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Hale I (Destroyer No. 133)


Eugene Hale, born at Turner, Maine, on 6 June 1836, was admitted to the bar in 1857 and served for nine years as prosecuting attorney for Hancock County. He was elected to the Maine legislature 1867-68, to the House of Representatives 1869-79, and succeeded Hannibal Hamlin in the Senate, serving from 1881 to 1911. Although he declined the post of Secretary of the Navy in the President Rutherford B. Hayes' administration, Senator Hale performed constructive work of the greatest importance in the area of naval appropriations, especially during the early fights for the "New Navy." "I hope," he said in 1884, "that I shall not live many years before I shall see the American Navy what it ought to be, the pet of the American people." Much later in his career, he opposed the building of large numbers of capital ships, which he regarded as less effective in proportion to cost and subject to rapid obsolescence. Retiring from politics in 1911, Hale spent the remainder of his life in Ellsworth, Maine, and in Washington, D.C., where he died on 27 October 1918.


(Destroyer No. 133: displacement 1,149 (trial); length 314'4"; beam 30'65"; draft 8'8" (mean); speed 35.0 knots; complement 122; armament 4 4-inch, 1 3-inch, 12 21-inch torpedo tubes; class Wickes)

The unnamed Destroyer No. 133 was laid down on 7 October 1918 at Bath, Maine, by Bath Iron Works; named Hale on 23 January 1919 in General Order No. 449;  launched on 29 May 1919; sponsored by Miss Mary Hale, granddaughter of the late Senator Hale; and commissioned at the Boston [Mass.] Navy Yard on 12 June 1919, Cmdr. Allan S. Farquhar in command.

Hale joined Destroyer Squadron 3, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, and after training exercises departed on 11 July 1919 for Europe. On this cruise, the ship paid goodwill visits to European and Mediterranean ports, assisted in the execution of the Austrian Armistice in October, and joined the American detachment in Turkish waters. Hale then carried refugees, relief officials, and freight between the ports of Greece, Bulgaria, and Russia, showing the flag in the vital Mediterranean and Balkan area. She returned to Philadelphia on 31 March 1920 and resumed her schedule of training and development exercises along the Eastern Coast. On 17 July 1920, the ship was redesignated to DD-133. Hale was decommissioned at Philadelphia on 22 June 1922 and remained in reserve until 1 May 1930, when she was re-commissioned.

Departing Philadelphia on 15 May 1930, Hale took part in refresher training operations and then resumed readiness exercises on the East Coast. She participated in Scouting Fleet maneuvers in early 1931 in the Caribbean, and arrived San Diego via the Panama Canal on 4 April 1931. For the next few years, Hale participated in maneuvers with the Battle Force along the California coast and spent much time perfecting the techniques of modern carrier tactics with carriers Saratoga (CV-3) and Lexington (CV-2). The destroyer was decommissioned once more at the Destroyer Base, San Diego, on 9 April 1937.

Hale was recommissioned at San Diego on 30 September 1939, less than a molnth bafter hostilities began in Europe with the German invasion of Poland.  She departed on 25 November for Neutrality Patrol in the Caribbean. Her base was changed to Galveston, Tex., on 22 February 1940, and later to Key West, Fla., but the ship continued to patrol the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico.

Proceeding ultimately to Philadelphia on 1 September 1940, she prepared for transfer to Great Britain as a part of the famous destroyers for bases agreement. She arrived at Halifax, Nova Scotia, on 6 September 1940 and was decommissioned three days later. Entering the Royal Navy, she became HMS Caldwell. Hale, meanwhile, was stricken from the Navy Register on 1 January 1941.

During her career in the British Navy, Caldwell was assigned to escort duty in the Atlantic and later in the Caribbean. She joined the Royal Canadian Navy in mid-1942, and while returning to St. John's, Newfoundland, on 18 December 1942, was seriously damaged during a heavy gale. She became disabled, and was found drifting helplessly by Wanderer on 21 December. Caldwell was then towed to St. John's and later to Boston. Ready for sea again in May 1943, the ship resumed convoy duty with the Royal Canadian Navy until 1 December, when she returned to Tyne and was placed in reserve. Caldwell was broken up for scrap in September 1944.

Published: Wed Feb 24 10:13:34 EST 2016