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Kalk I (Destroyer No. 170)

Stanton Frederick Kalk, born 14 October 1894, in Ala., graduated from the Naval Academy in 1916. After serving in Florida (BB-30), he was assigned to Jacob Jones (DD-61) 10 September 1917. While steaming on patrol duty from Brest, France, to Queenstown, Ireland, Jacob Jones was attacked 16 December by German submarine U-53. Although Kalk, officer-of-the-deck during the attack, "took correct and especially prompt measures in maneuvering to avoid the torpedo," the destroyer could not turn in time to escape. She sank stern first in 8 minutes. Though stunned by the explosion and weakened by his action after the ship went down, Kalk swam from one raft to another in an attempt to equalize weight on them. Displaying "extraordinary heroism," he disregarded his own condition while endeavoring to save the lives of his men. Game to the last, Kalk overtaxed his own strength; he died from exposure and exhaustion. For his "splendid self-sacrifice" Lt. (j.g.) Kalk was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Medal.


(DD-170: dp. 1,060; l. 314'5"; b. 31'8"; dr. 9'2"; s. 35 k.; cpl. 101; a. 4 4", 2 1-pdrs., 12 21" tt.; cl. Wickes)

Kalk (Destroyer No. 170), laid down as Rodgers 4 March 1917, was launched 21 December 1918, by the Fore River Shipbuilding Corp., Quincy, Mass.; sponsored by Mrs. Flora Stanton Kalk, mother of Lt. Kalk.; renamed Kalk 23 December 1918; and commissioned at Boston 29 March 1919, Lt. Comdr. N. R. Van der Veer in command.

After shakedown off Newport, Kalk departed Boston 3 May for Newfoundland. Arriving Trespassey 5 May, she sailed 3 days later for the mid-Atlantic to provide rescue cover during the pioneer flight of Navy seaplane NC-4 from Newfoundland to the Azores 16 to 17 May. After returning to Boston 20 May, she sailed for Europe 10 July, arriving Brest, France, 21 July. Proceeding via England to Hamburg, Germany, she arrived 27 July to begin a 3-week cruise through the Baltic Sea, visiting Baltic and Scandinavian countries on American Relief Administration operations. She returned to Brest 23 August to serve as a dispatch and escort ship until departing for the United States 25 January 1920.

Arriving Boston 12 February, she trained reserves of the 1st Naval District and operated with DesRon 3 along the Atlantic Coast from Cape Cod to Charleston. As a result of the Five Power Naval Treaty, which was signed at the Washington Conference 6 February 1922, Kalk departed Boston 10 May for Philadelphia, where she decommissioned 10 July and was placed in reserve.

When war in Europe threatened the security of the entire world, Kalk recommissioned 17 June 1940, Lt. T. P. Elliott in command. Departing Philadelphia 26 July, she arrived Charleston the 31st for duty with the Neutrality Patrol in the Atlantic. Kalk was one of 50 overage 4-pipers turned over to Britain in exchange for strategic bases in the Atlantic under terms of the "Destroyers for Bases Agreement" of 2 September. She cleared Charleston 7 September and steamed via Hampton Roads and Newport to Halifax, N.S., arriving 18 September. Kalk decommissioned 23 September and was turned over to the British the same day.

Commissioned in the Royal Navy as HMS Hamilton, she collided with HMS Georgetown (formerly Maddox, DD-168) at St. John's Newfoundland, 1 October while en route to England. Proceeding to St. John, New Brunswick, for repairs, she went aground and suffered extensive damage. Because of a British manpower shortage, she was manned by Canadians during and after repair operations; late in June 1941 she commissioned in the Royal Canadian Navy as HMCS Hamilton.

Throughout her active service, she remained in North American waters, protecting convoys from St. John's to New York. On 2 August 1942, she sighted and attacked a German U-boat and, by forcing it to submerge, prevented an attack on the convoy. Declared unfit for operations 11 August 1943, she became a tender to HMCS Cornwallis at Annapolis, Nova Scotia. Declared surplus 1 April 1945, she decommissioned 8 June at Sydney, Nova Scotia. HMCS Hamilton departed Sydney 6 July under tow for Baltimore, Md., where she was scrapped by the Boston Iron & Metal Co.


Kalk (DD-254) was renamed Rodgers (DD-254) (q.v.) 23 December 1918.

Published: Wed Feb 24 21:50:58 EST 2016