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Photographic History of the United States Navy

USS WILLIAMSON (DD-244 / AVP-15 / AVD-2 / APD-27)

Flag Hoist/Radio Call Sign - NUNS

Displacement 1,215 Tons, Dimensions, 314' 5" (oa) x 31' 8" x 9' 10" (Max)
Armament 4 x 4"/50, 1 x 3"/23AA, 12 x 21" tt..
Machinery, 26,000 SHP; Westinghouse Turbines, 2 screws
Speed, 35 Knots, Crew 114
Operational and Building Data
Built by New York Shipbuilding, Camden, NJ (YN 233)
Laid down 27 March 1919
Launched 16 October 1919
Commissioned 29 October 1920
Reclassified Seaplane Tender AVP-15 01 July 1938
Classification changed to AVD-2 02 August 1940
Reverted to DD-244 01 December 1943
Conversion to High Speed Transport APD-27 canceled 10 July 1944
Decommissioned 08 November 1945
Stricken 19 December 1945
Fate Sold 30 October 1946 and broken up for scrap.

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129kWilliam Price Williamson was born 10 August 1884 in Norfolk, Virginia, the grandson of Confederate Chief Engineer William Price Williamson of North Carolina. Confederate Chief Engineer Williamson has been credited with first suggesting that the hull of the USS Merrimack could be used to build the Confederate ironclad CSS Virginia. He was appointed midshipman on 29 June 1903 and graduated from the Naval Academy with the class of 1907, in the advanced section of that class, on 12 September 1906. Assigned to Indiana (Battleship No. 1), he landed from that ship at Kingston, Jamaica, in January 1907 and was cited by his commanding officer for his efficient work in a rescue party during fires resulting from an earthquake there. Williamson later joined Kansas (Battleship No. 21) and made the globe-girdling cruise of the "Great White Fleet" (1907-1908) in her before he was ordered to Washington, DC, in March 1909 for "ordnance instruction." From there, he went to Utah (Battleship No. 31) in October of 1911. While in that dreadnought, he commanded the gun battery of Utah's landing force during the landings at Veracruz, Mexico, in April 1914. Wiliamson inspected ordnance at the E. W. Bliss and Co., Brooklyn, NY, from 1914 to 1916 before he joined Galveston (Cruiser No. 17) on 13 May 1916 for a brief tour of duty. He then journeyed to the Asiatic Station to become the Inspector of Ordnance and Powder at the Naval Magazine and Chemical Laboratory, Olongapo, P.I. (later renamed the Naval Ammunition Depot, Olongapo) on 07 July 1916. Returning to the United States in the spring of 1918, he was assigned duty assisting in the fitting out of Orizaba (Id. No. 1536) and became the ship's first executive officer when that transport was commissioned. Williamson then worked closely with the ship's commanding officer, Capt. R. Drace White, another ordnance expert, in developing a workable depth charge thrower for use on board transports, in the hope of providing them with some measure of protection of their own. Wiliamson's invention was a modified Lyle gun (one used for line-throwing in rescue operations). In the first test on 16 August 1918, the crude depth charge projector hurled a 50-pound charge approximately 150 feet. However, before using their creation in actual operations against submarines trailing her convoy, the two officers wanted at least one more test with a larger propellant charge. Accordingly, on 17 August 1918, they commenced another experiment, one that proved to be a disaster. Williamson fired the gun, but a defective fuse caused the depth charge to explode prematurely, killing him instantly. The blast knocked Capt. White to the deck with a broken jaw, broken knee, and flesh wounds, and killed three sailors. In addition, four other officers and 22 other enlisted men were wounded in the tragic explosion. For his work, however, Williamson was awarded the Navy Cross posthumously. Photo Courtesy of the United States Naval Academy.Bill Gonyo/Robert M. Cieri
USS Williamson (DD-244)
94kUndated, at anchor in San Diego, California.Scott McCoy
124kUndated, destroyers moored at San Diego, California, prior to World War II. These ships are (from left to right): USS Barry (DD-248); USS Bainbridge (DD-246); USS Reuben James (DD-245); USS Williamson (DD-244); USS Fox (DD-234); USS Lawrence (DD-250); and USS Hovey (DD-208).
Naval History & Heritage Command photo NH 91987, courtesy of the U.S. Naval Institute Photo Collection.
Fred Weiss
166kUndated, location unknown. Photo from the collection of the Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum.Darryl Baker
772kShip's boat races off Point Loma. Bobolink (AM-20) is in center. Of the many background ships pictured, the USS MacDonough (DD-331) is in the upper right and the USS Williamson (DD-244) is in the upper left. The other destroyers remain unidentified. From the collection of Benetta Buell.David Buell
181kUndated postcard, moored with a sister at Portland, Oregon.Ron Reeves
74kUndated, location unknown.Richard Miller BMCS USNR RET.
116kUndated, location unknown.Dave Wright
131kNew York Shipbuilding Corporation Shipyard, Camden, New Jersey. Eleven destroyers fitting out in the Wet Basin between Piers 3 and 4. Photo is dated 28 September 1920. Ships present are identified as (from left to right): Childs (DD-241), commissioned 22 Oct. 1920; Reuben James (DD-245), commissioned 24 Sept. 1920; McFarland (DD-237), commissioned 30 Sept. 1920; Sturtevant (DD-240), commissioned 21 Sept. 1920; Williamson (DD-244), commissioned 29 Oct. 1920; Sands (DD-243), commissioned 10 Nov. 1920; Lawrence (DD-250), commissioned 18 April 1921; Hopkins (DD-249), commissioned 21 March 1921; Bainbridge (DD-246), commissioned 9 Feb. 1921; Goff (DD-247), commissioned 19 Jan. 1921; and Barry (DD-248), commissioned 28 Dec. 1920.
Naval History & Heritage Command photo NH 43609
Robert Hurst
43kUnderway, location unknown, 05 March 1921.Robert Hurst
357kNewspaper clipping showing the Williamson in Odessa, Russia in 1922.Ron Reeves
125kUSS Williamson (DD-244) in San Diego harbor, California, during the early 1930s. USS Kane (DD-235) and USS Fox (DD-234) are in the right background.
Naval History & Heritage Command photo NH 64552, donation of Franklin Moran, 1967.
Fred Weiss
140kThe ship's crew during the middle 1930's. Joe's dad was a member of the crew.Joseph J. Woods
139kUSS Williamson (DD-244) and USS Hovey (DD-208) In the Miraflores Locks of the Panama Canal, during the 1930s. Destroyers next astern appear to be USS Barry (DD-248) and USS Long (DD-209). U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.Fred Weiss
190kUSS Williamson (DD-244), Passing through the Culebra Cut, Panama Canal, circa 1932.
Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 49963.
Darryl Baker
62kDuring her service as a small seaplane tender (AVP-15), location unknown, 1939. Note the naval aviation star on her bow.Robert Hurst
97kAmidships looking forward plan view of the USS Williamson (DD-244) at Mare Island, 21 Jan 1944. She was in overhaul at the shipyard 07-23 January 44. USS Boyd (DD-544) is berthed to the right.Darryl Baker
99kStern looking forward plan view of the USS Williamson (DD-244) at Mare Island, 21 Jan 1944.Darryl Baker
72kUSS Williamson (DD-244) underway in San Francisco Bay, California, 23 January 1944. Though recently reclassified as a destroyer, Williamson retains most of her seaplane tender (AVD) configuration. Photographed by the Mare Island Navy Yard.Darryl Baker
47kView of Williamson moored astern of Harrison (DD-573) in an unknown anchorage, possibly San Pedro Bay, Leyte Gulf, June 1945. Photo by Tom McCann.John Chiquoine
155kWilliamson berthed with USS Halloran (DE-305) at the Coco Solo Naval Station, Panama, 9-11 October 1945. They were part of the forces brought back to the US East Coast for Navy Day activities, 1945.John Chiquoine
129kCoco Solo Naval Station, Panama, 9-11 October 1945. USS Sterett (DD-407), USS Grayson (DD-435), USS Halloran (DE-305), and USS Williamson (DD-244) were part of forces returning to the US East Coast for post-war Navy Day activities. Dave Schroeder and John Chiquoine

