The USS Fairfax (DD-93) was a Wickes-class destroyer in the U.S. Navy during World War I. She was named in honor of Rear Admiral Donald Fairfax. Fairfax was transferred to and served in Britain’s Royal Navy during World War II as HMS Richmond (G88).
In July 1917, Fairfax was laid down at Mare Island Navy Yard. Completed in five months, Fairfax was launched in July 1917 and commissioned in April 1918, with Lieutenant Commander Stanford Caldwell Hooper in command.
In October, Fairfax was forced to abandon an escort mission to rescue eighty-six survivors of the torpedoed USS Lucia. She was dispatched to escort service in European waters while operating out of Brest, France and the Azores where she met with George Washington which had carried President Woodrow Wilson to the Peace Conference in Paris in December 1918. Her post war operations were conducted off the eastern seaboard and throughout the Caribbean.
In May 1919, Fairfax served as an observer of the historic first transatlantic flight by Navy seaplanes. She was decommissioned and placed in reserve in Philadelphia in June 1922. In 1930, Fairfax was recommissioned and spent the next two years on training cruises, operating from Newport, Rhode Island and Camden, New Jersey. In March 1932, Fairfax operated out of San Diego, California in training and gunnery exercises off Mexico, and the Panama Canal Zone. She took part in the Presidential Review with Franklin D. Roosevelt in San Diego in March 1933, then headed to the east coast where she continued her training duties and patrolled Cuban waters. She sailed out of Annapolis where she trained midshipmen in the Naval Academy. Fairfax took part in representing the U.S. Navy at the New York City World’s Fair in April 1939.
In November 1940, she arrived at Halifax, Nova Scotia where she was decommissioned and transferred to Great Britain, 26 November, 1939. Recommissioned in the Royal Navy as HMS Richmond, the former Fairfax arrived at Plymouth in December 1940. Based out of St. John’s, Newfoundland, she performed in the Royal Canadian Navy until placed in reserve in the Tyne. She was transferred to the Soviet Navy in July 1944. She was sold for scrap after the Soviet Union returned her to Great Britain in August 1944.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Fairfax (DD-93)
Any exposure to asbestos can cause serious health complications later in life. Many Navy veterans have developed mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases resulting from their shipboard asbestos exposure. Fairfax was constructed before 1930s fire safety regulations caused a surge of asbestos use on ships, but she still employed asbestos materials in and around her engines, boilers, and power plant. The asbestos dust on board may have harmed veterans of this ship.Sources
Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.