USS Childs (DD-241/ AVP-14/ AVD-1)

USS Childs (DD-241/ AVP-14/ AVD-1) was a Clemson class destroyer that survived the initial Japanese onslaught in the Pacific, and served as an aircraft tender in Australian waters for most of the rest of the war.

The Childs was named after Earle W.F. Childs, an American sailor who was lost while serving as an observer on the British submarine HMS H-5. H-5 collided with a merchant ship off the British coast and was lost with all hands.

The Childs was launched on 15 September 1920 and commissioned on 20 October 1920.

Baback & Wilcox Boilers for Clemson Class Destroyers
Baback & Wilcox Boilers
for Clemson Class Destroyers

After her shakedown cruise the Childs was sent to the Mediterranean, reaching Gibraltar on 14 February 1921. She served with US Naval Forces, Europe, and visited the Mediterranean, Adriatic, North Sea and Baltic Sea. She was then allocated to the Constantinople detachment, reaching that city on 25 November 1921. She took part in the relief efforts in the Black Sea early in 1922, before heading home in the summer of 1922. She reached home waters on 29 July 1922.

After her home waters the Childs took part in exercises along the Atlantic coast and then in the Caribbean, before on 14 February 1925 she was part of the Scouting Fleet when it departed to the Pacific to take part in Fleet Problem V, an attack on Hawaii. After the problem was over she returned to the East Coast.

From 28 December 1928-31 May 1930 she was commanded by John L. Hall, who later served as an admiral during Operation Torch, the D-Day Landings and the invasion of Okinawa.

The Childs took part in Fleet Problem XIII (1932), Fleet Problem XIV (1933) and Fleet Problem XV (1934), all of which were held in the Pacific. On 9 November 1934 the Childs’s home base was changed to San Diego and from 5 January to 15 June 1935 she served as flagship of Destroyer Division 8 in the Floating Reserve. She was then fully commissioned and spent the rest of the summer of 1935 in the Pacific North-West and Alaska.

In 1936 the Childs returned to the east coast for an overhaul before returning to San Diego. Between then and 1938 she made several cruises to Hawaii.

On 14 May 1938 she departed for Philadelphia, where she was converted to a seaplane tender and reclassified as AVP-14. She took part in Fleet Problem XX in February 1939, operating between Florida and Peurto Rico. On 29 June she departed for her new base at Pearl Harbor. She operated from there until 1 October 1940 when she was reclassified as AVD-1 (aircraft tender, destroyer), and allocated to the Asiatic Station. She reached her new base at Cavite in the Philippines on 1 December 1939.

Second World War

USS Childs (DD-241) during 1927 Presidential Review USS Childs (DD-241) during 1927 Presidential Review

The Childs was present at Cavite when the Japanese attacked on 10 December 1941, but she managed to avoud damage, maneuvering to avoid Japanese attack. She remained at Cavite for another four days, before being ordered south. She spent the new two and a half months attempting to avoid Japanese attacks, repeatedly changing base. During the retreat she helped support the remaining aircraft from Squadron 10 or Patrol Wing 10 and Patrol Squadron 22. On 24 January 1942 she managed to escape from a close encounter with a Japanese task force at Kendari in south-eastern Sulawesi. She finally reached Exmouth Gulf, Australia, on 28 February 1942.

The Childs continued to act as an aircraft tender from Fremantle and other ports in the west of Australia until 12 August 1944. Her aircraft ranged over a wide area, attacking Japanese shipping and dropping mines off Balikpapan, Borneo.

The Childs finally returned home in 1944, arriving on the US west coast on 19 September 1944. She was given an overhaul and was then used as a training ship off the west coast for the rest of the year. 

Early in 1945 the Childs supported the carrier Block Island and the first Marine Corps carrier air group. On 14 February she rescued the pilot of a crashed aircraft from the Block Island. However the carrier continued operations later in the day, until bad weather made it impossible for her aircraft to land back on the carrier. Four aircraft crashed, killed their crews, and the Childs spent the next day searching for any survivors.

The Childs was decommissioned on 10 December 1945 and sold on 3 January 1946.

Childs received one battle star for World War II service, for Asiatic Fleet operations (8 December 1941-3 March 1942).

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)

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

15 September 1920

Commissioned

22 October 1920

Sold for scrap

3 January 1946

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 (19 September 2019), USS Childs (DD-241/ AVP-14/ AVD-1) , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_USS_Childs_DD241_AVP14_AVD1.html

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