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Mason

 

The first Mason (DD‑191) was named for John Young Mason, born 18 April 1799, in Greene County, Va. Both a political leader and a diplomat, he was Secretary of the Navy first for President John Tyler from 1844 to 1845 and then for President James K. Polk from 1846 to 1849. As minister to France from 1853, he joined James Buchanan and Pierre Soulé, ministers, respectively, to Great Britain and Spain, in issuing on 18 October 1854 the famous Ostend Manifesto on the justification of seizing Cuba if Spain would not sell the colony to the United States. Mr. Mason died in Paris, France, 3 October 1859.

 

The second Mason (DE‑529) was named for Newton Henry Mason, born 24 December 1918 at New York City. He enlisted as a seaman in the Naval Reserve, 7 November 1940 and on 10 February 1941 was appointed an aviation cadet. Assigned to Fighting Squadron 3 in September, he died following aerial combat against Japanese forces in the Battle of the Coral Sea, 8 and 9 May 1942. Ensign Mason was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his skill and courage in battle.

 

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(Destroyer No. 191: dp. 1,190; l. 314'5"; b. 31'9"; dr. 9'3"; s. 35 k.; cpl. 101; a. 4 4", 3 3", 12 21" tt.; cl. Clemson)

 

The first Mason (Destroyer No. 191) was laid down by Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co., Newport News, Va., 10 July 1918; launched 8 March 1919; sponsored by Miss Mary Mason Williams, great‑granddaughter of Secretary Mason and commissioned at Norfolk Navy Yard 28 February 1920, Lt. Carl F. Holden temporarily in command until Lt. Comdr. Hartwell C. Davis took command 8 March.

 

On 17 July Mason was designated DD‑191. After shakedown off Norfolk, she operated along the east coast for the next 2 years until she sailed for Philadelphia. As a result of the Washington Treaty of 6 February 1922 limiting naval armament, the destroyer decommissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard 3 July 1922.

 

After World War II broke out in Europe, Mason recommissioned 4 December 1939. Under terms of the “Destroyers for Bases” executive agreement of 2 September 1940, she became one of 50 overage four‑pipers turned over to Great Britain in exchange for 99‑year leases on strategic bases in the Western Hemisphere. Mason arrived Halifax, Nova Scotia, 2 October; decommissioned the 8th; and was transferred to the British Royal Navy as HMS Broadwater (H‑81) the next day.

 

On 15 October she departed Halifax for the British Isles, via St. John’s, Newfoundland, arriving in the Clyde River, Scotland, the 26th for service with the 11th Escort Group, Western Approaches Command. During the early part of 1941 the indispensible destroyer escorted convoys, carrying troops and military supplies, around the Cape of Good Hope to the Middle East. She spent May and June at Southampton, England.

 

Assigned to the Newfoundland Escort Force in July, the ship patrolled the North Atlantic and guarded convoys against the German submarine “wolfpacks” into the fall of that year. Early in the morning of 17 October she attacked a U‑boat, one of a pack assaulting an American convoy SC‑48 some 400 miles south of Iceland. Twentyfour hours later she herself fell victim to torpedoes of U‑101 and sank at 1340 the same day.