The USS Lansdale (DD-426) served in the U.S. Navy for a half a decade in the early 20th century, before being sunk by German aircraft off Algeria. She was named for Lieutenant Philip Van Horne Lansdale who served with the U.S. Navy on the Asiatic, North Atlantic, Mediterranean, and Pacific stations. Lansdale was a member of the Benson class of destroyers.
Lansdale was laid down by the Boston Navy Yard in December 1938, launched in October 1939, and commissioned in September 1940 with Lieutenant Commander John Conner in command. Carrying a crew of 208, Lansdale was 348 feet, four inches long and armed with four five-inch anti-aircraft guns, six one-half inch machine guns, and ten 21-inch torpedo tubes.
Lansdale sailed from Boston in January 1941 and arrived in the Caribbean to commence neutrality patrol off Cuba, the Virgin Islands, Martinique, and the British West Indies. She also operated as an escort vessel and conducted three escort missions between Newfoundland and Iceland. In January 1942, Lansdale served as an escort for seven troop transports from New York to Key West, Florida. Lansdale continued escort duty from the east coast to Iceland, in the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Panama Canal.
In August, Lansdale escorted convoys out of Nova Scotia, and escorted convoy UGF-2 on a run from New York to North Africa, where she patrolled off Safi and Casablanca until late December. Lansdale was overhauled in New York in January 1943 and then joined the 42nd British Escort Group in February to escort tankers from the United Kingdom on missions to the West Indies. German submarines attacked the convoy south of the Azores and Lansdale launched several counterattacks. Later on, Lansdale pursued and sank a U-boat.
Lansdale served on runs to Trinidad, Curacao, and other Caribbean locations in March, and made eight trips from the Caribbean to the United Kingdom from March to October. Following a run to North Africa in January 1944, Lansdale participated in anti-submarine duty during the shore bombardment from Naples to Anzio Italy.
In April, Lansdale joined convoy UGS-38 to Bizerte and operated as a U-boat screen and a block against radio-controlled bombs. Lansdale and the accompanying convoy were attacked by JU-88 aircraft off Algeria, which destroyed Paul Hamilton and then went after Lansdale. After two to three waves of attacks, Lansdale was ordered abandoned before she broke up and sank along with 47 officers and men.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Lansdale (DD-426)
On Lansdale asbestos, a superior fireproofing material, was present in almost all sections of the ship, both as part of heavy equipment and as insulation between compartments and around pipes. Certain areas on board the vessel contained pumps and engines which produced high levels of heat and thus required a great deal of fireproofing. Even sections that had no heat-related mechanical function were contained asbestos products, as the substance was used in putty, adhesives, paint, gaskets and other hardware.
Asbestos is relatively harmless in an undisturbed state. When it is cut or sawed or torn, which was a common occurrence when replacing insulation, tiny fibers come loose and enter the air. Once in the air they can be easily inhaled by anyone in close proximity. This type of asbestos exposure has been linked to a serious cancer known a mesothelioma.
Many veterans on board the USS Lansdale suffered this type of asbestos exposure during their tour of duty and, today, are at risk for developing an asbestos related disease. There are legal options available, however. Learn about them by filling in the form on this page to request more information.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-426.
(http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd426txt.htm) Retrieved 12 January 2011.
NavSource Naval History, USS Lansdale (DD-426).
(http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/426.htm) Retrieved 12 January 2011.