K 470 ; ex DE266 / USS WINTLE
Frégate anglaise de la classe Captain , construite aux Etats Unis à Boston;
mis en chantier le 11/03/1943,
lancée le 22/04/1943 par Boston N. Dockyard à Boston sous le nom de DE 266, elle est mise en servicve le 16/08/1943 ;
Long 88,22m x larg 10,72m x creux 3,07m ; 1209 tonnes de déplacement; 2 Shaft General Motors diesel -electric; Autonomie de 6000 milles à 12 nouds; Armement: 3 x 3", 2 x 40mm et 10 x 20mm .Complémént habituel de 200 personnes.
Comme de nombreux bâtiments US construits à l'origine en tant que destroyers d'escorte pour les Etats unis , le CAPEL est transféré à la Royale Navy et réaffecté comme Frégate et la numérotation des corvette lui est attribuée soit K470.
Le HMS CAPEL commandé par Lt B.G. Heslop , navigait au sein du convoi EG 1, quand il est torpillé par le U486 à 12h37, ( le même sous marin qui coula le LEOPOLDVILLE deux jours plus tôt) puis coule le 26/12/1944 à 16h02 au large de Cherbourg.
9 officiers dont le Lt B.G. Heslop et 68 mariniers sont morts. Les survivants sont récupérés par une vedette américaine et déposés dans un hopital de Cherbourg.
Le récit des survivants et les investigations plongeurs ont permis de confirmer la présence de plusieurs centaine de grenades sous-marines, notament sur les racks prévus à cet effet sur le pont du navire.
La cargaison d'explosif pourrait être évaluée entre 20 et 30 tonnes
Epave orientée E/W, couchée sur tribord, sa coque est percée de 3 trous sur bâbord arrière.
Photo courtesy of HMS Capel survivor James Ash, Manasquan, New Jersey
|The HMS Capel was one of the vessels that escorted the Leopoldville across the English Channel on Christmas Eve, 1944. The vessel was torpedoed the day after Christmas, December 26,1944, by the same German submarine (U-486) that sank the Leopoldville. Both ships sank by the stern. Unlike the Leopoldville which sank in darkness, the HMS Capel sank during daylight. Photos of the doomed ship were therefore possible. This view of the dying Capel must have been strikingly similar to the last moments of the Leopoldville. Thanks to Allan Andrade|
Sadly, my grandfather died last year. He and I were very close and he often talked to me about his experiences during the Second World War. I no longer live in Liverpool with my family but in London. I could ask my relatives there if they have more specific information about the Capel. As for the depth charges, it is a very clear memory of mine that he said as the ship was sinking all the explosives were made safe by removing the pressure fuses (in order to avoid explosions once the ship sank which could have killed or injured survivors in life rafts or dinghys). I think this was standard practice in the Royal Navy. Of course, the de-activated depth charges will still contain explosive material but I am not sure if being under water for such a long period of time will have destroyed the explosives. I assume you are interested in the circumstances of the sinking rather than specific details about the ship itself? Anyway, it is great to exchange this information with you.
Paul Doran Research Analyst - Americas
the ship was transferred to the Royal Navy from the US Navy in 1943. She was known as the USS Wintle while in American service. One other thing I remember my grandfather telling me was that as a result of the explosion the mast collapsed over the funnel, trapping the two sailors (both Welshman) who had been in the crow's nest as lookouts. I believe a total 68 men were killed in the sinking, including the commander Lt Heslop.
My late grandfather served on Capel and survived the sinking of the ship by the German submarine U-486. He remembered the torpedo striking the forward magazine at just after 12.00 noon on 26th December with the resulting explosion removing a large section of the bow. As it was clear the ship was sinking, sailors made safe the depth charges by dismantling the fuses before the Capel went down.
Survivors were in the water for about 3 hours until picked up by American Motor Torpedo Boats operating from Cherbourg. The survivors were billeted at the former German naval hospital in Cherbourg until they were repatriated to the UK, in my grandfather's case to Belfast. I believe Capel's sister ship Affleck was struck by an acoustic torpedo fired by U-486 during the same attack.
I hope you find this of some interest.
Excusez moi si j'ecrit en Anglais mais je pense que vous parlez Anglais much better than I speak French!!!
HMS CAPEL was a Lease-Lend frigate from the United States. Built in Boston N. Dockyard, she was one of the "Captain" Class. Handed over on 22.4.1943. 1,085 tons, 289ft x 35ft. 6,000 shp, giving 20 knots. Three 3in. guns and four 20mm guns. At the time of loss she was under the command of Lt. B. G. Heslop D.S.C. who was lost with 8 other officers and 68 ratings. U 486 says she saw hits by Gnats (hunting torpedos) after 1 min 39 sec and 1 min 41 sec and heard a further detonation after 7 min.
Dear Mr. Sciboz,
I have no more information than what you have posted, other than the ship was leased from the US Navy and was previously named USS Whittle (D266). A search using the search engine "Goggle" with any of this information will provide you with some sites, though the information I found was very limited. example of what I found: DE-266 DE-266--an EVARTS class destroyer escort--was named WINTLE on 23 February 1943; laid down on 11 March 1943; and, sponsored by Mrs. Mary Clyde Wintle, Lt. Comdr. Wintle’s widow, was launched on 22 April 1943. However, on 14 June 1943, the ship was allocated to the United Kingdom, and she was turned over to the Royal Navy on 16 August 1943. Renamed CAPEL (K.470) to honor Admiral Sir Thomas Bladen Capel who commanded frigate PHOEBE at Trafalgar, the ship served the British primarily in the North Atlantic. She was a part of the naval force which supported the Allied invasion of Normandy in June 1944 and was active in the Atlantic after General Eisenhower’s troops had secured a foot-hold in western Europe. HMS CAPEL was torpedoed by U-486 on 26 December 1944 and sunk in the English Channel.
The main reason I am writing is to ask you if you can provide me with information on HMS Capel, the reason I ask is that my mothers youngest brother was killed in the sinking of the Capel, and she would interested in knowing anything about the Capel. Thank you for your time I am sorry I can not provide you with further information, if I do I will pass it on to you. Have a merry X mass and a happy new year
. David Hide.