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The H-Boats

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Left to Right in the photo are the USS H-3, the USS H-1 and the USS H-2 moored to the starboard side of the USS Cheyenne, circa 1915. The H-1 is running her starboard or #1 diesel engine. She is either putting in a battery charge or perhaps getting ready to get underway. The waterfront is possibly San Diego or maybe San Pedro. The Cheyenne has an awning spread over her foredeck to help cool the ship interior. A crewman is on the port anchor possibly chipping paint or painting it. Two small skiffs are moored to the same area.

US Navy Photo

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Left to Right in the photo are the USS Cheyenne acting as a submarine tender, the USS H-1, the USS H-2 and the USS F-3 and the USS H-3. The photo was probably taken before the four F class submarines were moved to Hawaii. After the F-4 sank the three remaining F boats were transferred back to the mainland in late 1915 and placed out of service at Mare Island. The photo is most likely circa 1914.

US Navy Photo

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The USS Cheyenne, Submarine Tender for the 2 Submarine Flotilla, Pacific Fleet, seen at Bremerton, Washington along with 3 "H" class submarines. Seen left to right are the USS H-2, the USS H-3 and the USS H-1.

The H-1 is having some work done on her after end. Maybe maintenance on her screws or mufflers. The after end of the hull has been raised using the muzzles of the 12 inch deck guns and the forward turret. A strong-back seems to have been lashed across the two barrels about half was along their length.

The Cheyenne seems to moored to a dock. which a bit of and some buildings can be seen at the very right edge of the photo.

Various crew can be seen on the Cheyenne deck, maybe crew from the H-1 have been ordered off while the work is being performed.

Photo in the Private Collection of Ric Hedman

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The back of the photo is a post card. The writer may or may not have been a submariner. By the postal date on the card, October 31, 1918 the H- and H-2 had already been transferred to the east coast. The H-3 remained on the west coast.

The note seems to have been written to a friend or brother, in Montana and he says he was going to look up another friend, a woman, maybe his/their mother, in Seattle. He complains about the rain and talks about going to football games. The sender is just noted as "Bob" and he always seems to be in a hurry.

Photo in the Private Collection of Ric Hedman

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The foredeck of an H-Class submarine. This has to be either the H-1, H-2 or H-3. The man all the way forward is standing on a circular deck structure that was only present on the the 4 F-Class subs and the first of three of the H-Class submarines, the following boats of the H-Class did not have this feature. This the large rotating gear needed to swing out the bow planes from their housed position. Also, the anchor windless, seen in the foreground, is aft of the the torpedo room access hatch, which is open. On the F-Class the windless was forward of the hatch.

It appears that what may be the Captain and one of his officers are standing on the deck reading messages being received from another vessel. The man using the signal flags is making the flag sign for the letter "W".

Photo in the Private Collection of Ric Hedman

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Crew standing and sitting on the Conning Tower fairwater on what is most likely one of the first three H-Class submarines. The smooth sides of the chariot bridge and the flare on both the top of the bridge and the top of the fairwater conform to features seen on at least one of the early H-Class submarines.

Note the capped off flange structure in the foreground, especially the bolt pattern. Subs gangplank is on the deck on the left. Photo circa February 20, 1921.

Photo in the Private Collection of Ric Hedman
Thanks to DDC (SS/SW) Dave Johnston for the identification

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Bow of an unknown H-Class submarine with four crew relaxing and snoozing on the deck. Photo taken on February 20, 1921. Note the flange cap in the bottom foreground. It matches the one in the photo above.

The starboard "ear" of the bow mounted Y-Tube listening device can be seen to the right of the seated mans' clasped hands. In todays Navy these men could not be trusted to be on deck like this without non-slip shoes, life vests and harnesses attached to the submarine.

Photo in the Private Collection of Ric Hedman

USS H-1
Launch of USS H-1 May 7, 1913 at Union Iron Works, San Francisco, Ca
This highly reworked photo came from a San Francisco area newspaper
and was retouched to make newspaper reproduction more visible.

