USS Rodgers (DD-254 )/ HMS Sherwood

USS Rodgers (DD-254)/ HMS Sherwood was a Clemson class destroyer that was transferred to the Royal Navy as part of the destroyers for bases deal. In British service she took part in the search for the survivors from the AMC Jervis Bay and the hunt for the Bismarck, but was mainly used on convoy escort duties. However she was mechanically unreliable, and in October 1943 she was beached and used as a target for rocket firing aircraft.

USS Rodgers (DD-254) at Guantanamo Bay, 1920
USS Rodgers (DD-254)
at Guantanamo Bay, 1920

The Rodgers was named after two generations of John Rodgers, father and son, both of whom served in the US Navy. A third John Rodgers, great-grandson of the first, also served, but most of his service came after this ship was named.

The Rodgers was originally going to be called the Kalk, but she was renamed on 23 December 1918. She was laid down by by Bethlehem at Quincy, Mass, on 25 September 1918 and launched on 26 April 1919. She was sponsored by Miss Helen T. Rodgers, the granddaughter of the second John Rodgers, and commissioned on 22 July 1919.

The Rodgers had a very short career in the US Navy. She served with Division 28, Destroyers, Atlantic Fleet, from 1919 until the spring of 1922. She was decommissioned on 20 July 1922 and remained out of service until the outbreak of the Second World War.

The Rodgers was recommissioned on 18 December 1939 as part of the US reaction to the outbreak of war in Europe and rejoined the Atlantic Fleet. However she was then chosen to be one of the fifty destroyers handed over to Britain as part of of the destroyers for bases deal. In October 1940 she moved to Halifax ready to be handed over. 

As HMS Sherwood (I.80)

The Rodgers was transferred to British control on 23 October 1940 and commissioned into the Royal Navy as HMS Sherwood. She departed for the United Kingdom on 1 November, but was soon diverted to hunt for survivors from the AMC Jervis Bay, which had been sunk by the German raider Admiral Scheer. During the hunt for survivors the Sherwood developed engine problems and had to return to St. Johns.

The problems were soon fixed, and she departed for the UK for the second time on 12 November. She arrived at Portsmouth on 26 November, and began a refit and overhaul at the Portsmouth Naval Dockyard. These were almost complete when she was damaged by German bombing on 11 March, and she was moved to Devonport to have the work completed.

In April 1941, once the refit was complete the Sherwood departed for Iceland, where she was to join the 12th Escort Group. The group’s main duty was to escort convoys in the mid-Atlantic area, but on 25 May the group was detached to join the hunt for the Bismarck. On 28 May, the day after the Bismarck had been sunk, the Sherwood took part a hunt for survivors from the destroyer HMS Mashona, which had been sunk by German aircraft.

The Sherwood then returned to the Clyde, where on 31 May she joined the escort for the outgoing Military Convoy WS8X, heading for the Middle East, as it passed through the Western Approaches. Once the convoy was past the immediate danger zone the Sherwood spent the rest of June on convoy defence duties in the Western Approaches. A plan to move her to the Newfoundland Escort Force had to be abandoned after she developed defects that required repairs that lasted into the autumn, and in October 1941 she joined an Escort Group based at Londonderry and operating in the north-western approaches.

In November 1941 she joined the 22nd Escort Group. In December she helped escort military convoy WS14 through the north-western Approaches.

On 27 January 1942 she suffered structure damage in heavy weather while operating on convoy defence duties. In February 1942 she was used to support HMS Formidable during trials, and in March she did the same for HMS Illustrious. This was followed by another period in the dockyard, this time having her boilers retubed. This took her out of action until September, when she was allocated as an Air Target Ship in the Cromarty area, to be used as a target by aircrews practicing torpedo attacks on shipping.

In October 1942 she was finally assigned to the Newfoundland Escort Force, and in November she began operations from St. Johns. This lasted until March 1943 when she returned to the UK and was allocated to the Gibraltar route. However more mechanical problems were found, and in April she was declared to be beyond economic repair.

The Sherwood was stripped of all useable parts and in September 1943 was towed to the Humber by the tug Sea Giant. In October she was beached in shallow waters outside the Humber estuary, and used as a target for rocket firing RAF Beaufighters. Her hulk was scrapped in 1946, although she can’t have been in very good condition by then!

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



25 September 1918


26 April 1919



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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (28 November 2019), USS Rodgers (DD-254 )/ HMS Sherwood ,

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