USS Hilary P Jones (DD-427) was a Benson class destroyer that served with the neutrality patrol, on escort duties in the Atlantic and Mediterranean, fought at Anzio and during the invasion of the South of France, before moving to the Pacific in mid 1945. She ended her career with the navy of Taiwan, serving into the 1970s.
The Hilary P Jones was named after Hilary Pollard Jones, who served in the US Navy during the Spanish-American War and the First World War, becoming Commander-in-Chief of the US Fleet from 1922-23 and a member of the General Board from 1923 until he retired in 1927.
The Hilary P. Jones (DD-427) was laid down at the Charleston Navy Yard, launched on 14 December 1939 when she was sponsored by Admiral Jones’ widow and commissioned on 6 September 1940.
After a shakedown cruise around Charleston and exercises off Newport the Hilary P Jones left for the Caribbean on 11 December to join the Neutrality Patrol. She operated in the Caribbean until 11 March 1941 when she returned to Hampton Roads.
The next month was spent training, before she departed New York on 28 April to escort a convoy to Newfoundland. She spent the next few months escorting convoys in the North Atlantic.
The Hilary P Jones formed part of Task Force 19, which was formed to escort a convoy carrying US Marines to Iceland to replace the British garrison.
This was a powerful fleet, built around the battleships Arkansas and New York and the cruisers Brooklyn (CL-40) and Nashville (CL-43) and protected by two destroyer divisions – Des Div 13 (Benson, Gleaves (DD-423), Mayo (DD-422) and Niblack (DD-424) and DesDiv 14 (Charles F. Hughes (DD-428), Hilary P Jones (DD-427) and Lansdale (DD-426) with DesDiv 60 as the outer screen (Bernadou (DD-153), Buck (DD-420), Ellis (DD-154), Lea (DD-118) and Upshur (DD-144)
The task force left Argentia on 1 July and reached Reykjavik on 7 July.
The Hilary P Jones was part of the escort for the same convoy as the Reuben James, when that ship became the first American ship to be sunk by enemy action during the Second World War. After the Reuben James was sunk the Hilary P Jones took part in the rescue efforts, picking up 11 survivors. She reached Reykjavik on 3 November.
After the US entry into the war the Hilary P Jones continued to operate on escort duties in the Atlantic, now often reaching Britain. She was also used to screen capital ships during trials and shakedown cruises along the US East Coast.
On 1-2 June 1942 the Hilary P Jones, Charles F. Hughes (DD-428), Ingraham (DD-444) and Woolsey (DD-437) screened the Indiana (BB-58) during her speed trials.
On 5 June the Charles F. Hughes, Hilary P Jones, Madison and Plunkett (DD-431) escorted the South Dakota at the start of her shakedown cruise.
On 6 August 1942 the Arkansas, Brooklyn (CL-40), Roe (DD-418), Ericsson (DD-440), Madison (DD-425), Eberle, Nicholson (DD-442), Kearny, Mayo, Niblack, Benson, Gleaves, Hilary P. Jones (DD-427) and Charles F. Hughes (DD-428) left Brooklyn to escort a convoy of fourteen US, British and Polish troop transports to Halifax, arriving on 8 August. The Hilary P. Jones then escorted the convoy across the Atlantic, reaching Londonderry on 18 August.
From 28 August-6 October the Arkansas, Madison and Hilary P. Jones escorted convoy AT-23, Halifax to Greenock, with a cargo of troops and supplies.
On 3 September she screened the Brooklyn and Mayo as they rescued passengers from the troop transport Wakefield, which had caught fire during a west-bound passage of the Atlantic. Although the Wakefield was badly damaged she was eventually towed back to the United States.
On 10 October she departed for New York, but on 14 October the Hilary P Jones, Madison and Lansdale were detached and sent to Casco Bay, where they arrived on 18 October. On 19 October they left Casco Bay to escort the Indiana (BB-58) to Norfolk, but on 20 October the Hilary P Jones was detached from this force and sent to New York for a period of yard availability.
On 30 January Task Force 99 (Destroyer Division 14 – Lansdale, Hilary P. Jones, Charles F. Hughes and Madison) departed from New York to escort a convoy to Northern Ireland, arriving on 7 February.
On 15 February DesDiv 14 and the 42nd Escort Group got underway to join Convoy UC-1 and Escort Group 44, which were coming from Liverpool. The combined force then headed across the Atlantic to Curacoa in the Dutch West Indies. On 23 February the convoy was attacked by Wolf Pack Rochen (U-43, U-66, U-87, U-202, U-218, U-504, U-521 and U-558) and U-382, U-522 and U-569. The submarines torpedoed the British Fortitude, Empire Norseman, Esso Baton Rouge, Athelprincess and Murena of which the Empire Norseman, Esso Baton Rouge and Athelprincess sank. The escorts carried out depth charge attacks but without success. However on the following day Hilary P Jones, Charles F. Hughes and Lansdale clashed with six surfaced U-boats, probably sinking one and damaging one. There were no more attacks on the convoy and it reached Curacoa on 6 March.