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The USS H-1 seen here performing a "static dive", bow is to the left, in the turning basin at San Pedro Harbor. The location is known due to the Kerckhoff-Cuzner Mill and Lumber Company buildings in the background. The Kerckhoff-Cuzner Company was an old established company in the greater Los Angles area but went out of business in about 1936. The H-1 left San Pedro in October 1917 for WW I service and ran aground in Baja Mexico and was lost in 1920 on her return to San Pedro. Four men were lost in the grounding.

Original Photo in the Private Collection of Ric Hedman

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Detail of the above image. The USS H-1 seen here performing a "static dive" in the turning basin at San Pedro Harbor. The location is known due to the Kerckhoff-Cuzner Mill and Lumber Company buildings in the background.

The mill was on high ground along the San Pedro Main Channel. Access to the island was by a bridge from Front Street (Harbor Blvd.). Smith Island was one of the larger islands in the harbor before the port was developed. There were houses as well as Regan Forge and other businesses.

A few things are of interest.

Note the ships wheel attached to the side of the periscope shears. This is a storage position. When in use it was moved to a steering hub on the pedestal with the large square head seen to the left. Chains ran to the steering rod to the rudder from the control room.

The dark rectangle seen on the side of the fairwater is actually a folding deck to allow for more space for men "on the bridge". The stripes seen below that on the fairwater are actually section ribs. The bridge access trunk was made up of circular sections bolted together. What you are seeing are these flanges protruding through the skin of the fairwater.

On the side of the periscope shears are seen the number 2 over 1. This means the H-1 was part of Submarine Squadron 2 and was the lead boat in that squadron. These numbers are often confused for the hull numbers, those numbers are always side by side as seen by the number 28 which is the actual hull number.

Seen running up the back of right hand periscope is the piping to the ships whistle. There is an unexplained extra mast stayed to the shears and aft deck seen above the number 28.

Original Photo in the Private Collection of Ric Hedman
Location information thanks to Anne Hansford at the San Pedro Bay Society Historical Archives

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USS H-2 and the H-1 alongside the USS Cheyenne Feb. 22, 1917. All three vessels have dressed ship to celebrate George Washington's Birthday. Location is thought to be San Pedro. Both submarines left for the East Coast and New London for WW I in November of 1917. Only H-2 would survive the trip back to California in 1920. The H-1 would be lost on the beach on Santa Margarita Island, Baja California, Mexico in March 12, 1920 with the loss of 4 lives.

Photo in the Private Collection of Ric Hedman

USS H-1 & USS H-2 in Coos Bay, Oregon
USS H-1 & USS H-2 moored in Coos Bay, Oregon.
The first submarines to visit the Oregon town. circa 1917.

Photo provided by Rick Larson MMCM (SS) (ret.)
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The group photo, seen above, is taken at Sub Base New London. By exploring the subs histories it can be deduced that the photo was taken winter 1918/1919. Snow can be seen on the ground in the foreground of the photo.

The USS N-3 seen on the right arrived at New London on February 7, 1918 from Puget Sound, Washington State and remained there until June 1921.

Moving left the next sub is the USS H-1. She arrived from San Pedro on November 8, 1917 and remained until January 6, 1920.

At the next pier to the left is the USS H-2. She had identical arrival and departure dates as the H-1.

A closer look at the H-1 shows that her superstructure looks to have been removed just aft of torpedo room hatch. This would have been done to allow access to systems and components for repair. In a little more than a year the H-1 will lay a wreck in the surf at Santa Margarita Island, Baja, Mexico. Four will die in the grounding.

Next to her is the USS G-2. The G-2 was at New London from October 20, 1917 until she decommissioned on April 2, 1919.

