Allied Warships


Commonwealth frigates were specifically designed as anti-submarine escorts for trans-Atlantic convoys. River class frigates offered the size, speed, and endurance of escort sloops using inexpensive reciprocating machinery of corvettes.

River class were designed for North Atlantic weather conditions and included the most effective anti-submarine sensors and weapons. HMS Rother and HMS Spey were launched in late 1941, and Canadian and Australian construction continued through 1944. Early River class units were available for the turning point convoy battles of the winter of 1942-43. River class frigates generally replaced the old Town and V&W class destroyers which had been assigned to ocean escort groups.

Commonwealth Frigates were not the same as the American destroyer escorts although they were both meant to fill the same need and thus did not differ greatly from one another. Strong argument can be made that the USN term destroyer escort was adapted by Admiral King due to his dislike for the British. After the war all destroyer escorts were renamed as frigates.

All Frigate classes

The list is divided by navy, then ordered by commissioned date of each class (oldest first).


Royal Navy

 River (121)1942 - 1947
 Captain (77)1943 - 1944
 Colony (21)1943 - 1944
 Loch (25)1944 - 1946
 Bay (19)1945 - 1949

US Navy

 Tacoma (75)1943 - 1945

6 ship classes.

Please note that we list the classes by navies that initiated/owned the class. Often vessels of certain classes were then built for other nations (or lent), those ships are not visible here but only through the navies pages or by looking into each class.

War losses: Frigates



Royal Navy23 Sep 1943HMS Itchen (K 227)River 


Royal Navy7 Jan 1944HMS Tweed (K 250)River 
Royal Navy1 Mar 1944HMS Gould (K 476)Captain 
Royal Canadian Navy7 May 1944HMCS Valleyfield (K 329)River 
Royal Navy8 Jun 1944HMS Lawford (K 514)Captain 
Royal Navy15 Jun 1944HMS Mourne (K 261)River 
Royal Navy16 Jun 1944HMS Blackwood (K 313)Captain 
Royal Navy22 Aug 1944HMS Bickerton (K 466)Captain 
Royal Navy6 Dec 1944HMS Bullen (K 469)Captain 
Royal Navy26 Dec 1944HMS Capel (K 470)Captain 


Royal Navy29 Apr 1945HMS Goodall (K 479)Captain 

11 Frigates lost. See all Allied Warship losses.

See all Allied Warship types

British destroyers & frigates

Norman Friedman

Books dealing with this subject include:

British destroyers & frigates, Norman Friedman, 2006
The Captain Class Frigates in the Second World War, Collingwood, Donald, 1999
The Cruel Sea, Monsarrat, Nicholas, 1999 (transl.)
Frigates of the Royal Canadian Navy 1943-1974, MacPherson, Ken, 1998
The Grey Wolves of Eriboll, David M. Hird, 2010
HMCS Swansea, McKee, Fraser M., 1994
Royal Navy Frigates, Collingwood, Donald, 1999

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