USS Evans (DD-78)/ HMS Mansfield

USS Evans (DD-78) was a Wickes class destroyer that entered US service just after the First World War, briefly took part in the Neutrality Patrol and then entered British service as HMS Mansfield.

The Evans was named after Robley Dunglison Evans, a US Naval Officer who fought during the Spanish American War and commanded the Great White Fleet on the first part of its world cruiser in 1907-1908.

One of her commanders was Cassin Young, a US naval officer who was killed on 13 November 1942 during the battle of Guadalcanal, while commanding USS San Francisco.

The Evans was built by the Bath Iron Works of Bath, Maine. She was launched on 30 October 1918, less that two weeks before the end of the First World War. She was commissioned on 11 November 1918, the day the fighting ended, with Commander F. H. Sadler in command.

This meant that the Evans didn't have to be rushed into action, and a six month period of training and outfitting followed before she departed for Europe on 10 June 1919. This was only a brief visit, and she departed for the United States on 22 August. She was then allocated to the Pacific Fleet. She left Newport on 11 September, spent a short period patrolling off the coast of Central America, and reached her new based at San Diego on 14 November.

USS Evans (DD-78) at San Diego, 1920s
USS Evans (DD-78)
at San Diego, 1920s

The Evans took part in the regular training operations of the Pacific Fleet between her arrival in November 1919 and her going into the reserve at San Diego on 6 October 1921. During this period she operated along most of the west coast of the Americans, from Valparaiso in Chile in the south to Astoria, Oregon in the north.

The Evans was recommissioned on 1 April 1930. After six months with the Pacific Fleet she moved to New York to undertake training duties with the Naval Reserve. This spell lasted from December 1930 until March 1932, when she returned to San Diego and joined the Battle Fleet for exercises that ranged from Hawaii to Alaska. She was then decommissioned for a second time on 31 March 1937.

The Evans was recommissioned once again on 30 September 1939. She joined the Neutrality Patrol, reaching her new base at Key West on 11 December 1939. She operated in the Antilles and the Caribbean. During this period she sometimes shadowed Allied warships that were watching American waters for German blockade runners, including HMS Hereward and HMAS Perth, both in December 1939.

In 1940 the Evans was chosen as one of the fifty destroyers to be given to the Royal Navy as part of the Destroyers for Bases deal. On 23 October 1940 she was decommissioned from the United States Navy and commissioned into the Royal Navy as HMS Mansfield.

HMS Mansfield in North Atlantic, 1943
HMS Mansfield in North Atlantic, 1943

Between December 1940 and March 1942 the Mansfield served with the Royal Norwegian Navy, then based in Britain. She took part in a raid on the fish oil factory at Hammerfest, Norway, sending a landing party ashore to destroy the factory machinery. An attempt to capture a local quisling leader failed. The Mansfield was also used on convoy escort duties.

After her Norwegian phase ended the Mansfield carried out escort duties for the Royal Navy, and then for the Royal Canadian Navy, where she formed part of the Western Local Escort Force, based at Halifax and St. John's. In March 1943 she took part in the battles around convoy HS229, and took survivors from the sunken merchant ships to Britain.

In November 1943 the Mansfield was reduced to care and maintenance service at Halifax, before being decommissioned on 22 July 1944. She was sold for scrap on 24 October 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



30 October 1918


11 November 1918

To Royal Navy

23 October 1940

Sold for Scrap

24 October 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 (3 February 2017), USS Evans (DD-78)/ HMS Mansfield ,

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