Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Related Content
Topic
  • nhhc-topics:destroyer
Document Type
  • Ship History
Wars & Conflicts
File Formats
  • Image (gif, jpg, tiff)
Location of Archival Materials

Shaw I (Destroyer No. 68)

1917-1934

John Shaw -- born at Mount Mellick, Queens County (County Laois), Ireland, in 1773 -- came to the United States in 1790, settled in Philadelphia, and entered the merchant marine. Appointed lieutenant in the United States Navy on 3 August 1798, he first served on board the converted merchantman Montezuma in Commodore Thomas Truxtun's squadron in the West Indies during the early part of the Quasi-War with France. On 20 October 1799, he was given command of the schooner Enterprise and in his first eight months in command, captured seven armed French vessels and recaptured eleven U.S. merchantmen. By the time he was relieved of command due to ill health in October 1800, he had made Enterprise one of the most famous vessels in the Navy.

Returned to naval service during the Barbary Wars, Shaw commanded the frigate John Adams in the Mediterranean under Commodore John Rodgers (May–November 1804). Appointed captain on 27 August 1807, Shaw assumed command of the frigate United States on 3 September 1815 and departed New York for the Mediterranean. When the frigate reached Gibraltar, Shaw learned that a treaty of peace with Algiers had been signed, but, as the Barbary States had often changed their minds when no longer under duress, it seemed prudent to keep an American squadron in the Mediterranean. Thus, after both Stephen Decatur and William Bainbridge had sailed for home with their ships, Shaw and United States remained behind, within easy reach of the North African coast and ready to remind Barbary rulers of their treaty commitments.

As the senior American naval officer in the region, Shaw became commodore and commanded the squadron until Commodore Isaac Chauncey arrived on 1 July 1816 and took overall command. United States, despite losing her position as flagship, continued to serve in the Mediterranean until she sailed for home in the spring of 1819, reaching Hampton Roads, Va., on 18 May.

Captain Shaw died at Philadelphia on 17 September 1823.

I

(Destroyer No. 68: displacement 1,110; length 315'3"; beam 29'11"; draft 10'8"; speed 29.5 knots; complement 130; armament 4 4-inch, 2 1-pounders, 12 21-inch torpedo tubes; class Sampson)

The first Shaw (Destroyer No. 68) was laid down on 7 February 1916 by the Mare Island (Calif.) Navy Yard; launched on 9 December 1916; sponsored by Mrs. Virginia Kemper Lynch Millard, the great-great-granddaughter of Capt. John Shaw; and commissioned on 9 April 1917, Lt. Cmdr. Milton S. Davis in command.


Shaw fitting out at Mare Island Navy Yard, 2 January 1917, three months prior to her being commissioned. Two of her 4-inch guns, as well as her 1-pounder antiaircraft gun, are visible in this image. (U.S. Navy Bureau of Ships Photograph 19-N-2982, National Archives and Records Administration, Still Pictures Branch, College Park, Md.)

Shaw fitting out at Mare Island Navy Yard, 2 January 1917, three months prior to her being commissioned. Two of her 4-inch guns, as well as her 1-pounder antiaircraft gun, are visible in this image. (U.S. Navy Bureau of Ships Photograph 19-N-2982, National Archives and Records Administration, Still Pictures Branch, College Park, Md.)

Shaw sailed from Mare Island on 25 May 1917 and arrived at New York on 10 June, ready for distant service. She sailed a week later as one of the escorts of Group 4 of the Expeditionary Force from the United States to France. The other escorting vessels included the troop transport Hancock, the convoy flagship; St. Louis (Cruiser No. 20); and Flusser (Destroyer No. 20) and Ammen (Destroyer No.35). The ships carried animals only. In accordance with orders from the Group Commander, Fourth Group, Shaw got underway from an anchorage off Tompkinsville, N.Y. and stood to the rendezvous off the Ambrose Channel lightship. Ships at the rendezvous included Hancock, St. Louis, Ammen, Flusser, Parker (Destroyer No. 48), Terry (Destroyer No. 25), Kanawha (Fuel Ship No. 13), and the U.S. Army Transports Dakotan, El Occidente, Montanan, and Edward Luckenbach. Courses were signaled as directed by Hancock and speed varied from nine to twelve knots. The convoy zigzagged in accordance with Plans No. 1 and No. 2. Ships traveled darkened at night, but lights were frequently shown during the first days of the passage. On 26 June, the convoy encountered the tanker Mariner accompanied by Henley (Destroyer No. 39), and Shaw replenished at sea from the fuel ship. On 30 June, two small French men-of-war met the convoy and escorted it to Quiberon Bay, France. On 2 July, the convoy stood in to St. Nazaire.

