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Craven II (Destroyer No. 70)

(DD-70: dp. 1,125; l. 315'6"; b. 31'2"; dr. 8'1"; s. 32 k.; cpl. 100; a. 4 4", 12 21" tt.; cl. Caldwell)

Tunis Augustus Macdonough Craven was born 11 January 1813 in Portsmouth, N.H., and appointed midshipman 2 February 1829. He served with distinction in the Mexican War and commanded the Atrato Expedition in 1857 which surveyed the Isthmus of Darien. In 1860 he was presented with a gold medal and diploma by Queen Isabella II of Spain for the rescue of the crew of a Spanish merchant vessel. In the Battle of Mobile Bay, 5 August 1864, Commander Craven commanded Tecumseh, which was struck by a torpedo while leading the attack. The vessel sank almost immediately carrying with her Commander Craven who had drawn back, giving his life to permit his pilot to escape through the narrow opening in the turret tower.


The second Craven (Destroyer No. 70) was launched 29 June 1918 by Norfolk Navy Yard; sponsored by Mrs. F. Learned, daughter of Commander Craven; and commissioned 19 October 1918, Lieutenant Commander M. B. McComb in command.

Craven cruised on the east coast and in the Caribbean in training, maneuvers, and torpedo practice, until 3 May 1919 when she sailed from New York for Trepassey Bay, Newfoundland. Here she served on a weather station and observed the flight of Navy seaplanes in the historic first aerial crossing of the Atlantic. After overhaul, Craven participated in Army gun tests at Fort Story, Va., and had recruiting duty at Hampton Roads, Va.; Fall River, Mass.; and Newport, R.I.; until placed in reserve at Philadelphia 10 October 1919.

Still in reduced commission, Craven arrived at Charleston, S.C., 10 February 1921. She transported liberty parties between Charleston and Jacksonville, Fla., and took part in the fleet maneuvers off Virginia and in Narragansett Bay. Arriving at Philadelphia 29 March 1922, Craven was placed out of commission 15 June 1922. On 12 November 1939 she was renamed Conway.

Recommissioned 9 August 1940, Conway arrived at Halifax, Nova Scotia, 17 October. Here she was decommissioned 23 October 1940 and turned over to British authorities in the land bases for destroyers exchange. She was commissioned as HMS Lewes the same day.

Lewes departed Halifax 1 November and arrived at Belfast, Northern Ireland, 9 November, searching for the German pocket battleship Admiral Scheer during her passage. She was refitted at Plymouth, England, and ordered to remain there under the command of Commander-in-Chief, Plymouth. Severely damaged in enemy air raids on 21 and 22 April 1941, she remained out of action until December when she joined the Home Fleet. In February 1942 she joined Rosyth Escort Force, escorting convoys between the Thames and the Firth of Forth, Scotland. On 9 and 10 November 1942 she engaged German E-boats which attacked her convoy off Lowestoft. Lewes escorted a troop convoy on its way to the Middle East and arrived at Simonstown, Union of South Africa, 18 May 1943. As well as serving as target for aircraft during their training, she searched for enemy submarines reported rounding Cape of Good Hope.

In 1944 she joined the Eastern Fleet as a submarine tender and torpedo target ship. Lewes departed Durban 13 August and arrived at Ceylon a month later. She was based at Trincomalee until January 1945 when she was transferred to the British Pacific Fleet as a target ship for aircraft training. Arriving at Fremantle, Australia, 11 February 1945, she shifted to Sydney 20 February and remained there until the end of hostilities. On 12 October 1945 this most widely travelled of the "Town" destroyers was reported as no longer necessary to the fleet, and was ordered scrapped.

Published: Tue Feb 23 14:43:07 EST 2016