SHIP NOTES: (Sources: 35, Gentile)
Name: HMT Bedfordshire Type: converted fishing trawler
Built: 1935, Smith's Dock Company,
South Bank, Middlesbourough, UK
Owner: UK Royal Navy on loan to the US Navy
Home Port: Morehead City, NC
Size (LxWxD in ft.): 162.3 x 26.7 x 14 Tonnage: 443 gross tons
Propulsion: Coal-fired triple expansion steam
single screw/11 kts
Armament: Depth charges; 4" gun; machine gun
Date Sunk:5/12/42 Cause:Torpedoed by U-558
Location: Cape Lookout, NC GPS: N34° 18.849'/W76° 27.152'

British armed trawler: HMT Bedfordshire (36)
The Bedfordshire was built to be used as a deep-sea fishing trawler in arctic waters. It served that purpose for a short time before the onset of WW2 in Europe. The British Navy purchased the ship, converted it for military purposes and renamed it HMT Bedfordshire As a military vessel, it was originally used as an escort and for anti-submarine patrols original service area was off the southwest coast of England and in the Bristol Channel.

After the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor, the USA entered the war but was sorely lacking escort and anti-submarine vessels to protect the valuable east coast shipping lanes from German u-boats. The British transferred the Bedfordshire and 23 other vessels to US waters to serve under the direction of the US Navy. The Bedfordshire patrol area was Cape Lookout, NC to Norfolk, Virginia and it escorted convoys and merchant vessels around the dangerous u-boat hot zone, the Diamond Shoals, off of Cape Hatteras. Its home port for supplies and refueling was Morehead City, NC. In April, 1942, Bedfordshire provided protection to the USS Roper (DD-147) as the destroyer recovered bodies from its sinking of the U-85. The Bedfordshire was docked in Morehead City three weeks later when the U-352 was sunk by USCG cutter Icarus.

On May 10, 1942, the HMT Bedfordshire left Morehead City on what would turn out to be its last patrol. Early on May 12, as it was operating off of Cape Lookout, NC, it was spotted by the U-558 as it was coming down the coast, heading towards the Gulf of Mexico. The U-558 fired but missed with its first two torpedoes, but the attack was not noticed aboard the HMT Bedfordshire. The third torpedo did not miss, hitting the Bedfordshire and hit the small trawler amidship, blasting it almost out of the water. The HMT Bedfordshire sank immediately and there were no survivors amongst its 37 crew members. The HMT Bedfordshire was not missed for several days and it wasn't until several bodies washed ashore that were identified as being from the Bedfordshire crew thats its fate was known. The recovered British remains were buried in several cemeteries along the NC coast, the most prominent one being the British Cemetery at Ocracoke Island, NC [British Cemeteries -]

The United Kingdom has not abandoned or transferred title to HMT Bedfordshire and the vessel remains a sovereign immune State vessel belonging to the United Kingdom and is considered a military wartime grave. DO NOT DISTURB OR TAKE ITEMS FROM THE WRECK SITE.

CASUALTY LIST of the HMT Bedfordshire:
Lt. R.B. Davis, RNR (In Command).
Temp. Sub. Lt. H. Clutterbuck, RNVR.
Temp. Sub. Lt. B. Hall, RNVR.
Temp. Sub. Lt. T. Cunningham, RNVR.
F.W. Barnes, Engineman.
S. Bennett, Ordinary Seaman.
L.P. Bickford, Seaman.
E.S. Carruthers, Ordinary Seaman.
G.W. Cerrino, Leading Seaman, RNR.
W.F. Clemence, Ordinary Seaman.
F. Cragg, Ordinary Seaman.
S .R. Craig, Ordinary Telegraphist.
J.R. Dick, Seaman.
T.M. Dicks, Ordinary Seaman.
A. Dryden, Seaman.
A.W. Duncan, Chief Engineman, RNR.
G. Featherstone, Ordinary Telegraphist.
G.H. Fisher, Stoker 2nd. Class.
H. Ford, Seaman.
J. Kelly, Seaman.
W. Lee, Leading Seaman, RNR.
E.W. Lukins, Act. Stoker Petty Officer (Ty).
A.A. McCrindle, Seaman.
A. McKenzie, Stoker.
F.F. Maltby, Leading Seaman, RNR.
E.N. Morton, Ordinary Seaman.
W.J. Myers, Stoker.
S.W. Smitten, Ordinary Seaman.
P.E. Stone, Seaman.
C.T. Travell, Ordinary Signalman.
C.W. White, Ordinary Telegraphist.
L.J. Williams, Stoker, 2nd. Class.
R. Davis, Ordinary Seaman, RCN.
J.L. McCauley, Ordinary Seaman RCN.
T. A. Watson, Ordinary Seaman

Bedfordshire general layout (Greenwich Maritime Museum via 35)

Diving Depths: 100-105 ft.
Current: its been minimal when i have been on it, but given its location off Cape Lookout, I suspect I have been lucky.
Visibility: 30 ft. to 60 ft.
Summer Temperature: mid to high 70s in summer
Points of Interest: large boiler, separate bow section, depth charges, history
Fish/Animal Life: flounder, stingrays, almaco jacks; small tropicals and baitfish, small to midsize snapper and grunts; lionfish; shells.
Description: The HMT Bedfordshire is lying on its keel and pretty much contiguous except for the bow which sits at a ninety degree angle off the port side, low on the sand, some 50+ ft separate from the main wreck. The wreck site is small and can easily be circumnavigated several times during a single dive. Easy to navigate. The tallest structure is approximately 4-6 ft with the single boiler being the most recognizable. The amount of exposure of the bow section can vary from year to year depending on the shifting sands. This is a dive for slow, relaxed, close inspection movements...small wreck, not a lot of large pieces, no need to rush. Don't bang on the depth charges.

The United Kingdom has not abandoned or transferred title to HMT Bedfordshire and the vessel remains a sovereign immune State vessel belonging to the United Kingdom and is considered a military wartime grave. DO NOT DISTURB OR TAKE ITEMS FROM THE WRECK SITE.
Large single boiler
Detached bow
Main trawl winch
The bow from another angle; gun mount on upper right
Over looking the wreck layout facing the stern end
The bow section ladder exposed
The end of a depth charge protruding from the wreck
More depth charges laying in the wreck
The wreck site's relatively flat profile as you look to the stern
Stern of the Bedfordshire...looking back up the wreck
Looking past the trawl winch, towards the bow, with the boiler in the distance
Close up of a vent with the round end of a depth charge "barrel" in the distance

Unless specifically noted, all photos, text and content Copyright © Paul M. Hudy

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