USS Cushing (DD-55)

USS Cushing (DD-55) was an O'Brien class destroyer that served from Queenstown and later Brest during the First World War, helping to sink U-104.

The Cushing was named after William Barker Cushing, a US naval officer who destroyed the Confederate ironclad ram Albemarle in 1864.

The Cushing was launched by the Fore River Shipbuilding Co at Quincy, Mass, on 16 January 1915 and commissioned on 21 August 1915. She served with the neutrality patrol off New York until 28 December 1915, then took part in winter manoeuvres in the Caribbean. After summer exercises off the Maine she spent some of the winter of 1916-17 serving with the Naval Torpedo Station at Newport.

After the US entry into the First World War she was one of the first US destroyers to move to European waters, leaving New York on 15 May and reaching Queenstown on 24 May 1917. She operated from Queenstown, performing a mix of anti-submarine patrols, escort missions and rescue operations.

USS Cushing (DD-55) on trials, 1955
USS Cushing (DD-55)
on trials, 1955

On 4 June 1917 she rescued thirteen survivors of the Italian brig Luisa.

On 7 July she and the Perkins (DD-26) rescued survivors from the British merchant ship SS Tarquah.

On 8 July she replied to an SOS from the SS Onitsha, arriving after she had been sunk by a U-boat and rescuing 54 survivors.

On 16 July she escorted the SS Tamele to port after that ship had been hit five times (presumably by gunfire). On the same day she fired at two submarines that had attacked the Italian merchant vessel SS Lamia, then rescued 27 survivors.

On 12 September she rescued five survivors from the British SS Vienna, who had been drifting for two days.

On 26 November she helped keep the SS Crenella afloat after she was torpedoed, and then escorted her into Queenstown.

On 23 April 1918 she took part in the operations that ended with the destruction of U-104. The Cushing dropped fifteen depth charges on the submarine, which was later sunk by HMS Jessamine, with one survivor.

From 11 June 1918 the Cushing was based at Brest. Between then and the end of the war she escorted 11 troop convoys on the last stage of the journey from the US to France, carrying out two depth charges attacks in the same period.

On 3 December USS Murray (DD-97) ran onto rocks in the harbour of L'Abenach. The Cushing towed her to safety at Brest.

Anyone who served on her between 24 May 1917 and 11 November 1918 qualified for the First World War Victory Medal.

The Cushing returned to New York on 6 January 1919. She was replaced into

The Cushing returned to New York on 7 January 1918. She was placed into reduced commission on 1 July 1919, decommissioned on 7 August 1920 and sold for scrap on 30 June 1936.

Displacement (standard)

1,050t design

Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

29kts at 17,000shp
30kts at 16,974shp at 1,021t on trial (McDougal)


2-shaft Zoelly turbines plus reciprocating cruising engine
4 boilers


305ft 5in


31ft 2in


Four 4in/50
Eight 21in torpedoes in twin mountings
Depth charges

Crew complement



16 January 1915


21 August 1915


Sold for scrap 1936

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

Books on the First World War | Subject Index: First World War

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (25 August 2016), USS Cushing (DD-55) ,

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