The last sub at the next pier, near the building, is the N-7. She was commissioned on June 15, 1918 and remained at the sub base until June 21, 1919. She traveled to Philadelphia for extensive overhaul. She returned to New London March 31, 1920 after the H-1 and H-2 had left for the pacific.

All these dates block the time frame from between June 1918 and April 1919. With the snow, most likely time is December 1918 to February 1919. Several small craft can be seen on the river just above the pier on the right. The New London side of the river can barely bee seen.

This photo can also be seen on the G-Boat page and N-Boat page.

Photo In The Private Collection Of Ric Hedman


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A closer look at the H-1 shows that her superstructure looks to have been removed just aft of torpedo room hatch. This would have been done to allow access to systems and components for repair. In a little more than a year the H-1 will lay a wreck in the surf at Santa Margarita Island, Baja, Mexico. Four will die in the grounding.

N-3 moored along side.

Photo In The Private Collection Of Ric Hedman


USS H-1
USS H-1 (ex-Seawolf) SS 28
USS H-1 aground
USS H-1 aground off Santa Margarita Island, Baja California, Mexico 12 March 1920.
Four men including the Captain, Lt. Comdr. James R. Webb, were killed in the grounding.
Webb, James LCDR(CO); Giles, Harvy W. MM1; Delamain, William H. SN; Kosman, Joseph SN
Original Photo from the Private Collection of Ric Hedman

USS H-1 aground
USS H-1 aground off Santa Margarita Island, Baja California, Mexico 12 March 1920.
Crew removing gear and personal affects from the submarine.
Repair ship Vestal can be seen to the right. Unidentified tug to the left.
Original Photo from the Private Collection of Ric Hedman

USS H-1 aground
USS H-1 aground off Santa Margarita Island, Baja California, Mexico 12 March 1920.
Crew removing gear and personal affects from the submarine.
Unidentified tug can be seen behind the H-1.
Original Photo from the Private Collection of Ric Hedman

USS H-1 aground
USS H-1 aground off Santa Margarita Island, Baja California, Mexico 12 March 1920.
Unidentified tug can be seen behind the H-1.
Original Photo from the Private Collection of Ric Hedman

USS H-1 aground
USS H-1 aground off Santa Margarita Island, Baja California, Mexico 12 March 1920.
Repair Ship USS Vestal is seen beyond the H-1. Vestal pulled the H-1 of the beach
but the H-1 sank shortly after and was abandoned. She was struck by th Navy on April 12, 1920.
Original Photo from the Private Collection of Ric Hedman

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USS H-1 crew shipwrecked on beach on Santa Margarita Island, Baja California, Mexico March 1920.
The second man from the left and the fartherest seated man to the right in the back row are most likely
Gunners Mate Chief W.L. Albrecht and Quartermaster Chief Brooks. Which is which is not known.
The fourth man from the left, seated, with the lanyard around his neck is also seen standing on the left
with the flag covered bodies of his shipmates seen in the photo below.
Original Photo from the Private Collection of Larry Vredenburgh

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USS H-1 aground on shore on Santa Margarita Island, Baja California, Mexico March 1920.
Crew members are rigging a towing bridle to attempt salvage of the sub by the Vestal.
Original Photo from the Private Collection of Larry Vredenburgh

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USS H-1 aground on shore on Santa Margarita Island, Baja California, Mexico March 1920.
Crew members are pulling a cork raft ashore used in ferrying the towing bridle to the H-1 to attempt salvage of the sub by the Vestal.
Original Photo from the Private Collection of Larry Vredenburgh

USS H-1 aground

Four men including the Captain, Lt. Comdr. James R. Webb, were killed in the grounding.
Bodies of the two the men recovered are draped in US Flags before burial.
Interesting to note the difference in the two flags.
On the left is a 48 star flag and on the right is a 13 star naval ensign.
Shown are the bodies of Seaman William H. Delamain (Left) and Harvey.W Giles MM1(Right).
I was finally able to read the names written on the planks used for markers.
I have been able to determine the bodies of Commnding Officer
LCDR James Webb and Seaman Joseph Kosman were never located.
Original Photo from the Private Collection of Ric Hedman



LCDR James Webb as a Midshipman, known as "Jimmy" and also as "The Major" at the Naval Academy and was well liked by fellow midshipmen.
US Naval Academy Photos. Thanks to James Haas for the photos.

