USS Philip (DD-76)/ HMS Lancaster

USS Philip (DD-76) was a Wickes class destroyer that entered service just before the end of the First World War, and saw more service in the Second World War as HMS Lancaster.

The Philip was named after John Woodward Philip, a US naval officer during the American Civil War and the Spanish-American War, taking part in the battle of Santiago Bay.

The Philip was built at the Bath Iron Works. She was laid down on 1 September 1917, launched on 25 July 1918 and commissioned one month later, on 24 August 1918, with Lt. Commander John F. Cox in charge.

The Philip was allocated to Squadron Two, Cruiser Force, on 1 September 1918. Her first active service saw her escort convoy HX-47 across the Atlantic to Ireland. She was then placed under the control of the Commander, US Destroyer Forces operating in European Waters, but only for her return trop to the United States. She was then used as the flagship of the Submarine Hunting Group based at the Coast Guard Station, Cold Springs, Cape May, New Jersey, between 28 September and 11 October. She crossed the Atlantic a second time escorting convoy HX-54, leaving the US on 27 October and returning on 20 November. Convoy escorts weren't terribly sizable during this period - the 13 ships of HX-54 were protected by the Philip, the armoured cruiser South Dakota (Armoured Cruiser No.9) and the British ship City of London.

Crew of USS Philip (DD-76), 1930s
Crew of
USS Philip (DD-76),

Anyone who served on her between 31 August and 11 November 1918 qualified for the First World War victory medal.

Amongst her crew during the First World War was John L. Hall, who served as her engineer officer. He rose to flag rank during the Second World War, and took part in the campaign in North Africa, commanded the amphibious force that landed the US V Corps on Omaha Beach and took part in the invasion of Okinawa. USS John L. Hall (FFH-32) was named after him.

In May 1919 she supported the trans-Atlantic flight made by the Curtiss flying boat NC-4. She then took part in Army experiments at Fort Hancock, before moving to the Pacific to join Squadron 4, Destroyer Force, Pacific Fleet. She arrived at her new base at San Diego on 2 August 1919, but was then sent on a trip out to Pearl Harbor. After that she took part in a series of regular exercises off the US West Coast, as well as cruising off the Panama Canal Zone and South America. This first spell of operational duty ended on 29 May 1922 whe she was decommissioned.

The Philip was recommissioned for a second time between 25 February 1930 and 2 April 1937. After an overhaul she joined Destroyer Squadrons, Battle Fleet, and took part in gunnery practice off San Diego. Late in 1930 she moved to the East Coast to joun the Training Squadron. During 1931 she was used as a training ship, and made frequent trips to New England, Hampotn Roads, Tangier Sound and Quantico. On 22 December the Philip left New York and joined the Special Service Squadron, then being used to protect American interests around Panama, Nicaragua and El Salvador. This duty lasted into 1932, before she was placed into reduced commission with Destroyer Squadron 20 of the Rotating Reserve at Mare Island (9 May-30 July 1932).

On 18 August the Philip returned to her earlier base at San Diego, where she joined Destroyer Division 6, Squadron 2 of the Battle Fleet. She took part in a series of training exercises, including some with the Aircraft Battle Force. This period lasted until December 1933, when she was placed into reduced commission. This ended in July 1934, and she then operated with Submarine Divsiion 12, the Cruiser Scouting Force and various destroyer divisions. Amongst her duties in this period was a trip to Alaska in July-August 1934 and the Presidential Fleet Review at San Diego (September-October 1935). She also took part in the annual fleet operations, where she was sometimes used as a plane guard to rescue any aircraft who ditched near aircraft carriers. She was decommissioned for a second time at San Diego on 2 April 1937.

The outbreak of the Second World War saw the Philip recommissioned on 30 September 1939, and joined Division 64 of the Atlantic Squadron, part of the Neutrality Patrol. The Philip joined her new unit at Key West on 11 December. After a short spell there she was allocated to the Antilles Detachment, and visited the Dutch Indies, Venezulia and Guantanamo Bay on Cuba. She was also used to escort submarines in the Panama Canal Zone.

In 1940 the Philip was selected to be one of the fifty destroyers given to Britain as part of the Destroyers for Bases deal. She was overhauled and then moved to Halifax. On 23 October 1940 she was decommissioned from the US Navy and commissioned into the Royal Navy as HMS Lancaster (pennant number G-05).

In British service she was used as a mine layer and on convoy escort missions. In March 1945 she became an air target for training purposes. She was placed in the British Reserve in July 1945 and went to be scrapped on 30 May 1947.

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)


314ft 4in


30ft 11in

Armaments (as built)

Four 4in/50 guns
Twelve 21in torpedoes in four triple tubes
Two depth charge tracks

Crew complement



25 July 1918


24 August 1918

To Royal Navy

23 October 1940


30 May 1947

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 (25 January 2017), USS Philip (DD-76)/ HMS Lancaster ,

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