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Bulloch History with Roger Allen - Two US Navy ships named 'Claxton'
roger allen
Roger Allen

    Over our nation's two hundred plus years of existence, there have been two United States Navy ships named "Claxton." The first, the DD-140, was Wickes Class Destroyer launched on January 14, 1919, at Mare Island Navy Yard twenty files miles north of San Francisco.
    The Claxton was stationed on the Pacific Coast of the United States until being decommissioned at San Diego on June 18, 1922. In September of 1933, the Claxton was recommissioned in order to become part of the Rear Admiral Freeman's Special Service Squadron headed for Cuba.
    Without overt American intervention, the Cuban dictator Machado stepped down, to be replaced by the governments of (in order) Cespedes, Grau St. Martin, and then finally Carlos Mendieta. Once order was restored, the Claxton and the squadron were ordered back to American waters.
    After several years of patrols, Claxton arrived at Halifax, Nova Scotia on November 21,  at which time she was delivered to representatives of the British authorities as part of the new "Destroyers for Bases' exchange program."
    The Claxton was decommissioned from the U.S. Navy on and then commissioned into the British Royal Navy on December 5, 1940. Part of the new British Town Class of Destroyers, the Salisbury took up station as part of the Western Approaches Command escorting Atlantic convoys.
    In November 1943, she was placed in maintenance status at Halifax and then paid off on December 10, 1943. She was sold for scrap June 26, 1944, at Vancouver, British Columbia.
    The second Claxton was DD-571, built at Consolidate Steel Corporation's shipyard in Orange, Texas. Completed and commissioned on December 8, 1942, the Claxton was assigned to  Destroyer Squadron 23, where she became the “tail-end Charlie,” or last destroyer in the escort station.
    While bombarding the Sarime Plantation on the island of Papua New Guinea,  the Claxton was damaged by return fire, suffering 15 wounded. She went to the repair yards at Purvis Bay on the west end of the Solomon Islands.
    Claxton served as the flagship of "Division X-Ray" during the Battle of Surigao Strait and then while pursuing the remaining ships of the Japanese Southern Force was targeted by one of the first Japanese "Kamikaze" plane attacks on American warships.
    After being repaired, she eventually returned to the East Coast of the U.S. where she was ordered first to the Washington and then to the New York Naval Yard. Here the Claxton was decommissioned and ordered to the Reserve Fleet at Charleston on April 18, 1946.
    On December 15, 1959, she was loaned under the Military Assistance Program to the Federal Republic of Germany, and served in the German Navy (Bundesmarine) as destroyer Z-4, In 1981 the Claxton was sold to the Greek Navy, which proceeded to cannibalize her for spare parts.

    Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look at the area's historical past. Email Roger at

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