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U.S.S. Abel P. Upshur (DD-193)

Abel P. Upshur was a Clemson-class destroyer. She served with the U.S. Navy until 1940, when she was transferred to the Royal Navy as part of the Lend-Lease Act.


Upshur was laid down by the Newport News Shipbuilding Company on August 20, 1918 and commissioned on November 23, 1920 in the Norfolk Navy Yard.


Upshur began a series of training exercises up and down the East Coast until 1922 when she was decommissioned and placed in reserve at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. Still out of commission in 1928, she transferred to the Washington Navy Yard, where she served as a training ship for naval reservists. On November 5, 1930, Upshur was struck from the Navy list and transferred to the U.S. Coast Guard. Designated (CG-15), she chased rumrunners along the East Coast until May 21, 1934, when she was returned to the Navy.

Placed in reserve again, Upshur languished until December 4, 1939, when the outbreak of war in Europe demanded her return to service. The destroyer began Neutrality Patrols on the East Coast. She continued in this duty until September 9, 1940, when she was decommissioned at Halifax, Nova Scotia. She was transferred to the Royal Navy as part of the Lend-Lease Act. This was an agreement between America and Britain whereby the U.S. would supply military aid to Britain in return for the use of British military bases in the Atlantic. Upshur joined nineteen of her sisters in service of the crown.

Renamed H.M.S. Clare, the destroyer saw service with the Royal Navy throughout WWII. She escorted convoys, supported landings in North Africa, and hunted submarines, sinking a U-Boat in 1942. She supported landings in Sicily in July 1943, returning to England later that year. After a period in dry dock, the destroyer became a target ship for the aircraft under the Commander-in-Chief, Western Approaches. She was decommissioned in August 1945, along with the rest of Western Approaches Command. Ex-Upshur was scrapped later that year.

Risk of Asbestos Exposure

Abel P. Upshur was built during a period when asbestos was used extensively in ship construction. Her steam-driven power plant would have used asbestos as an insulator, and other spaces and machinery would have used it as protection against possible fire.

Asbestos is fibrous by nature, breaking up into tiny fibers under stress. As the destroyer experienced routine wear-and-tear, her asbestos-based insulation would have released these fibers into the air, making it easy for sailors and shipyard workers to inhale them. Sailors and shipyard workers who installed and maintained her engines and boilers would have been especially at risk.

Asbestos is a proven cause of mesothelioma, a malignant form of lung cancer. While there is currently no cure, mesothelioma can be fought with chemotherapy and other cancer treatments. If you or someone you know served aboard Abel P. Upshur or worked on her in a shipyard and has contracted mesothelioma, you could be entitled to compensation. To receive free information on your legal options, please fill out the form at the bottom of this page.

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