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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORY AND HERITAGE COMMAND
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Bagley

 

Worth Bagley‑‑born in Raleigh, N.C., on 6 April 1874‑‑entered the Naval Academy in 1891.  He graduated on 7 June 1895 and, after two years at sea as a passed midshipman, was commissioned ensign on 1 July 1897.  At the beginning of hostilities between the United States and Spain late in Apri1 1898, Bagley was serving in Winslow (Torpedo Boat No. 5), a ship that was soon on blockade station off the northern coast of Cuba.


On 11 May 1898, Winslow left her position for Cardenas to replenish her coal bunkers from one of the larger warships located there.  When she reached Cardenas, the senior officer present, the commanding officer of Wilmington (Gunboat No. 8) ordered her to reconnoiter Cardenas Bay for mines in company with the revenue cutter Hudson.  The negative report on the mines that the two small ships made at the completion of their mission prompted Wilmington’s  commanding officer to decide to take his ship into the bay to search for three Spanish gunboats reportedly lurking there. Bagley’s ship and Hudson served as escorts.  At about 3,000 yards from Cardenas, a lookout caught sight of a small, gray steamer moored alongside the wharf.  Winslow moved in for a closer look.  At about 1335 that afternoon, Bagley’s torpedo boat reached a point about 1,500 yards from the wharf when a puff of smoke announced the beginning of an artillery duel that lasted an hour and 20 minutes.  Winslow’s 1‑pounder responded, and then Spanish shore batteries opened on her.  The little torpedo boat bore the brunt of Spanish fury and quickly suffered a number of hits.


The first shell to strike Winslow put both her steam and manual steering out of action.  While members of her crew tried to rig some type of auxiliary steering gear, Ens. Bagley carried orders to the after engine room hatch in order to keep the warship maneuvering with her propellers.  However, at one point the ship swung broadside to the enemy batteries, and a shell knocked out her port main engine.  Wilmington and Hudson came to the rescue with their larger guns, and Winslow requested Hudson to tow her out of action.  While the two ships attempted to make fast a towline, a shell burst near the after engine room hatch, slaying Bagley and four enlisted men.  He was the only naval officer killed in action in the Spanish‑American War.


David Worth Bagley‑‑the brother of Ens. Worth Bagley‑‑was born in Raleigh, N.C., on 8 January 1883.  He attended North Carolina State College in 1898 and 1899 before entering the Naval Academy in 1900.  After graduating on 4 February 1904, he went to sea in Missouri (Battleship No. 3) attached to the North Atlantic Fleet.  In December 1905, Passed Midshipman Bagley was reassigned to the Asiatic Fleet and served successively in Concord (Gunboat No. 3) and West Virginia (Armored Cruiser No. 5).  While in Concord, he was commissioned ensign on 2 February 1906.  He was detached from West Virginia in March of 1907 and, the following year, reported on board Rhode Island (Battleship No. 17) of the Atlantic Fleet and made the voyage around the world in her with the Great White Fleet.  In April 1909, he left Rhode Island and went to the General Electric Co. in Schenectady, N.Y., for a year of instruction.  He then became aide and flag lieutenant to the Commander, 2d Division, Atlantic Fleet, in April 1910.


After a similar tour of duty on the staff of the Commander in Chief, Asiatic Fleet, and a two‑month furlough, he reported for duty at the Naval Academy in September 1912.  Two years later, Bagley returned to sea as first lieutenant 1n Michigan (Battleship No. 27) serving with the Atlantic Fleet.  He got his first command in September 1915 when he took over Drayton (Destroyer No. 23).  During the first month of 1917, Bagley moved from Drayton to Jacob Jones (Destroyer No. 61).  By May 1917, he and his ship were conducting antisubmarine patrols and convoy escort missions in the western approaches to the British Isles.  Later, his area of operations widened to include the Irish Sea and the English Channel.


On 6 December 1917, Bagley conned his ship out of Brest harbor.  At about 1621 that afternoon, the watch spied a torpedo wake.  The destroyer maneuvered to avoid the torpedo, but in vain.  It struck her starboard side and pierced her fuel oil tank.  Though Bagley and his crew worked frantically to save the ship, she went down within eight minutes carrying 64 crewmen with her.  Bagley and 37 others made it into the icy water in boats and on rafts, and, thanks to the humanitarian gesture by Kapitänleutnant Hans Rose, the U‑boat commander who radioed their location to Queenstown, they were all picked up by the 8th.  Bagley earned the Distinguished Service Medal for his part in handling the situation.