Shaw received orders from the commanding officer of Wilkes (Destroyer No. 67), Senior Officer Present of the Destroyer Force, to get underway as soon as possible for Queenstown [Cobh], Ireland and report to Vice Adm. William S. Sims, Commander, U. S. Naval Forces in European Waters. On 4 July 1917, she unmoored and stood out of the harbor in company with Wilkes, Parker, Ammen, Burrows (Destroyer No. 29), and Fanning (Destroyer No. 37). While Wilkes was bound for Portsmouth, England, the other destroyers set course for Queenstown and arrived the next day.

On 10 July 1917, Shaw began patrol and convoy escort duty based on Queenstown. That same day, in company with Parker, she met the supply ship Celtic at sea and escorted her into Brest, France. As the ship could not be unloaded there, Celtic and her escorts sailed on 16 July and reached Queenstown the next day. After her arrival, Shaw underwent overhaul in the engineering department including work on one of her generators and air pumps. Getting underway again on 22 July, Shaw engaged in patrol and escort duties until the 24th, when she headed to Berehaven, Ireland, for additional machinery repairs in preparation for sea duty. She got underway again on 27 July, in company with Wadsworth (Destroyer No. 60), Ericsson (Destroyer No. 56), Wainwright (Destroyer No. 62), and Jacob Jones (Destroyer No. 61), to rendezvous with a mercantile convoy of 19 ships. Meeting the convoy on the 28th, the destroyers escorted the merchantmen through the Irish Sea into Milford Haven, Wales, on 31 July and then at 20 knots sped to Queenstown, where they arrived later that same day.


Undated view of Shaw in camouflage. Note the 1-pounder forward of the bridge, the forward 4-inch mount, and placement of her identification number [68] just ahead of the foc’sle break. (U.S. Navy Bureau of Ships Photograph 19-N-9587, National Archives and Records Administration, Still Pictures Branch, College Park, Md.)

Undated view of Shaw in camouflage. Note the 1-pounder forward of the bridge, the forward 4-inch mount, and placement of her identification number [68] just ahead of the foc’sle break. (U.S. Navy Bureau of Ships Photograph 19-N-9587, National Archives and Records Administration, Still Pictures Branch, College Park, Md.)

From 4 August through 8 November 1917, Shaw continued patrol and escort duties based on Queenstown. In one noteworthy incident, Shaw was escorting a convoy on 20 August, when the troop transport Finland opened fire with her stern battery at 0817. At 0825, Shaw broke formation and made all possible speed for the spot fired upon by the transport. At 0834, Rowan (Destroyer No. 64) dropped a depth charge over the spot and at 0838, the convoy’s troopships opened fire, at intervals, on the location. Trippe also maneuvered and dropped a depth charge as Shaw did likewise. Despite the considerable expense of ordnance, there was no discernible result and the convoy proceeded without further incident to its destination. On 9 November, Shaw went into the yard at Brinkhead, England, for a ten-day overhaul. Steaming out of the yard on 20 November, the destroyer commenced patrolling in the Irish Sea and then returned to Queenstown on the 22nd. She resumed convoy escort work on 25 November and continued to do so at intervals through the end of 1917.

Shaw and Jenkins (Destroyer No. 42) were escorting the liner New York to the Liverpool, England, bar on 16 January 1918 when the liner opened fire at a target on her port quarter at 1935. Shaw quickly headed to the liner’s port side at full speed. At 1950, she received a signal that Jenkins had been hit by New York’s shell fire and that some of her crew needed medical aid. She then headed to Jenkins at full speed and came alongside the destroyer to transfer her assistant surgeon and a chief pharmacist’s mate to care for Jenkins’ wounded. Afterward, she shoved off and ordered Jenkins to proceed to Queenstown. New York had mistakenly fired upon Jenkins and in doing so killed one and wounded four of her crew.