Willian H. Delamain

Photo of
Seaman William H. Delamain
Born May 22, 1901 - Died March 12, 1920

Delamain's body was subsequently returned to College Point and on April 8th, 1920,
interred in the family plot in Cedar Grove Cemetery in Flushing, Queens, New York.
Seaman William H. Delamain was just a few weeks shy of his 19th birthday when he died.

More on William Delamain HERE


Original Photo from the Private Collection of James Haas

USS H-1 aground

Crew member observes the makeshift grave on the beach for Harvey.W Giles MM1, (Right) and Seaman William H. Delamain, (Left). Santa Margarita Island, Baja California, Mexico 12 March 1920. The bodies were recovered by the Navy and returned to the United States for burial.

Original Photo from the Private Collection of Ric Hedman

News Paper Clippings by James Haas


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Recent photo of the former USS H-1 on the bottom just off the west side of Santa Margarita Island, Baja California, Mexico. A group of underwater photographers and archaeologists were diving the newly rediscovered wreck and took the following photos. Over the years the wreck has been covered and cleared of the sand a number of times making it an elusive target.

The H-1 ran aground while searching for the entrance to Magdelena Bay on the stormy night of March 11, 1920. In the dark the captain, James Webb, mistook the entrance and ran aground in the surf. Webb and three others drowned in trying to evacuated the submarine.

The submarine seems to be laying on its side in this photo. It is not clear, at this point, which way the H-1 is facing. Definitive orientation of the vessel is lacking.

During salvage attempts the submarine was dragged off the beach into deeper water but too many seams had been opened up by the vessel pounding in the surf and she sank in 7 fathoms of water in the face of a growing gale. She sank on March 24, 1920 having only been moved just shy of 500 yards from her grounding location. It had taken a small flotilla of vessels and heroic efforts by the men to even get her that far.

Photo Copyright; Alfredo Martinez Fernandez, www.alfredomartinez.photoshelter.com

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With the divers present it can be seen that "up" is to the left in this photo by the orientation of the divers bubbles. It seems that this could be the bow of the submarine. A large potion of deck appears to have been torn away.

Photo Copyright; Alfredo Martinez Fernandez, www.alfredomartinez.photoshelter.com

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A diver swims of the wreck of the H-1 examining the submarine. This looks to be where a large section of superstructure has been corroded or torn away.

Photo Copyright; Alfredo Martinez Fernandez, www.alfredomartinez.photoshelter.com

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Two divers can just be seen to the right of the wreck. Just where the left diver is there seems to be a part of the wreck, maybe the bridge access trunk. The missing superstructure looks to be on the right side of the photo.

Photo Copyright; Alfredo Martinez Fernandez, www.alfredomartinez.photoshelter.com

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A bit better view and showing what may be the bridge structure and maybe also a periscope that has been bent over. The same two diver in view.

Photo Copyright; Alfredo Martinez Fernandez, www.alfredomartinez.photoshelter.com

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This looks to be the bottom of the submarine with the keel and one of the bilge keels viable. It looks that maybe the pressure hull has been ruptured. Until we understand what part of teh vessel this is it is a theory. A diver can just be seen in the cloud of bubbles in the left bottom of the photo.

Photo Copyright; Alfredo Martinez Fernandez, www.alfredomartinez.photoshelter.com

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Diver approaching what looks to be the starboard propeller with a measuring tape in hand.

