USS Bristol DD453
Class Leader


USS Bristol shown soon after commissioning. Notice that she only has canvas covers for her 5" gun mounts at this time. This photo was sent in by Don Scott, nephew of Christopher Holtusen, one of the 52 men lost when Bristol was sunk by a German U-boat. Thanks Don.



Born in Glassboro, N. J., 17 April 1868, Mark Lambert Bristol graduated from the Academy in 1887. During the Spanish-American War he served aboard Texas and participated in the battle of Santiago, Cuba. From 1901 to 1903 he served as aide to the Commander-in-Chief North Atlantic Fleet. He commanded Oklahoma (BB-37) during World War I and then served as United States High Commissioner in Turkey (1919-27). In 1927 Rear Admiral Bristol assumed command of the Asiatic Fleet. He died 13 May 1939.

The first Bristol (DD 453) was launched 25 July 1940 by Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Kearny, N. J.; sponsored by Mrs. Powell Clayton, and commissioned 22 October 1941, Lieutenant Commander C. C. Wood in command.

During her first year of service, Bristol operated as a patrol and convoy escort ship in the North Atlantic making several trans-Atlantic voyages to Ireland. On 24 October 1942 she made her first voyage to North Africa to take part in the landings at Fedhala, French Morocco (8-17 November), which was part of the landings at Casablanca. Returning to the United States in late November, she operated out of Norfolk until 14 January 1943 when she again steamed to the Mediterranean ,where with the exception of one trip to the Canal Zone in April 1943, she served exclusively until 13 October 1943.

While on duty in that area, she took part in the Sicilian invasion (9 July-17 August 1943) and the Salerno landings (9-21 September). On 11 September 1943 Bristol rescued 70 survivors from the torpedoed destroyer Rowan (DD-405).

At 0430 on 13 October 1943, while escorting a convoy to Oran, Algeria, Bristol was struck by an enemy torpedo on the port side at the forward engine room, causing the ship to break in half. Only one explosion occurred. No fires resulted, but steam, electrical power, and communications were lost and the ship had to be abandoned. Eight minutes after the explosion the after section sank and four minutes later the bow section went down. Bristol suffered the loss of 52 of her crew, The survivors were rescued by Trippe (DD-403) and Wainwright (DD-419).

Bristol received three battle stars for her World War II service.


--History from DANFS and my own records--R. Angelini, USS MAYO Group

Related Information

Complete Naval History of the Bristol Navy Department , Ship's History Division

Reunion Information No information at this time

USS Bristol shown in 18 April 1943. This photo was also sent in by Don Scott.


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