USS Claxton (DD-140)/ HMS Salisbury

USS Claxton (DD-140)/ HMS Salisbury was a Wickes class destroyer that briefly served with the Neutrality Patrol in 1940 before joining the Royal Navy, where she was used for a variety of escort duties.

The Claxton was named after Thomas Claxton, a US naval officer who was killed at the battle of Lake Erie (10 September 1813) during the War of 1812.

The Claxton was launched on 14 January 1919 at the Mare Island Navy Yard and commissioned on 13 September 1919. She operated off the US West Coast from then until 18 June 1922 when she was decommissioned.

The Claxton was recommissioned on 22 January 1930, and was once again based on the West Coast, although she also operated training cruising from New Orleans. In September 1933 she joined the Special Service Squadron and operated off Cuba. She spent January to November 1934 in the rotating reserve, then returned to Cuban waters until October 1935. She then took part in that year's naval exercises, before serving with the Naval Academy in 1936-1937, replacing the Babbitt (DD-128).

USS Claxton (DD-140), San Diego, 7 October 1932
USS Claxton (DD-140), San Diego, 7 October 1932

Between October 1937 and November 1938 she was part of Squadron 40-T, which protected US interests during the Spanish Civil War, operating from bases in France. She returned to Naval Academy duties at the start of 1939, and in June-August took part in the annual midshipman summer cruiser, but in September 1939, after the outbreak of the war in Europe, she joined the Neutrality Patrol, operating off the Florida Straits. In January-February 1940 she operated off New England. She then performed training duties, before on 21 November 1940 she reached Halifax, ready to be transferred to the Royal navy as part of the destroyers for bases deal.

As HMS Salisbury

The Claxton was decommissioned on 5 December 1940 and commissioned into the Royal Navy as HMS Salisbury on the same day.

In British service she was given HF/DF, and an open British style bridge on top of her original closed US style bridge.

The Salisbury reached Belfast on 30 December 1940 and joined Western Approaches Command. She spent the next year and a half on Atlantic convoy duty.

In April and May 1942 she helped escort USS Wasp (CV-7) as she made two dangerous trips into the Mediterranean to fly British fighter aircraft onto Malta.

The Salisbury was then used to escort troop convoys across the Atlantic, before in September 1942 she joined the Royal Canadian Navy. She was based at St. John's, Newfoundland, and used for local escort duties from then until November 1943, where she was finally replaced by more modern ships and placed into care and maintenance. She was paid off on 10 December and sold for scrap on 26 June 1944.

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



14 January 1919


13 September 1919


26 June 1944

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 (1 November 2017), USS Claxton (DD-140)/ HMS Salisbury ,

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