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Ship Name and Designation History

This section lists the names and designations that the ship had during its lifetime. The list is in chronological order.

    Bagley Class Destroyer
    Keel Laid September 25 1935 - Launched May 27 1937

  1. USS HELM DD 388
    Commissioned October 16 1937 - Decommissioned June 26 1946

    Stricken February 25 1947
    Sold October 2 1947 and broken up for scrap


Naval Covers

This section lists active links to the pages displaying covers associated with the ship. There should be a separate set of pages for each incarnation of the ship (ie, for each entry in the "Ship Name and Designation History" section). Covers should be presented in chronological order (or as best as can be determined).

Since a ship may have many covers, they may be split among many pages so it doesn't take forever for the pages to load. Each page link should be accompanied by a date range for covers on that page.

  1. USS Helm DD-388 Covers Page 1    (1937-42)



This section lists examples of the postmarks used by the ship. There should be a separate set of postmarks for each incarnation of the ship (ie, for each entry in the "Ship Name and Designation History" section). Within each set, the postmarks should be listed in order of their classification type. If more than one postmark has the same classification, then they should be further sorted by date of earliest known usage.

A postmark should not be included unless accompanied by a close-up image and/or an image of a cover showing that postmark. Date ranges MUST be based ONLY ON COVERS IN THE MUSEUM and are expected to change as more covers are added.
>>> If you have a better example for any of the postmarks, please feel free to replace the existing example.


Postmark Type
Killer Bar Text

Date From
Date To
Thumbnail Link To
Postmark Image
Thumbnail Link To
Cover Image


Locy Type



First Day in Commission. Add-on cachet by Bruce D. Liddell


Locy Type
3r (AC-BBT)



Navy Day & Keel Laying of USS North Carolina BB 55, cachet by C. Wright Richell


Locy Type
3r (AC-BBT)




Locy Type
3r (AC-BBT)




Locy Type
3z (BBT)


Censored. May Day 1942


Locy Type 9v


Correct use of 9v marking from cover back


Locy Type 9v




Locy Type F

USCS Postmark
Catalog Illus. H-27




Machine Cancel

New Bern N.C.


U.S. Destroyer "U.S.S. Helm" at Port Terminal, Morehead City, N. C.


Other Information

USS HELM earned 11 Battle Stars for her service in WWII
* Pearl Harbor December 7 1941

NAMESAKE - Rear Admiral James Meredith Helm, USN (December 16 1855 – October 28 1927)
    Helm, born at Grayville, Illinois, graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1875. He served in various ships and abroad until the Spanish-American War, when he commanded gunboat USS HORNET. In the blockade of Cuba, he captured a Spanish steamer and three contraband schooners, and was advanced five numbers in grade for outstanding performance at the Battle of Manzanillo June 30 1898. Helm subsequently commanded USS IDAHO and USS WABASH. During World War I, Rear Admiral Helm was Commandant of the 4th Naval District and received the Navy Cross for his achievements. He retired December 16 1919.



If you have images or information to add to this page, then either contact the Curator or edit this page yourself and add it. See Editing Ship Pages for detailed information on editing this page.


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