USS Thomas (DD-182) is one of 111 Wickes-class destroyers constructed for the US Navy after World War I. She was named in honor of Clarence Crase Thomas, who was an officer in the Navy during World War I. Thomas, who was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross, was the first US naval officer to die during the war.
Thomas was laid down in Newport, Virginia by Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company on March 23, 1918. She was sponsored by Mrs. Evelyn M. Thomas, the widow of Lieutenant Thomas, and was launched on July 4, 1918. Lieutenant Commander Harry A. McClure took command of Thomas on April 25, 1919.
Following commissioning, Thomas engaged in training cruises and other exercises off the east coast. She continued to serve in this capacity until she was decommissioned on June 30, 1922 in Philadelphia. Thomas remained in reserve for 18 years, until she was recommissioned on June 17, 1940. She was then assigned to Destroyer Division 79 with the Atlantic Squadron, after which she engaged in training and other exercises off the eastern seaboard until she was transferred to the United Kingdom as part of the destroyer for bases agreement.
Thomas arrived in Nova Scotia on September 18, 1940, with her name being struck from the Navy list on January 8, 1941. As part of her new assignment, her name was changed to HMS St Albans (I15) on September 29. Shortly after, she embarked for St. John’s in Newfoundland, where she was attached to the 1st Minelaying Squadron as a part of a permanent escort force. As part of this duty, the former Thomas participated in some of the earliest minelaying operations to take place in the Denmark Strait between Greenland and Iceland.
On January 17 and 18 in 1941, the former Thomas searched for survivors from SS Almeda Star after the ship had been torpedoed by the German submarine U-96. The following month, the former Thomas underwent repairs in preparation for transfer to the Royal Norwegian Navy. Shortly after this transfer, the former Thomas collided with the minesweeper HMS Alberic. The minesweeper was sunk by the collision, while the former Thomas was badly damaged.
Following her repairs, the former Thomas joined the 7th Escort Group. Shortly after beginning her operations out of Liverpool, she picked up survivors from the SS Empire Dew, which had been torpedoed by the German Submarine U-48 on June 12. She continued to serve with the Norwegian Navy until January 10, 1944, at which time she was placed in reserve. On July 16 of that same year, she was transferred to the Soviet Navy and was renamed Dostoyny. She was returned to the UK on February 28, 1949 before being broken up for scrap in Charlestown, England in April 1949.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Thomas (DD-182)
The installation of asbestos in the design of all ships was ordered by law in the US in the 1930s, after a fire at sea on a luxury liner killed 137 passengers and crew. Ships like Thomas made use of asbestos extensively, particularly in ship's boilers and engine compartments, as well as for fireproofing in all parts of the ship. When an asbestos-based product becomes worn it can become "friable", which means that individual asbestos fibers can be broken off and escape into the air, where they can be inhaled or ingested by crewmen and repair workers, possibly causing mesothelioma. The damage brought about by asbestos occurs when very small particles are breathed in or swallowed; the fibers invade the mesothelial lining and occasionally other organs, causing scar tissue in the case of asbestosis and damage at the DNA level in the case of mesothelioma.
Unfortunately, the prognosis in mesothelioma cases is rarely favorable - typically mesothelioma disease patients have a life expectancy of a few months to a few years after diagnosis. Since malignant mesothelioma is a relatively uncommon condition, it is important to seek out doctors and cancer centers that specialize in mesothelioma treatment.
If you or a family member has developed pleural or peritoneal mesothelioma, there are legal options that may be open to you and a good mesothelioma lawyer can help explain what they are. To provide additional assistance we've compiled a mesothelioma information packet with information about legal and medical resources for mesothelioma victims. Just fill out the form on this page and we will mail you a free kit.Sources
Thomas. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Department of the Navy – Naval Historical Center. (http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/t5/thomas-i.htm) Retrieved 20 December 2010