USS Farquhar (DD-304)

USS Farquhar (DD-304) was a Clemson class destroyer that served in the Pacific during the 1920s, taking part in several of the early Fleet Problems, before being scrapped because of her badly worn boilers. 

The Farquhar was named after Norman von Heldreich Farquhar, who served in the US Navy during and after the American Civil War, commanded the Navy Yards at League Island and Norfolk and became Commander of the North Atlantic Station.

USS Farquahar (DD-304) at San Diego USS Farquhar (DD-304) at San Diego

The Farquhar was launched at the Union Iron Works, San Francisco on 18 January 1919 when she was sponsored by Mrs. J Reed. She was commissioned on 5 August 1920, and reached her home port of San Diego on 26 August 1920 to join the Pacific Fleet. She took part in the standard peacetime life of the fleet, taking part in training and the early Fleet Problems, as well as visiting northern waters. Almost immediately after reaching San Diego she was sent into Mexican waters, departing on 10 September. However the Mexican pacific coast was judged to be peaceful and she was reported to be due back on 21 September 1920. A strike by Mexican longshoremen at Salina Cruz meant that she was unable to fill her oil tanks, and her return was delayed.

On 21 January 1921 she was photographed with the combined Atlantic and Pacific Fleets in Panama Bay, during inter-fleet manoeuvres off the coasts of Chile and Peru.

In April 1921 she was part of Destroyer Division Thirty-Three (Stoddert DD-302, Paul Hamilton DD-307, Reno DD-303, Kennedy DD-306, Thompson (DD-305) and Farquhar DD-304).

The future Vice Admiral William M. Callaghan (the first captain of USS Missouri (BB-63)  served on her between June-August 1921, as a Lieutenant (junior grade).

In August 1921 the Pacific Mail liner SS San Joseran aground on the coast of Lower California, carrying passengers and $500,000 of gold. The Farquhar was one of several ships that went to her rescue, and took onboard 42 passengers and the gold, returning them safely to San Diego on 12 August. While she was at the site the Farquhar made three attempts to tow the San Jose off the rocks, but without success.

In December 1921 the 32nd Destroyer Division (Stoddert, Reno, Farquhar, Thompson, Kennedy and Paul Hamilton) moved from San Diego to the Puget Sound Navy Yard, where they stayed until February 1922.

The Farquhar and her division represented the US Navy at the Monteray Industrial Fair of 1-4 September 1922.

Boat race crew from USS Farquahar (DD-304) Boat race crew from USS Farquhar (DD-304)

In February 1923 she was damaged in a collision during manoeuvres off the west coast of Mexico and had to move to Panama, escorted by the supply ship Arctic. Early press reports said that she had been rammed by a battleship and was in a sinking condition.

In October 1923 the 32nd division was given the task of retrieving torpedoes during battleship torpedo practice being held off San Clemente Island.

In 1924 the Farquhar took part in Fleet Problems II, III and IV, which took part at the same time in the Caribbean.

The Farquhar, Paul Hamilton and Kennedy represented the Navy for the Independence Day celebrations at Port Angeles in 1924.

She then spent four months with the fleet in northern waters, returning to San Diego at the start of October 1924.

At the end of 1924 it was announced that she was to undergo a regular overhaul at Puget Sound Navy Yard from 14 September-26 October 1925.

The Farquhar moved to Hawaii in April 1925, towards the end of Fleet Problem V, which was held between the US West Coast and Hawaii. She was then part of a large naval force that visited Samoa, Australia and New Zealand on a good will cruise, before returning to her base on the US west coast in September 1925.

USS Farquahar (DD-304) and USS Relief (AH-1) in Panama Canal, 1927 USS Farquhar (DD-304) and USS Relief (AH-1) in Panama Canal, 1927

Late in 1926 she underwent an overhaul at the Puget Sound Navy Yard, returning to San Pedro alongside the cruiser Omaha and destroyer Percival (DD-298) in late November.

In 1927 she took part in Fleet Problem VII, which was once again held in the Caribbean. She then took part in a visit to New York, Newport, and Norfolk, before returning to San Diego (passing through the Panama Canal on 11 June 1927 along with the hospital ship USS Relief (AH-1) , where she was photographed passing through the Gatun Locks.

In July 1927 she was still part of the 32nd Destroyer Flotilla, which still contained the Stoddert, Reno, Farquhar, Thompson, Kennedy and Paul Hamilton

The Farquhar was at the Puget Sound navy yard for Navy Day, 27 October 1926.

On Independence Day 1927 the Farquhar and Thompson represented the Navy at Pismo Beach.

In April 1928 she returned to Hawaii, probably to take part in Fleet Problem VIII, in which the battle force played the part of the attackers, facing a cruiser force based on the islands. She remained in Hawaiian waters until June 1928, then returned to the US West Coast. Amongst her crew for this cruise was Ensign Archie Sharp, a naval reservist who worked for the San Pedro News Pilot, which reported his exploits.

In September 1928 she returned to California after a visit to Bremerton. At the end of September she provided part of a naval escort for the British Foreign Secretary Sir Austen Chamberlain as passed through San Diego on a long cruise.

In July 1929 she was part of a squadron that took part in a reservist training cruise (Farquhar, J F Burns, Stoddart, Thompson, Kennedy and Paul Hamilton).

By 1929 it was clear that her Yarrow boilers were badly worn, and she was one of thirty four similar destroyers that were chosen to be decommissioned. The same number of almost unused destroyers came out of the reserve to replace them, with each old destroyer being paired with a new one, and their crews transferred from one to the other.

The Farquhar was decommissioned on 20 February 1930. She was then used as a barracks ship for submarine crews, before being scrapped to satisfy the terms of the London Naval Treaty. Her materials were then sold off on 23 April 1932.

Displacement (standard)


Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

35.51kts at 24,890shp at 1,107t on trial (Preble)


2-shaft Westinghouse geared turbines
4 boilers
27,000shp (design)


2,500nm at 20kts (design)

Armour - belt


 - deck



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



18 January 1919


5 August 1920

Sold as scrap

23 April 1932

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 (23 September 2020), USS Farquhar (DD-304) ,

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