USS Craven (DD-70)

USS Craven (DD-70), a Caldwell-class destroyer, served in the United States Navy, and later in the Royal Navy as HMS Lewes.

USS Craven (DD-70) underway in November 1918
United States
Name: Craven
Namesake: Commander Tunis Craven
Builder: Norfolk Naval Shipyard
Laid down: 20 November 1917
Launched: 29 June 1918
Commissioned: 19 October 1918
Decommissioned: 23 October 1940
Fate: Transferred to UK, 23 October 1940
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Lewes
Acquired: 23 October 1940
Commissioned: 23 October 1940
Decommissioned: 1945
Fate: Scuttled
General characteristics
Class and type: Caldwell-class destroyer
Displacement: 1,020 tons (standard), 1,125 tons (normal)
  • 308 ft (94 m) waterline
  • 315 ft 6 in (96.16 m) overall
Beam: 31 ft 3 in (9.53 m)
  • 8 ft (2.4 m)
  • 11 ft 6 in (3.51 m) max
Installed power: 20,000 shp (15,000 kW)
Propulsion: Thornycroft boilers, Parsons geared turbines, two shafts
Speed: 35 knots (65 km/h; 40 mph)
Complement: 146


The second US Navy ship named for Commander Tunis Craven (1813–1864),[1] Craven was laid down at Norfolk Navy Yard on 20 November 1917 and was launched on 29 June 1918, sponsored by Mrs. F. Learned, daughter of Commander Craven. Craven commissioned on 19 October 1918.[1][2] Lieutenant Commander Millington Barnett McComb in command.

Craven was 315 feet 6 inches (96.16 m) long overall and 310 feet (94.49 m) at the waterline, with a beam of 30 feet 7 inches (9.32 m)[3] and a draft of 8 feet 10 inches (2.69 m). Displacement was 1,120 long tons (1,140 t) normal and 1,187 long tons (1,206 t) full load.[4] Four Thornycroft boilers fed Parsons geared steam turbines rated at 20,000 shaft horsepower (15,000 kW) and drove two propeller shafts, giving a design speed of 30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph). Four funnels were fitted.[5][6] Craven reached a speed of 32.33 knots (59.88 km/h; 37.20 mph) during sea trials.[7]

Main gun armament consisted of four 4 in (102 mm) /50 caliber guns, with one forward and one aft on the ship's centerline, and the remaining two on the ships beam. Anti-aircraft armament consisted of two 3"/23 caliber guns, while torpedo armament consisted of twelve 21 inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes, arranged in four triple mounts on the ship's beams.[4][8]

On transfer to the Royal Navy, the ship was re-armed, with two single 2-pounder autocannon replacing the forward 4-inch gun, while the remaining three 4-inch guns were replaced by single American 3"/50 caliber guns, on the ship's beams and aft, while two 20 mm cannon were fitted. All torpedo tubes were removed, while a relatively small depth charge outfit of twenty charges was fitted, in accordance with the ship's employment on East Coast convoy duties, where the principal danger was enemy aircraft. A QF 12-pounder 12 cwt naval gun was later fitted forward, with the two 2-pounder guns moved to the ship's beam, replacing the beam 3 inch guns.[9][10][11]

Service history

United States Navy

Craven cruised on the east coast and in the Caribbean in training, maneuvers, and torpedo practice, until 3 May 1919 when she sailed from New York for Trepassey Bay, Newfoundland. Here she served on a weather station and observed the flight of Navy seaplanes in the historic first aerial crossing of the Atlantic. After overhaul, Craven participated in Army gun tests at Fort Story, Virginia, and had recruiting duty at Hampton Roads, Virginia; Fall River, Massachusetts, and Newport, Rhode Island, until placed in reserve at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 10 October 1919.[1]

Still in reduced commission, Craven arrived at Charleston, South Carolina, 10 February 1921. She transported liberty parties between Charleston and Jacksonville, Florida, and took part in the fleet maneuvers off Virginia and in Narragansett Bay. Arriving at Philadelphia 29 March 1922, Craven was placed out of commission 15 June 1922.[1] On 12 November 1939, in order to free the name Craven for a new destroyer,[9] she was renamed Conway for William Conway.

