USS Beale (DD-40)

USS Beale (DD-40) was a Monaghan class destroyer that took part in the US intervention in Mexico in 1914, patrolled US waters in 1917 and operated from Queenstown during 1918. She spent part of the 1920s operating with the Coast Guard.

The Beale was named after Edward Fitzgerald Beale, a US naval officer during the Mexican War and Surveyor General of California during the American Civil War.

The Beale was laid down at Philadelphia on 8 May 1911, launched on 30 April 1912 and commissioned on 30 August 1912. She joined the 5th Group, Torpedo Flotilla, Atlantic Fleet, and spent most of the pre-war period operating off the US East Coast and in Caribbean waters. She took part in the US intervention in Mexico in 1914, operating off Veracruz. Anyone who served on her between 22 April and 27 May 1914 qualified for the Mexican Service Medal.

USS Beale in French Waters, 1918
USS Beale in
French Waters, 1918

On 13 December 1915 she was placed in the reserve, but this only lasted until 5 January 1916 when she was reactivated with a reduced crew and joined the neutrality patrol. On 22 March 1917, just before the US entry into the First World War, she was given a full crew and joined the Atlantic Fleet Destroyer Force.

The Beale continued to operate in US waters for the rest of 1917. She departed for Queenstown on 9 January 1918, stopping in the Azores on the way. She reached St. Nazaire on 3 February and Queenstown on 5 February. Her first war patrol from her new base stared on 10 February. For the rest of the war she carried out a mix of anti-submarine patrols and escort duty, at first with individual ships and later with convoys .

On 27 February the Beale was escorting the SS Kenmore to Liverpool when she spotted a submarine. The U-boat submerged as the destroyer approached. A depth charge was dropped and oil came to the water, suggesting that some damage had been done, but the U-boat escaped. 

On 19 May the Patterson (DD-36) sent a message to the Allen (DD-66) asking for help in hunting down a possible damaged U-boat west of Bardsey off the tip of the Lleyn Peninsula (North Wales). This call attacked a sizable force of six destroyers, including two British ship, the Burrows (DD-29) and the Beale (DD-40). The combined flotilla dropped depth charges at about 20.30, and bubbles of oil came to the surface, but there was no other evidence of damage to a submarine. 

In April-June 1918 she was the second busiest US destroyer in European waters, steaming 20,384.1 miles, for 1,276.4 hours under way or 53.2 days at sea.

On 1 September 1918 she rescued the crew of the British SS City of Glasgow, sunk in the Irish Sea.

Anyone who served on her between 19 January and 11 November 1918 qualified for the First World War Victory Medal.

The Beale returned to the US in December 1918, and spent most of 1919 operating along the US East Coast. She was decommissioned once again on 25 October 1919, but was then reactivated in 1925 to join the Coast Guard's 'Rum Patrol'. She served with the Coast Guard from 28 April 1924 to 18 October 1930. After her return to the navy she was decommissioned for a final time. She was struck off on 5 July 1934 and sold for scrap on 22 August 1934.

Displacement (standard)


Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

29.5kt design
30.89kts at 14,978shp at 883 tons on trial (Trippe)
29.5kts at 13,472shp at 891 tons on trial (Henley)


3-shaft Parsons turbines
4 Thornycroft or Normand or Yarrow boilers


2,175nm at 15kts on trial
1,913nm at 20kts on trial


292ft 8in




Five 3in/50 guns
Six 18in torpedo tubes in twin tubes

Crew complement



30 April 1912


30 August 1912


Sold for scrap 1934

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 (17 May 2016), USS Beale (DD-40) ,

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