USS BRANCH DD-197 Ship History
Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (Published 1959)
Branch (DD-197) was launched 19 April 1919 by Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Newport News, VA; sponsored by Miss Laurie O’Brien Branch, grand-niece of Secretary Branch, and commissioned 26 July 1920, Commander F. H. Roberts in command.
Branch was fitted out at Norfolk Navy Yard and in October cruised to Annapolis for a test of her engineering performance. Before the end of 1920 she joined Destroyer Squadron 3, Atlantic Fleet. The next year she maneuvered with the Squadron and engaged in tactical exercises on the Atlantic coast, sometimes operating with 50 percent of complement in reduced commission. After 6 January 1922 she operated in the vicinity of Charleston, SC, and Hampton Roads, VA. Arriving at Philadelphia Navy Yard in June, she was placed out of commission 11 August 1922. Branch remained inactive at Philadelphia until recommissioned 4 December 1939 for service with the Scouting Force. As flagship of Destroyer Division 68 she participated in the Neutrality Patrol. In the summer of 1940 she operated along the east coast and trained Reserves. Early in October 1940 she departed Newport for Halifax, Nova Scotia, where on 8 October 1940 Branch was decommissioned and transferred in the destroyer-land bases exchange to the British Navy and renamed HMS Beverley.
Beverley arrived at Belfast 24 October and was assigned to convoy escort duties in the Atlantic. In April 1942 she was an escort for Convoy PQ 14 enroute to North Russia. Enroute the convoy was attacked by a superior force of enemy destroyers which approached unobserved during a snow storm; fired several torpedoes at a range of 9000 yards, and sank one merchant ship. The enemy returned four times and took part in short gunnery duels, but would not close the range below 8000 yards.
On 4 February 1943, while escorting Atlantic convoy SC 118, Beverley sighted the German submarine U-187, later sunk by HMS Vimy, southeast of Cape Farewell, Greenland. She also took part in attacks on other U-boats the next day.
On 9 April while escorting Convoy ON 176, she collided with the steamship Cairnvolona in thick weather and had her anti-submarine and degaussing gear put out of action. Two days later she was torpedoed by a U-boat in 52 degrees, 19 feet N, 40 degrees, 28 feet W, and sank with the loss of 139 members of her crew, including her commanding officer.