It was one of these propellers that William Delamain struck his head on after being washed overboard and drowned early in the morning of March 12, 1920. One of four to die that stormy night and only one of the two to be recovered

Photo Copyright; Alfredo Martinez Fernandez, www.alfredomartinez.photoshelter.com

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The divers begin taking measurements on the submarine. The quantity of marine growth on the propeller seems to be far less than what is on the hull. Maybe attesting to the quantity of zinc in the brass used in the propeller.

Photo Copyright; Alfredo Martinez Fernandez, www.alfredomartinez.photoshelter.com

USS H-2
USS H-2 (ex-Nautilus) SS 29

USS H-2 in Coos Bay, Oregon
USS H-2 moored in Coos Bay, Oregon.
Towns folks on the pier to see the vessels. circa 1917.

Photo provided by Rick Larson MMCM (SS) (ret.)
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USS H-2 circa 1920/21 most likely off San Francisco after her overhaul at Mare Island. She is operating with Submarine Division 7 out of San Pedro, Ca and has been awarded the Navy "E" for Excellence.

US Navy Photo

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USS H-2 circa 1920/21 most likely off San Francisco after her overhaul at Mare Island. She is operating with Submarine Division 7 out of San Pedro, Ca and has been awarded the Navy "E" for Excellence. There is civilian on the bridge. Perhaps to observe the sub on trials on completion of the overhaul. Crew standing arpound on deck and looking at the cameraman.

US Navy Photo

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USS H-2 circa 1920/21 most likely off San Francisco after her overhaul. There is civilian on the bridge. Perhaps to observe the sub on trials on completion of the overhaul. The Commanding Officer is sitting on the bridge combing behind the civilian. The man on the right is the helmsman. The Submarine Division 7 plaque is painted on the sides of the bridge combing.

US Navy Photo

USS H-3 returning from Seattle to Bremerton, WA
USS H-3 (ex-Garfish) SS 30 returning from Seattle to Bremerton, WA March 1914.
Lt. Munroe is on the bridge. H-3 had been refueling in Seattle and returns to Puget Sound Navy Yard.

Photo courtesy of national Archives

H-3 under construction
H-3 under construction at Moran Shipyard, Seattle, Wa
Photo courtesy of National Archives

H-3 taking to the water
Launching the USS H-3 from the Moran Shipyard, Seattle, Wa, July 3, 1913
Photo courtesy of Seattle Post Intelligencer Newspaper

H-3 under construction
USS H-3 at Mare Island Naval Ship Yard Jan. 30, 1914
Torpedo Room looking forward.
Note torpedo reload on the deck on the right side of the picture.

Photo courtesy of National Archives

H-3 under construction
USS H-3 Torpedo Room looking aft.
The curtained areas to Port and Starboard are berthing for the Captain and XO.
The two stanchions have the notched arms for holding torpedos in line with the tubes for loading.
Photo courtesy of National Archives

H-3 after battery compartment
H-3 after battery compartment. The view is looking aft to the engineroom door.
This compartment was a combination of crews berthing, galley and messing and maneuvering room.
The Astern - Stop - Ahead indicators for each engine / motor are on either side of the door.
The shaft turns logs for each shaft are just above the indicators.
Electrical switching gear can be seen on each side of the compartment.

Photo courtesy of National Archives

H-3 after battery compartment
H-3 after battery compartment. The view is looking at the engineroom door.
The Astern - Stop - Ahead indicators for each engine / motor are on either side of the door.
The shaft turns logs for each shaft are just above the indicators.
Photo apears to have been taken about 5:25 by the clock in the upper left corner of the close-up.

Photo courtesy of National Archives

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The USS H-3, (Squadron designation 2 over 3), moored to another submarine possibly the H-1 or H-2. Location can not be determined but the Squadron designators pretty much went out of use after 1914 and that would place her in the San Pedro, San Diego area. From the height of the photo it is most likely taken from a tender and that would be USS Cheyenne. Periscopes were fixed height and non retractable. The The ships air whistle can be seen running up the back sides of taller #2 periscopes on both submarines. The bridge access hatch for the H-3 can be seen behind the lettering in the lower right corner. The object on the lower right edge of the picture is the topside steering pedestal the hub where the wheel would be mounted can be seen pointing to the left just where the pedestal flares out at the top. The wheel when not in use on these boats was usually attached to the side of the periscope shears. If that is the case here it is probably on the port side and not visible. Two of the local wildlife have seemed to have adopted the vessels as their own vantage points. Both gulls are attracted to the cameraman and seem to be poising for their portraits. Photo is circa 1914.