He returned to the United States after the sinking of Jacob Jones and became the prospective commanding officer of Lea (Destroyer No. 118) then under construction at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.  He put her into commission on 2 October 1918, but commanded her only until January 1919 when he became the American port officer at Rotterdam in the Netherlands with additional duty as the assistant naval attaché in the American legation at The Hague.  He later served as naval attaché before returning to the United States in December 1921 for a tour of duty ashore in the Office of Naval Intelligence.  In March of 1922, Bagley returned to sea in command of Reno (DD‑303) and as Commander, Destroyer Division 32, Pacific Fleet.  He transferred to command of Division 35, Destroyer Squadrons, Battle Fleet, in August 1923.  Bagley went ashore again in May 1924 for another two‑year tour of duty at the Naval Academy.  At the end of the academic year in 1926, he left the Academy to become chief of staff to the Commander, Naval Forces, Europe, embarked in Memphis (CL‑13).  In April 1927, Bagley moved to the 9th Naval District as the assistant (later changed to chief of staff) to the commandant with temporary additional duty as acting commanding officer of the Naval Training Station, Great Lakes.


He returned to sea in December 1931 as the commanding officer of heavy cruiser Pensacola  (CA‑24), then serving in the Atlantic with Cruiser Division (CruDiv) 4, Scouting Fleet.  That assignment lasted until May 1933 when Bagley was called to Washington, D.C., for duty in the Bureau of Navigation.  He later became assistant bureau chief.  In May 1935, orders sent him to Newport, R.I., to attend the Naval War College.  Upon completing the senior course, he remained there as a member of the staff.  Next came a year of duty as Commander, Destroyer Squadron 20, Destroyers, Scouting Fleet.  From July 1937 to May 1938, he served as Commander Minecraft, Battle Force.  While in that position, he was promoted to flag rank to date from 1 April 1938.  In May of that year, Rear Admiral Bagley began a 32‑month tour of duty as Commandant, Mare Island Navy Yard.  At the beginning of 1941, he broke his flag in Tennessee (BB‑43) as Commander, Battleship Division 2.  He was serving in that command billet when his flagship was slightly damaged on 7 December 1941 during the Japanese air raid on Pearl Harbor.


On 4 April 1942, Bagley relieved Rear Admiral Claude C. Bloch as Commandant, 14th Naval District, and Commander, Hawaiian Sea Frontier, and he served in that capacity until January 1943.  On 1 February 1943, he assumed command of the Western Sea Frontier and, on 30 March 1943, added the duties of Commandant, 11th Naval District.  He held the latter office only until January of 1944, but continued to head the Western Sea Frontier until the following fall.  Promoted to vice admiral to date from 1 February 1944, he was relieved of duty as Commander, Western Sea Frontier, on 17 November 1944.  Eleven days later, Vice Admiral Bagley returned to Oahu and resumed duty as Commandant, 14th Naval District, and served in that position until ordered to Washington on 25 July 1945.  On 20 August, Bagley reported for duty in the office of the Chief of Naval Operations and served on the International Defense Board, the United States‑Mexican Defense Commission, and the Permanent Joint Board on Defense.  Vice Admiral Bagley was relieved of all active duty on 22 March 1946 and was placed on the retired list with the rank of admiral on 1 April 1947.  Admiral Bagley died at the Naval Hospital, San Diego, Calif., on 24 May 1960.


The first three Bagleys‑‑Torpedo Boat No. 24, Destroyer No. 185, and DD‑386‑‑were named for Ens. Worth Bagley.  The fourth, DE‑1069, honors both Worth Bagley and his brother, Admiral David W. Bagley.


II


(Destroyer No. 185: dp. 1,213 (n.); l. 314'4½"; b. 9'3-5/8"; dr. 10'3¼" (aft) (f.); s. 35 k.; cpl. 122; a. 4 4", 2 3", 12 21" tt.; cl. Wickes)


The second Bagley (Destroyer No. 185) was laid down on 11 May 1918 at Newport News, Va., by the Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co.; launched on 19 October 1918; sponsored by Mrs. Adelaide Worth Bagley, Ens. Bagley's mother; and commissioned at Norfolk, Va., on 27 August 1919, Comdr. Reuben L. Walker in command.


