Allied Warships

USS Darby (DE 218)

Destroyer Escort of the Buckley class

NavyThe US Navy
TypeDestroyer Escort
PennantDE 218 
Built byPhiladelphia Navy Yard (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.) 
Ordered8 Jun 1942 
Laid down22 Feb 1943 
Launched29 May 1943 
Commissioned15 Nov 1943 
End service 1958 

Decommissioned 28 April 1947.
Recommissioned 24 October 1950.
Decommissioned in 1958.
Stricken 23 September 1968.
Sunk as a target 24 May 1970.


Commands listed for USS Darby (DE 218)

Please note that we're still working on this section
and that we only list Commanding Officers for the duration of the Second World War.

1Cdr. Denis D. Humphreys, USNR15 Nov 194323 Jul 1944
2Lt.Cdr. Merritt Warren Martin, USNR23 Jul 194411 Oct 1945

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Notable events involving Darby include:

6 Dec 1943

Convoy GUS 24.

This convoy departed Port Said on 6 December 1943.

On departure from Port Said the convoy was made up of the transports; Katy (Norwegian, 6825 GRT, built 1931), Lowlander (British, 8059 GRT, built 1925), Mahlon Pitney (American, 7200 GRT, built 1943), Robert Morris (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Samariz (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Samblade (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Samdak (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Samkansa (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943) and Urbino (British, 5198 GRT, built 1918).

On departure from Port Said the convoy was escorted by the minesweeper HMS Rye (A/Lt.Cdr. J.A. Pearson, DSC and Bar, RNR) and the A/S trawler HMS Wolborough (T/Lt. G.A. Hartnell, RNR).

On 7 December 1943, the following transports joined coming from Alexandria; Afghanistan (British, 6992 GRT, built 1940), Avristan (British, 7266 GRT, built 1942), Blairclova (British, 5083 GRT, built 1938), Corstar (British, 2337 GRT, built 1918), Egret (British, 1391 GRT, built 1937), Empire Addison (British, 7010 GRT, built 1942), Empire Glory (British, 7290 GRT, built 1943), Fort Frederick (British, 7135 GRT, built 1942), George M. Pullman (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Gudrun Maersk (British, 2294 GRT, built 1937), Hindustan (British, 5245 GRT, built 1940), Horace Bushnell (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Hughli (British, 6589 GRT, built 1943), Ocean Liberty (British, 7174 GRT, built 1942), Sambrake (British, 7219 GRT, built 1943), Sofala (British, 1031 GRT, built 1937) and Tynebank (British, 4651 GRT, built 1922).

They were escorted by the frigate HMS Dart (Cdr. J.T. Jones, RD, RNR), corvettes HMS Gloxinia (Lt. M.C. English, RNR), HMS Primula (Lt. G.H. Taylor, RNR) and the A/S whaler HMSAS Southern Maid (?).

On 8 December 1943, the Lowlander arrived at Alexandria after having been detached from the convoy with engine trouble.

On 10 December 1943, the Egret arrived at Benghazi after having been detached from the convoy.

On 11 December 1943, the convoy was sighted by enemy reconnaissance aircraft but no attack developed.

Also on 11 December 1943, the following transports / tankers departed Augusta to join the convoy; Antonia (Dutch (tanker), 3357 GRT, built 1938), Athelviking (British (tanker), 8779 GRT, built 1926), Baron Stranraer (British, 3668 GRT, built 1929), Empire Deed (British, 6766 GRT, built 1943), Empire Success (British, 5988 GRT, built 1921), Fort Lac la Ronge (British, 7131 GRT, built 1942), Hermelin (Norwegian, 1683 GRT, built 1940), Lord Byron (British, 4118 GRT, built 1934) and Somerville (Norwegian, 4265 GRT, built 1929).

On 12 December 1943, the following transports arrived at Augusta after having been detached from the convoy; Afghanistan, Blairclova, Corstar, Empire Addison, Empire Glory, Fort Frederick, Gudrun Maersk, Katy, Ocean Liberty, Sambrake and Sofala.