Photo in the Private Collection of Ric Hedman

Two of the local wildlife have seemed to have adopted the vessels as their own vantage points. Both gulls are attracted to the cameraman and seem to be poising for their portraits. Photo is circa 1914.

Photo in the Private Collection of Ric Hedman

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Seen here is the USS H-3 aground about 5 miles south of Point Sur, California. The photo is a highly doctored newspaper photo that has been copied and then doctored again some time in the 1920's.

The H-3 along with sister ships USS H-1 and USS H-2 were enroute to San Francisco for a visit to the Panama-Pacific Exposition. They were to be there through July 4th for the Independence Day Celebrations.

They had started from San Diego, California on June 29th 1915 and were accompanied by the Monitor/Tender USS Cheyenne as an escort vessel. During the trip the H-3 slowly pulled ahead of the small fleet until she was about 50 miles out in front. She must have been having a good day with all components working at highest efficiency.

These vessels were still known for the many problems submarine mechanical and electrical systems could have. Plus there were unspoken competitions between crews and captains of the submarines as to who had the better boat.

As it was H-3's success was about to come to a shocking end. During the late afternoon of June 29th a high wind came in and a fog covered the sea though the water was strangely smooth and only long low swells gave any context to the surface. The wind altered the subs course. Though she held the same compass heading the wind and current drove her toward the unseen shore.

This continued into the long mid-summer twilight and about 9 o'clock PM as the fog shrouded everything in sight, two large rocks loomed out of the early darkness and the H-3 slid aground between them. She was stuck fast. There had been no sounds of breakers or surf to give any warning of the impending danger. Try as she might the H-3 could not back herself free of the sand and mud. She was stuck.

There was no danger as the seas were still calm and smooth. Lieutenant William F Newton, captain of the H-3 sends out messages via wireless radio to the Cheyenne and to Mare Island reporting his predicament and requesting aid.

Captain Frank M. Bennett, Commandant of the Mare Island Navy Yard and Station alerts Rear Admiral Charles F Pond, commandant of the 12th Naval District, of the situation. Pond is at his home in Berkley, California. He takes command directing the rescue operations by wireless from his house via telephone. He ordered that the cruiser Maryland stand by to render assistance and well as the Rescue Tug Iroquois. As it was neither vessel was to be needed.

Hearing this radio traffic the cargo steamer SS Arizonian that was enroute to San Francisco from New York, comes upon the grounded submarine and radios she was standing off shore ready to render assistance. The Cheyenne and H-1 and H-2 arrive in the night on the scene and it is learned that Admiral Pond has ordered out the Revenue Cutter (now the Coast Guard) McCulloch to come to the submarines aid and that vessel leaves port. This order is later rescinded after it is learned that the submarine is OK and not taking on water. The Arizonian then continued on its way to San Francisco.

The order to send the McCulloch was based on the fact that the Bay area, 120 miles to the north, was experiencing high winds and high surf and it was feared the H-3 was to be pounded into scrap metal. Upon learning that those were not the conditions at Point Sur the cutter was recalled. All crew, two officers and 18 enlisted, were uninjured and good health.

The next day the fog was still enveloping the coastline and the tide was out and the submarine was high and dry. The crew sat about on the deck and slept where they could as nothing could be done until high tide. Cold foods were all that was available. The Cheyenne would try to pull the submarine free of the sands on the high tide. The H-1 and H-2 were sent on to San Francisco since they could offer no assistance and reports of their arrival was announced in the papers when they passed through the Golden Gate, (there was no bridge there 1915) on July 1st.

