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The James Smith Noel Collections

William Narcisse Gray (1895-1964) was a native of Morgan City and Jena, Louisiana. He served in the US Navy during and after World War One. An avid photographer, Gray carried a camera with him during his service on board the USS Humphreys (DD-236). A Clemson-class destroyer, the USS Humphreys was launched in July 1919 and commissioned at Philadelphia a year later. Her maiden deployment was to the Mediterranean and Black Seas, protecting American interests in a region that was experiencing considerable political volatility in the wake of WWI. The Humphreys conducted surveys and acted as station and communications ship; in November 1920 she evacuated civilians from the Crimea during the last stages of the Russian civil war.