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Abel P. Upshur

 

Abel Parker Upshur—born on 17 June 1791 in Northampton County, Va.—was admitted to the Virginia bar in 1810 and practiced law in Richmond. He served in the state House of Delegates from 1812 to 1813 and again from 1825 to 1827. From 1826 until 1841, Upshur was a member of the supreme court of Virginia.

 

In September 1841, Upshur was appointed Secretary of the Navy by President John Tyler. He held that position until 23 July 1843, when he succeeded Daniel Webster as Secretary of State. On 28 February 1844, Upshur accompanied a party of distinguished persons down the Potomac River in screw steamer Princeton to witness some experiments in firing a new iron gun of unusual size. On the return trip, the gun was fired a third time and exploded, killing Secretary Upshur and five others and wounding several more on board.

 

(DD-193: dp. 1,308; l. 314'41/2"; b. 30'11˝"; dr. 9'4"; s. 35.18 k.; cpl. 122; a. 4 4", 1 3", 12 21" tt; cl. Clemson)

 

Abel P. Upshur (DD-193) was laid down on 20 August 1918 at Newport News, Va., by the Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry-dock Co.; launched on 14 February 1920; sponsored by Mrs. George J. Benson, great-great niece of Secretary Upshur; and commissioned at the Norfolk Navy Yard on 23 November 1920, Lt. Vincent H. Godfrey in command.

 

Following her commissioning, the destroyer was assigned to Destroyer Division 37, Squadron 3, Atlantic Fleet. She cruised along the east coast, taking part in fleet exercises and maneuvers. The ship was placed out of commission at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 7 August 1922.

 

Abel P. Upshur assumed duties at the Washington Navy Yard in March 1928 as a training ship for Naval Reserave personnel from the District of Columbia and continued this routine until 5 November 1930, when the ship was transferred to the Treasury Department. Her name was then struck from the Navy list. The ship served the Coast Guard helping to prevent the smuggling of liquor into the United States.

 

Abel P. Upshur was returned to Navy custody on 21 May 1934 but was laid up at Philadelphia until 4 December 1939, when she was again placed in commission and assigned to the Atlantic Squadron. The ship operated along the east coast on neutrality enforcement patrols.

 

On 9 September 1940, Abel P. Upshur was decommissioned at Halifax, Nova Scotia. The vessel was transferred to Great Britain under an agreement by which, the United States exchanged 50 overage destroyers for bases on British colonial territory in the Atlantic. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 8 January 1941.

 

the British on 9 September 1940. She was assigned to the 1st "Town-class" Flotilla and arrived at Belfast, Ireland, on 26 September. Clare joined Escort Group 7 and escorted transatlantic convoys. On 20 February 1941, she rescued the crew of the sinking British steamship Rigmor. In the early hours of the 21st, the destroyer collided with the motor vessel Petertoum and suffered some damage.

 

After undergoing repairs at Plymouth, England, between March and October, Clare resumed convoy duty with Escort Group 41, Western Approaches Command.

 

In the fall of 1942, the destroyer took part in the landings of the invasion of North Africa Operation "Torch." As a member of the Eastern Naval Task Force, she covered landings near Algiers. On 12 November 1942, the destroyer attacked a German U-boat in waters north of Oran, Algeria, and claimed to have sunk the enemy vessel. Clare left Gibraltar on 17 November 1942, returned to Great Britain, and resumed transatlantic convoy duty.

 

In July 1943, the ship participated in the invasion of Sicily. She entered drydock at Cardiff, Wales, in September of that year, returned to action in May 1944, and served as a target ship for aircraft in the Western Approaches Command. In August 1945, Clare was reduced to reserve at Greenock, Scotland.