As the day of June 30th wore on the tide began coming in and soon, the crew and captain hoped, the submarine would be pulled free. The weather had been remarkable. Though it was foggy and damp the water remained calm and surf free. Though a high wind had blown the submarine off course there was little wind on the shore. To ensure the craft would not wander about as the tide returned the H-3 captain, William Newton, had ordered the submarines mushroom anchor, housed in the keel under the torpedo room, dropped. Once the windless was released the 300 pound anchor hit the sand a whole two feet below the keel. Chain was let out to keep the anchor on the bottom as the water rose.

By mid-afternoon chances of being pulled off looked good and the Cheyenne rowed a large cable ashore to the submarine and the crew attached it to the after end of the submarine. The H-3 pulled its anchor in as the water rose and a strain was taken up by the Cheyenne. Her two large propellers churned the waters. The little submarine remained stuck fast.

A gentle swell was beginning to roll in as the Monitor heaved and pulled. The fear was the surf was going to return and the little submarine was going to be destroyed. The Cheyenne pulled hard and at the same time a swell lifted the submarine free of the bottom but this also caught her as she rose and turned her ninety degrees and she slammed into a rock. The decks pitched perpendicular to the seas. Five sailors rolled off into the churning waters caused by the Cheyenne's propellers. Of the five two were non swimmers and fear they would drowned brought ropes sailing through the air to their rescue. All five were pulled aboard as the Cheyenne continued pulling on the little submarine. Soon the vessel was free of the shore and into deeper water and floating with no problem.

As soon as the submarine was inspected for leakage and damage the engines were started and the H-3, in company of Cheyenne, headed for San Francisco. It was decided that her first stop was to be a dry docking for an inspection for damage. The results were minimal.

Months later the H-3 was to have another encounter with a beach while looking future sites for submarine bases.

Newspaper Photo In The Private Collection Of Ric Hedman

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This photo was taken as the tide rose before the Cheyenne was able to pull the submarine off the beach. A slight swell can be seen in the waters. The fog also looks to be lifting as the peak behind attests to.

National Archives Photo

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Bow on view of the H-3 in Mare Island Dry Dock. The photo is taken July 6, 1915. Her sisters the H-1 and H-2 are participating in the Independence Day Celebrations at the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco. The H-3 was to be there also but her unfortunate grounding at Point Sur changed all that.

The only visual damage to the submarine seems to be to her starboard bilge keel which has been crumpled by the sub rocking on the beach for about 18 hours. The total cost of the damages were listed at $2,500 dollars and several hull plates to be replaced.

The hooped pipe frame seen sticking out from the bridge side is an outhouse type toilet facility. Though the submarines had a head inside the vessel it was a complicated process to use and flush and the simple outhouse took place of that problem while on the surface. All waste was washed away with the passing sea water.

National Archives Photo In The Collection Of Ric Hedman

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This is a broadside view of the H-3 in the Mare Island Dry Dock on July 6, 1915. The wrinkling of the bilge keel is evident. Little else appears to be damaged but the Dry Docking was a good precaution just in case there was unnoticed damages.

Several crew are on deck and seem to reading magazines. A couple of crew are on the dock floor back by the rudder and propellers.

Interesting to note here is that the H-3 was the last of the "H" class built with the rotating bow cap over the muzzle doors of the torpedo tubes. The H-4 thru H-9 all had shutter doors. The H-4 thru H-9 were built in Vancouver, Canada for the Tsarist Russian Navy. With the Russian revolution the orders for these submarines was not allowed to to be shipped. The submarines had been constructed and then disassembled and numbered and crated for shipment to Russia. With the US involvement in WW I the US Navy took delivery and had them shipped to Bremerton, Washington for reassembly and commissioning in the US Navy.

National Archives Photo In The Collection Of Ric Hedman

USS H-3 on the beach.
USS H-3 on the beach.