Also on 12 December 1943, the submarines HMS Shakespeare (Lt. M.F.R. Ainslie, DSO, DSC, RN), HMS Universal (Lt. C. Gordon, RN) and HMS Unseen (Lt. M.L.C. Crawford, DSC and Bar, RN) joined the convoy coming from Malta. The following day, after having passed through the Sicilian Narrows, HMS Univeral and HMS Unseen parted company with the convoy and proceeded on patrol.

On 14 December 1943, the following transports / tankers joined the convoy off Bizerta; A.P. Hill (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Alexander Graham Bell (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), American Trader (American (tanker), 8862 GRT, built 1923), Anson Jones (American, 7244 GRT, built 1943), Belgian Fisherman (Belgian, 4714 GRT, built 1918), Caleb Strong (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Emma Willard (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Empire Coleridge (British (tanker), 9798 GRT, built 1942), Empire Dickens (British (tanker), 9819 GRT, built 1942), Esek Hopkins (American, 7191 GRT, built 1942), Fanny Brunner (Italian, 2464 GRT, built 1925), Fort Lajoie (British, 7134 GRT, built 1942), Fort Walsh (British, 7126 GRT, built 1943), Francis L. Lee (American, 7191 GRT, built 1942), George B. McClellan (American, 7181 GRT, built 1942), George Matthew (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Grace Abbott (American, 7191 GRT, built 1942), Haym Salomon (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Henry Middleton (American, 7177 GRT, built 1942), Horace Binney (American, 7191 GRT, built 1942), Isaac Coles (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Isaac Sharpless (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), James W. Fannin (American, 7244 GRT, built 1942), John A. Rawlins (American, 7181 GRT, built 1942), John Hathorn (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), John Sergeant (American, 7191 GRT, built 1942), John Walker (American, 7191 GRT, built 1942), Joseph Alston (American, 7177 GRT, built 1942), Joshua Seney (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Josiah Parker (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Leland Stanford (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Mayo Brothers (American, 7191 GRT, built 1942), Nettuno (Italian, 5088 GRT, built 1916), Orient City (British, 5095 GRT, built 1940), Prosper Schiaffino (French, 1634 GRT, built 1931), Richmond Mumford Pearson (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Robert Dale Owen (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Stanford Newel (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Star (Norwegian, 1531 GRT, built 1922), Thomas Nelson Page (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Townsend Harris (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), William D. Pender (American, 7177 GRT, built 1943) and William R. Davie (American, 7177 GRT, built 1942).

The AA cruiser HMS Colombo (Capt. D.H. Hall-Thompson, RN) and the rescue tug HMS Hengist also joined the convoy coming from Bizerta.

On 14 December 1943, the following ships were detached to Bone; Belgian Fisherman, Fort Lac la Ronge, Hermelin and Star while the following transports / tankers joined the convoy coming from Bone; British Vigour (British (tanker), 5844 GRT, built 1943), Eleazar Wheelock (American, 7191 GRT, built 1942), Empire Zephyr (British, 6327 GRT, built 1941), Esso Providence (American (tanker), 9059 GRT, built 1921), Srbin (Yugoslavian, 928 GRT, built 1913) and William Coddington (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943).

On 14 December 1943, the following ships were detached to Philippeville; British Vigour and Fanny Brunner while the following transport joined the convoy coming from Philippeville; Lago (Norwegian, 2552 GRT, built 1929).

On 14 December 1943, the Empire Zephyr arrived at Bougie after having straggled from the convoy.