On 12 March 1918, Shaw steamed in company with Manley (Destroyer No. 74), Conyngham (Destroyer No. 58), Benham (Destroyer No. 49), Caldwell (Destroyer No. 49), and O’Brien (Destroyer No. 51) escorting the Liverpool-bound transport Leviathan (Id. No. 1326). At 0630, Manley fired her main battery and dropped depth charges on a suspected enemy submarine contact. Shaw went to general quarters and at 0645 dropped two depth charges on a suspicious object that later proved to be a stick. The destroyers completed their escort with no further incident. Shaw later went into dry dock at Brinkhead for overhaul (3-14 April).

With her overhaul complete, Shaw commenced patrolling the Irish Sea on 15 April 1918, hunting for a reported German U-boat in the area off the Kish lightship. Allen (Destroyer No. 66), Downes (Destroyer No. 45), and Sterett (Destroyer No. 27) were placed under Shaw’s orders for the Irish Sea patrol. The patrol, however, proved to be for naught and the destroyers returned to Queenstown at noon on the 17th.

The next day [18 April 1918] Shaw resumed her patrol and escort duties out of Queenstown, and was escorting an outward-bound convoy 8 miles off Liverpool on 7 May when at 1720 she dropped three depth charges on a local disturbance in the water with no discernible results. There were patrolling trawlers in the area, so Shaw returned to the convoy and reported “No evidence of damage, continued to operate” to the Admiralty.


Shaw at sea, 18 May 1918, as photographed by Pvt. C. D. Donnelly, Signal Corps, from Whipple (Coast Torpedo Vessel No. 15). Although cropped from a larger image, this view of the ship shows that a shield has been added to the forward 4-inch mount, that the 1-pounder has been removed from its position forward of the bridge, and that depth charge tracks have been installed on the fantail.  Also note position of her identification number (68) on then hull directly beneath the bridge. (U.S. Army Signal Corps Photograph 111-SC-13475, National Archives and Records Administration, Still Pictures Branch, College Park, Md.)

Shaw at sea, 18 May 1918, as photographed by Pvt. C. D. Donnelly, Signal Corps, from Whipple (Coast Torpedo Vessel No. 15). Although cropped from a larger image, this view of the ship shows that a shield has been added to the forward 4-inch mount, that the 1-pounder has been removed from its position forward of the bridge, and that depth charge tracks have been installed on the fantail. Also note position of her identification number (68) on then hull directly beneath the bridge. (U.S. Army Signal Corps Photograph 111-SC-13475, National Archives and Records Administration, Still Pictures Branch, College Park, Md.)

Three weeks later, on 28 May 1918, Shaw was escorting convoy HC-2 when one of the convoyed vessels, Ansonia, sounded the submarine alarm. The destroyer’s crew went to general quarters and patrolled the point while Ericsson and Cushing (Destroyer No. 55) investigated. Dropping nine depth charges, they achieved no results. Shaw again expended depth charges on 19 June, dropping 15 of them on an oil slick, the destroyer had again obtained no indication of success. In fact she reported to the Admiralty that it was “Doubtful if submarine was in vicinity.”

On 1 July 1918, U-86, under the command of Oberleutnant zur See Helmut Patzig, torpedoed the troop transport Covington (Id. No. 1409). Shaw, hunting for submarines in the Bristol and St. George’s Channels, received an S.O.S. from the stricken vessel and rushed to her aid. On arrival, she found that Covington’s survivors had been removed and the ship taken in tow. The crippled transport, however, sank later that day.

A week later, on 8 July 1918, she was convoying the Commonwealth Government Line of Steamers ship Australplain to Queenstown. Leaving her at Daunt lightship, she stood to the eastward to hunt south of Mine Head. At 0740, Shaw dropped four depth charges on an oil slick and at 1345, when two miles from Connigbeh, she struck some submerged object, she dropped some depth charges and recovered a keg marked S.S. Reserve, N.S.O, Aberdeen (Scotland). On 21August, while bound for Liverpool in company with Aylwin (Destroyer No. 47) and Beale (Destroyer No. 40), Shaw attacked a suspicious wake and dropped five depth charges at 1340 on what proved to be a rip tide.

