USS Aulick (DD-258) / HMS Burnham

USS Aulick (DD-258)/ HMS Burnham was a Clemson class destroyer that was transferred to the Royal Navy under the terms of the destroyers for bases deal. In British and Canadian service she operated on Atlantic convoy escort duties in 1941-43 and as an Air Target Ship in 1944.

The Aulick was named after John H. Aulick, a US sailer during the War of 1812 who didn’t retire until 1861.

The Aulick was laid down by Bethlehem at Quincy, Mass, on 3 December 1918, launched on 11 April 1919 and commissioned on 26 July 1919.

Like many of her sisters she had a very brief US career. She served with Destroyer Flotilla 10 of the Pacific Fleet from 1919 until 1922. She was decommissioned on 27 May 1922 and remained out of service for the next seventeen years.

The Aulick was recommissioned on 18 June 1939, during the last few months of peace before the outbreak of the Second World War. After being prepared for service she moved to the east coast, and served with the various neutrality patrols. She was then chosen to be one of the fifty destroyers to be transferred to Britain under the terms of the Destroyers for Bases deal.

As HMS Burnham

On 8 October 1940, Aulick was decommissioned at Halifax, Nova Scotia, and transferred to the British under the agreement with the United Kingdom exchanging American destroyers for bases in the Atlantic. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 8 December 1941.

The Burnham departed for the UK on 16 October 1940. She arrived in the Clyde on 26 October with the Broadwater, Burwell and Bradford.  After a brief refit at Plymouth she moved to Scapa Flow, and on 12 November she began to work up with the Home Fleet. Later in the month she was used to escort HMS Formidable from Belfast to the Clyde.

Her first convoy work came in early December 1940 when she escorted Convoy SL 76 on the later stages of its voyage from Freetown. She suffered weather damage during this duty and from 17 December until the end of January 1941 was undergoing repairs at Belfast.

On 30 January 1941 she left Belfast to join the 12th Escort Group, operating on the Atlantic convoy routes. She was damaged in a collision with HMS Malcolm on 3 March and required repairs that lasted into April. After the repairs were over she rejoined her group, which was now part of the Royal Canadian Navy Newfoundland Escort Force. She joined the group at Iceland in May, but later in the month it moved to St Johns, Newfoundland. In June-July she carried out escort duties in the western Atlantic. In August she escorted Convoy HX143.

In September 1941 she was damaged in a collision with HMS Chesterfield, and went to Boston, Mass, for repairs. These lasted until late October, when she rejoined her group. While she was away it had been renamed as the 119th Escort Group, RCN. She resumed her convoy escort duties, escorting Convoy SC53 in November and SC59 and CNS50 in December.

The escort duties continued in January-February 1942. In March she underwent a refit at Charlestown, South Caroline, then she spent April on escort duties from Bermuda, before returning to her group in St. Johns. From July-September she worked with the 2nd Canadian Escort Group, escorting convoy SC97 in August and ON129 in September. In October she returned to the UK, and in November-December 1942 she underwent a refit on the Thames.

In January 1943 she returned to Canada and joined the 3rd Canadian Escort Group. She was on escort duties until October. In February she escorted convoys HX221 and ONS163, in April Convoy ON160, in May JX238 and in September HX255.

In October 1943 the Burnham returned to the UK. She was then chosen for use as an Air Target Vessel, and was converted for her new role between November 1943 and February 1944. From March-October 1944 she was used as an Air Target Ship for training aircrews, and was stationed in the Irish Sea.

In November 1944 she was withdrawn from service. In December she was paid off and her stores removed and in January she was placed into the reserve at Milford Haven. After the was she was placed on the Disposal List in March 1947 and sold for scrap in 1948.

Displacement (standard)


Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

35.51kts at 24,890shp at 1,107t on trial (Preble)


2-shaft Westinghouse geared tubines
4 boilers
27,000shp (design)


2,500nm at 20kts (design)


314ft 4in


30ft 10.5in


Four 4in/ 50 guns
One 3in/23 AA gun
Twelve 21in torpedoes in four triple mountings
Two depth charge tracks
One Y-Gun depth charge projector

Crew complement



11 April 1919


26 July 1919

Sold for scrap


WWII Home Page | WWII Subject Index | WWII Books | WWII Links | Day by Day

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (28 January 2020), USS Aulick (DD-258) / HMS Burnham ,

Help - F.A.Q. - Contact Us - Search - Recent - About Us - Privacy