Kidd, William

Kidd, William

Kidd, William, 1645?-1701, British privateer and pirate, known as Captain Kidd. He went to sea in his youth and later settled in New York, where he married and owned property. In 1691 he was rewarded for his services against French privateers. While in London in 1695 he was commissioned by the earl of Bellomont, recently appointed governor of New York, as a privateer to defend English ships from pirates in the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. In 1696, Kidd set sail for New York and from there to Madagascar. Disease, mutiny, and failure to take prizes apparently caused him to turn pirate. Returning (1699) to the West Indies with his richest prize, the Armenian Quedagh Merchant, he learned of piracy charges against him. He sailed to New York to clear himself by claiming that the vessels he had attacked were lawful prizes. He was arrested and taken to London, where in 1701 he was tried on five charges of piracy and one of murder. The trial was complicated by the fact that four Whig peers who had backed him were politically embarrassed by his career. He was convicted and hanged. The barbaric cruelty and buried treasure of Captain Kidd are unsubstantiated bits of the legends about him. The Kidd legend has often been referred to in literature, for instance in Edgar Allen Poe's Gold Bug and Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island.

See D. C. Seitz, ed., The Tryal of Captain William Kidd (1935); biographies by W. H. Bonner (1947), D. M. Hinrichs (1955), and R. Zacks (2005).

known as Captain Kidd

(born circa 1645, Greenock, Renfrew, Scot.—died May 23, 1701, London, Eng.) British privateer and pirate. He was sailing as a legitimate privateer for Britain when he was commissioned in 1695 to apprehend pirates who molested the ships of the East India Company. He himself turned pirate on the voyage, took several ships, and mortally wounded his gunner, William Moore. He surrendered in New York in 1699, having been promised a pardon. Sent to England for trial, he was found guilty of Moore's murder and five piracy counts, and he was hanged. Some of his treasure was recovered from Gardiners Island (off Long Island), but much has apparently never been found. After his death he attained semilegendary status and was romanticized as a dashing swashbuckler.

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USS Kidd (DD-661), a Fletcher-class destroyer, was the first ship of the United States Navy to be named for Rear Admiral Isaac C. Kidd, who died on the bridge of his flagship USS Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Admiral Kidd was the first US Navy flag officer to die during World War II.

World War II

Kidd (DD-661) was launched 28 February 1943 by Federal Shipbuilding & Drydock Co., Kearny, NJ; sponsored by Mrs. Isaac C. Kidd, widow of Rear Admiral Kidd, and commissioned 23 April 1943, Commander Allan Roby in command. During her initial cruise to the Brooklyn Naval Shipyards, she sailed across New York Harbor flying the skull and crossbones of the Jolly Roger on the foremast. Subsequently, during outfitting, her crew adopted the pirate captain William Kidd as their mascot, and commissioned a local artist to paint a pirate figure on the forward smokestack.

After shakedown out of Casco Bay, Maine in June, Kidd cruised in the Atlantic and Caribbean escorting large combatant vessels until she departed for the Pacific in August 1943 in company with battleships Alabama (BB-60) and South Dakota (BB-57). Arriving Pearl Harbor 17 September 1943, she got underway 29 September escorting aircraft carriers toward Wake Island for the heavy air attacks 6 October and returned to Pearl Harbor 11 October 1943.

Mid-October found Kidd underway with a formidable task force to strike Rabaul and to support the Bougainville landings. Upon reaching a strike position south of Rabaul on the morning of 11 November, the task force struck hard at Japanese positions on the island. Kidd dropped astern of her formation to rescue the crew of a plane from aircraft carrier Essex (CV-9) which had ditched as the American carrier launched a strike at Rabaul. A group of planes from an extremely heavy Japanese counterattacking force dove at the destroyer in an attempt to sink her while she was on her own. Striking back hard, she shot down three Japanese planes and successfully completed the rescue while skillfully maneuvering to dodge torpedoes and bombs. Cmdr. Roby, her commanding officer, received the Silver Star for gallantry during this action. The destroyer returned to Espiritu Santo 13 November.

Kidd next screened carriers making air attacks on Tarawa during the Gilbert Islands invasion from 19 to 23 November. On the 24th she spotted 15 low flying enemy bombers heading toward the heavy ships, gave warning, and shot down two Aichi D3A "Val" dive bombers. After Tarawa was secure, Kidd remained in the Gilbert Islands to support cleanup operations before returning to Pearl Harbor 9 December.

On 11 January 1944 Kidd sailed for the forward area, touched at Espiritu Santo, then sailed the next day for Funafuti, arriving 19 January. During the invasion of the Marshall Islands 29 January to 8 February, Kidd screened heavy ships and bombarded Roi and Wotje, then anchored at Kwajalein 26 February.

From 20 March to 14 April Kidd guarded an airstrip under construction on Emirau and supported the occupation of Aitape and Hollandia in New Guinea 16 April to 7 May. She fought in the Marianas campaign 10 June to 8 July and helped soften up Guam for invasion 8 July to 10 August.

