USS Billingsley (DD-293)

USS Billingsley (DD-293) was a Clemson class destroyer that served with the Atlantic fleet for most of the 1920s, apart from a year spent in European waters.

The Billingsley was named after Willian Devotie Billingsley, an early naval aviator who was killed in a flying accident in 1913.

The Billingsley was launched by the Bethlehem Steel Co at Squantum, Mass, on 10 December 1919 when she was sponsored by Billingsley’s sister Irene. She was commissioned on 1 March 1920 and joined the Destroyer Force of the Atlantic Fleet.

USS Billingsley (DD-293) firing her guns
USS Billingsley (DD-293)
firing her guns

The Billingsley spend the first part of 1920 operating along the east coast with the Destroyer Force. In the summer she was used for Naval Reserve training cruises, but she was then placed into the reserve.

She emerged from the reserve in June 1922 to join Division 26, Squadron 9 of the Destroyer Force. She operated along the US East Coast until June 1924.

In 1923 she was commanded by William Faulkner Amsden, who later commanded a convoy taking troops to the Caledonian Islands, before commanding the US Naval Training School for the Women’s Reserve at New York.

On 3 March 1924 a force of two officers and 28 sailors from the Billingsley and eleven marines from the Denver landed at Tela, Honduras, where they created a neutral zone. On the same day the Billingsley collected a previous landing party from the Denver, and returned them to their ship. The Billingsley’s own men returned to their ships on 7 March. On the following day they were landed at La Ceiba, remaining there until 13 March. Anyone who landed between 28 February-13 March 1924 qualified for the Honduras Expediationary Medal.

During the spring of 1924 she acted as a plane guard for the North Atlanatic leg of the Army’s ‘Around the World Flight’,  which saw two of the four Douglas World Cruisers that began the flight successfully complete it.

In June 1924 Division 26 departed for Europe. She spent the next year cruising in Mediterreanean and European waters, mainly to show the flag at various ports. However she also helped assist refugees in the troubled Near East. During her European tour she was commanded by Archibald Sterling who left a diary of his experiences. She was photographed at Venice.

USS Flusser (DD-289), USS Billingsley (DD-293) and USS Dale (DD-290) at Venice
USS Flusser (DD-289),
USS Billingsley (DD-293)
and USS Dale (DD-290)
at Venice

After her return to the US in 1925 the Billingsley returned to the normal activities of the fleet on the east coast. However by 1929 it was clear that her Yarrow boilers were badly worn, and it was decided to replace most of the Yarrow powered destroyers with almost unused ships from the reserve. Most of these ships were then scrapped under the terms of the First London Naval Treaty of 1930. The Billingsley was decommissioned on 1 May 1930 and sold for scrap on 17 January 1931.

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



10 December 1919


1 March 1920

Sold for scrap

17 January 1931

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
How to cite this article: Rickard, J (8 July 2020), USS Billingsley (DD-293) ,

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