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USS Sealion SS 195

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USS Sealion SS 195 on launch day, May 25, 1939 at the Electric Boat Company. Sliding down the ways into the Thames River from the Groton side. She was the 131st submarine built at EB for the Navy.

Photo provided by MMCM (SS) Greg Peterman USN Retired


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USS Sealion SS 195 on launch day, May 25, 1939 at the Electric Boat Company. The Sealion is floating on her own bottom for the first time just moments after her launch into the Thames River from. The photo caption stating that it was a somber launch as recovery efforts were ongoing to salvage the Squalus.

AP Wire Photo in the Priavte Collection of Ric Hedman


Sealion crew

At least eight of the USS Sealion crew are shown in this photo, circa 1939. At this time it is only a high probability that all the men in this photo are Sealion crewmen. The men identified are all members of the Commissioning crew roster. Based on other factors identified by Dave Johnston DCC(SS/SW), a submarine historian, this could only be the deck of the Seadragon (SS-194) or Sealion (SS-195). Here is his analysis:

"The light colored plates I had seen before, but never gave them much thought. Did some poking around and found out that they are indeed sonar. They are transducers for modified versions of the QC system, called QCG or QCH. They allowed passive listening when bottoming prevented the use of the keel mounted transducers. They didn't come along until 1938. I only found them on a handful of the boats, I couldn't tell if the use of these systems were limited or if they later starting coloring the plates to match the black hull.

The other thing I saw were the tubular metal brackets sticking out above the portholes for the covered nav bridge. These seemed unusual to me so I started looking around. They are support brackets for the fore to aft radio aerials. I found that they are unique to the EB built boats of the Sargo class. I also looked at the positioning of the horns for the ship's whistle. The position in the picture matches that of the EB Sargos.

The combination of the aerial brackets and the light colored QCG plates makes this boat to be Seadragon (SS-194) or Sealion (SS-195). Sargo, Saury, and Spearfish had the brackets but not the QCG. Searaven, Tambor, Tautog, and Thresher had the QCG but no brackets. None of the Gars nor any of the other Salmons or Sargos seemed to have either feature, but again maybe they had colored the plates black. There certainly weren't any of those distinct brackets."

Dave Johnston DCC(SS/SW)

Image courtesy of Mike Kaup



Lt. Julian K. Morrison / CO

Lt. John R. Moore / XO

Lt(jg) Albert Raborn / 1st Lt

Lt(jg)Wm C. Thompson/Gunnery

Richard W. Gerdes / CTM(PA)

Joseph Husrt / CEM(AA)

William J. Rogers / CMM(PA)

Edgar M. Hantsche / TM1

All the above are known members of the Sealion Commissioning Crew

Lt. Julian K. Morrison, jr, Commanding Officer of the USS Sealion took command on November 27, 1939. The Submarine Sealion was turned over to the navy in New London Conn, by the Electric boat Co, ( builders ) Capt Richard S Edwards, Commander of the submarine base accepted the craft for the Navy, While Lt Julian Knox Morrison Jr, U S N, read orders assigning him to command of the ship.

Prior to taking Command of Sealion Morrison was involved in the rescue of the crew trapped in the Squalus. Morrison made the dives to the after Torpedo Room to ascertain if there were any crew alive there. For these dives he was awarded the Navy Cross.

"The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Lieutenant Julian K. Morrison, United States Navy, for distinguished service in the line of his profession as Senior Assistant to the diving supervisor during the entire period of the rescue and salvage operations following the sinking of the U.S.S. SQUALUS on 23 May 1939. Lieutenant Morrison's technical diving knowledge and his ability in handling difficult situations in emergencies were outstanding. His calmness, courage and good judgment inspired confidence in his men as well as in the senior officers of the Unit. He made numerous deep dives himself and was the only diver to attempt to enter the SQUALUS while she was on the bottom, failing only due to circumstances beyond his control. His superior and outstanding performance of duty contributed much to the success of the operations and characterizes conduct above and beyond the call of duty."

General Orders: Bureau of Navigation Bulletin 278 (February 10, 1940)
Action Date: 1939
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant
Company: Assistant Diving Officer
Regiment: Squalus Salvage Unit
Division: U.S.S. Falcon (ASR-2)

On February 11, 1940 Lt. Julian Knox Morrison died accidentally when he was cleaning a target weapon aboard the USS Sealion. Lt.Cdr. Richard G. Voge took command of Sealion until her sinking on Dec 10, 1941.

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USS Sealion SS 195 conducting seatrials and measured mile runs surfaced and submerged off Provencetown, Massachusetts. Here she is cruising past the camera boat for a series of publicity photos. What looks like a man on the deck forward of the conning tower is acually the mount for a .50 caliber machine gun.

US Navy Photo.


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USS Sealion SS 195 conducting seatrials and measured mile runs surfaced and submerged off Provencetown, Massachusetts. Here she is cruising past the camera boat for a series of publicity photos. In this photo there are two men on deck along side the conning tower. Both appear to be officers from their dress.

