A British name. Capt. John Lawford commanded HMS Polyphemus during the Battle of Copenhagen 2 April 1801.
DE-516 was laid down by Boston Navy Yard 9 July 1943; launched 13 August 1943; transferred to the United Kingdom under lend lease 3 November 1943; and commissioned as Lawford the same day. As one of 78 “Captain” class destroyer escorts, she served the Royal Navy in the Atlantic prior to the invasion of Europe. She supported the Normandy invasion 6 June 1944, and was bombed and sunk off Juno Beach while supporting landings 8 June 1944.
James Lawrence, born in Burlington, N.J., 1 October 1781 and entered the Navy as Midshipman, 4 September 1798. After service in frigates Ganges and Adams, he became first lieutenant of schooner Enterprise. On 2 June 1803 he put off from Enterprise as second in command of David Porter’s expedition in seven small boats and rowed for the shore of Tripoli where more than a thousand enemy had drawn up behind a barricade of 12 craft and shore structures. Musket fire from five of the American boats kept the enemy at bay while the other two went among the enemy craft and set them ablaze. They returned to their warships some 2 hours later without the loss of a life during the daring attack on the enemy’s shore. Lawrence was second in command under Stephen Decatur in the expedition to burn captured frigate Philadelphia in ketch Intrepid, 16 February 1804.
During the years that followed he commanded Gunboat Number 6, Vixen, Wasp, and Argus. He sailed for Europe as commander of Hornet in the fall of 1811 and returned the following May with the last dispatches from England before the declaration of war, 19 June 1812. Three days later he took Hornet to sea with the squadron of Commodore John Rodgers which took seven prizes including a privateer captured by Hornet offthe banks of Newfoundland on 9 July 1812. He next set sail on 27 October in company with Commodore Bainbridge in frigate Constitution for the coast of South America. He blockaded British sloop-of-war Bonne Citoyenne at Salvador (now Bahia), offering every challenge to get her out of the harbor for a fight until 24 January 1813 when 74-gun British ship Montagu made an appearance. Escaping the latter antagonist in the dark of night, he cruised northward off Pernambuco where he captured the brig Resolution. Off the mouth of the Demerara River 10 days later, he fought British brig Peacock forcing her to strike her colors, but she rapidly sank. Lawrence returned home 19 March, was promoted to captain as of 3 March 1813, and took command of Chesapeake at Boston harbor on 20 May.
On 1 June 1813 he sailed out to meet the challenge of the 38-gun British frigate Shannon. After a furious exchange of broadsides at pistol shot range for some 12 minutes, his sails were destroyed as he passed broadside and Chesapeake fouled her mizzen rigging with the Shannon’s fore chains. Unable to answer her helm, she was helpless before a raking fire. Lawrence was mortally wounded but spent his ebbing strength urging his men to “Fight her till she sinks!” and “Don’t give up the ship!”
(DDG-4: dp. 3,370: l. 437'; b. 47'; dr. 20'; s. 35 k.; cpl. 354; a. “Tartar” guided missiles, 2 5", ASW rocket launcher, 6 torpedo launchers; cl. Charles F. Adams)
Lawrence (DDG-4), a guided missile destroyer, was laid down 27 October 1958 by New York Shipbuilding Corp., Camden, N.J.; launched 27 February 1960; sponsored by Mrs. Fernie C. Hubbard, great-great-granddaughter of Capt. James Lawrence; and commissioned 6 January 1962, Comdr. Thomas W. Walsh in command.
Shortly after a Great Lakes shakedown cruise, Lawrence departed Norfolk 22 October 1962 to take up station during the Cuban Missile Quarantine. Surprised at the firm stand taken by the United States, Russia agreed to dismantle her offensive weapons, thereby averting an atomic crisis. While on her patrol in the Caribbean, the guided missile destroyer investigated four foreign merchant tankers to verify their cargo. Following additional exercises with the nuclear carrier Enterprise, Lawrence returned to Norfolk 6 December.
Sailing 6 February 1963, she steamed to the Mediterranean on her first 6th Fleet deployment. After 4 months of operations in Europe she returned to Norfolk 1 July, and for the rest of the year engaged in training exercises along the Atlantic coast. During 1964, Lawrence made another Mediterranean cruise (April-August), performing support and antisubmarine operations and joining in exercises with British and French navies. She returned to Norfolk and operated along the coast until 25 November when she entered the Norfolk Naval Shipyard for regular overhaul.
Lawrence completed overhaul 27 April 1965 and commenced refresher training out of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. On 30 July she returned to Norfolk to make preparations for a forthcoming 6th Fleet deployment. The guided missile destroyer departed Norfolk 24 August 1965, visited numerous Mediterranean ports, and participated in vital training and readiness exercises with the 6th Fleet before returning to her home port 17 December 1965.
Through the first half of 1966 Lawrence alternated time in port in Norfolk with diverse exercises in the Caribbean and off the Atlantic coast. On 7 June she embarked midshipmen from Annapolis, Md., for their annual summer cruise. For the next 6 weeks these future naval officers received valuable training and at sea experience.
On 3 August Lawrence got underway for a North Atlantic cruise. After operating with ships of other NATO countries, she returned to Norfolk 5 September. On the 27th of the same month, she departed for another 6th Fleet deployment. On 22 November, Lawrence went to the aid of a sinking merchantman, New Meadow, offthe coast of Crete. Survivors were taken aboard a French command ship, and the American destroyer remained by the stricken vessel to lend assistance until the following afternoon. After a valuable 4 months, Lawrence returned to Norfolk 1 February 1967.
From 12 June to 3 August she again conducted midshipmen training in the Atlantic and Caribbean. The remainder of the year was spent on various exercises in the Caribbean and in port in Norfolk in preparation for a Mediterranean deployment which commenced 10 January 1968. Arriving in the Mediterranean 20 January, she relieved Tattnall (DDG-19) and then steamed for Naples. Departing Naples 30 January, she conducted at-sea operations throughout the Mediterranean until relieved by MacDonough (DLG-8) on 4 May. The same day, she commenced her voyage home arriving at Norfolk 19 May. She commenced overhaul 1 July at Norfolk Navy Yard and remained in the yards until 10 January 1969. Lawrence then spent her time conducting refresher training and local operations.