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Submarine Chaser Photo Archive

Honesdale (PC 566)

Call sign:
November - Echo - Quebec - India

Honesdale served the Navies of the United States and Venezuela.

PC-461 Class Submarine Chaser:

  • Laid down 14 August 1941 at Brown Shipbuilding Co., Houston TX
  • Launched 21 March 1942
  • Commissioned USS PC-566, 15 June 1942
  • Placed in service as a Naval Reserve Training vessel in September 1946 at the 4th Naval District (Philadelphia)
  • Decommissioned 8 January 1947 at Norfolk, VA and laid up in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet, Norfolk Group
  • Named Honesdale 1 February 1956
  • Struck from the Navy Register 1 July 1960
  • Sold to Venezuela in June 1961 and renamed Calamar (P 02)
  • Struck from Venezuelan Naval list in 1978
  • Fate unknown.


  • Displacement 280 t.(lt), 450 t.(fl)
  • Length 173' 8"
  • Beam 23'
  • Draft 10' 10"
  • Speed 20.2 kts.
  • Complement 65
  • Armament: One 3"/50 dual purpose gun mount, one 40mm gun mount, three 20mm guns, two rocket launchers, four depth charge projectors, and two depth charge tracks
  • Propulsion: Two 1,440bhp Fairbanks Morse 38D 8 1/8 diesel engines (Serial No. 832235 and 832236), Westinghouse single reduction gear, two shafts.

    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    Honesdale 175k 14 November 1941
    Litterest Commercial Photo Co. photo
    National Archives photo
    Dan Treadwell
    Honesdale 180k
    Honesdale 185k 6 February 1942
    Litterest Commercial Photo Co. photo
    National Archives photo
    Honesdale 50k . The Ted Stone Collection
    Mariners' Museum,
    Newport News, VA
    Honesdale 85k Adm. Jonathan Greenert speaks with Herbert Gordon Claudius Jr. about his challenge coin history on 16 December 2014. Claudius accepted the Legion of Merit award on behalf of his father at a ceremony. The actions of Lt. Cmdr. Claudius as commanding officer of PC-566 resulted in the sinking of enemy submarine U-166
    U.S. Navy photo by Julianne F. Metzger
    Stars and Stripes
    Published: December 19, 2014

    WASHINGTON — The Navy has posthumously awarded the Legion of Merit with a Combat "‘V" device to Herbert G. Claudius, 72 years after it dismissed his claims that he and his crew sunk a German U-boat off the coast of Louisiana during World War II.

    His son, Herbert Gordon Claudius, Jr., accepted the award from Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert during a Tuesday ceremony at the Pentagon.

    The elder Claudius has finally been recognized for his actions on July 30, 1942, when he led the patrol ship USS PC-566 into battle against a German submarine that had been attacking American vessels.

    At the time, U-Boats were wreaking havoc on Allied shipping. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill called them “the only thing that ever really frightened me during the war.

    Minutes after the passenger ship SS Robert E. Lee was torpedoed and sunk by U-166, 45 miles south of the Mississippi River Delta, Claudius’ crew spotted a periscope in the area. After Claudius ordered depth charges fired, the crew saw an oil slick in the area where the weapons were dropped, according to historical accounts of the incident. This was strong evidence that the submarine had been severely damaged or destroyed.

    But when Claudius submitted his after-action report, the Navy doubted his account because he and his crew had not yet received anti-submarine training, according to National Geographic, which is making a documentary about the affair.

    The Navy’s Anti-Submarine Warfare Assessment Committee even admonished the crew for a poorly executed attack, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

    Claudius was removed from command and sent to anti-submarine warfare school.

    “Claudius was shafted,” U-boat expert Richie Kohler said, according to National Geographic. “He should have returned home a hero, but he was humiliated and sent back to school.

    But the Navy has since come around. Nearly 60 years after the fact, an oil company discovered U-boat wreckage very close to where the battle occurred. Last summer, oceanographer Robert Ballard explored the site with remotely piloted vehicles and conducted high-resolution mapping to try to figure out what happened. The evidence suggested that U-166 had in fact been destroyed by a depth charge.

    After concluding its own historic and archeological assessment, the Naval History and Heritage Command recommended the service credit PC-556 and Claudius for sinking the U-boat and give them the appropriate recognition.

    Mabus acknowledged that the Navy made a mistake.

    “Seventy years later, we now know that [Claudius’s] report after the action was absolutely correct,” Mabus said at the award ceremony, according to National Geographic. “[Claudius’ ship] did sink that U-boat, and it’s never too late to set the record straight.”

    Mabus also praised the captain’s bravery, noting that Claudius and his crew were operating in “very dangerous waters.”

    Greenert went on social media to pay tribute.

    “Claudius was essential in sighting and sinking [U-166],” Greenert wrote on his Facebook page. “Claudius’ actions reflected great credit upon himself, and it was a true pleasure to be able to share the presentation with his family.”

    Claudius served 33 years in the Navy and died in 1981.

    “He would have felt vindicated,” Gordon Claudius said, according to National Geographic.

    Ron Reeve
    Calamar (P 02)
    Honesdale 1720k Venezuelan Navy photo from the 1969/1970 edition of Jane's Fighting Ships Robert Hurst

    Commanding Officers
    01LT Herbert Gordon Claudius, USNR/USN - Awarded the Legion of Merit with Combat V (Posthumously - 2014)
    Retired as Captain
    15 June 1942
    02LCDR Malcolm W. Greenough, USNRSeptember 1942
    03LCDR Philip A. Walker, USNRDecember 1942
    04LCDR Dudley S. Knox, USNRMarch 1943
    05LT Peter J. Brennan, Jr., USNRMay 1943
    06LT Grant Cowherd, USNRSeptember 1943
    07LT Reed Whitney, USNRMarch 1944
    08LTJG Alvin W. Stein, USNRJune 1944
    09LTJG Joseph F. Effinger, USNRAugust 1945
    10LTJG Vivian F. Platt, Jr., USNR21 October 1945
    11LTJG James J. Regan, USNRMarch 1946
    12LTJG Lester Sidney Hole, USNRJune 1946
    13ENS Donald J. Pratt, USN15 December 1946 - 8 January 1947
    Courtesy Wolfgang Hechler, Ron Reeves and Joe Radigan

    View the Honesdale (PC-566)
    DANFS History entry located on the Naval History and Heritage Command Website
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    Patrol Craft Sailors Association
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