USS Crowninshield (DD-134)/ HMS Chelsea

USS Crowninshield (DD-134) was a Wickes class destroyer that served with the US Neutrality Patrol and then on convoy escort duties with the Royal Navy and Royal Canadian Navy.

USS Crowninshield (DD-134) refueling from USS Saratoga (CV-3)
USS Crowninshield (DD-134)
refueling from
USS Saratoga (CV-3)

The Crowninshield was named after Benjamin Williams Crowninshield, a member of a wealthy merchant family from Salem who served as Secretary of the Navy in 1814-18.

The Crowninshield was launched at Bath, Maine, on 24 July 1919 and commissioned on 6 August 1919. She joined the Atlantic Fleet, and took part in the normal mix of peacetime operations and training. She was also used to carry Secretary of the Navy Daniels to Guantanamo Bay for the 1921 exercises. She operated with 50% of her full complement from 14 November 1921 and was decommissioned on 7 July 1922.

The Crowninshield was recommissioned on 12 May 1930 and joined the Battle Force on the Pacific Coast. During this period she took part in fleet problems, visiting Hawaii and the Caribbean. She also operated with the Aircraft branch of the Battle Force and carried out training cruises to Canada and Alaska for the Naval reserve.

Between 15 July and 17 December 1934 she was placed in the rotating reserve. She took part in the Presidential Fleet Review on 30 October-2 November 1935 and the opening of the San Francisco Bay Bridge in November 1936. She was decommissioned once again on 8 April 1937. During this period she spent some time with the Naval Research Laboratory, where she was painted in one of a series of experimental camouflage schemes.

The Crowninshield was recommissioned one again on 30 September 1939 to join the Neutrality Patrol. She operated in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico, before being chosen as one of the 50 destroyers to go to Britain under the 'destroyers-for-bases' deal. She moved to Halifax, where on 9 September she was decommissioned from the US Navy and entered the Royal Navy as HMS Chelsea.

As HMS Chelsea

The Chelsea reached Devonport on 28 September 1940, and was allocated to the Sixth Escort Group of Western Approaches Command, based at Liverpool. She was used to escort convoys across the Atlantic.

On 6 April 1941 she rescued 29 survivors from SS Olga S., after she was sunk by an air attack. On 5 February 1942 she joined with the Arbutus to attack a U-boat that had been sighted from their convoy. After two hours the Arbutus herself was torpedoed. Chelsea opened fire on the submarine, which had actually surfaced, and forced her down. She then made three depth charge attacks before losing contact with the U-boat. She then picked up the survivors from the Arbutus.

In November 1942 the Chelsea joined the Royal Canadian Navy, and from then until the end of 1943 she was used to escort convoys in the mid and west Atlantic. She returned to Northern Ireland on 26 December 1943 and was placed in the reserve in the Tyne early in 1944.

On 16 July 1944 she was loaned to the Soviet Union, where she became the Derskyi (or Derzky). She served with the Soviets until 26 June 1949 when she was returned to the Royal Navy. By this point she was no longer needed, and on 12 July 1949 she was sold for scrap.

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



24 July 1919


6 August 1919

Sold for scrap

12 July 1949

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

WWII Home Page | WWII Subject Index | WWII Books | WWII Links | Day by Day

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (10 October 2017), USS Crowninshield (DD-134)/ HMS Chelsea ,

Help - F.A.Q. - Contact Us - Search - Recent - About Us - Privacy