The destroyer Allen, which gave her name to her class, was built at Bath Iron Works and was commissioned in 1916. This class had four funnels and displaced some 1,070 tons and were 310 feet in length at the waterline and 30 feet in the beam. Their complement was, in wartime, 136 men. Allen's armament was three 4.5-inch and three 3-inch anti-aircraft guns and six 21-inch torpedo tubes. On 7 December she was moored alongside another First World War destroyer, Chew, off the north-eastern shore of Ford Island.