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Navsource Online: Destroyer Escort Photo Archive

USS Donnell (DE 56)

Flag Hoist / Radio Call Sign:
N - Y - Z - X
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row: Combat Action Ribbon (retroactive)
Second Row: American Campaign Medal - European-Africa-Middle East Campaign Medal - WWII Victory Medal

Class: Buckley
Type: TE (turbine-electric drive, 3" guns)
Displacement: 1400 tons (light), 1740 tons (full)
Length: 300' (wl), 306' (oa)
Beam: 36' 9" (extreme)
Draft: 10' 6" (draft limit)
Propulsion: 2 "D" Express boilers, G.E. turbines with electric drive, 12000 shp, 2 screws
Speed: 24 kts
Range: 6,000 nm @ 12 knots
Armament: 3 x 3"/50 Mk22 (1x3), 1 twin 40mm Mk1 AA, 8 x 20mm Mk 4 AA, 3 x 21" Mk15 TT (3x1), 1 Hedgehog Projector Mk10 (144 rounds), 8 Mk6 depth charge projectors, 2 Mk9 depth charge tracks
Complement: 15 / 198
Donnell (DE 56) Building and Operational Data:
  • 27 November 1942: Keel laid by the Bethlehem Steel Corp. Hingham, Mass.
  • 13 March 1943: Launched and christened, sponsored by Mrs. E. R. Donnell, mother of Ensign Donnell
  • 26 June 1943: Commissioned, Lcdr F. C. Billings, USNR, in command
  • 3 May 1944: Torpedoed while attacking a sound contact, her stern was blown off. Her own depth charges added to the damage. (29 killed, 25 wounded)
  • 20 June 1944: Decommissioned, placed "in commission, in reserve" at Lisahally, Northern Ireland, for use as an accommodation ship
  • 15 July 1944: Reclassified as IX 182
  • August 1944: Towed to Cherbourg, France, where she supplied electric power to shore installations
  • February 1945: Returned to England, served as barracks ship at Portland and Plymouth
  • 18 July 1945: Arrived at the Philadelphia Navy Yard after being towed back to the States
  • 23 October 1945: Placed "out of commission, in reserve" at the Philadelphia Navy Yard after 2 years and 4 months of service
  • 16 November 1945: Struck from the NVR
  • 29 April 1946: Scrapping onsite at Philadelphia Navy Yard commenced this date
    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Contributed
    By And/Or Copyright
    Donnell 348k 20 November 1943: off Brooklyn, N.Y. - A port beam view of Donnell taken in misty waters near the New York Navy Yard.

    (U.S. Navy photo #CP-DE-56 19-N-55732 from the National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Md.; courtesy of  Chris Wright) (N.Y. Navy Yard #F644C5199)
    Ed Zajkowski
    Narvon, Pa.
    Donnell 316k 08 April 1944: off Brooklyn, N.Y. - A starboard quarter view of Donnell taken near the New York Navy Yard. She entered the yard shortly after the photo was taken, and spent the next 10 days undergoing repairs and overhaul.

    (U.S. Navy photo #CP-DE-56 19-N-70852 from the National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Md.; courtesy of  Chris Wright) (N.Y. Navy Yard #F644C7195)
    Donnell 38k 04 May 1944: USS Donnell being taken in tow after a U-boat attack.

    (contributed by shipmates of the USS Reeves (DE 156 / APD 52)
    Alison Strehlow
    Donnell 16k
    Donnell 22k
    Donnell 24k
    Donnell 295k From the September 1945 "All Hands" magazine, the photo shows Donnell at Cherbourg being used as a power plant after her fantail was blown off by a German torpedo. The transformer on deck was captured from the Germans. Darryl Baker
    PNCM, USNR (ret.)

    Vallejo Naval & Historical Museum
    Donnell 219k

    Donnell History
    View the USS Donnell (DE 56) DANFS history entry located on the Naval History and Heritage Command web site.

    Donell's Commanding Officers
    Thanks to Wolfgang Hechler & Ron Reeves
    Dates of Command Commanding Officers
    1.) 26 Jun. 1943 - 17 Nov. 1943Lcdr. Fred Chester Billing, USN (Comm. CO) (USNA '25) (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
    2.) 17 Nov. 1943 - 13 Jun. 1944Lcdr. Gordon Marvin Street, USNR (San Diego, Cal.)
    3.) 13 Jun. 1944 - 20 Jun. 1944Capít. Harold Romeyn Holcomb (Oconomowoc, Wis.) (ret. as Radm.)
    4.) 20 Jun. 1944 - 31 Jul. 1944Lt. Kenneth Iverson Boone USNR
    5.) 31 Jul. 1944 - 23 Oct. 1946Lcdr. Robert S. Hetzel, USNR (Decomm. CO)

    Crew Contact And Reunion Information

    Note About Contacts

    Contact information is compiled from various sources over a period of time and may, or may not, be correct. Every effort has been
    made to list the newest contact. However, our entry is only as good as the latest information that's been sent to us. We list only
    a contact for the ship if one has been sent to us. We do NOT have crew lists, rosters, or deck logs available. Please see the
    Frequently Asked Questions section on NavSource's Main Page for that information.

    Additional Resources

    Tin Can Sailors
    The U.S. Navy Memorial
    Destroyer Escort Sailors Association
    The Destroyer Escort Historical Museum
    The Destroyer History Foundation

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    This Page Created And Maintained By Mike Smolinski
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    by Paul R. Yarnall, All Rights Reserved.
    Page Last Updated: 22 August 2020