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HMS Woodpecker (U08)

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Title: HMS Woodpecker (U08)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: German submarine U-256, HMS Wild Goose (U45), World War II sloops of the United Kingdom, Black Swan class sloop, German submarine U-462
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

HMS Woodpecker (U08)

Photograph of HMS Woodpecker in December 1942, from IWM
Woodpecker in December 1942
Career (UK) RN Ensign
Name: HMS Woodpecker
Namesake: Woodpecker
Builder: William Denny & Brothers
Launched: 29 June 1942
Commissioned: 14 December 1942
Fate: Torpedoed by U-256 on 20 February 1944.
Sank while under tow 27 February 1944
General characteristics
Class & type: Modified Black Swan class sloop
Displacement: 1,350 tons
Length: 299 ft 6 in (91.29 m)
Beam: 38 ft 6 in (11.73 m)
Draught: 11 ft (3.4 m)
Propulsion: Geared turbines, 2 shafts
4,300 hp (3.21 MW)
Speed: 20 knots (37 km/h)
Range: 7,500 nmi (13,900 km) at 12 kn (22 km/h)
Complement: 192
Armament: 6 × 4-inch (102 mm) AA guns (3 × 2)
4 × 2 pdr AA pom-pom
12 × 20 mm Oerlikon AA (6 × 2)
Service record
Part of: 2nd Support Group
Commanders: Lt.Cdr RES Hugonin,
Cdr HL Pryse.
Operations: Battle of the Atlantic
Victories: 7 U-boats (shared)

HMS Woodpecker (U08) was a modified, 1,300 ton Royal Navy Black Swan-class sloop that fought during World War II. The ship was built by William Denny & Brothers of Dumbarton, Scotland. She was launched on 29 June 1942, and commissioned 14 December the same year.

This sloop participated in the sinking of the following German vessels:

  • U-449, Near Cape Ortegal, Spain, 24 June 1943
  • U-462, Bay of Biscay, 30 July 1943
  • U-504, Near Cape Ortegal, Spain, 30 July 1943
  • U-226, East of Newfoundland, 6 November 1943
  • U-762, North Atlantic, 8 February 1944
  • U-424, Southwest of Ireland, 11 February 1944
  • U-264, North Atlantic, 11 February 1944

In February 1944, the Woodpecker was under the command of Commander H. L. Pryse, RNR, escorting convoy ON 224. On 20 February 1944, she was struck in the stern by an acoustic torpedo launched from the U-boat U-256. While being towed toward home, on 27 February 1944 the Woodpecker foundered and sank in an Atlantic storm. The skeleton crew was rescued before the ship went under.



  • Hague, Arnold (1993). Sloops: A History of the 71 Sloops Built in Britain and Australia for the British, Australian and Indian Navies 1926–1946. Kendal, England: World Ship Society.  

External links

  • HMS Woodpecker (U 08)

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