Royal Navy

Recommissioned in the US Navy on 9 August 1940, Conway arrived at Halifax, Nova Scotia on 17 October. Here she was decommissioned on 23 October 1940 and turned over to British authorities as part of the land bases for destroyers exchange, commissioning in the Royal Navy as HMS Lewes (after Lewes in East Sussex), with the pennant number G 68 on the same day.[1]

Lewes departed Halifax 1 November and arrived at Belfast, Northern Ireland, 9 November, searching for Admiral Scheer during her passage. She was refitted at Plymouth, England, and ordered to remain there under the command of Commander-in-Chief, Plymouth. Severely damaged in enemy air raids on 21 and 22 April 1941, she remained out of action until December when she joined the Home Fleet. In February 1942, she joined the Rosyth Escort Force, escorting convoys between the Thames and the Firth of Forth, Scotland. On 9 and 10 November 1942, she engaged German E-boats which attacked her convoy off Lowestoft. Lewes escorted a troop convoy on its way to the Middle East and arrived at Simonstown, Union of South Africa, 18 May 1943. As well as serving as target for aircraft during their training, she searched for enemy submarines reported rounding Cape of Good Hope.

In 1944, she joined the Eastern Fleet as a submarine tender and torpedo target ship. Lewes departed Durban 13 August and arrived at Ceylon a month later. She was based at Trincomalee until January 1945, when she was transferred to the British Pacific Fleet as a target ship for aircraft training. Arriving at Fremantle, Australia, 11 February 1945, she shifted to Sydney 20 February and remained there until the end of hostilities. On 12 October 1945, she was reported as no longer necessary to the fleet, and was ordered scrapped. She was stripped of valuable scrap and the hull scuttled off Sydney on 25 May 1946.



  1. "Craven". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Naval History and Heritage Command. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
  2. Friedman 1982, p. 430.
  3. Friedman 1982, p. 400.
  4. Gardiner and Gray 1985, p. 123.
  5. Whitley 2000, p. 88.
  6. Friedman 1982, pp. 35, 37.
  7. Parkes and Prendergast 1920, p. 210.
  8. Hague 1988, pp. 7–8.
  9. Hague 1988, p. 58.
  10. Friedman 2009, pp. 259, 262, 287.
  11. Brown 2007, p. 64.


  • Brown, David K. (2007). Atlantic Escorts: Ships, Weapons and Tactics in World War II. Barnsley, UK: Seaforth Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84415-702-0.
  • Fitzsimons, Bernard, General Editor. The Encyclopedia of 20th Century Weapons and Warfare, Volume 5, pp. 510–11, "Caldwell", and Volume 16, pp. 1717–18, "Leeds". London: Phoebus, 1978.
  • Friedman, Norman (2009). British Destroyers: From Earliest Days to the Second World War. Barnsley, UK: Seaforth Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84832-049-9.
  • Friedman, Norman (1982). U.S. Destroyers: An Illustrated Design History. Annapolis, Maryland, USA: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-733-X.
  • Gardiner, Robert; Gray, Randal (1985). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1906–1921. London: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-245-5.
  • Hague, Arnold (1988). The Towns: A history of the fifty destroyers transferred from the United States to Great Britain in 1940. Kendal, UK: World Ship Society. ISBN 0-905617-48-7.
  • Parkes, Oscar; Prendergast, Maurice, eds. (1920). Jane's Fighting Ships 1920. Sampson Low, Marston & Company, Ltd. Retrieved 31 August 2019 via Hathitrust.
  • Whitley, M.J. (2000). Destroyers of World War Two: An International Encyclopedia. London: Cassell & Co. ISBN 1-85409-521-8.
  • Willshaw, Fred. "DD-70 USS Craven". Destroyer Photo Archive. NavSource Online. Retrieved 17 May 2008.

This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.

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