In January 1944 the Hilary P Jones was assigned to the Mediterranean. Her first task was to support the fighting at Anzio, where the naval firepower available off the beachhead played a major role in repelling early German counterattacks. She and her squadron put to sea on 16 January to escort the Philadelphia to Anzio.
Over the next few weeks the Hilary P Jones split her time between direct support of the fighting at Anzio and escort duty between Naples and Anzio. On 19 February the Madison and Hilary P Jones left Anzio to escort the Philadelphia south, but they soon returned to the battle.
On 20 March she departed from Anzio for a longer break, but she returned for April and early May. She combined support of the fighting on land with escort duties and anti-submarine patrols.
On 15 April she replaced the Frederick C Davis as jamming and traffic control ship off Anzio. In the jamming role her main task was to disrupt the controls of any radio controlled bombs, a newly introduced German weapon that had scored some dramatic early successes.
On 17 May the Hilary P Jones took part in the battle in which U-616 was sunk by depth charges off Algeria. She shared the victory with the Neilds (DD-616), Gleaves (DD-423), Ellyson (DD-454), Macomb (DD-458), Hambleton (DD-455), Rodman (DD-456), Emmons (DD-457) and a Wellington bomber from No.36 Squadron, RAF.
On 21 May the Madison and Hilary P Jones began a patrol in the Gulf of Oman. They met Convoy MKF-31 and escorted it into Oran, then joined Convoy NSF-23, heading for Naples.
In June and July the Hilary P Jones trained for the upcoming invasion of the south of France (Operation Dragoon) as well as escorting convoys.
On 13 August she left Naples with a force of British and French ships, and arrived off the invasion beaches on 16 August. Once again she was used as a jamming vessel to counter radio-controlled bombs as well as providing fire support. For the next six weeks she supported the fighting in the south of France, often operating in support of the First Airborne Task Force. Amongst her targets were bridges, gun emplacements, railway facilities and occasionally coastal vessels. She was attacked by a German E-boat on 21 August but sank it with gunfire. On 18 September the Brooklyn, Hilary P. Jones and Madison shelled enemy troops around Porto Maurizio and Porto de Imperia Oneglia. She was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation for her actions off the south of France.
On 1 October she was withdrawn from the fighting along the south of France and returned to escort duties.
On 31 December she left Oran with Mervine (DD-489) and Jouett (DD-396) to escort Convoy GUF-18 from Oran to the United States.
She reached New York on 12 January 1945. The next month was spend on an overhaul and training.
On 26 February 1945 she left the US to escort her last convoy across the Atlantic. On 23 March she left Oran as part of the escort of Convoy GUS-79, heading for New York. She was detached from the convoy on 8 April and entered New York harbour on 9 April.
The Hilary P. Jones was then assigned to the Pacific Fleet. She left New York on 24 April, and had reached Pearl Harbor by 18 May.
From 18 May to 2 June she operated from Pearl Harbor.
On 2 June she departed for Ulithi, arriving on 13 June. She was then assigned to the surface patrol forces in the Carolines, as well as making a few escort trips to Okinawa.
She was at Ulithi when the Japanese surrendered. On 18 August she left Ulithi, heading for Okinawa, Subic Bay and finally Toyko. She was part of the escort for the convoy carrying the first occupation troops to Japan, and entered Tokyo on 2 September as the Japanese surrender was being signed on USS Missouri.
Between then and 5 November she escorted two more convoys of occupation troops to Japan. On 5 November she departed for the United States.
On 6 February 1947 the Hilary P. Jones was decommissioned a nd placed into the Charleston Group of the Atlantic Reserve Fleet.
On 26 February 1954 the Hilary P Jones was loaded to Taiwan under the Military Assistance Program. She served in the Republic of China Navy as the HanYan (DD-15) for the next twenty years, before she was struck off on 1 November 1974 and scrapped.
Hilary P. Jones received four battle stars for World War II service, for Anzio, the Invasion of the South of France, Convoy UC-1 and sinking U-616.
37.89kt at 51,390shp at 2,065t on trial (Mayo)
2-shaft Westinghouse turbines
6,500nm at 12kt design
Five 5in/38 guns
14 December 1939
6 September 1940
Loaned to Taiwan
Struck off by Taiwan
1 November 1974