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Murray II (Destroyer No. 97)


While the first Murray retained the name she carried at the time of her acquisition during the Great War [World War I]; the second two U.S. Navy ships named Murray hoinored  for Capt. Alexander Murray and Rear Adm. Alexander Murray, his grandson.

The elder Alexander Murray was born on 12 July 1755 in Chestertown, Md. During the Revolution, he served as captain in the 1st Maryland Regiment, commanded several privateers, and was commissioned lieutenant in the Continental Navy on 20 July 1781, returning to private life in 1785. Upon the organization of the U.S. Navy, Murray was commissioned captain on 1 July 1798, and commanded Montezuma, Insurgente, and Constellation during the Quasi‑War with France; Constellation against the Barbary pirates in the Mediterranean 1801‑1803; and Adams in home waters in 1805. From 1808 until his death 6 October 1821, Murray was superintendent of gunboats at Philadelphia, and from 8 July 1813 also was first commandant of the Philadelphia Navy Yard.

His grandson, born on 2 January 1816 in Pittsburgh, Pa. , was appointed midshipman 22 August 1835 and participated in the capture of Alvarado, Tobasco, Tuxpan, Vera Cruz, and Tampico during the Mexican War. In the Civil War he commanded a combined Army‑Navy operation up the York and Pamunky Rivers in February 1862, destroying 27 Confederate vessels while cruising within 11 miles of Richmond. He served in the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron during the rest of the war. In 1866‑67 he commanded a special squadron cruising to Russia, then, as his grandfather before him had done, served as commandant of the Philadelphia Navy Yard, then on the Lighthouse Board, and in command of the Pacific Station. He died on 10 November 1884 in Washington, D.C.


(Destroyer No. 97: displacement 1,191; length 314'5"; beam 31'9"; draft 9'2"; speed 35 knots; complement 113; armament 4 4-inch, 2 1‑pounders, 12 21-inch torpedo tubes, 1 depth charge projector ("Y-gun"); class Wickes)

The second Murray (Destroyer No. 97) was laid down on 22 December 1917, three days before Christmas, at Quincy, Mass., by the Fore River Shipbuilding Corp.; launched on 8 June 1918; sponsored by Miss Alice S. Guthrie; and commissioned at Boston on 21 August 1918, Lt. Cmdr. Ralph G. Walling in command.

During her four years of operations along the east coast and in the Caribbean with the Atlantic Fleet, Murray  was reclassified as a light minelayer (DM‑2)  on 17 July 1920, and received alternations necessary to her new role.

Decommissioned at Philadelphia on 1 July 1922, she lay there in reserve until stricken from the Navy List on 7 January 1936. She was sold for scrapping on 29 September 1936 to Schiavone‑Bonomo Corp., of New York City.

Interim update, Robert J. Cressman

4 May 2022

Published: Wed May 04 23:50:46 EDT 2022