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USS McCook (DD-252)
USS McCook (DD-252)
USS McCook (DD-252)
Career (United States)
Name: USS McCook (DD-252)
Namesake: Roderick S. McCook
Builder: Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation, Fore River Shipyard, Quincy
Laid down: 10 September 1918
Launched: 31 January 1919
Commissioned: 30 April 1919
Decommissioned: 24 September 1940
Struck: 8 January 1941
Fate: Transferred to the United Kingdom then Canada, 24 September 1940
Career (Canada)
Name: HMCS St. Croix (I81)
Namesake: St. Croix River
Acquired: 24 September 1940
Honours and
Atlantic 1940-43
Fate: sunk by enemy action,
22 September 1943
General characteristics
Class & type: Clemson-class destroyer
Displacement: 1,190 tons (1,209 t)
Length: 314 ft 5 in (95.83 m)
Beam: 31 ft 8 in (9.65 m)
Draft: 9 ft 3 in (2.8 m)
Propulsion: 26,500 shp (20 MW);
geared turbines,
2 screws
Speed: 35 knots (65 km/h)
Range: 4,900 nmi (9,100 km)
  @ 15 kt
Complement: 120 officers and enlisted
Armament: 4 x 4 in (102 mm), 2 x 3 in (76 mm) guns, 12 x 21 in (533 mm) tt

The first USS McCook (DD-252) was a Clemson-class destroyer in the United States Navy. She transferred to the Royal Navy and then to the Royal Canadian Navy as HMCS St. Croix during World War II.

As USS McCook

Named for Roderick S. McCook, she was laid down 10 September 1918 and launched 31 January 1919 at the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation; sponsored by Mrs. Henry C. Dinger; and commissioned 30 April 1919, Lieutenant Commander G. B. Ashe in command.

Following shakedown, McCook was assigned to Destroyer Force, Atlantic Fleet. She operated along the east coast until decommissioning at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 30 June 1922. She remained in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet until recommissioned 18 December 1939. The next year McCook was designated for exchange under the Destroyers for Bases Agreement with Great Britain. Steaming to Halifax, Nova Scotia, she arrived 20 September 1940. Decommissioned on the 24th, she was transferred to Great Britain on the same date, but due to manpower shortages in the Royal Navy, she was retransferred immediately to the Canadian Navy and commissioned as HMCS St. Croix (I81). Following the Canadian practice of naming destroyers after Canadian rivers (but with deference to the U.S. origin), St. Croix was named after the St. Croix River forming the border between Maine and New Brunswick.[1]

As HMCS St. Croix

Crew manning a 4-inch gun, Halifax, March 1941

Delayed by repairs necessitated by hurricane damage, on 14 March 1941 St. Croix assumed escort and patrol duties in Canadian waters. At the end of August she joined the Newfoundland Escort Force and plied between St. John’s, Newfoundland and Reykjavík. By May 1942 the force had been renamed the Mid-Ocean Escort Force and its range extended to Londonderry Port.

St. Croix sank U-90 on 24 July 1942, which, with other U-boats, had attacked her convoy (ON 113) on the 23rd, sinking two merchantmen and damaging a third. On the return voyage, Convoy ON 127 was attacked by 13 U-boats. Between 10 September and 14 September eleven merchantmen and one destroyer were lost.

En route from Londonderry Port to Gibraltar on 4 March 1943 with Convoy KMS 10, she assisted HMCS Shediac (K110) in the sinking of U-87 some 200 miles (370 km) off the Iberian coast.

With the addition of air escort to convoy defense in 1943, U-boat tolls in the North Atlantic diminished and many of the boats were withdrawn during the summer. In the fall, however, Germany began a new U-boat offensive. On 16 September, St. Croix, then on her first patrol with an offensive striking group in the Bay of Biscay, went to the aid of convoy ONS 18, followed by ON 202, both heavily beset by a wolfpack. The defense of these convoys resulted in a long-running battle with losses to both sides. The convoys lost three escorts and six merchantmen, with two escorts damaged. The wolfpack lost three U-boats.

St. Croix was the first escort to be sunk, taking three hits in the stern on the 20th. HMS Polyanthus (K47) was sunk by U-952 as she came up to screen HMS Itchen's rescue operations. Itchen (K227), forced to retire that evening, returned the next morning and picked up 81 survivors from St. Croix and one from Polyanthus. The following day, 22 September, Itchen herself was torpedoed. Three men were rescued, two from Itchen, one from St. Croix.

An additional member of the St. Croix crew survived by virtue of not having been aboard. Chester Francis "Frank" Rudolph was involved in a bar fight just prior to St. Croix leaving on her fateful final mission, and was prevented from shipping out due to a badly cut up hand.[citation needed] Naval officials did not realize initially that Rudolph had not been aboard, as his family received three telegrams stating he had been lost at sea, then rescued, then lost again, all the while he was in a military hospital in Halifax, Nova Scotia.[citation needed]

Trans-Atlantic convoys escorted

Convoy Escort Group Dates Notes
HX 129 27–28 May 1941[2] Newfoundland to Iceland
SC 33 1–3 June 1941[3] Newfoundland to Iceland
HX 133 17–20 June 1941[2] Newfoundland to Iceland
HX 135 26–29 June 1941[2] Newfoundland to Iceland
HX 138 11–15 July 1941[2] Newfoundland to Iceland
SC 41 28 Aug-5 Sept 1941[3] Newfoundland to Iceland
SC 42 12-17 Sept 1941[3] Newfoundland to Iceland
ON 17 19-21 Sept 1941[4] Iceland to Newfoundland
ON 19 28 Sept-4 Oct 1941[4] Iceland shuttle
SC 50 19-26 Oct 1941[3] Newfoundland to Iceland
ON 32 6-14 Nov 1941[4] Iceland to Newfoundland
HX 189 MOEF group C1 14 May 1942[2] Newfoundland
SC 84 MOEF group C2 17–21 May 1942[3] Newfoundland to Iceland
SC 89 MOEF group C2 28 June-10 July 1942[3] Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ON 113 MOEF group C2 18–26 July 1942[4] Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
SC 96 MOEF group C4 15-26 Aug 1942[3] Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
Convoy ON 127 MOEF group C4 5-14 Sept 1942[4] Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
SC 101 MOEF group C4 23 Sept-3 Oct 1942[3] Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ON 137 MOEF group C4 12-19 Oct 1942[4] Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
HX 222 MOEF group C1 11-22 Jan 1943[2] Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
KMS 10 MOEF group C1 28 Feb-8 March 1943[2] Firth of Clyde to Mediterranean Sea
MKS 9 MOEF group C1 8–18 March 1943[2] Mediterranean Sea to Firth of Clyde
ONS 2 MOEF group C1 5–14 April 1943[4] Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
SC 127 MOEF group C1 20 April-2 May 1943[3] Newfoundland to Northern Ireland
ON 184 MOEF group C1 16–25 May 1943[4] Northern Ireland to Newfoundland
HX 250 Support Group 9 5-11 Aug 1943[2]
HX 256 Support Group 9 19 Sept 1943[2]
Convoys ONS 18/ON 202 Support Group 9 19-20 Sept 1943[4]

See also


  1. Milner 1985 p.23
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 "HX convoys". Andrew Hague Convoy Database. Retrieved 2011-06-19. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 "SC convoys". Andrew Hague Convoy Database. Retrieved 2011-06-19. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 "ON convoys". Andrew Hague Convoy Database. Retrieved 2011-06-19. 


External links

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