USS Welborn C Wood (DD-195)/ HMS Chesterfield

USS Welborn C. Wood (DD-195) was a Clemson class destroyer that served with the US Coast Guard and the Neutrality Patrol, before serving with the Royal Navy as HMS Chesterfield, carrying out three years of convoy escort duties.

The Welborn C. Wood was named after Welborn Cicero Wood, a naval cadet who was killed fighting against an uprising in the Philippines in September 1899.

The Welborn C. Wood was laid down at Newport News on 24 September 1918, launched on 6 March 1920 and commissioned on 14 January 1921. She operated with the Atlantic Fleet for just over a year and a half, and was then decommissioned at Philadelphia on 8 August 1922 as part of the general post-war shrinkage of the US Navy.

USS Welborn C Wood (DD-195), c.1921-22 or 1939-40
USS Welborn C Wood (DD-195),
c.1921-22 or 1939-40

The Welborn C. Wood was reactivated ready for service in the Coast Guard on 1 October 1930, to replace one of the older destroyers that had been used on the prohibition era ‘rum patrol’. She became CG-19 in the Coast Guard, and was commissioned into her new role on 15 April 1931. She was based at New London, and spent most of her time in her new role carrying out patrols along the eastern seaboard. The routine was interrupted by a spell of target practice in Florida waters in 1931, and a period operating with the Navy in Cuban waters in September-October 1933. She returned to Coast Guard control in November 1933, but by this point Prohibition had come to an end, and the Coast Guard no longer needed a force of destroyers. The Welborn C. Wood was restored to Navy control, and decommissioned at Philadelphia on 21 May 1934.

The Welborn C. Wood was recommissioned on 4 September 1939 as part of the expansion of the US Navy after the outbreak of war in Europe. She joined the Neutrrality Patrol, operating along the eastern seaboard, and in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.

The Welborn C. Wood was chosen to be one of the fifty destroyers that went to Britain under the terms of the ‘Destroyers for Bases’ deal. She arrived at Halifax on 6 September 1940, and was handed over to the British on 9 September, after a couple of days of training for her new crew.

HMS Chesterfield

She was commissioned into the Royal Navy as HMS Chesterfield (I.28) on 9 September. She didn’t have the best start in British service, ramming her sister ship HMS Churchill (USS Herndon (DD-198)) twice before they even left for Britain. She still managed to sail with the first ‘Town class’ flotilla and reached Belfast on 18 November 1940. She then moved to Chatham for a refit, before entering service with the 11th Escort Group at Greenock.

The Chesterfield was used on convoy escort duties in the North Atlantic from 1941 to 1943. During this period she escorted Convoy SC-25 (March 1941), SC-36 (July 1941), SC-39 and ON-006 (August 1941), SC-44 (September 1941), ON-72 (March 1942), ON-107 (June-July 1942), SC-91 (July 1942), ON-118 (August 1942) and ON-153 (December 1942).

Her period of front line service effectively came to an end on 17 January 1943, while she was escorting Convoy HX-222. She carried out a depth charge attack on U-268, but managed to damage herself instead. She was forced to return to Plymouth, but by now more modern escorts were available and there was little urgency to the repairs. She remained at Plymouth until November 1943.

When the Chesterfield returned to duty it was as a target vessel for training aircraft, serving with Western Approaches Command. She performed this duty throughout 1944. She was placed into the reserve at Grangemouth on 17 January 1945 and sold for scrap in 1947.

Displacement (standard)

1,190t

Displacement (loaded)

1,308t

Top Speed

35kts
35.51kts at 24,890shp at 1,107t on trial (Preble)

Engine

2-shaft Westinghouse geared tubines
4 boilers
27,000shp (design)

Range

2,500nm at 20kts (design)

Armour - belt

 

 - deck

 

Length

314ft 4in

Width

30ft 10.5in

Armaments

Four 4in/ 50 guns
One 3in/23 AA gun
Twelve 21in torpedoes in four triple mountings
Two depth charge tracks
One Y-Gun depth charge projector

Crew complement

114

Launched

6 March 1920

Commissioned

14 January 1921

Sold for scrap

1947

U.S. Destroyers: An Illustrated Design History, Norman Friedmann . The standard history of the development of American destroyers, from the earliest torpedo boat destroyers to the post-war fleet, and covering the massive classes of destroyers built for both World Wars. Gives the reader a good understanding of the debates that surrounded each class of destroyer and led to their individual features.
cover cover cover

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (20 August 2018), USS Welborn C Wood (DD-195)/ HMS Chesterfield , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_USS_Welborn_C_Wood_DD195_HMS_Chesterfield.html

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