The destroyer later got underway with Conyngham out of Berehaven on 13 September 1918 en route to rendezvous with convoy HC-16 when she sighted a fresh oil patch at 1000. Shaw fired both of her Y-guns and dropped 21 depth charges but obtained no results. On 25 September, Shaw was shepherding convoy HH-69 when Zinnia came under attack from a German submarine. While the ship was not damaged, the destroyer responded fired one of her guns and dropped a barrage of ten depth charges scattering the convoy, the ships ultimately proceeding to their destination without further incident.

Shaw’s own ordeal, however, came on 9 October 1918. While escorting the British transport Aquitania, Shaw’s rudder jammed just as she was completing the right leg of a zigzag, leaving her headed directly towards the transport. A moment later, Aquitania struck Shaw, cutting off 90 feet of her bow, mangling her bridge and setting her ablaze. Shaw’s crew heroically brought her fire under control, and a skeleton crew of 21 men took the wrecked warship 40 miles into port under her own power. Casualties from the incident included 12 dead and 12 injured. Seventeen members of the crew received commendation from Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels for their courage and devotion to duty.


Shaw after the collision with the British transport Aquitania. (Official U.S. Navy Photograph, U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Archives, Shaw (Destroyer No. 68) file).

Shaw after the collision with the British transport Aquitania. (Official U.S. Navy Photograph, U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Archives, Shaw (Destroyer No. 68) file).

Shaw in dry dock at Portsmouth, England, after collision with Aquitania. (Official U.S. Navy Photograph, U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command, Shaw (Destroyer No. 68) file).

Shaw in dry dock at Portsmouth, England, after collision with Aquitania. (Official U.S. Navy Photograph, U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command, Shaw (Destroyer No. 68) file).

Shaw remained under repair at Portsmouth, England, until 29 May 1919 when she stood out of the harbor bound for the United States. Meeting up with the transport Narragansett (Id. No. 2196) off Plymouth, England on 30 May, the two proceeded to Ponta Delgada, Azores, arriving on 2 June. Taken on oil and supplies they departed on 6 June with Charles (ex-Harvard), (Id. No. 1298) and Nopatin (Id. No. 2195). Touching at Bermuda on 12 June, they arrived at New York on 16 June 1919 eventually anchoring in the North River that afternoon. Three days later, on 17 June, she moved to the New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, N.Y., and remained moored there until 2 October, when she got underway for League Island, and the Philadelphia Navy Yard. Arriving that same day, she joined the reserve destroyer group. Shaw was re-designated DD-68 on 17 July 1920 and was later decommissioned on 21 June 1922.

Shaw was stricken from the Navy list on 25 March 1926 and transferred to the Treasury Department the same day, along with Davis (DD-65), Wilkes (DD-67), and Tucker (DD-57), for service with the Coast Guard. She was to supplement the destroyers previously transferred to interdict the illegal importation of alcohol in the enforcement of the 18th Amendment (Prohibition).

Maintaining her name in Coast Guard service, Shaw was re-designated CG-22. She departed the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 12 July 1926, bound for her permanent duty station with Division 1 of the Coast Guard Destroyer Force at New London, Conn. Upon her arrival, the next day, 13 July, she was commissioned, Cmdr. Raymond L. Jack, USCG, in command.

While capable of well over 25 knots, seemingly an advantage in interdicting rum runners, Shaw and her fellow destroyers were easily outmaneuvered by smaller vessels. As a result, the destroyer picketed the larger supply ships ("mother ships") on Rum Row in an attempt to prevent them from off-loading their illicit cargo onto the smaller, speedier contact boats that ran the liquor into shore.

During the annual competition for Gunnery Year 1928-1929, Shaw fired dismally during the Short-Range Battle Practice, finishing last among the 24 destroyers firing. In an almost complete turnaround, she rated 2nd in the Long-Range Battle Practice. Her combined scores saw her standing rise to 4th overall.


