USS McLanahan DD-264 (1919-1943)

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The USS McLanahan (DD-264) was named in honor of Tenant McLanahan, an officer of the United States Navy during the Mexican-American War. The ship was a Clemson-class destroyer that was launched on September 22, 1918 and commissioned on April 5, 1919.

Built by Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation in Quincy, Massachusetts, the ship was over 314 feet long and weighed approximately 1,215 tons. With geared turbines and two screws, she had an effective range of 4900 nautical miles when sailing at a steady pace of 15 knots. In optimal conditions, her top speed was measured at around 35 knots.  As with most destroyers of her era, the USS McLanahan had four 4” guns and two 3” anti-aircraft guns mounted on her deck. She also had twelve 21” torpedo tubes.

Between the Wars

With a solid complement of 120 officers and enlisted men, the USS Mclanahan had her shakedown in the waters off the Massachusetts coast. She was then assigned to join the Pacific Fleet. Without seeing much action, the USS McLanahan was made to dock in San Diego, California where she was placed on the reserve list. She was officially decommissioned in 1922.

She was again called into service and was recommissioned in 1939. After a thorough overhaul and extensive refitting, the USS McLanahan quickly sailed for the East Coast. With war breaking out in Europe, she was again decommissioned as a United States Navy ship and under the Destroyers For Bases Agreement between the United States and the United Kingdom, was turned over to the Royal Navy together with 49 other destroyers.

Action in World War II

She was commissioned by the British in October 8, 1940 and was renamed the HMS Bradford (H72). She was heavily modified for her new assignment. As a long range escort ship, her two boilers were removed and her fuel tanks were replaced. She then went about escorting ships to North Africa and back from 1941 to 1943.

After an inspection in May 3, 1943, she was deemed unfit to work as an escort ship. She was decommissioned in Devonport and became an accommodation ship. She was eventually scrapped in Troon, Scotland, in June 19, 1946.

Asbestos in Navy Ships

Although an essential component of the naval fleet, especially during World War II, naval destroyers also pose a lasting health risk to soldiers serving on them. Unfortunately, products containing asbestos were common, especially on older ships, because of the material’s high resistance to heat and fire. Despite its value as an insulator, asbestos fiber intake can lead to several serious health consequences, including mesothelioma, a devastating cancer without cure. Current and former military personnel who came into contact with these ships should seek immediate medical attention in order to detect possible health consequences associated with asbestos exposure.


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