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Hull Number: DD-391

Launch Date: 01/12/1937

Commissioned Date: 08/14/1937



Data for USS Bagley (DD-386) as of 1945

Length Overall: 341' 4"

Beam: 35' 6"

Draft: 13' 1"

Standard Displacement: 1,500 tons

Full Load Displacement: 2,325 tons

Fuel capacity: 3,452 barrels


Four 5″/38 caliber guns
One 40mm twin anti-aircraft mounts
Four 21″ quadruple torpedo tubes


16 Officers
235 Enlisted


4 Boilers
2 General Electric Turbines: 49,000 horsepower

Highest speed on trials: 35.9 knots



Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, July 2015

The first and second Henleys were named for Robert Henley, born 5 January 1783 in Williamsburg, Va., son of Leonard and Elizabeth Dandridge Henley and nephew of Martha Dandridge Custis Washington. Appointed a midshipman 8 April 1799, Henley participated in the engagement between Constellation and La Vengeance during the Quasi-War with France 2 February 1800. After service with Preble’s squadron in the Mediterranean and a cruise to the East Indies, Henley received his first command, Gunboat No. 5, at Baltimore 9 April 1808. Henley was in command of 2 divisions of 15 gunboats which drove 3 British frigates from Hampton Roads 20 June 1813. Reporting to brig Eagle, he received the thanks of Congress and a gold medal for valiant conduct in the Battle of Lake Champlain 11 September 1814. With the end of the War of 1812, Henley filled a variety of billets before commanding Hornet against pirates in the West Indies. He captured pirate schooner Moscow off Santo Domingo 29 October 1821. After serving as commandant of the Naval Rendezvous at Norfolk 1822 to 1824, he reported for similar duty at Charleston. Captain Robert Henley died at Sullivan’s Island, Charleston, after a short illness 7 October 1828.


Sunk 10/03/1943, by submarine torpedo, Eastern New Guinea area, at 07 deg 40 min S., 148 deg 06 min E.

A Tin Can Sailors Destroyer History


The Tin Can Sailor, April 1997

USS HENLEY was the only BAGLEY class single stacker to be built at the Mare Island Navy Yard. She was launched in mid-January, 1937 and was commissioned just seven months later.

DD-391 was the second vessel named for Robert Henley. He served with distinction during America’s Pseudo-War with France in 1800. He continued in the infant United States Navy to be awarded a gold medal by a grateful Congress for his efforts at the Battle of Lake Champlain.

USS HENLEY was assigned to Destroyers, Battle Force, Pacific fleet immediately after her shakedown cruise, serving in various capacities before the war. The Japanese attack found the destroyer moored in East Loch at the navy base. HENLEY was the first destroyer to fire upon the attacking aircraft, receiving credit for one attacker, while sharing credit for a second. DD-391 also dropped depth charges on a suspected submarine contact. Her quick action may have been responsible for one of the several midget submarines lost to the Japanese during the attack.

After the attack, USS HENLEY was assigned to patrol and escort duty around Hawaii, before being reassigned to forces heading for the Southwest Pacific.

The next several months were spent in patrol, convoy, and anti-submarine activities. HENLEY was called upon to support Australian forces landing at Finschafen, New Guinea. On September 21, 1943, she was attacked by ten Japanese torpedo bombers. In a fierce engagement she was credited with downing three of the aircraft and assisting in the destruction of three more.

Less than a month later, HENLEY’s luck would run out. While on an offensive sweep off the beachhead with two other destroyers, DD-391 spotted the wakes of two torpedoes. She evaded in time, but a third 24-inch “Long Lance” tin fish was fired by RO-103, a newer Japanese submarine. The torpedo exploded in the destroyer’s number one fire room, snapping her back and twisting her bow to an unnatural angle. Accompanying destroyers were unable to locate the sub, but succeeded in returning to rescue most of HENLEY’s crew. Fifteen men were lost.

USS HENLEY DD-391 Ship History

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, July 2015

The second Henley (DD-391) was launched 12 January 1937 by the Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, Calif.; sponsored by Miss Beryl Henley Joslin, a collateral descendant of Captain Robert Henley; and commissioned 14 August 1937, Lt. Comdr. H. Y. McCown in command.

After shakedown in the Pacific and Hawaiian waters, Henley joined the Pacific Battle Force, Destroyer Division 11, at San Diego 12 September 1938. She departed San Diego 14 April 1941 to join the Fleet at Pearl Harbor. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor 7 December 1941, Henley was moored in Bast Loch with battle stations manned, a green sailor having sounded General Quarters instead of Quarters for Muster. This fortunate mistake gave Henley the opportunity to fire the first destroyer shots as the initial wave of enemy planes swooped in. A bomb exploded 150 yards off her port bow as she slipped her chain from the buoy, and, as she cleared, she received a signal that a submarine was in the harbor. Henley maneuvered through the smoke, fire, and confusion and sped out of the channel. Her gunners splashed one dive bomber with her .50 cal. guns and shared credit for another. Conned by a junior lieutenant, both her commanding officer and executive officer were ashore when the attack began, Henley dropped depth charges on a sonar contact, possibly a midget submarine, outside the harbor, and continued to blaze away at the enemy with her guns. In the following weeks Henley operated with the task forces to reinforce Wake Island and conducted patrol for the protection of Midway and convoy lanes. She served as part of the ASW screen when Saratoga steamed at high speed from the West Coast bringing replacement planes and her own powerful air group.

Henley carried out convoy and antisubmarine duty, primarily in Australian waters, until departing Wellington 22 July 1942 to escort transports to Guadalcanal. As American forces stormed ashore in the Solomons 7 August, Henley patrolled on an ASW station, coming under fire from enemy planes but suffering no casualties and assisting in splashing two in the process. As the fierce struggle for Guadalcanal raged, the destroyer remained in the area to screen ships bringing up supplies and reinforcements until 29 August. Henley then set course south, and remained in Australian and New Guinea waters until September 1943 on plane guard, convoy duty, and antisubmarine patrol.

When Australian troops established a beachhead at Finschafen, New Guinea, 21 September 1943, Henley formed a part of their protective screen. Attacked by 10 Japanese torpedo bombers, she splashed 3 and assisted in downing 3 others in a fierce half hour engagement. However, the valiant ship’s wartime career, begun in the chaos at Pearl Harbor, was drawing to a close. On 3 October 1943 Henley was steaming with Reid and Smith on an offensive sweep off Finschafen when her skipper sighted two torpedoes heading for her. Split-second maneuvering permitted Henley to evade those two torpedoes; but a third was immediately sighted, closing too fast and too near to be avoided. Henley was struck on the port side, with the torpedo exploding in the number 1 fireroom, destroying her boilers, breaking her keel, and displacing her bow about 30 degrees from the longitudinal axis of the ship.

At 1829, with all her crew having abandoned ship, Henley went down, stern first Her companion DD’s searched for the sub, then returned to rescue Henley’s survivors, who had lashed their life-rafts together and were using flashlights as signals. Eighteen officers and 225 men were rescued, with 1 officer and 14 men missing.

Henley earned four battle stars for her participation in World War II.