USS Abbot (DD-184)/ HMS Charlestown

USS Abbot (DD-184) was a Wickes class destroyer that had a short career with the US Navy, then served as HMS Charleston with the Royal navy, mainly operating in British home waters.

The Abbot was named after Joel Abbot, a US naval officer who served during the War of 1812 and Commodore Perry's expedition to Japan.

USS Abbot (DD-184) and USS Brazos (AO-4), Guantanamo Bay USS Abbot (DD-184) and USS Brazos (AO-4), Guantanamo Bay

The Abbot was laid down at Newport News on 5 April 1918, launched on 4 July 1918 and commissioned on 19 July 1919. She was based at Norfolk, and operated in the Gulf of Mexico and Cuban waters. She remained in commissioned for three years, before being decommissioned at Philadelphia on 5 July 1922.

The Abbot was recommissioned on 17 June 1940 as part of the American response to the deteriorating situation in Europe. She joined the Neutrality Patrol along the US East Coast, but this didn’t last for long as she was chosen to be one of the destroyers that went to Britain under the terms of the ‘Destroyers for Bases’ deal. She was decommissioned form the US Navy at Halifax, Nova Scotia on 23 September 1940 and transferred to the Royal Navy.

As HMS Charlestown

In British service the Abbot was renamed HMS Charlestown. She reached Belfast on 8 October, and underwent a refit to bring her up to British standards.

The Charlestown was assigned to the 17th Destroyer Division (with HMS St. Marys (Bagley DD-185), HMS Bath (Hopewell, DD-181) and St. Albans (Thomas, DD-182)) and used to support the 1st Minelaying Squadron. She was used on minelaying operations along the west coast of Scotland and also in the Denmark Strait, between Iceland and Greenland. This lasted until September 1943 when she joined the Rosyth Escort Force and was used to escort convoys along the vulnerable east coast of Britain.

She was originally given Type 286 fixed antenna air search radar, but by the summer of 1943 this had been replaced with Type 291 air search radar. She had an open British style bridge built on top of the US closed bridge, with Oerlikon gun tubs built on the sides of the open bridge.

In December 1944 the Charlestown was damaged in a collision with a steamer off Harwich. It was decided that she was too old to be worth repairing, and she was placed in the reserve at Grangemouth, in the Firth of Forth. She was decommissioned on 15 January 1945, was sold for scrap on 4 March 1947 and was broken up by Young of Sunderland. 

Displacement (standard)

1,160t (design)

Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

35kts (design)
35.34kts at 24,610shp at 1,149t on trial (Wickes)


2 shaft Parsons turbines
4 boilers
24,200shp (design)


3,800nm at 15kts on trial (Wickes)
2,850nm at 20kts on trial (Wickes)

Armour - belt


 - deck



314ft 4in


30ft 11in

Armaments (as built)

Four 4in/50 guns
Twelve 21in torpedoes in four triple tubes
Two depth charge tracks

Crew complement



4 July 1918


19 July 1919


15 January 1945

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 (27 June 2018), USS Abbot (DD-184)/ HMS Charlestown ,

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