USS Lawrence (DD-250)

USS Lawrence (DD-250) was a Clemson class destroyer that spent most of the Second World War operationg on convoy escort and patrol duties from San Francisco, as well as taking part in the occupation of Adak.

The Lawrence was laid down at Camden, New Jersey on 14 August 1919, launched on 10 July 1920 and commissioned on 18 April 1921. She was originally allocated to the Destroyer Force, Atlantic Fleet, but in June 1922 she departed for the Mediterreanean to join the US fleet in the Near East. She was present in the area for just over a year, helping deal with the many problems caused by the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the Russian Civil War. This took her into the Black Sea and to many ports around the eastern Mediterranean. One of her duties was to evacuate Greek refuges fleeing from Asia Minor after the failure of the Greek invasion.

USS Lawrence (DD-250) at Mare Island Navy Yard, 1942
USS Lawrence (DD-250)
at Mare Island Navy Yard,

Those of her crew who served at Smyrna between 8-18 October 1922 qualified for the Expeditionary Medal for Turkey, after taking part in the evacuation of the Greek and Armenian population of the city, which had just fallen to Turkish troops.

The Lawrence was present at Constantinople when the French transport Vinh Long caught fire and burnt, and her crew had to be rescued by US naval forces.

The Lawrence returned to New York on 30 October 1923, and joined the Scouting Fleet. She served with that fleet from 1923 until 1931, taking part in the normal mix of summers in US waters and winters in the Caribbean. She also visited the Pacific on several occasions to take part in the fleet exercises. She was also used for Naval Reserve training cruises.

Early in 1924 she took part in joint Army-Navy exercises to test the defences of the Panama Canal. In August 1924 she was posted off the coast of Labrador during the Army’s successful round the world flight, part of the naval support for the flight.

She was present in San Francisco in April 1925.

In February-March 1927 the Lawrence was one of the American ships that intervened in the Nicaraguan civil wars. On 15 February 1927 a force of two officers and 41 men under Lt Howard E Orem, landed from Puetro Cabezas, replacing a force from the Milwaukee. On 17 February the Lawrence picked up a detachment of 10 men from the Cleveland, and landed them at Rio Grande. On 4 March Orem’s landing force returned to the ship.

USS Lawrence (DD-250) from Above USS Lawrence (DD-250) from Above

Anyone who served on her between 13 February-11 March or 14-21 March 1927 qualified for the Second Nicaraguan Campaign Medal.

Her executive officer from July 1929 to August 1930 was James Henry Doyle, later famous as the commander of the amphibious phase of the landings at Inchon during the Korean War. 

The Lawrence was decommissioned at Philadelphia on 6 January 1931, but recommissioned just over a year later, on 13 June 1932. This time she was allocated to the Pacific fleet, and arrived at her new base of San Diego on 8 September 1931. For most of the next six years she carried out a mix of small scale training exercises and fleet problems. 

The Lawrence was part of the fleet present in San Diego Harbour for Navy Day, 27 October 1932.

The Lawrence was decommissioned for the second time on 13 September 1938.

The Lawrence was recommissioned once again on 26 September 1939, after the outbreak of war in Europe.

In December 1939 she was part of the Caribbean Patrol, based at Guantanamo Bay. She spent the rest of 1939 and most of 1940 operating in the Caribbean and Atlantic, attempting to deal with the sudden influx of U-boats into American waters. In March 1940 she was allocated to the Past Coast Soun School at New London.

On 27 December 1940 the Lawrence returned to the Pacific. During 1941 she served with the Sound School at San Diego.

After the US entry into the Second World War the Lawrence was used on convoy escort duties along the US West Coast, operating between San Francisco and the Aleutian Islands.

By June 1942 photographs show her with her aft smokestake and aft torpedo tubes removed, but still carrying her 4/50 guns.

On 13 August 1942 she departed from San Francisco to escort a troop convoy to Kodiak, Alsaksa. The Lawrence formed part of the transport group for the US occupation of Adak at the end of August 1942. and spent most of September operationg between Kodiak, Dutch Harbor and Adak.

From September 1942 until the end of the war the Lawrence concentrated on patrol and escort missions from her base at Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay.

On 31 May 1944 the Lawrence rescued nearly 200 men from the Henry Bergh, a steam ship that had run aground on the Farralon Islands, just outside San Francisco bay. At the time she was returning from the Pacific with 1,300 sailors returning to the US onboard, but fortunately everyone onboard was rescued.

The Lawrence was decommissioned on 24 October 1945 and sold for scrap on 1 October 1946.

On 2 October 1954 her ship’s bell was dedicated at the Reserve Training Centre at Trenton, New Jersey.

Displacement (standard)


Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

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


2-shaft Westinghouse geared tubines
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



10 July 1920


18 April 1921


Sold for scrap 1 October 1946

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 (11 November 2019), USS Lawrence (DD-250) ,

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