Dunbar, battle of, 27 April 1296

USS Percival (DD-298) was a Clemson class destroyer that served with the Pacific Fleet during the 1920s, surviving the Honda Point disaster.

The Percival was named after John Percival, who served in the US Navy during the Quasi War against France and the War of 1812, with a brief period inbetween where he was impressed into the Royal Navy!

USS Percival (DD-298) making a smokescreen USS Percival (DD-298) making a smokescreen

The Percival was laid down at the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corps’s San Francisco Yard and launched on 5 December 1918 when she was sponsored by Miss Elean Wartsbaugh. She was commissioned on 1 March 1920, and her first captain was the young Commander  Raymond A. Spruance, later famous as commander of the US 5th Fleet during the Second World War. Some of her officers and crew came from the Wickes, which had just been placed into the reserve. After her shakedown cruise she joined Squadron 4, Flotilla 5 of the Cruiser Destroyer Force Pacific at San Diego, arriving in early May. Later in the month it was announced that she was going to be used for a reservist training cruise, probably in July-August.  The cruiser took place in July, when she visited San Pedro, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo.

At the end of September 1920 it was announced that the John Francis Burnes (DD-299), Babbitt (DD-128), Somers (DD-301), Fuller (DD-297) and Percival (DD-298) were to be placed into reduced commission.

In 1923 she was part of Destroyer Division 31, itself part of Destroyer Squadron 11. On 12 September 1923 she became flagship of the Squadron.

In August 1923 the Percival was selected to be part of a large fleet that was to visit San Francisco to mark the fifth annual convention of the American Legion, then a newly formed veterans association.

On 8 September thirteen destroyers from this force left San Francisco to return home to San Diego, but late in the day a diasterous navigational error combined with bad weather caused the squadron to turn east to enter the Santa Barbara Channel too soon. The leading ships hit the rocks at Honda Point, and seven were lost. DesDiv 31 lost one ship, the Fuller, while the Farragut (DD-300) only just touched ground. The Percival escaped without any damage.

In 1925 the fleet exercises took her to Hawaii, where she was photographed at Pearl Harbor.

On the night of 31 January 1926 the Percival collided with the USS William Jones (DD-308) in the Coronado Roads, California. The Percival rammed the William Jones, punching a hole in her port forward oil tank, creating three gashes in the hull and cracking several of her frame plates. The Percival was apparently undamaged and was ordered to continue on to Panama with the rest of the fleet. The damage to the Jones was estimated as costing $50,000 to repair!

Percival was decommissioned 26 April 1930 and scrapped in 1931.

Somers (DD-301), Farragut (DD-300), John Francis Burns (DD-299), Percival (DD-298) and Stoddert (DD-302)Somers (DD-301), Farragut (DD-300), John Francis Burnes (DD-299), Percival (DD-298) and Stoddert (DD-302)

Commander Raymond A. Spruance: 1 March 1920-
Commander C. H. Cobb: To March 1925 (going to the Navay Department)
Commander Edmund S. Root: From March 1925 (coming from USS Nevada).

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)


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



5 December 1918


1 March 1920



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
How to cite this article: Rickard, J (12 August 2020), USS Percival (DD-298) , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_USS_Percival_DD298.html

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