USS Robinson (DD-88)/ HMS Newmarket

USS Robinson (DD-88) was a Wickes class destroyer that was commissioned too late to see service during the First World War, but that served in the Royal Navy as HMS Newmarket during the Second World War.

The Robinson was named after Isaiah Robinson, a US naval officer during the War of Independence who had some success against British ships before being blockaded in the Delaware River.

The Robinson was built by the Union Iron Works, San Francisco. She was launched on 28 March 1918 and commissioned at Mare Island Navy Yard on 19 October 1918, with Commander George Wirth Simpson in command.

USS Robinson (DD-88) on trials, San Francisco, October 1918
USS Robinson (DD-88) on trials
San Francisco, October 1918

The Robinson left San Francisco on 24 October, heading for Norfolk, Virginia. She passed through the Panama Canal on 3 November and reached Norfolk on 8 November. Three days later the First World War came to an end. Anyone who served on her between 3 and 8 November qualified for the First World War Victory Medal, presumably because the last stage of the trip to New York took her through the war zone.

The highpoints of her American career all came in 1919. In May 1919 she was part of the naval force that supported the transatlantic flight being attempted by three Curtiss NC sea planes. On 8 May she sighted NC-3. On 15 May NC-4, the only one of the three aircraft to complete the flight, flew overhead on its way to Trepassey Bay, Newfoundland. The Robinson then moved towards the Azores, forming part of a line of destroyers used to mark the route. After NC-4 safely reached the Azores, the Robinson moved into a position to support the fourth leg of the flight, and once again sited the aircraft as she flew overhead on her way to Lisbon.  

The Robinson underwent an overhaul at Norfolk in the summer of 1919. In October 1919 she acted as part of the naval honour guard for the King of Belgium as he visited the United States on the transport USS George Washington. In November 1919 she repeated this duty, this time for the Prince of Wales, who was visiting the United States on HMS Renown.

In 1920 the Robinson took part in fleet manoeuvres off Guantanamo Bay and the Panama Canal, then in May entered the Portsmouth Navy Yard, where she remained for the next year. In May 1921 she moved to Newport, from where she operated in local waters. In November 1921 she moved to Charleston where she continued with local operations. She then moved to Philadelphia, where on 3 August 1922 she was decommissioned.

As HMS Newmarket

In 1940 the Robinson was chosen as one of the fifty destroyers to be given to Britain as part of the Destroyers for Bases deal. She was recommissioned on 23 August 1940, and underwent an overhaul, before moving to Halifax, Nova Scotia. On 26 November 1940 she was handed over to a care and maintenance part of the Royal Canadian Navy, and became HMS Newmarket (pennant number G47). She was commissioned into the Royal Navy on 5 December 1940. On 9 December she collided with her sister ship HMS Newark (previous USS Ringgold), causing damage to the Newark that delayed her departure for British waters.

The Newmarket left Halifax on 15 January 1941 and reached Belfast on 26 January. She then moved to the Humber for a short refit, before she joined the Western Approaches Command. On 2 June 1941 she was attacked by German aircraft while operating in the north-western approaches. From late June to November she underwent a refit at Sheerness.

In November 1941 she joined the 8th Escort Group, based at Londonderry, and was used to escort convoys. On 3 January 1942 boiler problems meant that she had to leave Convoy HX-166, and return to Lough Foyle. She then moved to Liverpool, where she underwent a refit that lasted to the end of March.

In April 1942 the Newmarket formed part of the escort of Convoy PQ-14, heading to Russia, although probably only on the early stages. In May 1942 she became an aircraft target ship, based in the Firth of Forth. She carried out this role until September 1943, undergoing a refit at Leith (December 1942-February 1943) and Rosyth during this period. She was then reduced to care and maintenance status at Rosyth, before returning to her target role in the spring of 1944. She was paid off for a second time after the end of the war in Europe, and sold to be scrapped at Llanelly on 21 September 1945.

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)


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



28 March 1918


19 October 1918

To Royal Navy

5 December 1940

Sold for scrap

21 September 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

Books on the First World War | Subject Index: First World War

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (15 March 2017), USS Robinson (DD-88)/ HMS Newmarket ,

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