After outfitting at Norfolk, Va., during September, Bagley put to sea on 11 October to complete sea trials and to proceed to Newport, R.I., where she spent the period 13 to 26 October.  From there, she headed south to Key West on her way to visit ports on the gulf coast of the United States.  The destroyer reached Key West on 30 October, took on supplies, and then steered north along Florida's west coast bound for Pensacola, arriving on the 31st.  Based temporarily at Pensacola, Bagley made a port visit apiece to New Orleans, La., and to Galveston, Tex., in November.  On 13 December, she departed Pensacola to return to the east coast and arrived in Norfolk on the 18th.


The warship opened the year, 1920, finishing repairs to damage she had suffered in a collision with Thomas (Destroyer No. 182) at New Orleans early in November.  On 10 January 1920, she stood out of Chesapeake Bay with other Atlantic Fleet destroyers bound for winter maneuvers in the West Indies.  She and her colleagues reached Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, on the 19th and began 14 weeks of tactical exercises and gunnery drills, punctuated by visits to various West Indian ports.  The exercises ended in April, and Bagley headed back north with the fleet.  After a visit to New York early in May, she began summer drills at Newport, R.I., at mid-month.  Except for a brief period in drydock at Norfolk early in June, the destroyer spent the entire summer engaged in exercises out of Newport.  At the beginning of September, Bagley left Newport and steamed via Norfolk to Charleston, S.C.  Charleston was her home port, and had been since her commissioning nearly a year before, but she made her first visit when she arrived there at the end of the first week in September.


Bagley spent the remainder of 1920 in port at Charleston and operated locally during the first four months of 1921.  On 10 May, she put to sea bound via Norfolk and New York for Newport, R.I., and another summer of exercises off the New England coast.  In mid-June, however, orders to Washington, D.C., interrupted this routine.  The warship arrived at the Washington Navy Yard on 18 June and began five weeks of duty transporting dignitaries between Washington and the site of the Army-Navy aerial bombardment tests off the Virginia capes.  During the period, she embarked Admiral Robert E. Coontz, the Chief of Naval Operations, to observe the tests on the former German torpedo boat G-102 carried out on 13 July and Italian military leader, General Pietro Badoglio, for the sinking of the former German battleship Ostfriesland on the 20th.  Also during that span of time, the Navy adopted the alphanumeric system of hull classification and identification, and Bagley was designated DD-185.


Bagley concluded this interlude serving VIPs on 22 July and returned north to Newport to resume summer drills.  That employment, punctuated by visits to several New England and Middle Atlantic ports, occupied her for the rest of the summer.  Early in September, she returned to Charleston and remained there for the duration of the year.  She saw little service in 1922 because she found herself among the 157 destroyers that the Navy had to decommission owing to straitened fiscal circumstances.  The orders identifying the warships to be inactivated came out in mid-February, and those selected from the Atlantic Fleet began reporting to Philadelphia in mid-March.  Bagley's turn to be decommissioned came on 12 July 1922.


The destroyer remained inactive at Philadelphia for almost two decades.  During that time, she lost her name to Bagley (DD-386) on 31 May 1935.  A little over four years later, however, World War II and the Royal Navy's dire need for destroyers saved her, by then known only as DD-185, from the shipbreakers.  Renamed Doran on 20 November 1939, she was refurbished at Philadelphia and commissioned there on 17 June 1940.  Although briefly assigned to the Atlantic Squadron, Doran was quickly readied for transfer to the Royal Navy and was delivered at Halifax, Nova Scotia, on 23 September 1940.


Renamed HMS St. Marys (I.12), she made her first landfall in the British Isles at Belfast, Northern Ireland, on 8 October.  From there, she moved on to the west coast of Scotland where she joined the 1st Minelaying Squadron on the 31st.  The warship took part in some of the early minelaying operations carried out in the Denmark Strait and served as an escort for convoys.  In 1941, St. Marys participated in most of the squadron's minelaying missions and rendered valuable service in defense of shipping.  The destroyer suffered damage in a collision with the transport Royal Ulsterman on 29 August 1941 sufficient to keep her under repair in the dockyard for the rest of the year.


Returned to active service in 1942, she continued minelaying and escort duty through the end of that year and the next.  In February 1944, St. Marys was paid off in the Tyne and remained there until the end of the war.  The Royal Navy formally placed her in reserve on 6 September 1944, and she was broken up in 1945.


Raymond A. Mann



23 September 2005