On 15 December 1943, the following ships were detached to Algiers; Antonia, Empire Deed, Prosper Schiaffino and Srbin while the following transports / tankers joined the convoy coming from Algiers; Andrea Gritti (Italian, 6404 GRT, built 1943), Enrico (Italian, 1817 GRT, built 1909), Gryfevale (British, 4434 GRT, built 1929), Marie-Louise le Borgne (French, 1263 GRT, built 1903), Moses Brown (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Myriel (British (tanker), 3560 GRT, built 1913), Ocean Courier (British, 7178 GRT, built 1942), Orminster (British, 5712 GRT, built 1914), Pencarrow (British, 4841 GRT, built 1921), Ronan (British, 1489 GRT, built 1938) and Thomas Stone (American, 7191 GRT, built 1942).

The rescue tug HMS Hengist also arrived at Algiers.

On 16 December 1943, the following ships were detached to Oran / Mers-el-Kebir; Alexander Graham Bell, Empire Success, Enrico, Fort Walsh, George Matthews, Henry Middleton, John Hathorn, John Walker, Joseph Alston, Marie-Louise le Borgne, Mayo Brothers, Orminster, Pencarrow, Ronan, Stanford Newell, Thomas Nelson Page and William D. Pender while the following transports / tankers joined the convoy coming from Oran / Mers-el-Kebir; Aztec (Hunduran, 5511 GRT, built 1929), Crosby S. Noyes (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Edward N. Hurley (American, 7191 GRT, built 1943), Esso Nashville (American (tanker), 7943 GRT, built 1940), Gulfpoint (American (tanker), 6972 GRT, built 1920), John S. Copley (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Mirabeau B. Lamar (American, 7176 GRT, built 1942), Pan-Delaware (American (tanker), 8128 GRT, built 1918) and Tulsa (American, 5083 GRT, built 1919).

On joining the convoy the John S. Copley was torpedoed and damaged by the German submarine U-73 which in turn was herself sunk following the attack by patrolling destroyers.

On 17 December 1943, the following ships were detached to Gibraltar; American Trader, Baron Stranraer, Esso Providence, Gryfevale, Hindustan, Hughli, Lago, Lord Byron, Myriel, Orient City, Tynebank and Urbino while the following transports joined the convoy coming from Gibraltar; Karamea (British, 10530 GRT, built 1928) and Robert M.T. Hunter (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943). HMS Colombo and HMS Shakespeare also arrived at Gibraltar.

At 1000A/18, a new, American escort joined the convoy and at 1030A/18, the British escort parted company and proceeded to Gibraltar where they all arrived later the same day.

The new American escort (Task Force 64) had departed Casablanca around 1530A/17 and was made up of the destroyers USS Stevenson (T/Cdr. F.E. Wilson, USN, with COMTASKFOR 64 / COMDESRON 19, T/Capt. J. Conner, USN on board), USS Stockton (T/Cdr. R.E. Braddy, Jr., USN), USS Thorn (T/Cdr. E. Brumby, USN), USS Turner (T/Cdr. H.S. Wygant, Jr., USN), destroyer escorts USS Sturtevant (Lt. J.M. Mertz, USNR), USS Blair (Lt. A.J. Laborde, USNR), USS Brough (Lt. J.A. Rector, Jr., USNR), USS Inch (Lt.Cdr. C.W. Frey, USNR), USS Stanton (T/Lt.Cdr. C.S. Barker, Jr., USN) and USS Swasey (Lt. H.M. Godsey, USNR).

Around 1430A/18, the Casablanca section of the convoy joined in position 35°24'N, 08°03'W. It was made up of the transports Felix Grundy (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), Fitzhugh Lee (American, 7176 GRT, built 1943), James Turner (American, 7177 GRT, built 1942) and Richard S. Ewell (American, 7244 GRT, built 1943). The naval tanker USS Housatonic (T/Cdr. A.R. Boileau, USN) was also with them. They were escorted by the destroyer escorts USS Jacob Jones (Lt.Cdr. S.H. Johnson, USNR, with COMCORTDIV 3, T/Cdr. N. Adair, Jr., USN on board), USS Hammann (Lt.Cdr. J.D. Miller, Jr., USNR), USS Robert E. Peary (Lt.Cdr. L.W. Bennett, USNR) and the patrol vessels USS PC-482 (Lt.Cdr. D.W. Hunter, USNR), USS PC-481 (Lt. N.W. Roeder, USNR), USS PC-480 (Lt. F.W. Meyers, Jr., USNR) and USS PC-473 (Lt. D.F. Welch, USNR). The destroyer escorts joined the convoy while the patrol vessels returned to Casablanca taking the following transports / tankers from the convoy with them; Esso Nashville, Fort Lajoie, Gulfpoint and Nettuno. They all arrived at Casablanca on the 19th.

