USS Delphy

USS Delphy (DD-261) was a Clemson-class destroyer in the United States Navy following World War I. Named for Richard Delphy, she was the flagship of the destroyer group involved in the Honda Point Disaster.

USS Delphy at Boston Navy Yard on 28 October 1919
United States
Name: Delphy
Namesake: Richard Delphy
Builder: Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation, Squantum Victory Yard
Laid down: 20 April 1918
Launched: 18 July 1918
Commissioned: 30 November 1918
Decommissioned: 26 October 1923
Fate: Sold for scrap following the Honda Point Incident, 19 October 1925
General characteristics
Class and type: Clemson-class destroyer
Displacement: 1,190 tons
Length: 314 ft 5 in (95.8 m)
Beam: 31 ft 8 in (9.7 m)
Draft: 9 ft 3 in (2.8 m)
  • 26,500 shp (19,800 kW)
  • geared turbines,
  • twin propellers
Speed: 35 knots (65 km/h; 40 mph)
Range: 4,900 nmi (9,100 km; 5,600 mi) at 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph)
Complement: 120 officers and enlisted


Delphy was launched on 18 July 1918 by Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation, Squantum, Massachusetts; sponsored by Mrs. W. S. Sims, wife of Rear Admiral William Sims; and commissioned on 30 November 1918, Commander R. A. Dawes in command.

Before joining the Atlantic Fleet Delphy tested submarine detection devices at New London, Connecticut from 23 December to 31 December 1918 and aided survivors from Northern Pacific, stranded off Fire Island, New York, on New Year's Day, 1919. Delphy sailed from New York on 13 January for winter maneuvers and torpedo practice in the Caribbean Sea. Returning to New York on 14 April with the Fleet, she sailed for Boston, Massachusetts on the last day of the month for operations in preparation for the first transatlantic seaplane flight.

Delphy sailed 19 November 1919 from Boston for the west coast, arriving at San Diego, California on 22 December. She joined Destroyer Squadrons, Pacific Fleet, at San Diego for torpedo practice and recovery until placed in reserve on 12 June. Delphy lay at San Diego until 27 December when she sailed with the other ships of Reserve Destroyer Division for Bremerton, Washington, arriving on 4 January 1921 for an extended overhaul at Puget Sound Navy Yard.

Honda Point

Between 22 July 1921 and 20 March 1922 Delphy operated from San Diego with 50 percent of her complement, and then was overhauled. She cruised with the Battle Fleet for exercises off Balboa from 6 February to 11 April 1923, and then carried out experiments with torpedoes off San Diego. On 25 June she got underway with Destroyer Division 31 for a cruise to Washington for summer maneuvers with the Battle Fleet on the return passage.

Delphy, under the command of Lieutenant Commander Donald T. Hunter, was the leading destroyer of seven which were stranded on the rocks of the California coast in dense fog on 8 September 1923.[1] This event became known as the Honda Point disaster. Delphy crashed broadside and broke in half, her stern below the surface. Three of her crew died and 15 were injured.

She was decommissioned as of 26 October 1923, and sold as a wreck 19 October 1925.

As of 2007, no other US Navy ships have been named Delphy.


  1. Charles Hocking (1990). Dictionary of Disasters at Sea During The Age of Steam. The London Stamp Exchange, London. ISBN 0 948130 687., 184.


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