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Ringgold I (Destroyer No. 89)


Cadwallader Ringgold was born in Washington County, Md., 20 August 1802, and entered the U.S. Navy in 1819. He commanded the schooner Weazel in action against West Indies pirates during the late 1820s and later served on board Vandalia in the Pacific and Adams in the Mediterranean. During 1838-42, he participated in the Wilkes Expedition in the Pacific, commanding Porpoise from 1840. Inactive in the later 1850s, he returned to the fleet during the Civil War. While in command of the frigate Sabine he effected the rescue of a battalion of Marines whose transport steamer had gone inshore and also of the ship of the line Vermont which had lost her rudder in a storm. Promoted to commodore in 1862, he was placed on the rear admiral (retired) list in 1866. Rear Admiral Ringgold died at New York on 29 April 1867.


(Destroyer No. 89: displacement 1,060; length 315'5"; beam 31'8"; draft 9'10"; speed 35.0 knots; complement 134; armament 4 4-inch, 2 1-pounders, 12 21-inch torpedo tubes; class Wickes)

The first Ringgold  (Destroyer No. 89) was  laid down on 20 October 1917 at San Francisco, Calif., by Union Iron Works; launched on 14 April 1918; sponsored by Mrs. David W. [Grace T.] Farquhar, mother of Lt.  Francis P.  Farquhar, USNRF, who was serving a tour of duty at the shipbuilders'; and commissioned on 14 November 1918 at Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, Calif., Cmdr. Louis P. Davis in command.

Ringgold departed Mare Island on 18 November 1918 to join the Destroyer Force, Atlantic Fleet. After transiting the Panama Canal, Ringgold called at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, before arriving at Hampton Roads, Va., on 5 December 1918. She cruised along the U.S. east coast into 1922, operating generally out of Newport, R.I., Ringgold put into Philadelphia Navy Yard on 5 April 1922 where she was decommissioned on 17 June 1922 and placed in reserve.

Ringgold was recommissioned at Philadelphia on 23 August 1940, Lt. Frederick P. Williams in command, preparatory to transfer to Great Britain along with 49 other overage flush-deckers desperately needed to fight German submarine attacks. Ringgold was formally transferred to Great Britain on 26 November 1940 at Halifax, Nova Scotia, and renamed Newark in honor of towns in both Great Britain and the United States. She was stricken from the U.S. Navy list 8 January 1941. Although manned initially by a Royal Canadian Navy care and maintenance party, Newark was commissioned for Royal Navy service on  5 December 1940, Lt. Cmdr. R. H. W. Atkins, RN, in command.

Newark was damaged in collision with her sister Newmarket on 9 December 1940, necessitating repairs that delayed her departure for British waters. Standing out of Halifax on 4 February 1941 in company with HMS Wells, she encountered a heavy gale and subsequently developed engine trouble. Towed back to Halifax, Newark again departed on 26 February 1941 and arrived at Belfast on 5 March and Plymouth, England, on 9 March 1941.

Assigned to the 17th Destroyer Division, Newark participated in escort duty for the 1st Minelaying Division operating in the Irish Sea and for the Iceland ferry service. She suffered minor bomb damage in an air attack at Belfast on the night of 4-5 May 1941 but resumed active duty that August. While in company with HMS Southern Prince on 25 August 1941, Newark was hit by a torpedo forward and had to be escorted into Belfast. Following completion of repairs in May 1942, Newark rejoined the 17th Destroyer Division. She probably damaged a German submarine 31 May 1942 while cruising south of Iceland and assisted HMS Castleton in rescuing survivors of the German submarine U-464 on 20 August 1942.

Newark was transferred to the Rosyth Escort Force during 1944, operating in the North Sea and in waters north of the British Isles on antisubmarine duty. In January 1945 she became an aircraft target ship under orders of the Rear Admiral, Northern Air Stations. Newark was scrapped at Boness on 18 February 1947.

Updated, Robert J. Cressman

30 May 2023

Published: Mon Jun 12 11:45:24 EDT 2023