USS Thatcher (DD-162)/ HMCS Niagara

USS Thatcher (DD-162) was a Wickes class destroyer that formed part of the 'destroyers for bases' deal and served on convoy escort duty as HMCS Niagara

The Thatcher was named after Henry K. Thatcher, a US Naval Officer during the American Civil War, who accepted the surrender of Confederate Naval Forces in Alabama, and took part in the capture of Mobile, Sabine Pass and Galveston.

USS Thatcher (DD-162) leads ships into harbour, c.1919-22
USS Thatcher (DD-162)
leads ships into harbour,

The Thatcher was laid down at Quincy, Mass, on 8 June 1918, launched on 31 August 1918 and commissioned on 14 January 1919. She joined the Atlantic Fleet, and in May 1919 supported the transatlantic flight made by Navy Curtiss Flying Boat NC-4. The Thatcher was the ninth of twenty one destroyers that lined the route, between the Walker (DD-163) and Crosby (DD-164).

The Thatcher moved to the Pacific Fleet in the autumn of 1921 and was based at San Diego until she was decommissioned on 7 June 1922.

The Thatcher wasn't recommissioned until 18 December 1939, during the expansion of the US fleet that followed the outbreak of the Second World War. She moved to the Atlantic in April 1940, and joined the neutrality patrol, operating in the Gulf of Mexico and off the East Coast. She formed part of Destroyer Division 69 of the Atlantic Squadron.

The Thatcher was then chose as one of fifty destroyers that were to be given Britain under the 'destroyers for bases' deal. She reached Halifax, Nova Scotia, on 20 September 1940, where she was decommissioned from the US Navy on 24 September.

As HMCS Niagara(I.57)

The Thatcher was renamed HMCS Niagara (I.57). She crossed the Atlantic late in 1940 and reached Britain on 11 December. She was allocated to the 4th Escort Group, Western Approaches Command, based at Greenock. She then moved to the Newfoundland escort force, as the Canadians took on an increasing amount of convoy escort duties.

USS Walker (DD-163), USS Crosby (DD-164), USS Thatcher (DD-162), Cuyama, USS Gamble (DD-123) USS Walker (DD-163), USS Crosby (DD-164), USS Thatcher (DD-162), Cuyama, USS Gamble (DD-123)

In August 1941 she helped secure the surrender of U-570. On 27 August 1941 this submarine was bombed by a Lockheed Hudson based on Iceland, and damaged so badly that her crew decided to surrender. The Hudson called for help, and aircraft stayed overhead until the Niagara reached the scene at 0820 on 28 August. She placed a prize crew on the submarine and took her 43-man crew onboard as prisoners. U-570 was then towed to Iceland, and after repairs was taken into the Royal Navy as HMS Graph.

The Niagara continued to operate on convoy escort duties, in the Atlantic and along the US and Canadian coasts until the end of 1944. In January 1942 she escorted the storm damaged Danish merchantship Triton to Belfast. In March 1942 she rescued the survivors from the SS Independence Hall, which had run aground off Sable Island, Nova Scotia. In April 1942 she rescued two boatloads of survivors from the SS Rio Blanco, torpedod by U-160 on 1 April, close to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. During this period she needed boiler repairs in May-August 1942 and underwent refits in June and October 1943.

On 2 March 1945 the Niagara became a torpedo-firing ship, training new torpedomen, based at Halifax and later at St. John, New Brunswick. This lasted until mid-August 1945.

The Niagara was decommissioned on 15 September 1945, and given to the War Assets Corps on 27 May 1946 to be disposed of.

Displacement (standard)


Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

35kts design
34.81kts at 27,350shp at 1,236t on trial (Kimberly)


2 shaft Parsons turbines
4 boilers
27,000shp design


2,500nm at 20kts (design)

Armour - belt


 - deck



314ft 4.5in


30ft 11.5in


Four 4in/ 50 guns
Twelve 21in torpedo tubes in four triple mountings
Two 1-pounder AA guns
Two depth charge tracks

Crew complement



31 August 1918


14 January 1919


15 September 1945

Disposed of

27 May 1946

U.S. Destroyers: An Illustrated Design History, Norman Friedmann . The standard history of the development of American destroyers, from the earliest torpedo boat destroyers to the post-war fleet, and covering the massive classes of destroyers built for both World Wars. Gives the reader a good understanding of the debates that surrounded each class of destroyer and led to their individual features.
cover cover cover

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (13 February 2018), USS Thatcher (DD-162)/ HMCS Niagara ,

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