USS Surprise (PG-63)

USS Surprise (PG-63), the fourth American naval ship of the name, was the British Flower-class corvette HMS Heliotrope loaned to and operated by the United States Navy from 1942-1945 as a Temptress-class patrol gunboat. After World War II she was sold as a merchant vessel and ended her life in the Chinese navy as Lin I.

USS Surprise (PG-63)
United States
Name: Surprise
Builder: John Crown & Sons Ltd
Launched: 5 June 1940
Acquired: 24 March 1942
Commissioned: 24 March 1942
Decommissioned: 20 August 1945
Struck: 17 September 1945
Fate: Returned to Royal Navy 26 August 1945
Notes: Originally HMS Heliotrope
General characteristics
Type: Patrol gunboat
  • 925 long tons (940 t) (normal)
  • 1,375 long tons (1,397 t) (full load)[1]
Length: 205 ft 2 in (62.53 m)
Beam: 33 ft (10 m)
Draft: 14 ft 7 in (4.45 m)
Installed power: 2,750 ihp (2,050 kW)[2]
Speed: 16.5 kn (19.0 mph; 30.6 km/h)
Complement: 87 officers and enlisted men

Service history

HMS Heliotrope was built by John Crown and Sons Ltd, Sunderland, England, and launched on 5 June 1940. She was transferred to the U.S. Navy at Hull, England, on 24 March 1942, one of a group of corvettes transferred to the U.S. Navy under reverse Lend-Lease. She was commissioned as USS Surprise the same day, Lieutenant R. C. D. Hunt, Jr., in command. She was delivered with British radars and armament installed, and over the course of her U.S. Navy service was gradually converted to U.S. standards. The 4-inch (102 mm) gun was mounted forward, the 3-inch (76 mm) gun aft.[5]

Surprise sailed from Lisahally Co. Londonderry, Northern Ireland on 24 April 1942 to escort a convoy to Boston, Massachusetts. After an overhaul, she proceeded south and for the remainder of 1942 escorted convoys in the Caribbean, principally between Trinidad and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In January 1943, she extended her range into the South Atlantic and, into 1944, performed escort runs between Trinidad and Recife, Brazil.

Surprise then returned to the United States. In May 1944, she returned to the North Atlantic and, until after the end of World War II in Europe in May 1945, rotated between Newfoundland, Greenland, and Iceland convoy runs and weather patrol duty.

Surprise was decommissioned on 20 August 1945 at Chatham, England, returned to the Royal Navy on 26 August, and struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 17 September.


She was transferred to China in 1947,[6] and, after a period of mercantile service, she was taken into the People's Liberation Army Navy as Lin I.


  1. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922-1946, p. 156
  2. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922-1946, p. 156
  3. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922-1946, p. 156
  4. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922-1946, p. 156
  5. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922-1946, p. 156
  6. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922-1946, p. 156


  • This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
  • Chesneau, Roger, ed. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922-1946. New York: Mayflower Books, 1980. ISBN 0-8317-0303-2.
  • HMS Heliotrope of the Royal Navy - Corvette of the Flower class - Allied Warships of WWII
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.