Benjamin Williams Crowninshield, born 27 December 1772 in Boston, Mass., was a member of the well-known family of Salem shipowners and seafarers, and commanded a merchant ship before he was 20. He served in the Massachusetts State Senate in 1811, and was Secretary of the Navy from 1814 to 1818. A Presidential elector in 1820, Crowninshield later served again in his State's Senate, and was a Member of Congress from 1823 to 1831. He died 3 February 1851.
(DD-134: dp. 1,090; l. 314'5"; b. 31'8"; dr. 8'8"; s. 35 k.; cpl. 100; a. 4 4", 12 21" tt.; cl. Wiekes)
Crowninshield (DD-134) was launched 24 July 1919 by Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine; sponsored by Miss E. C. Davis, great-great-grandniece of B. W. Crowninshield; commissioned 6 August 1919, Lieutenant Commander R. E. Sampson in command; and reported to the Atlantic Fleet.
Crowninshield cruised along the Atlantic coast and in the Caribbean, participating in 1921 in the fleet concentration in the Canal Zone and Cuban waters. During this exercise she carried Secretary of the Navy Daniels from Key West to Guantanamo Bay for fleet maneuvers. From 14 November 1921 Crowninshield operated with 50 percent of her complement until placed out of commission in reserve at Philadelphia 7 July 1922.
Recommissioned 12 May 1930, Crowninshield arrived at San Diego 4 April 1931 to join the Battle Force. She took part in fleet problems and exercises on the west coast, in Hawaiian and Caribbean waters; operated with Aircraft, Battle Force; conducted practice cruises to Canadian and Alaskan ports for members of the Naval Reserve; and spent from 15 July to 17 December 1934 in the Rotating Reserve. She was at San Diego between 30 October and 2 November 1935, for the Presidential Fleet Review and attended the ceremonies opening the San Francisco Bay Bridge in November 1936. Crowninshield was decommissioned at San Diego 8 April 1937.
Recommissioned 30 September 1939, Crowninshield sailed from Mare Island 25 November and arrived at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, 10 December for duty with the Neutrality Patrol in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. On 9 September 1940 she was decommisisoned at Halifax, Nova Scotia, and delivered to British authorities in the land bases for destroyers exchange. She was commissioned in the Royal Navy as HMS Chelsea the same day.
Chelsea reached Devonport, England, 28 September 1940. Assigned to the Sixth Escort Group, Western Approaches Command, Liverpool, for Atlantic convoy duty, she fought the double-menace submarine and air attacks on vital supplies. On 6 April 1941 she rescued 29 survivors of SS Olga S. which had been sunk by an air attack.
Chelsea joined Arbutus 5 February 1942 to hunt for a submarine sighted from their convoy. Two hours laterArbutus was torpedoed. Chelsea opened fire on the surfaced submarine and made three depth charge attacks after she dived but contact was lost and she returned to pick up the survivors from Arbutus.
In November 1942 Chelsea was lent to the Royal Canadian Navy and until the end of 1943 operated in the mid and western Atlantic Ocean escorting convoys to and from Great Britain. She returned to Londonderry, Northern Ireland, 26 December 1943 and early in 1944 was reduced to reserve in the Tyne. On 16 July 1944 she was transferred to Russia and renamed Derskyi.