The first Downes (DD-45) was launched 8 November 1913 by New York Shipbuilding Co., Camden, N.J.; sponsored by Mrs. M. H. Simons, great-granddaughter of Captain Downes; outfitted for service at Philadelphia Navy Yard; and commissioned 11 February 1915, Lieutenant Commander A. W. Johnson in command.
Downes conducted her shakedown off New York and in Chesapeake Bay, then returned to Philadelphia Navy Yard where she was placed in ordinary from 4 October 1915 to 26 May 1917 for the construction and installation of new machinery by the contractor. Fitted out for distant service, she sailed from New York 18 October 1917 for Devonport, England, arriving 7 November.
Downes was based at Queenstown, Ireland, from 17 November 1917 to 5 December 1918, and operated on convoy escort duty inbound to British ports, across the channel, and outbound to rendezvous with the ocean escorts. She patrolled against submarines off the Irish coast, making numerous attacks with no sure results and with other destroyers aided distressed ships. On two occasions her efficiency won commendations from the British Admiralty, once for her protection of the torpedoed Manley (DD-74) and again for the rescue and salvage of a British submarine.
Downes arrived at Brest, France, 6 December 1918 to meet and escort President Wilson embarked in George Washington, passing in review before returning to Queenstown 14 December. The day after Christmas she sailed for the United States, arriving at Norfolk 18 January 1919. After winter maneuvers in Cuban waters, she returned to New York 14 March.
Downes reported to Norfolk 5 May 1919 for overhaul and on 31 May was placed in ordinary. Returned to full commission, she sailed for Newport, R.I., 12 May 1921 for summer maneuvers. Between 22 October and 20 March 1922 she lay at Charleston, S.C., and on 24 March arrived at Philadelphia Navy Yard. Downes was placed out of commission there 6 June 1922 and laid up. She was transferred to the Coast Guard 28 April 1924. Returned to Naval custody at Philadelphia 22 May 1931, Downes was scrapped and sold 22 August 1934 in accordance with the London Treaty for the reduction and limitation of Naval armament.
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