USS Richard Bulkeley was a minesweeping trawler leased from the British Royal Navy. Built as HMTRichard Bulkeley, the ship was a Mersey class trawler, purpose-built for service with the Auxiliary Patrol. On 12 July 1919, it was sunk by a mine while removing minefields in the North Sea.
The early years of the First World War saw the Royal Navy acquire very large numbers of trawlers and drifters for use as minesweepers and patrol boats for the Auxiliary Patrol. By 1916, however, more fishing vessels could not be taken up from trade without causing the commercial fishing fleet to shrink to an unacceptably small size, so the British Admiralty commenced a construction programme of trawlers to meet the navy’s needs. Three types of trawler were chosen for mass production, based on successful designs of commercial trawler, with very large numbers (550 were ordered by 1918). One of these types was the Mersey-class, based on Cochrane & Sons‘ prototype Lord Mersey.
The Mersey-class ships were 148 ft 0 in (45.11 m)long overall and 138 ft 6 in (42.21 m)between perpendiculars, with a beam) of 23 ft 9 in (7.24 m) and a draught of 12 ft 9 in (3.89 m). The ships had a Gross register tonnage of 324 tons, with a displacement of 438 long tons (445 t). They were propelled by a 600 ihp (450 kW)triple expansion steam engine, giving a speed of 11 kn (13 mph; 20 km/h).
Richard Bulkeley[lower-alpha 1] was ordered as Admiralty No. 3560 and built as Yard No. 820 at Cochrane & Sons‘ Selby shipyard, with a steam engine made by C. D. Holmes & Co. Ltd., Hull. It was launched on 21 August 1917 and completed on 16 November that year.