USS WILLIAMSON DD-244 / AVP-15 / AVD-2 / APD-27 History
View This Vessels DANFS History entry at the Naval History & Heritage Command website

Commanding Officers
Thanks to Wolfgang Hechler & Ron Reeves

LCDR John Craig Cunningham    Oct 29 1920 - Sep 15 1922

LCDR William Douglas Kilduff    Sep 15 1922 - Aug 7 1923 

LCDR William Ward Smith    Aug 7 1923 - Jan 20 1925 (Later VADM)

CDR Herbert Stephens Babbitt    Jan 20 1925 - Dec 4 1926

CDR Herbert Aloysius Ellis    Dec 4 1926 - Nov 9 1929

LCDR Aaron Stanton Merrill    Nov 9 1929 - Jun 5 1932 (Later VADM)

LCDR Alfred Henry Balsley    Jun 5 1932 - Jun 9 1933

LCDR Kenneth Reuben Ranson Wallace    Jun 9 1933 - Jun 10 1934

LCDR William Wakefield    Jun 10 1934 - Jun 11 1935

LCDR Mallery King Aiken    Jun 11 1935 - 

LT Joseph Eugene Michael Wood    May 14 1938 - Jun 10 1938 (XOIC)

CDR John Perry    Jun 10 1938 - Oct 31 1939 (Later RADM)

(As AVP-15)

LCDR Herbert Edward Regan    Oct 31 1939 - Jan 20 1941 (Later RADM)

(As AVD-2)

LCDR Frederick Norman Kivette    Jan 20 1941 - Aug 10 1942 (Later VADM)

LCDR Evan Edwards Fickling    Aug 10 1942 - Nov 14 1942

LCDR George Bernard Madden    Nov 14 1942 - Apr 15 1944

CDR James Arthur Pridmore    Apr 15 1944 - Sep 1 1944

CDR William Huntington Ayer    Sep 1 1944 - Nov 8 1945

Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
NavSource AVD Seaplane Tender (Destroyer) Index
NavSource AVP Small Seaplane Tender Index
Tin Can Sailors Website
Destroyer History Foundation
Destroyers Online Website
Official U.S.Navy Destroyer Website

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This page was created by Fred Willishaw (ex ARG-4, AS-11 & DD-692) and is maintained by David L. Wright
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Last Updated 09 October 2020