Henley file photo [3933]


CountryUnited States
Ship ClassBagley-class Destroyer
BuilderMare Island Navy Yard
Laid Down28 Oct 1935
Launched12 Jan 1937
Commissioned14 Aug 1937
Sunk3 Oct 1943
Displacement1,500 tons standard; 2,245 tons full
Length341 feet
Beam35 feet
Draft11 feet
MachineryGeneral Electric geared turbines with two screws
Power Output49,000 shaft horsepower
Speed35 knots
Range6,500nm at 12 knots
Armor4x5in anti-aircraft, 4x0.5in machine guns, 4x4x21in torpedoes


ww2dbaseHenley, with Lieutenant Commander H. Y. McCown in command, had her shakedown cruise in the Pacific Ocean and off Hawaii. She joined the Pacific Battle Force, Destroyer Division 11, at San Diego, California, United States on 12 Sep 1938. She arrived at Pearl Harbor in Apr 1941. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on 7 Dec 1941, Henley was moored in Bast Loch. Earlier that morning, a new sailor called general quarters by mistake, but the mistake allowed Henley to be ready to defend against the Japanese attack immediately; in fact, she was the first destroyer to fire against Japanese aircraft. She maneuvered in Pearl Harbor in search of Japanese submarine while her guns continued to fire at aircraft, downing a dive bomber with her 0.50-caliber machine guns while sharing credit for another. After the attack, she was sent with the task force meant to reinforce Wake Island, but was recalled due to the completion of Japanese conquest. After escorting Saratoga from the west coast of the United States to bring in replacement aircraft, she carried out convoy and anti-submarine duty primarily in Australian waters until 22 Jul 1942, when she was sent to Guadalcanal to escort transports. On 7 Aug, she patrolled in the Solomon Islands and was attacked by aircraft; she shot down two that day. Between 29 Aug and Sep 1943, she served in Australian and New Guinea waters on plane guard, convoy, and anti-submarine duties.

ww2dbaseOn 21 Sep 1943, Henley was a member of the protective screen for an Australian beachhead at Finschafen, New Guinea. She was attacked by 10 Japanese torpedo bombers on that day, downing three and sharing credit for another three during a 30-minute engagement. On 3 Oct, Japanese submarine RO-108 spotted her off Finschafen, and launched torpedoes. Henley's captain spotted two torpedoes and called for emergency maneuvers, narrowly escaping them. A third torpedo, however, was spotted too late, and struck her on the port side, erupting the number 1 fire room in an explosion and breaking her keel. On 1829, after a complete evacuation, the ship sank stern first. Out of the 258 aboard, 15 were lost.

ww2dbaseSource: United States Navy Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.

Last Major Revision: Jun 2007

Destroyer Henley Interactive Map


Submarine Pompano and destroyer Henley under construction at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, United States, 16 Apr 1936Henley ready for launching, Mare Island Navy Yard, California, United States, 12 Jan 1937; note Preston partially visible through the crane rails, at rightHenley at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, United States, 1 Oct 1937, photo 1 of 2Henley at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, United States, 1 Oct 1937, photo 2 of 2
See all 9 photographs of Destroyer Henley

Henley Operational Timeline

14 Aug 1937 Henley was commissioned into service.

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Steve Cole says:
29 May 2017 05:09:40 AM

Is there a roster of the Henley crew from December 7 1941
2. Commenter identity confirmed David Stubblebine says:
29 May 2017 03:30:28 PM

Steve Cole (above):
There is not a crew list specific to 7 Dec 1941 but there is the regular quarterly Muster List for 30 Dec 1941 that is 6 pages long. Oddly, there is also a 6-page mid-month Muster List dated 15 Dec 1941. Both are available from the National Archives for a nominal copying fee or at Fold3.com for a more substantial subscription fee.
3. Anonymous says:
1 Mar 2019 05:03:37 PM

My 98 yr old father was on the West Virginia when Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7, 1941. He volunteered to go aboard the Henley as a 3rd class electrician’s mate on December 10, 1941 & survived the Japanese attack off the coast of New Guinea October 3, 1943 when J submarines torpedoed and sunk the destroyer.
4. Walter Sayers Jr says:
5 Dec 2020 08:41:53 AM

My Brother was Walter Harrison Sayers DD-391

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More on Henley
Event(s) Participated:
» Attack on Pearl Harbor

» US Navy Report of Japanese Raid on Pearl Harbor, Enclosure E, USS Henley

Destroyer Henley Photo Gallery
Submarine Pompano and destroyer Henley under construction at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, United States, 16 Apr 1936
See all 9 photographs of Destroyer Henley

Famous WW2 Quote
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