USS Shubrick (DD-268) / HMS Ripley

USS Shubrick (DD-268) was a Clemson class destroyer that had a brief US career before joining the Royal Navy as HMS Ripley. In British service she was used on convoy escort duties, first in the Atlantic and later in British coastal waters, as well as taking part in the hunt for the Bismarck and a diversionary sweep along the Norwegian coast in 1943.

The Shubrick was named after William Bradford Shubrick, who served in the US Navy during the War of 1912 and the Mexican War, finally retiring in 1861.

The Shubrick was laid down at by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp at Squantum, Mass on 3 June 1918 and launched on 31 December 1918. She was sponsored by Mrs Thomas A. Bayard, Admiral Shubrick’s grand-daughter, and commissioned on 3 July 1919.

On 27 October 1919 the Shubrick departed from New York on a diplomatic mission, carrying money and diplomatic representatives to Port au Prince, Haiti. This mission only lasted until 31 October, and she then departed for her new base on the West Coast, arriving on 27 November 1919. Her Executive Officer and then Commanding Officer in 1919-1920 was Arthur D. Struble, who later commanded the Western Naval Task Force on D-Day and the amphibious group used at Leyte, Mindoro and Luzon.

USS Leary (DD-158) and USS Shubrick (DD-268), New York, 1940 USS Leary (DD-158) and USS Shubrick (DD-268), New York, 1940

After her arrival at San Diego the Shubrick was placed into a reserve destroyer division. She took part in occasional exercises off San Diago, before being decommissioned on 8 June 1922.

The Shubrick was recommissioned on 18 December 1939 as part of the expansion of the US Navy after the outbreak of war in Europe. She underwent a refit at Mare Island from 26 February to 16 March 1940 and then moved to the Atlantic. She served with the West Gulf Patrol from 13-22 May and in the Caribbean until the end of June. From 2 July-30 August 1941 she was used to train Naval Reservists from Miami, Boston and New York.

She was then chosen as one of the fifty destroyers that went to Britain under the terms of the Destroyers for Bases deal. After temporary repairs at New York and Norfolk she  departed for Halifax. She arrived there on 21 November, and on 26 November was decommissioned from the US Navy and into the Royal Navy, where she became HMS Ripley

As HMS Ripley

The Ripley arrived in British waters in mid December 1940, along with the Rockingham, Stanley and Roxborough.

In January 1942 the Ripley was modified for service as a convoy escort. This included removing her mainmast, shortening the foremast, reducing the size of the aft three funnels, removing the aft 3in and 4in guns and fitting a British 12-pounder HA gun, removing the aft torpedo tubes, adding British depth charge throwers and installing ASDIC.

In February she was allocated to the 5th Escort Group, but on 13 February she collided with HMS Burwell and a trawler and needed repairs that lasted into March. Once the repairs were complete she began a period of convoy escort duties which lasted until July. There was one interruption in May when she was detached to join the Home Fleet during the search for the Bismarck.

In August 1941 she served as one of the guard ships during the Argentia Bay meeting between Churchill and Roosevelt on the battleship Prince of Wales. She then escorted a military convoy back to the Clyde, before being chosen for a refit. However on 4 September, on the way north to Middlesborough for the refit, she ran aground off Flamborough Head in a fog. As a result she had to return to Grimsby for repairs, before she could complete the move to Middlesborough.

The refit lasted until March, and she resumed her escort duties at the end of March 1942. She was used as an Atlantic convoy escort from then until July 1942, with one brief break in June when she helped escort a military convoy from the Clyde.

In August 1942 she joined the British 78th Escort Group. She escorted one convoy to Canada, before in September she was ordered to the Caribbean to help support US anti-submarine forces. However a low level of operational availability meant this wasn’t a success, and at the end of the month she returned to Halifax.

From November 1942 until April 1943 she underwent a refit at Liverpool. This time she was given improved radar equipment, a triple RN torpedo mount forward, 20mm AA guns in place of the 4in beam guns, and HF direction finding equipment. In May 1943, after the refit was complete, she was allocated to the Orkney and Shetland Command for post-refit trails, before joining the Local Escort forces in the North West Approaches and North Sea.

In July 1943 she took part in Operation Governor, a diversionary sweep off the Norwegian coast carried out by the Home Fleet in an attempt to distract the Germans from the landings in Sicily (Operation Husky).

For the rest of 1943 she was used on coastal convoy escort duties in the north-west approaches.

In December 1943 it was decided to place her in the reserve. She was paid off on the Tyne on 4 January 1944 and placed into the Reserve in February 1944. She remained in the reserve until the start of 1946, when she was placed on the disposal list. She was sold for scrap on 20 March 1946 and towed to the breakers yard on 14 April 1946.

Displacement (standard)


Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

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


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


2,500nm at 20kts (design)


314ft 4in


30ft 10.5in


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



31 December 1918


3 July 1919

Sold for scrap

20 March 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 (11 March 2020), USS Shubrick (DD-268) / HMS Ripley ,

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