US Navy Photo.


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USS Sealion SS 195 conducting seatrials and measured mile runs surfaced and submerged off Provencetown, Massachusetts. Here she is cruising past the camera boat for a series of publicity photos. A nice starboard quarter photo clearly showing the Sealion name. This is nearly the same view as a later shot taken by the Japanese showing bomb damage to her conning tower from the Dec 10, 1941 air raid.

US Navy Photo.


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Sealion Baseball team, date unknown, probably circa 1940. Photo most likely taken on the Sealion's deck. In the second row back on the far right side the two men there have been identified as Pharmacists mate Wheeler Lipps (R) and F/2c Henry B. Jones (L). In the background is a small boat with the number 197. If the boat belonged to the outboard submarine, that would make it the USS Seawolf SS 197. The center boat is not identifiable.

Thanks to Bryan Jones for this great copy of the Sealion baseball team. Thanks also to Larry Johnson for another copy this photo. His uncle Clarence H. Johnson served aboard the Sealion as a Seaman 2nd. Lt. Clarence H. Johnson died while serving aboard the USS Golet when she was sunk by the Japanese on June 14, 1944. Identifications of Henry Jones, F/2c and Pharmacists mate Wheeler Lipps by Bryan Jones son of Henry Jones.




More information about the above photo from crew member Everett Buttler

In the photo of softball team. Believe ship in middle of picture is the Canopus. White cube shaped building in background in most likely the Manila Hotel, which was MacArthur's headquarters before his move to the Rock

I knew Day, (YN1/C Loyal Day), but only in a very limited way. He was the yeoman and had a lot of responsibilities. Guess he made his liberties with his buddies as I went ashore with Woods another fireman. Woods and I, with Capt Voge's help both came to Manitowoc in June 1943 for new construction we were both MoMM2 I went to Redfin and he to Robalo, he got off before she was lost

Shaw was a EM1 from Brooklyn, jewish man. His father owned a record store in Brooklyn. Al had a record player and his dad would send him all the recordings and when Al wasn't pissed off at the rest of us he would play them on his phonograph. Last time I saw Shaw he was an ensign at Pearl Harbor. Another arrangement by Voge I am sure.

I have had in the past an inquiry about CEM Hurst, who commissioned Sealion but was not on board in 1941 Someone else wrote me about either Oconnel or Foster one of the two EMC killed at Cavite

I will try and keep some info coming to you as I recall things, been a long time.

Everett Butler.



The following items are special to me since they are about family.
Thanks to a shipmate of mine who found these items and sent them to me.
Ric Hedman/webmaster
Commissioning Officers roster
Image courtesy of Marty Danford

Enlisted Crew Commissioning roster.
My cousin, Loyal Day, is the ninth name down the list.
Image courtesy of Marty Danford

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Shortly after the Japanese planes had bombed the yard at Cavite in Manila Harbor. The shipyard was left in shambles and aflame. To the lower right hand edge of the photo you can see the bow of the Sealion SS195 in the air. She had been hit by two bombs. One hit the after end of the cigarette deck and exploded sending shrapnel flying everywhere and a piece penetrated the conning tower of the USS Seadragon moored next to Sealion and hitting and killing Ensign Samuel H. Hunter, Jr. The second bomb hit at the juncture of the Engine Room/Maneuvering Room killing four men instantly working on rebuilding electric motors. Their bodies were not recovered until the Sealion hulk was salvaged in 1959.

Sterling Cecil Foster ~ Chief Electrician
Melvin Donald O'Connell ~ Chief Electrician
Ernest Ephrom Ogilvie ~ Machinist's Mate, First Class
Vallentyne Lester Paul ~ Electrician's Mate, Third Class

US Navy Photo

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After the Japanese planes had bombed the yard at Cavite in Manila Harbor. The shipyard was left in shambles and aflame. The Sealion SS 195 is in the center of this photo. She had been hit by two bombs. One hit the after end of the cigarette deck. The beam in the center of the photo at an angle is pointing right to the center of the Sealion conning tower fairwater that was destroyed by the first bomb hit. Only the very aft end of the fairwater is left. It can be seen directly below the left edge of the large building left center.

US Navy Photo

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After the Japanese occupied the Philippines they raised the Sealion to see of they could salvage it and also to learn what they could about American submarine technology. The Sealion was beyond salvage just as the Americans had wanted her to be. They did take this photo of the damage to the conning tower fairwater. After the war it was found in among the captured documents. The quality of this many times copied image is bad and I worked very hard to try and salvage the photo so the details of the damage can be seen.

