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NavSource Naval History
Photographic History of the United States Navy
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|92k||Photo #: NH 103773, Benjamin Ryan Tillman (1847-1918) Governor of South Carolina in 1890-1894 and U.S. Senator from that state from 1895 until his death on 3 July 1918. He was Chairman of the Senate Naval Affairs Committee before and during World War I. The rather battered original photograph was removed from USS Tillman (DD-641) in August 1969, nearly a year before the ship was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register. Photo from the Library of Congress.||Tony Cowart/Bill Gonyo|
|84k||Photo #: NH 103192, USS Tillman (DD-135) at the Boston Navy Yard, Charlestown, Massachusetts, circa mid-1921. Photographed by H.J. Darley, 46 Water Street, Charlestown, Massachusetts. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.||Tony Cowart|
|52k||Photo #: NH 41782, USS Tillman (DD-135) at the Charleston Navy Yard, South Carolina, 14 June 1921. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.||Tony Cowart|
|88k||Photo #: NH 103772, USS Tillman (DD-135) Ship's Officers and Crew posed beside her at the Boston Navy Yard, Charlestown, Massachusetts, 22 July 1921. Panoramic photograph by H.J. Darley, Charlestown, Mass. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.||Tony Cowart|
|60k||Photo #: NH 67801, USS Tillman (DD-135) in New York Harbor, circa the 1930s. Courtesy of Donald M. McPherson, 1969. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.||Tony Cowart|
|187k||April 1932 at Boston. Leslie Jones Collection, Boston Public Library.||Ed Zajkowski|
|153k||The Tillman's crew in Tampa, FL on February 2 1934. Tony's dad, Fred Carter SF2c, is seventh from the left in the third row.||Tony Carter|
|On British Service
|Alphabetically the last of the Towns, HMS Wells was also amongst the last to commission, on 5 December 1940. Unfortunately, she collided with both HMS Newmarket and a jetty on 9 December, so that her saling for the UK was delayed until 17 December, and defects delayed her at St Johns, NF, until 30 January 1941. She then returned to Halifax for repairs, and sailed for Britain on 4 February, only to be towed back by HMS Newark the same day. Further repairs at Halifax and, later St Johns ensued so that it was not until 9 March that HMS Wells arrived at Devonport for her refit, which was completed on 10 April. HMS Wells joined the 1st Minelaying Squadron at Kyle of Lochalsh, arriving there on 13 April 1941. However, her major involvement was on loan as an escort to the Icelandic ferry convoy system, and she covered sixteen of these convoys and only five minelaying sorties before going to refit on the Humber on 3 September 1941. The Humber refit lasted until 25 November, followed by a weeks work up at Tobermory before returning to Kyle of Lochalsh. This time, rather more escort work for the minelayers was involved, though HMS Wells still found her attention claimed by the Icelandic convoys as well. A further refit commenced, this time at Newport, Mon, in June 1942 during which she finally received Type 271 radar. The Newport refit and subsequent work up at Tobermory completed in mid-September 1942, and HMS Wells completed the year with a varied selection of duties including escorting RMS Queen Mary, Icelandic convoys, minelaying sorties and a return convoy to North Africa after Operation Torch. Not surprisingly, a month's refit was needed after this strenuous programme, carried out on the Clyde during January 1943. Following this, HMS Wells returned to the Minelaying Squadron for its closing phases in early 1943, and then went again to Newport, Mon, on 6 April for further repair. On completion of a two weeks Tobermory work up, HMS Wells came under command of the Home Fleet on 1 August 1943; after a brief period she and her sisters from the former minelaying escort then passed to Rosyth Command for duty on the East Coast. HMS Wells herself had a month in dockyard hands, both for defects and to fit the specialised equipment needed (VHF etc), and then spent a year working with the convoys between Rosyth and Harwich. In October 1944 Rosyth dockyard spent six weeks stripping the old ship and preparing her for a new role as an Air Target Ship, the work completing on 26 November 1944. HMS Wells transferred to the Clyde, but defects intervened and she did not actually commence work as a target until mid-April 1945, and the end of the war caused her to pay off and transfer to BISCo on 24 July. HMS Wells arrived at Troon in February 1946. to be broken up by West of Scotland Shipbreaking Co. Ltd.|
Notes on Abbreviations:
BISCo: British Iron and Steel Corporation NEF (Newfoundland Escort Force) Formed in mid-1941, based on St Johns, NF, and responsible for North Atlantic convoys between St. Johns meeting point and a mid-ocean meeting point off Iceland.
MOEF (Mid-Ocean Escort Force) A RCN title, applied to those Groups dedicated to the St Johns, NF, to Londonderry part of the trans-Atlantic convoy route. The successor organisation to the NEF.
WLEF (Western Local Escort Force) Local only in the sense that it operated in Canadian home waters. Based at Halifax, NS, the WLEF was responsible for the escort of convoys between New York City, Halifax and onward to St Johns, NF, meeting point where the MOEF took over, a passage of some 600 miles.
WEF (Western Escort Force) The later variant title applied to WLEF.
WSF (Western Support Force) Formed in 1943 to operate in support of endangered convoys. A short-lived organisation due to the poor maintenance record of the ships allocated.
ATS (Air Target Ship) Ships, usually old destroyers, employed as torpedo targets for training carrier-borne aircraft. The requirement was for a fast, agile ship surplus to operational needs, and not equipped for the escort role, thus reducing complement at a time of acute man-power shortage. Hence the ships, usually, landed all A/S equipment (including radar) torpedo tubes, HF/DF etc.
(Foreign service history thanks to Robert hurst)
|45k||Undated, HMS Wells (I.95) and the forward bow section of HMS St. Mary's tied up dockside, location unknown. Photo # FL 21551 from the collections of the Imperial War Museum.||Robert Hurst|
|74k||Circa 1942, location unknown.||Robert Hurst|
|161k||As the I-95 HMS Wells in August 1942. From the John Dickey collection.||Ed Zajkowski|
|54k||HMS Wells (ex-USS Tillman, DD-135) probably during her service on the East Coast prior to October 1944 (Admiralty Official).||Robert Hurst|
LT Louis R. Vail Apr 10 1921 - ? LCDR Alfred Y. Lanphier May 1 1930 - Jun 3 1930 LCDR Herman Edward Fischer Jun 3 1930 - ? LCDR Scott Umstead Jun 3 1932 - ? (Later RADM) LCDR William Dennis Sullivan Jun 3 1933 - ? LCDR Gustave Henry Bowman ? 1936 - ? LCDR Joseph Numa Wenger ? 1938 - ?
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