During the morning of 24 December 1943, USS Stevenson, USS Stockton, USS Thorn and USS Turner fuelled from USS Housatonic.

At 1100P/30, USS Housatonic parted company to proceed to Bermuda. To escort her the destroyer escorts USS Darby (Cdr. D.D. Humphreys, USNR) and USS Alger (Lt.Cdr. D.B. Poupeney, USNR) had joined shortly before.

At 1115Q/1, the convoy was split into the ' Delaware section ' and the ' New York section '. The New York section was made up of 31 ships and was escorted by USS Stevenson, USS Stockton, USS Thorn, USS Turner, USS Inch, USS Stanton and USS Swasey. The remaining ships (23) made up the ' Delaware section and were escorted by USS Jacob Jones, USS Hammann, USS USS Robert E. Peary, USS Sturtevant, USS Blair and USS Brough.

The New York section arrived at its destination during the night of 2/3 January 1944. The last of the escort to anchor was USS Turner. She dropped anchor around 0215Q/3. Around 0616Q/3, USS Turner suffered a massive explosion and burned. Survivors could be picked up by pilot boats and small boats from other ships of Task Force 64. 15 officers and 123 men did not survive the internal explosions and subsequent sinking of the ship.

The Delaware section of the convoy also arrived at its destination during the night of 2/3 January 1944.

13 May 1945
During 13/14 May 1945, the following submarines conducted tactical exercises off Pearl Harbour; USS Dace (T/Cdr. O.R. Cole, Jr., USN), USS Lapon (T/Lt.Cdr. D.G. Baer, USN), USS Redfin (T/Lt.Cdr. C.K. Miller, USN), USS Devilfish (T/Lt.Cdr. S.S. Mann, Jr., USN), USS Manta (T/Lt.Cdr. E.P. Madley, USN) and USS Thornback (T/Cdr. E.P. Abrahamson, USN).

They were attacking a dummy convoy of 13 (other source says 16) transports which were escorted by the destroyer USS Chew (Lt.Cdr. J.J. Mannion, USNR), destroyer minelayer USS Pruitt (Lt. D.B. Harby, USNR), destroyer escorts USS Whitman (Lt. E.A. Sandor, USNR), USS Coolbaugh (Lt.Cdr. S.T. Hotchkiss, USNR), USS Darby (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Martin, USNR) and USS PC-782 (Lt.(jg) R.L. Essick, USNR).

5 Jun 1945
USS Barb (T/Cdr. E.B. Fluckey, USN) and USS Moray (T/Cdr. F.L. Barrows, USN) conducted exercises off Pearl Harbour with USS Darby (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Martin, USNR) and USS Florikan (T/Lt. D. Hima, USN).

16 Jul 1945
USS Catfish (Lt.Cdr. W.A. Overton, USNR) conducted exercises off Pearl Harbour together with USS Darby (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Martin, USNR).

3 Aug 1945
During 3/4 August 1945, USS Bowfin (Cdr. A.K. Tyree, USN), conducted exercises off Pearl Harbour together with USS Chew (Lt.Cdr. J.J. Mannion, USNR), USS Pruitt (Lt. D.B. Harby, USNR), USS Darby (Lt.Cdr. M.W. Martin, USNR) and USS Flasher (Cdr. G.W. Grider, USN).

Media links

Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.

The Buckley-Class Destroyer Escorts

Bruce Hampton Franklin

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