USS Winslow (DD-53)

USS Winslow (DD-53) was an O'Brien class destroyer that served from Queenstown and Brest during the First World War, carrying out at least ten attacks on suspected U-boats.

The Winslow was named after John Ancrum Winslow, a US naval officer during the American Civil War who served on the Mississippi then hunted down Confederate commerce raiders, commanding USS Kearsarge during her famous duel with the CSS Alabama off Cherbourg.

USS Winslow (DD-53) on trials, 1915
USS Winslow (DD-53)
on trials, 1915

The Winslow was laid down by Cramp at Philadelphia on 1 October 1913, launched on 11 February 1915 and reached 29.01 knots during builder's trials. She was commissioned on 7 August 1915 and joined the 6th Division, Atlantic Fleet Torpedo Flotilla. During the period before the US entry into the First World War she operated off the US East Coast and in Cuban waters. In 1916 she helped rescue the crews of ships sunk by U-53 off Newport, Rhode Island, after that submarine's controversial visit to the United States.

After the US entry into the war the Winslow was part of the second batch of US destroyers to leave for European waters (Tucker (DD-57), Rowan (DD-64), Cassin (DD-43), Ericsson (DD-56), Winslow (DD-53), and Jacob Jones (DD-61)), leaving on 7 May and reaching Queenstown on 17 May.

The Winslow was based at Queenstown for the next year. Early on 11 June 1917 she carried out her first attack on a suspected U-boat, although without success.

On 30 July the Winslow rescued the captain and 12 crewmen from the SS Whitehall, sunk by a U-boat.

On 16 August she sighted a U-boat in rough weather, but was unable to get into a position to attack before the U-boat disappeared.

On 24 September she came to the aid of the American schooner Henry Lippett, which was being shelled by U-boat. By the time she arrived the schooner was on fire, and so after a short depth charge attack on the U-boat she returned to rescue the crew.

On 11 October she depth charged an oil slick in case it came from a damaged U-boat.

On 3 January 1918 she carried out another attack on an oil slick, once again without success. On this occasion a large amount of dark liquid came to the surface, possibly from U-61. That submarine survived until at least 23 March, but was sunk soon after that date.

In April 1918 the Winslow moved to Brest, and was used to escort American troop convoys on the last stage of the journey to France. During this period she carried out seven attacks on suspected submarines, although without any recorded successes.

In the period April-June 1918 the Winslow escorted eight troop convoys.

On 8 August she rescued survivors from the Westward Ho,

On 5 September 1918 U-82 torpedoed the troop transport Mount Vernon. Nicholson (DD-52), Winslow (DD-53), Wainwright (DD-62) and Conner (DD-72) all attempted to depth charge the submarine, but she escaped.

Anyone who served on her between 21 May 1917 and 11 November 1918 qualified for the First World War Victory Medal.

After the end of the war the Winslow was one of the ships that escorted President Woodrow Wilson on the last stage of his journey to France in December 1918. She then returned to the United States, arriving at New York on 12 January 1919. In May 1919 she supported the trans-Atlantic flight carried out by a flight of Navy Curtiss NC-4 seaplanes. She then remained in service off the US East Coast and in Cuban Waters until she was placed in reduced commissioned on 10 December 1919.

In June 1921 the Winslow was re-commissioned, and she stayed in service for a year, before being decommissioned for the final time on 5 June 1922. On July 1933 she lost her name, was struck off on 7 January 1936 and sold for scrap in 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



11 February 1915


7 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 (15 August 2016), USS Winslow (DD-53) ,

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