The Reuben James was one of the many four-funnel Clemson-class destroyers built during or soon after WWI (she was launched in 1919) and many of her sister ships had been given to Britain’s Royal Navy in the ‘destroyers in exchange for bases’ deal of September 1940.
The Reuben James was part of the destroyer escort for an eastbound convoy out of Newfoundland and she was torpedoed and sunk when close to Iceland. Of her crew, 115 perished and only 44 survived.
Folk singer Woodie Guthrie immortalized the sinking in his song The Sinking of the Reuben James. (“Tell me, what were their names? Did you have a friend on the good Reuben James?”). For a recent rendition, listen to singer George Possley.