USS Kalk (DD-170)/ HMS Hamilton

USS Kalk (DD-170) was a Wickes class destroyer that served with the Royal Navy and Royal Canadian Navy as HMS Hamilton.

The Kalk was named after Stanton Frederick Kalk, a US naval officer who died after his ship, the destroyer USS Jacob Jones (DD-61) was torpedoed by U-53 on 16 December 1917.

USS Kalk (DD-170), c.1919-22
USS Kalk (DD-170), c.1919-22

The Kalk was laid down at the Fore River Shipbuilding Co of Quincy, Mass, as the USS Rodgers on 4 March 1917. She was launched on 21 December 1918, with Lt Kalk's mother Mrs Flora Stanton Kalk as her sponsor. She was renamed as the Kalk on 23 December 1918, almost exactly one year after Lt. Kalk's death, swapping names with the Clemson class destroyer DD-254, originally laid down as the Kalk but completed as the Rodgers. This was presumably done because DD-254 had only just been laid down, and wouldn't be launched until 1919. The Kalk was commissioned on 29 March 1919.

The Kalk's first duty was to support the transatlantic flight of the Navy Curtiss flying boat NC-4 in May 1919. The Kalk was one of a line of destroyers that were placed along the route as a navigation aid and rescue ships.

On 10 July 1919 the Kalk left for Europe, reaching Brest on 21 July. She visited Hamburg on 27 July and then spent three weeks in the Baltic working for the American Relief Administration. She then returned to Brest to act as a dispatch and escort ship. She departed for the United States on 25 January 1920.

After her return to the United States the Kalk operated with DesRon 3, between Cape Cod and Charleston. She was also used to train naval reservists from the 1st Naval District. On 10 July 1922 she was decommissioned under the terms of the Washington Naval Treaty.

The Kalk was recommissioned on 17 June 1940 and joined the Neutrality Patrol operating in the Atlantic. She was then chosen as one of the fifty destroyers to go to Britain under the 'destroyers for bases' deal. She reached Halifax on 18 September, and on 23 September she was decommissioned from the US Navy and handed over to the Royal Navy.

As HMS Hamilton

Detail from Battle of Scheveningen by Willem van de Velde the Elder USS Kalk (DD-170) as HMS Hamilton

The Kalk was renamed HMS Hamilton. Her career in the Royal Navy was very short. On 1 October, while heading east across the Atlantic, she collided with HMS Georgetown (USS Maddox, DD-168) and had to return to St. John, New Brunswick, for repairs. On the way there she ran aground and suffered more serious damage.

The Hamilton was repaired in Canada, and gained a Canadian crew. In June 1941 this was made official when she was commissioned into the Royal Canadian Navy as HMCS Hamilton. She was used to escort convoys moving between St. John's and New York. On 2 August 1942 she attacked a U-boat that was threatening her convoy, forcing it to submerge and abandon the attack.

On 11 August she was declared unfit for operations, and became a tender for HMCS Cornwallis, a land based training facility at Annapolis, Nova Scotia. She was declared surplus on 1 April 1945 and decommissioned on 8 June 1945. She was then towed to Baltimore where she was scrapped by the Boston Iron & Metal Co.

Displacement (standard)


Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

35kts design
34.81kts at 27,350shp at 1,236t on trial (Kimberly)


2 shaft Parsons turbines
4 boilers
27,000shp design


2,500nm at 20kts (design)

Armour - belt


 - deck



314ft 4.5in


30ft 11.5in


Four 4in/ 50 guns
Twelve 21in torpedo tubes in four triple mountings
Two 1-pounder AA guns
Two depth charge tracks

Crew complement


Laid down

4 March 1917


21 December 1918


29 March 1919


8 June 1945

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 (5 April 2018), USS Kalk (DD-170)/ HMS Hamilton ,

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