USS Cassin (DD-43)

USS Cassin (DD-43) was the name ship of the Cassin class of destroyers. She took part in the US intervention in Mexico in 1914, operated from Queenstown during the First World War and then served with the Coast Guard in the 1920s.

The Cassin was named after Stephen Cassin, a US Navy officer during the Quasi-War with France and the War of 1812, fighting at the battle of Lake Champlain.

The Cassin was launched at Bath, Maine, on 20 May 1913 and commissioned on 9 August 1913.  She was the first of the new '1,000 tonner' destroyers to enter service. She joined the 6th Division, Atlantic Torpedo Flotilla, and operated in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico over the winter of 1913-1914. She then took part in the US intervention in Mexico, operating off Tampico, where on 19 May 1914 she rescued the passengers from the SS Atlantis, which had been wrecked off Tampico Bar. Anyone who served on her between 29 April and 14 June 1914 qualified for the Mexican Service Medal. During the intervention in Mexico she was commanded by Harris Lanning, who went on to command the Battle Force, US Fleet, in 1935-36.

USS Cassin (DD-43) at Charlestown Navy Yard, Boston
USS Cassin (DD-43)
at Charlestown Navy Yard,

Her Mexican service was followed by an overhaul, and she then operated along the US East Coast from October 1914-January 1914. This was followed by a spell on manoeuvres in the Caribbean, before she joined the neutrality patrol, operating off the East Coast.

The Cassin was part of the second batch of US destroyers sent to Europe after the American entry into the First World War (Tucker (DD-57), Rowan (DD-64), Cassin (DD-43), Ericsson (DD-56), Winslow (DD-53), and Jacob Jones (DD-61)). They reached Queenstown, Ireland, on 17 May 1917. Amongst her duties was the escort of troop convoys on the last stage of the voyage from the US to Britain or France, as well as the normal mix of patrols and escort duties.

USS Cassin (DD-43) and USS Tucker (DD-57), Charlestown Navy Yard, Boston
USS Cassin (DD-43) and USS Tucker (DD-57), Charlestown Navy Yard, Boston

On 15 October the Cassin spotted U-61, 20 miles south of Mind Head, Ireland. The Cassin attempted to attack the U-boat, but instead was hit by one of its torpedoes at 13.30, which struck her in the port side, aft, killing one and wounding nine. The one man who was killed was Gunner's mate 1st Class Osmond Kelly Ingram, who attempted to drop the Cassin's depth charges before the torpedo hit and was killed in the explosion. He was awarded a posthumous Medal of Honor. In 1919 the Clemson class destroyer USS Osmond Ingram (DD-255) was named after him, making him the first enlisted man honoured in that way.

Damage suffered by USS Cassin (DD-43), 15 October 1917
Damage suffered by
USS Cassin (DD-43),
15 October 1917

The explosion blew off her rudder, and the Cassin began to circle. At 14.30 the U-boat was sighted on the surface, and although the Cassin was still circling out of control, she was able to drive her off with gun fire. She was then joined by one American and two British destroyers, and towed to safety by HMS Snowdrop.

After initial repairs at Queenstown, the Cassin moved to Newport, England, for permanent repairs. She wasn't able to return to duty until 2 July 1918, by which time convoy escort was the main role of the anti-submarine forces.

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 Cassin was one of the ships chosen to escort President Woodrow Wilson into Brest when he arrived on USS George Washington. She then returned to the US, arriving at Boston on 3 January 1919.

In May 1919 the Cassin was posted at the Azores to support the trans-Atlantic flight of the Navy's Curtiss NC-4 flying boat. She was then placed in reserve on 18 June 1919, while she underwent full repairs. She was reactivated on 14 February 21 and served with Destroyer Flotilla 5 off the New England Coast until 11 October. She was decommissioned once again on 7 June 1922, but then transferred to the Coast Guard on 28 April 1924 for use with the 'Rum Patrol'. She was returned to the Navy on 30 June 1933 and sold on 22 August 1934.

Displacement (standard)

1,010t nominal

Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

29kts at 16,000shp (design)
29.14kts at 14,253shp at 1,057 tons on trial (Duncan)


2-shaft Parson turbines plus reciprocating cruising engines
4 boilers for 16,000shp


305ft 5in


30ft 2in


Four 3in.50 guns (DD-43 & DD-44)
Four 4in/50 guns (DD-45 to DD-50)
Eight 1in torpedo tubes in four twin mountings

Crew complement



20 May 1913


9 August 1913


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 (9 June 2016), USS Cassin (DD-43) ,

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