Shaw in Coast Guard service as CG-22 in 1929. (U.S. Coast Guard Historian’s Office).

Shaw in Coast Guard service as CG-22 in 1929. (U.S. Coast Guard Historian’s Office).

Shaw’s primary and secondary armament. (U.S. Coast Guard Historian’s Office).

Shaw’s primary and secondary armament. (U.S. Coast Guard Historian’s Office).

Shaw tied up outbound of three other Coast Guard destroyers in 1929. (U.S. Coast Guard Historian’s Office).

Shaw tied up outbound of three other Coast Guard destroyers in 1929. (U.S. Coast Guard Historian’s Office).

During the following year’s competition, Gunnery Year 1929-1930, Shaw was the model of consistency. Under Gunnery Officer, Ens. Edwin J. Roland, USCG (later Commandant of the Coast Guard, 1962-1966), Shaw stood 2nd in both the Short-Range and Long-Range Battle Practices. Her combined scores saw her win the trophy for excellence as the best shooting destroyer. Curiously, that performance fell off markedly in the 1930-1931 competition. She made only 2 hits in 20 shots for a last-place finish in the Short-Range practice and she only managed to place 8th in the Long-Range. As a result, Shaw placed only 10th among the 13 destroyers in the competition. This performance, however, proved an anomaly as she would rebound and win the Gunnery Trophy in the two succeeding years, 1931-1932 and 1932-1933. With three trophies in five years and a 4th place finish in another, Shaw stood unequaled as the best shooting ship during her time in the Destroyer Force.

On 6 October 1931 Shaw received orders detaching her from her assignment with Division One, Destroyer Force at New London, to Division Two at New York.

During her patrol cruise, 22-27 June 1932, Shaw seized the speed boats Maureen of Providence, R.I., and Wild Knight, of Newport, R.I. for violation of navigation laws. The boats were subsequently released by the Collector of Customs at New London, Conn., after each of the owners paid a $500 penalty.

Shaw’s grueling anti-smuggling interdiction duties off the Eastern seaboard wore on her and over time she, along with many of her fellow former-Navy destroyers, had become unfit for service. Ordered to the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Shaw arrived on 27 May 1933, where she was decommissioned on 5 June 1933.

Returned to the Navy, Shaw was reinstated on the list of naval vessels effective 30 June 1933. Her name, however, was cancelled on 1 November 1933 to allow for its assignment to a new Mahan-class destroyer. Stricken from the Navy list on 5 July 1934, the veteran of naval and Coast Guard service was sold to Michael Flynn, Inc., Brooklyn, on 22 August 1934 for scrapping in accordance with the London Naval Treaty for the Reduction of Naval Armament.

Commanding Officers

Dates of Command

Lt. Cmdr. Milton S. Davis

9 April 1917 – 9 April 1918

Cmdr. David C. Hanrahan

9 April 1918 – 14 May 1918

Lt. Van L. Kirkman

14 May 1918 – 19 May 1918

Cmdr. William F. Halsey, Jr.

19 May 1918 – 20 August 1918

Lt. Cmdr. William F. Glassford

20 August 1918 – 31 December 1918

Lt. Cmdr. William G. Wickham

31 December 1918 – 14 July 1919

Cmdr. Archibald D. Turnbull

14 July 1919 – 13 August 1919

Lt. Arthur D. Burhans

13 August 1919 – 7 November 1919

Lt. (j.g.) Louis B. Pelzman

7 November 1919 – 21 June 1922

Cmdr. Raymond L. Jack, USCG

13 July 1926 – 17 May 1928

Lt. Cmdr. Gordon T. Finlay, USCG

17 May 1928 – 23 August 1930

Lt. Cmdr. Edward H. Smith, USCG

23 August 1930 – 9 January 1932

Lt. Cmdr. Robert T. McElligott, USCG

9 January 1932 – 25 September 1932  

Lt. Cmdr. Raymond J. Mauerman, USCG

25 September 1932 – 5 June 1933

Christopher B. Havern Sr.

10 January 2017

Published: Wed Jan 18 13:18:59 EST 2017