The USS Hopewell (DD-181) was one of 111 Wickes-class destroyers built for the US Navy after World War I. She was the first of two ships to be named in honor of Pollard Hopewell, who was a midshipman in the US Navy during the War of 1812 and was killed in a battle between the US frigate Chesapeake and the British frigate Shannon.
Hopewell was launched on June 8, 1918 by Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News, Virginia. She was sponsored by Mrs. Orote Hutcheson. Lieutenant Commander R. E. Rodgers took command of Hopewell on March 22, 1919 in Portsmouth, Virginia.
Hopewell joined the 3rd Destroyer Squadron in New England waters on April 19, 1919. She served on the observation station off the Azores in May, during which time Navy seaplanes completed the first trans-Atlantic flight. After assisting with the historic flight, Hopewell returned to New York to complete her fitting out, which had been interrupted by her duties with the seaplane flight. After completing her fitting out, Hopewell rejoined her squadron for firing tests. During the winter of 1919, she participated in intensive training and target practice, which took place in Caribbean waters.
In May 1920, Hopewell returned to New England, where she engaged in division maneuvers and assisted with training reservists. She remained in New England until September, at which time she sailed to Charleston. While in Charleston, she continued to assist with training reservists while engaging in division maneuvers until May 1921, at which time she returned to New York and participated in reserve training. Hopewell sailed from Newport in October, at which time she was placed in reserve at Charleston. In April the following year, Hopewell departed for Philadelphia and was decommissioned in Charleston on July 17, 1922.
As America began preparing for World War II, Hopewell was recommissioned on June 17, 1940 and began operations with the Neutrality Patrol off New England. She arrived in Halifax on September 18 and was transferred to Great Britain as part of the destroyers for bases exchange. At this time, she was renamed HMS Bath. Manned by Royal Norwegian Navy sailors, she began operation as part of the Liverpool Escort Force in early June 1941.On August 19, 1941, the former Hopewell was sunk by the German submarine U-204 while escorting a convoy bound for Gibraltar. Only 42 of her 128-man crew survived the attack.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Hopewell (DD-181)
Installing asbestos insulation in the design of marine ships was mandated by the US Congress in the 1930s, after a deadly fire aboard a cruise ship caused the deaths of 137 passengers and crew. Vessels like Hopewell installed asbestos-containing materials in great quantities around boilers and engine compartments, and for insulation in the other sections of the ship. Asbestos has long been known for its ability to insulate; however, it has also been shown to be the leading factor in the development of serious diseases like lung cancer and peritoneal mesothelioma.
Unfortunately, the prognosis in mesothelioma cases is rarely optimistic; usually mesothelioma victims have a life expectancy of around a year after diagnosis. If you or a family member has been diagnosed with peritoneal or pleural mesothelioma, you should be aware that you may have legal recourse and a well-established mesothelioma lawyer can aid in assessing your options.
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Hopewell. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Department of the Navy – Naval Historical Center. (http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/h7/hopewell-i.htm) Retrieved 20 December 2010