From the "Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships," (1968) Vol. 3, p.249.
HAROLD C. THOMAS
Displacement: 1,140 t. Length: 289'5" Beam: 35'1" Draft: 8'3" Speed: 21 k. Complement: 156 Armament: 3 3"; 4 1.1"; 9 20mm; 2 depth charge tracks; 8 depth charge projectors; 1 hedge hog Class: EVARTS
HAROLD C. THOMAS (DE-21) was launched 18 December 1942 by the Mare Island Navy Yard as ESSINGTON (BDE-21) for the British; later designed for Navy use; and commissioned 31 May 1943, Comdr. H. Reich in command.
After three voyages escorting merchantmen from San Francisco to Pearl Harbor, HAROLD C. THOMAS served with ComSubTraPac 2-20 November 1943. Sailing from Pearl Harbor 20 November with a convoy of merchantmen and cargo ships, she reached Abemama, Gilbert Islands, 28 November, a week after Vice Admiral R. A. Spruance began the occupation of those islands. HAROLD C. THOMAS spent the rest of the year in the Gilberts on patrol and escort duty.
After undergoing availability early in 1944, HAROLD C. THOMAS sailed as flagship for Escort Division 10, 29 February. Reaching Entwetok, Marshall Islands, 11 March, she did escort work until 30 March when she became part of a hunter-killer carrier group on antisubmarine patrol east of the Marshalls. Returning to Pearl Harbor 6 May, the destroyer spent the remainder of the year in the vital but unsung work of shepherding merchantmen, cargo ships, and transports through the back staging areas up to their assembly points for invasion forces. This duty took HAROLD C. THOMAS to the Marshall, Admiralty, Palau, and Marianas Islands. She also performed some submarine training work at Pearl Harbor. On 21 November, HAROLD C. THOMAS rescued seven men from a PBM which had crashed at sea off Majuro Atoll.
Departing Pearl Harbor 21 January 1945, she reached San Francisco 6 days later and proceeded to San Diego for badly needed repairs. HAROLD C. THOMAS returned to Pearl Harbor 5 April and spent the rest of the war in submarine training and escort duty. The long Pacific war ended 1 September with the signing of the armistice on board battleship MISSOURI (BB-63) in Tokyo Bay, and HAROLD C. THOMAS sailed for the States 20 days later, putting into San Pedro 27 September where she decommissioned 26 October 1945. She was sold to the Pacific Bridge Co., San Francisco, 25 November 1946 and scrapped 26 March 1947.
HAROLD C. THOMAS received two battle stars for World War II service.
Transcribed by Michael Hansen