USS Preston (DD-327)

USS Preston (DD-327) was a Clemson class destroyer that served with the Atlantic Fleet in the 1920s, and in European waters in 1925-26, before being scrapped because of her badly worn boilers.

The Preston was named after Samuel W. Preston, who served with the US Navy during the Civil War, spending over a year in Libby Prison after being captured during an attack on Fort Sumter.

USS Cohglan (DD-326) and USS Preston (DD-327) at Trieste USS Cohglan (DD-326) and USS Preston (DD-327) at Trieste

The Preston was laid down by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corps at San Francisco on 19 July 1919, launched on 7 August 1920 when she was sponsored by Mrs. Josephus Daniels, wife of the Secretary of the Navy and commissioned on 13 April 1921. She brief operated from San Diego until December 1921, before departed for the East Coast, where she joined the Atlantic Fleet Destroyer Force. She spent most of the rest of her career serving with the Atlantic Fleet, spending winters in the Caribbean and summers along the US East Coast.

The one major interruption to this pattern came between June 1925 and July 1926 when she served with the US Naval Forces in European Waters. Most of this time was spent in the Mediterranean, but she also visited Scandinavia.

The Preston visited Copenhagen on 22 July 1925 and Bergen (Norway) on 22 August 1925 (along with three other destroyers from Destroyer Division 27). Two Soviet warships, the Komsomoletz and Avrora were also paying a visit at the same time, eight years before full diplomatic relations were established between the two countries!

She and the Coghlan (DD-326) were photographed at Trieste on 26 March 1926.

On 3 April 1926 the ships of Destroyer Division 27 were photographed at Venice, when the division contained the Preston (DD-327), Lamson (DD-328), Coghlan (DD-326) and Bruce(DD-329).

In July 1926, she returned to New York and rejoined the Atlantic Fleet.

USS Preston (DD-327) at Copenhagen, 1925 USS Preston (DD-327) at Copenhagen, 1925

In March-April 1927 several US newspapers (amongst them the New Britain Herald, Indianapolis Times and the Bismarck Tribune), reported that the Preston was taking part in the fighting at Nanking, after the city fell to the NRA. However these reports had confused the Preston with the William B. Preston (DD-344), suggesting that the two names were rather too close for comfort! In the case of the New Britain Herald the report was accompanied by a photograph of the Preston clearing showing her hull number of 327!

In April 1927 the Preston was chosen to carry Juan B. Sacasa, the leader of the Nicaraguan Liberals, to a possible meeting with Henry L. Stimson, then serving as President’s Coolidge’s representative during the intervention in the country. In May she did indeed carry his representatives too and from a meeting with Stimson, but they clearly weren’t happy with the results, describing the result as ‘a new imposition of force’.

By now it was clear that the Preston’s Yarrow boilers were badly worn. The US Navy decided to swap thirty four of the badly worn destroyers for almost fresh sister-ships that had been in the reserves for most of the 1920s. The Preston was decommissioned at Philadelphia on 1 May 1930 and used for strength tests before being sold for scrap on 6 November 1931, helping to fulfil the terms of the London Naval Treaty.

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



7 August 1920


13 April 1921

Sold for scrap

23 August 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
How to cite this article: Rickard, J (3 March 2021), USS Preston (DD-327) ,

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