USS England (DE-635)

England off San Francisco in February, 1944, before deploying to the front. Photo in the collections of the US Navy History & Heritage Command.

Ship Class
Ship Type
Laid Down

USS England (DE-635) was a Buckley-class destroyer escort, which still holds the world record for anti-submarine warfare, sinking six Japanese submarines in twelve days. Commissioned in December, 1943, England was named after a sailor who died at Pearl harbor, and seemed to take it to heart. She arrived in the New Hebrides in March, 1944, and began escorting convoys in the south and central Pacific. On 16 May, England was detached to help hunt down the submarine I-16, and made sonar contact on the 18th. England made five Hedgehog anti-submarine mortar attacks, sinking the sub. two days later, Naval Intelligence identified seven Japanese submarines moving into position to try and ambush American carriers. England proceeded to sink five of them in the next eleven days. On the 26th, England's group was relieved by a hunter group centered around an escort carrier, but England pointedly sank another sub just before midnight. On most of the kills, other destroyers made contact and attacked first, but it always came down to England. The sixth kill came on 31 May, with the submarine evading Hedgehogs from three other destroyers before the exasperated group commander called "Oh, Hell. Go ahead, England." England promptly sank the sub. England was transferred to patrol and escort duty through May, 1945, when she was hit by a kamikaze, which inflicted heavy damage and killed thirty-seven crew. England was towed out of the danger area, and patched up in the Philippines before heading to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for full repairs. Work was begun to convert England to a high speed transport while under repair, but progress was halted by the Japanese surrender. England was decommissioned in October, and sold for scrap in 1946.

Bonus Information

Fun Fact: Shortly after the sixth kill, the OTC radioed England and asked "God damn it, how do you do it?" to which her skipper replied "Personnel and equipment worked with the smoothness of well-oiled clockwork. As a result of our efforts, Recording Angel working overtime checking in Nip (sic) submariners joining Honorable Ancestors."