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Sigourney I (Destroyer No. 81)

James Butler Sigourney, born in Boston, Mass., was appointed Midshipman on 16 January 1809. He served in Wasp and then became sailing master of Nautilus. He was captured with his ship shortly after the outbreak of the War of 1812; and, after his exchange had been effected, he was placed in command of Asp, a schooner fitted out to defend the Chesapeake Bay. On 14 July 1813, Asp was attacked by three British barges but succeeded in driving them off. On a second attack, however, Asp was boarded, and Sigourney was killed at his post on deck.


The first Sigourney (Destroyer No. 81) was laid down on 25 August 1917 by the Fore River Shipbuilding Co., Quincy, Mass.; launched on 16 December 1917; sponsored by Mrs. Granville W. Johnson; and commissioned on 15 May 1918, Comdr. W. N. Vernon in command.

On 27 May, Sigourney sailed from the United States escorting a troopship to France. On arrival at Brest, she was assigned to Commander Naval Forces, France; and, for the remainder of World War I, she escorted convoys through the submarine danger zone extending approximately 500 miles west of Brest. During most of her convoys, Sigourney was the flagship of the screen commander but did not herself have any confirmed submarine contacts.

After the armistice on 11 November, she performed miscellaneous duties in European waters, including service in early December as flagship of the four-destroyer screen that escorted USS George Washington on the middle part of that transport's voyage to carry President Wilson from the United States to France for the Versailles Peace Conference. Sigourney sailed from Brest for the United States on 26 December 1918 and arrived at Boston on 8 January 1919. After overhaul at Boston and summer training at Newport, Sigourney was placed in reserve status at Philadelphia on 1 November 1919 and decommissioned there on 26 June 1922.

Sigourney was recommissioned at Philadelphia on 23 August 1940 and sailed to Halifax, Nova Scotia. There, on 26 November, she was decommissioned and turned over to a Canadian care-and-maintenance party. Commissioned by the British as HMS Newport on 5 December, Sigourney was struck from the Navy list on 8 January 1941. After engine repairs in England, HMS Newport operated on convoy duty as a unit of the Norwegian Navy from March 1941 to June 1942. She then reverted to the British; and, after repairs, served as an aircraft target ship from June 1943 until placed in reserve in January 1945. Newport was scrapped at Granton, England, on 18 February 1947.

Published: Mon Feb 29 08:39:18 EST 2016