Military Wiki
USS Pope (DD-225)
USS Pope (DD-225)
Career (US)
Namesake: John Pope
Builder: William Cramp and Sons
Laid down: 9 September 1919
Launched: 23 March 1920
Commissioned: 27 October 1920
Struck: 8 May 1942
Fate: sunk in battle, 1 March 1942
General characteristics
Class & type: Clemson-class destroyer
Displacement: 1,190 tons
Length: 314 feet 5 inches (95.83 m)
Beam: 31 feet 9 inches (9.68 m)
Draft: 9 feet 3 inches (2.82 m)
Propulsion: 26,500 shp (20 MW);
geared turbines,
2 screws
Speed: 35 knots (65 km/h)
Complement: 101 officers and enlisted
Armament: 4 x 4", 1 x 3", 2 .30 cal, 12 x 21" (533 mm) torpedo tubes
Aircraft carried: none

USS Pope (DD-225) was a Clemson-class destroyer in the United States Navy during World War II. She was the first ship named for John Pope.

Pope was laid down 9 September 1919 and launched 23 March 1920 from William Cramp and Sons; sponsored by Mrs. William S. Benson; and commissioned 27 October 1920 at Philadelphia, Commander Richard S. Galloway in command.

Service history

Pope was initially placed in reduced commission at Philadelphia and assigned to Squadron 3, Division 39 of the Atlantic Reserve Fleet. During 1921 she alternated between her winter base at Charleston, South Carolina and her summer one at Newport, Rhode Island and escorted President Warren G. Harding to Plymouth, Massachusetts 30 July – 1 August. She engaged in maneuvers with the battleship divisions off Guantanamo Bay from 12 January until her return to Philadelphia 27 April.

After a refit, Pope departed 12 May for duty in the Pacific. She passed through the Straits of Gibraltar 3 July and transited the Suez Canal 15–25 July. Pope joined Squadron 15, Division 43 of the Asiatic Fleet at Chefoo, China 26 August and participated in fleet exercises off Chefoo until her departure 28 October for her winter base at Cavite, Philippines.

In the Orient, Pope protected American lives and interests during the civil strife in China. She first served with the Yangtze River Patrol 9 September – 9 October 1923 and continued to make her presence known through repeated patrols until 1931.

Notable exceptions were duty off Japan in connection with the United States Army "Round the World Flight" in 1924, a visit to French Indochina in 1926, and a visit to Japan in 1929. From 1931 until 1937, the Pope continued to "show the flag" off the China coast, during the summers and spent the winters in the Philippines engaging in division maneuvers. She was reassigned to Squadron 5, Division 15 on 3 February 1933. Pope made visits to French Indochina in 1935 and in 1938, two visits to Japan in 1934 and 1935 and one to the Dutch East Indies in 1936.

Increased tension on China's northern borders due to the Japanese invasion of Manchuria made it necessary for Pope to evacuate Americans from northern Chinese ports such as Lao Yao and Tsingtao to Shanghai beginning 19 September 1937. From 15 July to 20 September 1938, she cruised in Chinese waters off Chinwangtao and returned 5 June 1939 with the South China Patrol force removing American consulates and nationals. Pope was stationed off Swatow and Pehtaiho during 14 June – 19 August, observing the Japanese Navy en route to Swatow and the subsequent bombing and occupation of the city. She remained in this area until her return to Manila 12 October for the Neutrality Patrol off the Philippines. Pope was transferred to Division 59 of the Asiatic Fleet 6 May 1940, and resumed patrolling off China during 11 May – 24 June. Pope returned to Manila in late June on neutrality duty and remained on station there until 11 December 1941, when she got underway for Balikpapan, Dutch East Indies.

World War II

Pope was heavily engaged in fighting in the Dutch East Indies in the early days of World War II. On 9 January 1942 Pope was one of five destroyers in an escort composed of the cruisers USS Boise (CL-47) and USS Marblehead (CL-12), with the other destroyers USS Stewart (DD-224), USS Bulmer (DD-222), USS Parrott (DD-218), and USS Barker (DD-213) departing from Darwin to Surabaya escorting the transport Bloemfontein.[1] That transport had been part of the Pensacola Convoy and had left Brisbane 30 December 1941 with Army reinforcements composed of the 26th Field Artillery Brigade and Headquarters Battery, the 1st Battalion, 131st Field Artillery and supplies from that convoy destined for Java.[2]

During the Battle of Balikpapan she made close-quarter torpedo and gun attacks which helped delay Japanese landings at Balikpapan and later in the Battle of Badung Strait she impeded the invasion of the island of Bali. During the Second Battle of the Java Sea, Pope and Encounter were directed to escort Exeter away from the action. In the evening of 28 February 1942, Exeter and the two destroyers left Soerabaja and proceeded north. Japanese surface and air forces launched an attack the next morning, midway between the islands of Java and Borneo. The three Allied ships fought four Japanese heavy cruisers and four destroyers throughout a fierce three-hour action, and they damaged a number of enemy ships. Pope fired all of her torpedoes and 140 salvoes of naval gunfire.


USS Pope in February 1942.

Shortly before noon 1 March 1942 the two British ships were destroyed by gunfire, and an hour later, Pope was attacked and sunk by 12 dive-bombers - after sustaining many bomb hits. The wreck of USS Pope, DD 225, was located and identified in December 2008 by the dive vessel MV Empress, approximately 60 nautical miles (110 km) from the wreck of HMS Exeter, which Empress discovered in 2007. Unfortunately commercial salvage divers had discovered Pope previously and save for a skeleton, little now remains of her wreck. With her location/identification now being finally confirmed, all ships lost during the Battle of the Java Sea and subsequent engagements have now been discovered/located and positively identified.

The following day, Ikazuchi rescued 442 survivors from Pope and Encounter. The survivors had been adrift for about 20 hours - in rafts and lifejackets, or clinging to floats, many coated in oil, and some blinded. This humanitarian decision by Lieutenant Commander Shunsaku Kudō placed Ikazuchi at risk of attack, and it interfered with her fighting ability, due to the sheer load of rescued sailors. The action was later the subject of a book[3][4] and a 2007 TV programme.[5][6][7]

Pope was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 8 May 1942. She received two battle stars and the Presidential Unit Citation for her World War II service.

See also

  • USS Pope lists other ships of this name.


  1. Gill 1957, p. 531.
  2. Masterson 1949, p. 8.
  3. Megumi, Ryuunosuke (2006-07-05). "敵兵を救助せよ!—英国兵422名を救助した駆逐艦「雷」工藤艦長". Soshisha Publishing Company. ISBN 978-4-7942-1499-7. 
  4. hisashi (2007-05-21). "Kudo Shunsaku and the Destroyer Ikazuchi". Retrieved 2008-06-29. . This forum discussion contains a brief summary of the 2006 Megumi book's account of the HMS Encounter and USS Pope rescues.
  5. "The Untold story of Captain Kudo Shunsaku and the Destroyer Ikazuchi". 2007-05-19. Retrieved 2008-06-29. 
  6. "日本の武士道1 Japanese BUSIDO saved lives". YouTube. 2007. Retrieved 2008-06-29.  In Japanese. See also part 2 and part 3.
  7. 伊勢, 雅臣 (2006-08-13). "駆逐艦「雷」艦長・工藤俊作" (in Japanese). Retrieved 2008-06-29. . In Japanese. A summary of the 2007 television program.

External links

Coordinates: 04°00′S 111°30′E / 4°S 111.5°E / -4; 111.5

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