In need of repairs, Kidd sailed for Pearl Harbor, arriving 26 August 1944. On 15 September she departed Pearl, reached Eniwetok 26 September, and arrived at Manus on 3 October. There she became part of the giant Philippines invasion fleet and entered Leyte Gulf 20 October. Here she screened the initial landings and provided fire support for soldiers who fought to reconquer the island until she sailed 14 November for Humboldt Bay, New Guinea, arriving 19 November. On 9 December Kidd headed toward Mare Island Navy Yard for overhaul and moored at Mare Island on Christmas Day.

Kidd sailed 19 February 1945, to join Task Force 58 (TF 58) for the invasion of Okinawa. Trained and battlewise, Kidd played a key role during the first days of the Okinawa campaign, screening battleships, bombarding key targets ashore, rescuing downed pilots, sinking floating mines, providing early warning of raids, guarding heavily damaged Franklin (CV-13), and shooting down kamikazes.

While on picket station 11 April 1945, Kidd and her division mates, USS Black (DD-666), USS Bullard (DD-660), and USS Chauncey (DD-667), with the help of Combat Air Patrol, repelled three air raids. That afternoon a single enemy plane crashed into Kidd, killing 38 men and wounding 55. As the destroyer headed south to rejoin the task group, her effective fire drove off enemy planes trying to finish her. Stopping at Ulithi for temporary patchwork, she got underway 2 May for the West Coast, arriving Hunter's Point Naval Shipyard 25 May.

To sum it all up, the "Kidd" saw heavy action in World War II, participating in nearly every important naval campaign in the Pacific, as she fought gallantly during the invasion of the Gilbert and Marshall Islands, the Phillipines at Leyte Gulf, and Okinawa.

On 1 August 1945, Kidd sailed to Pearl Harbor and returned to San Diego, California 24 September 1945 for inactivation. She decommissioned 10 December 1946 and entered the Pacific Reserve Fleet.

Korean War

When North Korea attacked South Korea, the United States called up a portion of its reserve fleet. The Kidd was a part of that call and was recommissioned 28 March 1951, Lt. Cmdr. Robert E. Jeffery in command; sailed to the Western Pacific 18 June; and arrived Yokosuka, Japan 15 July. She joined Task Force 77 and patrolled off the Korean coast until 21 September when she sailed for the East Coast of Korea. From 21 October to 22 January 1952, Kidd bombarded targets of opportunity from Wan-Do Island to below Koesong. She then sailed with Destroyer Division 152 to San Diego, arriving 6 February 1952.

Kidd again got underway for Korea 8 September 1952; joined the screen of a hunter-killer group near Kojo; and, in November, was back on bombardment missions off North Korea. Shortly thereafter, truce talks began. Kidd continued to patrol the Korean coast during negotiations. She departed the Far East 3 March 1953 via Midway and Pearl Harbor and arrived San Diego for overhaul 20 March.

Post-Korean War

Once the overhaul was completed, Kidd proceeded to Long Beach, California on the 20 April 1953. The next day, the Swedish freighter Hainan rammed Kidd in Long Beach harbor requiring repairs that lasted until 11 May 1953.

From late 1953 to late 1959 Kidd alternated West Pacific cruises with operations on the West Coast making stops at Pearl Harbor and various ports in Japan, Okinawa, Hong Kong, and the Philippines.

She visited Sydney, Australia, 29 March 1958 and later that year patrolled the Taiwan Strait.

Kidd got underway 5 January 1960 for the East Coast via the Panama Canal, arriving Philadelphia, PA 25 January. From there she made Naval Reserve training cruises to various East Coast ports. She joined fleet operating forces during the Berlin Crisis in 1961. December 1961 found Kidd patrolling off the Dominican Republic in a "show of force" patrol to provide an element of security in the troubled Caribbean.

Kidd arrived Norfolk, VA 5 February 1962 and joined Task Force Alfa for Antisubmarine warfare (ASW) exercises. On 24 April she was assigned to the Naval Destroyer School at Newport, R.I.. After a cruise to the Caribbean, on 1 July 1962 she resumed Naval Reserve training. Kidd decommissioned 19 June 1964, entered the Atlantic Reserve Fleet, and berthed at the Philadelphia Shipyard.

The Navy set aside three Fletcher-class ships for use as memorials; The Sullivans (DD-537), Cassin Young (DD-793), and Kidd. Louisiana congressman William Henson Moore selected Kidd to serve as a memorial for Louisiana World War II veterans. Kidd was towed from Philadelphia and arrived in Baton Rouge on 23 May 1982, where she was transferred to the Louisiana Naval War Memorial Commission. She is now on public view there as a museum vessel, and she conducts youth group overnight encampments.

The USS KIDD was never modernized and is the only destroyer to retain its World War II appearance; over the years, Kidd has been restored to her August 1945 configuration and armament, culminating on 3 July 1997, when her torpedo tubes were reloaded.

The Kidd's special mooring in the Mississippi River is designed to cope with the annual change in river depth, which can be up to forty feet; for half the year she floats in the river, the other half of the year she is dry-docked out of the water.

The Sullivans in Buffalo, New York, Cassin Young in Boston, Massachusetts, and in Greece the HNS Velos (D-16) former Charrette (DD-581) are the other Fletcher-class museum ships.

Kidd received eight battle stars for World War II service and four battle stars for Korean War service.

References

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