The USS Robinson (DD-88) was a Wickes-class destroyer in the US Navy, later transferred to the Royal Navy, as HMS Newmarket. She was the first ship named for Isaiah Robinson.
Robinson was laid down in October 1917 by the Union Iron Works, San Francisco, California, and launched March 1918. Robinson was commissioned at Mare Island Navy Yard in October 1918 with Commander George Wirth Simpson in command.
Robinson led a dual role in both the US Navy, during World War I, and later when she served in the Royal Navy during World War II. In World War I, Robinson guarded US Navy seaplanes in the first transatlantic flight from Rockaway, New York, to Plymouth, England, in May 1919. The first successful flight saw Albert Read in the cockpit of the US Navy Curtiss NC-4 flying boat that completed the entire route of 4,526 statute miles in 53 hours, 58 minutes. Robinson, along with other destroyers, poured smoke from their funnels by day and fired starshells and flashed searchlights during the night and guided planes en route to Europe. Operating out of Halifax, Nova Scotia, and later the Azores, Robinson helped pilots fight their way through blinding dense fog. While sailing to Station Number Seven, to cover the fourth leg of the transoceanic flight, Robinson spotted the lone NC-4 on its way to a royal welcome at Lisbon and at Plymouth, England on May 31, 1919 ending the historic flight. After undergoing an overhaul in the Norfolk Navy Yard, Robinson carried on operations near Newport, RI. Following repairs in Portsmouth Navy Yard, Robinson engaged in fleet maneuvers near Guantanamo Bay and the Panama Canal. August 1922, Robinson entered the Philadelphia Navy Yard where she was decommissioned.
Recommissioned in August 1940, Robinson was transferred to the British Government that November and renamed HMS Newmarket. Newmarket was refitted in the Humber before she began convoy escort work. January 1942, Newmarket was forced to leave convoy service and sailed to Liverpool for boiler repairs. She was refitted at Leith and again at Rosyth, Scotland before resuming duty as an aircraft target ship until the end of the war. Newmarket was scrapped at Llanelli in September 1945.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Robinson (DD-88)
The use of asbestos fireproofing in the construction of marine ships was mandated by the US Congress in the 1930s, after a deadly fire aboard a luxury liner caused the deaths of 137 passengers and crew. Robinson, like most Navy ships at the time, used asbestos insulation extensively in engines and engineering rooms, as well as to insulate compartments all over the vessel. If asbestos-containing material is damaged it becomes friable, which means that individual asbestos fibers can break off and enter the surrounding air, where they are inhaled or ingested by naval personnel and shipfitters, increasing the chances of contracting mesothelioma.
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Lenton, H.T. and Colledge J.J. (1968). British and Dominion Warships of World War II. Doubleday and Company.
Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships
http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/r7/robinson-i.htm Retrieved 28 December 2010.