The Hunts were modeled on the 1938 escort sloop Bittern, a 262-foot (80 m) ship of 1,190 tons with an armament of three twin 4-inch (102 mm) gun Mark XVI.  The Hunt class was to carry the same armament, plus an additional quadruple QF 2-pounder on a hull of the same length but with 8 feet (2m) less beam.  The first twenty were ordered in March and April 1939.

Clearly the Hunts posed a major design challenge, too short and narrow and of insufficient range for open ocean work, they would have to be restricted to the North Sea and Mediterranean Sea. This sacrifice was accepted to give any chance of meeting the requirements in the time specified. The demanding specifications in an overworked Admiralty design department resulted in a major design miscalculation however. When the detailed calculations were done the centre of gravity was lower than expected and the beam was increased. As the first ships were being completed it was found that the design was not olny 70 tons overweight, but also top heavy, leaving them dangerously deficient in stability. The first twenty ships were so far advanced in construction that it was necessary to remove the 'X' 4 inch mount and add 50 tons of permanent ballast. These ships became the Type I group

The design deficiency of the Type I was rectified by splitting the hulls lengthwise and adding a 2½ foot section, increasing the beam to 31 ft 6 in and the margin of stability sufficiently for the designed armament to be shipped. These ships became the Type II group (of which HMS Tetcott was one)

Under the 1939 Emergency War Programme 36 more Hunts had been ordered: three of these were completed to the original (Type I) design. Depth charge stowage could also be increased from 40 in the Type I to 110 in the Type II.

For the 1940 building programme, torpedoes were deemed necessary. The next 27 ships were completed to a revised design, the Type III group, and were intended specifically for Mediterranean work. The Type III Hunts could be easily identified as they had a straight funnel with a sloping top and the foremast had no rake.

All Hunt class except three Type II and the Type IV Brissenden had fin stabilisers forward to reduce rolling to make for a steadier gun platform. These were subsequently removed from the majority of the Type III ships to allow for an increase in bunkerage of 63 tons.

As a Class, the Hunts were to see more action than any other type in the Royal Navy throughout the war. Being heavily armed for their size, though having limited endurance, it was perhaps not surprising that their deployment was often confined to short-range work, in the North Sea and the English Channel but, primarily in the Mediterranean.

Being small they were very manoeuvrable and made difficult targets for aircraft. An indication of the strenuous service carried out by this class of ships can be seen by the fact that out of the total 86 vessels of the class, almost half were to receive substantial damage or sinking during their service life (not including the minor ship-to-ship collisions).

The majority of incidents were caused by mines (16), followed by air attack (12), submarine attack - torpedo (5), surface attack (3), explosive boats (3), unspecified explosions (2) and marine causes (2).


Ships of the Type II Hunt Class


HMS Avon Vale, HMS Badsworth, HMS Beaufort, HMS Bedale, HMS Bicester,

HMS Blackmore, HMS Blankney, HMS Blencathra, HMS Bramham,

HMS Burton, HMS Brocklesby, HMS Calpe, HMS Chiddingfold, HMS Cowdray,

HMS Croome, HMS Dulverton, HMS Eridge, HMS Farndale, HMS Grove,

HMS Heythrop, HMS Hursley, HMS Hurworth, HMS Lamerton, HMS Lauderdale,

HMS Ledbury, HMS Liddesdale, HMS Middleton, HMS Oakley, HMS Puckeridge,

HMS Silverton, HMS Southwold, HMS Tetcott, HMS Tickham,

HMS Wheatland, HMS Wilton and HMS Zetland


NOTE: Vessels in Bold either destroyed or suffered serious damage by enemy action