure and the main part of the superstructure, whereas the Buckley class had one continuous superstructure which made it possible to move right along the ship in bad weather without getting wet unlike in the Evarts.
Evarts were driven by Diesel / Electric power. The specification called for Eight General Motors V12 diesel engines, but due to the shortage of these engines which were being used in so many different types of craft it was decided therefore due to the urgent demand for these ships, there would only be four diesel engines mounted in tandem with electric drives which of course had the effect of reducing the specified speed from 24 knots to 19 knots, this shortage brought about a re-think of how to power these ships, and was responsible for the emergence of the Buckley class with its steam turbo electric drive engines.
General Electric were contacted in January 1942 to produce such a propulsion unit of its own, these units consisted of a super heated boiler in the boiler room and a main GE 4,600 kW steam turbine generator, in a separate engine room were situated a propulsion motor and a motor generator. The forward propulsion unit drove the starboard shaft, and the aft unit drove the port shaft and this propulsion gave the Buckley a speed of 24 knots. This larger propulsion unit caused the Buckley class to be lengthened and the beam also had to be widened.