A large piece of metal can be seen pealed away and folded back to the left at the bottom of the two smokestacks from the port side of the fairwater. Another large section of steel is seen folded upwards on the port side of the periscope sheers. Harder to see is another large section folded down by the force of the explosion right towards the camera and appears as a white colored object in the center bottom of the photo. Everything else was simply blown away by the explosion. Destroyed was the Sealions' main induction and exhaust valves which was right where the bomb hit. The oval door leading from the conning tower to allow deck access can be seen in the lower center of the photo.

US Navy Photo

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The remains of the USS Sealion as seen in November of 1945. Sealion was once more raised and moved out of the way for the reconstruction of the Cavite facility. All the plating around the conning tower has been stripped away, probably by the Japanese for projects and repairs of their own no doubt. A Filipino man can be seen fishing off the top of the conning tower. This view is from the forward Port side of the conning tower looking aft.

US Navy Photo

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In 1959 the US Navy raised the Sealion for the final time and finally removed the remains of the four men killed. Family for two of the men were found and the remains were sent to them for burial. The other two were buried at sea with full honors from the USS Princeton LPH-5 on November 20, 1961.

US Navy Photo

Everett Butler in 1944
Everett Butler, Sealion crew member. Photo taken in 1944.
Image courtesy of Everett Butler

I was on the Sealion from Oct 41 to Dec 41. Was a F2C in the FWD Engine Room. Before the yard period at Cavite I, along with another fireman and chief Rogers, were working on modifying the pistons for the main engines for the up coming yard overhaul.

The yard overhaul was to be completed by Dec 13 but the air raid on Dec 10 ended all of that.

It was a Wednesday and work schedule had been increased a few hours each day. We had just had lunch in the mess hall in the dock area in the navy yard and returned to the ship waiting to return to work at 1 when the air raid sirens went off. We received two direct bomb hits one on the cigarette deck after end of bridge area. The other, either in the after engine room or manuevering room. This one really done us in lost main motor reduction gears and of course the entire switching equipment for electric power. The switches were all apart having been rebuilt by the EMs.

We lost 3 EMs and one MM1 Since we were outboard of Seadragon along side the wharf we settled in the water and only the stern and the deck from just aft of the conning tower was under water.

Most of the Sealion crew went on to the dock and manned fire hoses to fight fires in the wooden buildings. The fire got to the torpedo warheads and they began to explode, then many of us jumped into the water beside the dock.

When the fires were out and the yard was in waste, Capt Voge sent Utz to find us a boat so we could get across Manila Bay to the Canopus alongside one of the city piers. Utz came back with the Admirals Barge, we all got on board and headed for the Canopus.

The next several days were spent getting classified material off the boat On the 17 of Dec the Sailfish came in, their skipper had asked to be relieved, and Voge took command. Four Sealion sailors went on board, Riley RM1; Johnson SM1; Elsasser SN; and Butler FN. Later, I think in Java, we also picked up Rahl, Utz and McCurdy FN, making a total of 8 Sealion sailors on board Sailfish. PHM (Wheeler) Lipes went to Seadragon, he died just last year, was a LCDR retired. He did the appendectomy operation. (The first submerged appendectomy operation in history)

Hope this helps you out.

I am treasurer of Wisconsin Base SubVets inc.

Everett Butler


Story courtesy of Everett Butler

Henry Brogden Jones MM 2/c while still aboard the USS Sealion. After the Sealion was sunk he was transfered to the USS Stingray SS 186. He later made chief and then Warrant.

Photo courtesy of Bryan K. Jones, son of Henry Brogden Jones


(CLICK) Hand Written Account of US Navy Service of
Henry Brogden Jones MMC(SS), USS Sealion SS 195 Bombing Survivor



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John Harold Iden, Jr seen here on an unidentified date and location. He is qualified in submarines at this point. His Qualified in Submarines dolphin patch can be seen sewn on his right sleeve.

According to his family John Iden's service once he left the bombed Sealion was; "...on the USS Permit on 09-Feb-1942 in Surabaya, Java (Dutch Netherlands submarine base). There are no records for the period 10-Dec-1941 through 09-Feb-1942 (60-days). His medical record cites that he was on Bataan and Corregidor and survived on berries. But how did he get to be on the Permit? He also later served aboard the USS Pickrell, USS Saury and the shakedown cruise of the USS Spot. He was honorably discharged 08-Dec-1944...He passed on 22-Mar-1971."

Photo courtesy of Scott Iden son of Sealion crewman John Harold Iden, Jr

Postal Cover
Postal Cover with my cousin's signature on it.
My cousin, Loyal Day, was aboard Sealion in Cavite harbor when the base and Sealion were bombed.
Image courtesy of Marty Danford

Postal Cover
Postal Cover with my cousin's signature on it.
Image courtesy of Marty Danford

Postal Cover
Postal Cover with my cousin's signature on it.
Image courtesy of Marty Danford

Loyal Day & author

Loyal Day & Ric Hedman in May of 1969 in San Diego, CA. This was the one and only time I had the pleasure to meet my cousin he passed away a while after this photo was taken. See any family resemblance?



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