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USS Sigourney (DD-81)

USS Sigourney (DD-81)

The USS Sigourney (DD-81) was the first of two ships named after James Butler Sigourney. Sigourney was commander of the Asp during the War of 1812. He was killed at his post while defending Chesapeake Bay from British attack.


Sigourney was laid down by the Fore River Shipbuilding Company of Quincy, Massachusetts in August 1917. Wickes-class ships were built quickly (twenty of the original fifty planned were built in the first year alone), and quality was inconsistent.

Although a Wickes-class destroyer, like most ships built at Fore River, she was built to Little specifications. Little ships were considered inferior to the rest and few were in service past 1936. Their cruising radius was smaller than the others in the class. Sigourney had a maximum speed of 35 knots and carried a crew of 103.

Naval History

Sigourney was completed December 1917 and was commissioned May 15, 1918. Under the command of Commander W.N. Vernon, she escorted a troop transport to France on her maiden voyage. Upon arrival in Europe, she was assigned to Commander Naval Forces, France. Sigourney spent the rest of the war escorting shipping within 500 nautical miles of Brest. She was the flagship of the screen commander, but there were no recorded contacts with submarines during the war.

After the war, Sigourney continued to serve in various capacities along the European coast. Her most notable service was as the flagship escort that accompanied the George Washington when President Woodrow Wilson attended the Versailles Peace Conference. Sigourney and her three fellow escorts were responsible for protecting the ship during the middle part of the voyage from the United States to France.

The ship returned to the United States in 1919. After overhauling in Boston and summer training in Newport, Sigourney was placed in reserve November 1919. The ship was not decommissioned until June 1920.

Following the Lend-Lease Agreement between the United States and Britain, the ship was recommissioned in Philadelphia in June 1940 and sailed to Halifax. Sigourney was decommissioned November 26, 1940 and turned over to a Canadian care-and-maintenance party. The British renamed the ship HMS Newport in December and it was struck from the Navy list on January 8, 1941. The ship saw service with the Royal Norwegian Navy from March 1941 to June 1942, served as an aircraft target ship in 1943, and was placed in reserve in January 1945. Newport was scrapped at Granton, England in 1947 by Malcolm Brechin.

Asbestos Risk on the USS Sigourney (DD-81)

The installation of asbestos fireproofing in the design of oceangoing vessels was ordered by the US Congress in the early 1930s, after a fire at sea on the SS Morro Castle killed 137 people. Vessels like Sigourney deployed asbestos insulation in large quantities, especially in engines and engineering compartments, and to insulate compartments throughout the vessel.

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Wickes and Clemson–class Flush Deck Destroyers. ( Retrieved 22 December 2010

Destroyer Photo Index, DD-81 USS Sigourney. ( Retrieved 22 December 2010

DD-81. ( Retrieved 22 December 2010

Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Blog


January 11, 2017
Jillian McKee

New Mesothelioma Clinical Trial Tests Immunotherapy Before Surgery

“Last fall, the Baylor College of Medicine Mesothelioma Treatment Center began running a new clinical trial that looks at how to use immunotherapy and surgery together as a more effective way to treat mesothelioma – an extremely rare form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.”