USS H-3 aground near Eureka, California December 16, 1916.
The Cruiser USS Milwaukee, CL-21, attempted to pull the submarine off the beach but became stuck herself and was a total loss. Her hulk was sold for scrap.
The H-3 was finally salvaged and returned to service.


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While engaged in operations off the northern California coast, near Eureka, with protected cruiser Milwaukee (C-21) and submarine tender Cheyenne, H-1 ran aground in heavy fog on the morning of 16 December 1916. She is seen here on January 3, 1917 attracting a huge crowd of onlooker as the Cruiser USS Milwaukee was to attempt to pull the H-3 off the beach. The Milwaukee can just be seen, faintly, on the horizon right of center. There is another vessel, probably the Cheyenne on the far right. The attempt failed resulting in the newly overhauled Milwaukee grounding and becoming a total loss.

US Navy Photo

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The USS H-3 grounded at Samoa Beach. A bridle of towing tackle is rigged to the submarine for her attempt rescue by the crusier Milwaukee that ended in failure. circa January 1917

USD Navy Photo

USS H-3 on the beach.
USS H-3 on the beach.

The wrecked US Submarine H-3 laying on the beach at Eureka, CA
The Cruiser USS Milwaukee, can be seen in the background.
She attempted to pull the submarine off the beach but became stuck herself and was a total loss.


USS H-3 on the beach.
USS H-3 on the beach.

The wrecked US Submarine H-3 laying on the beach at Eureka, CA. Tow cables can be seen attached to the bow.

Photo courtesy of Leszek Erenfeicht who lives in Poland.


USS Milwaukee aground.
The Cruiser USS Milwaukee, CL-21, aground on the beach at Samoa Island off Eureka, CA. Coxswain T. S. Decker, the first man to leave the Milwaukee, is shown in the breeches buoy. The crew can be seen lined up on deck to be taken off in the same manner or by boat. The Milwaukee was a total loss.


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The photo shows the top of the conning tower fairwater of the submarine H-3 while in dry dock, possibility Mare Island circa 1918.

Photo courtesy of Carolyn Fields Snider whose Uncle, Harry Fields took the photos or is in them.

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USS H-3 with crew on deck. Location is thought to be San Diego, CA. circa 1915
Note the three extra chain fairleads for the towing gear on the deck edge.
Image provided by Bill Lightfoot

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USS H-3 with crew on deck. Location is thought to be San Diego, CA. circa 1915
The man on the bow is holding a heavy indicating that the sub may be away from the dock either for the photo or just leaving or mooring.
Image provided by Bill Lightfoot

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USS H-3 with crew on deck for a formal crew photo. Location is thought to be San Diego, CA. circa 1915
Image provided by Bill Lightfoot

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H 3 in dry dock at Mare Island. The two crewmen are identified as "Bubbles and Van".

Photo courtesy of Carolyn Fields Snider whose Uncle, Harry Fields took the photos or is in them.

H 3 in dry dock at Mare Island
H 3 in dry dock at Mare Island
The two crewmen are identified as "Bubbles & Van"
The men are standing on the port bow plane of the H-3.
Photo courtesy of Carolyn Fields Snider  whose Uncle, Harry Fields  took the photos or is in them.

H 3 in dry dock at Mare Island
H 3 in dry dock at Mare Island.
The two crewmen are identified as "Bubbles & Van".
Photo courtesy of Carolyn Fields Snider  whose Uncle, Harry Fields  took the photos or is in them.

H-3 in dry dock
Photo courtesy of Carolyn Fields Snider  whose Uncle, Harry Fields  took the photos or is in them.

H-3 in dry dock
H-3 in dry dock
Photo courtesy of Carolyn Fields Snider  whose Uncle, Harry Fields  took the photos or is in them.

H-3 & Van
H-3 Topside watch Van clowns for crew on dock.
The USS L-6 and an other unidentified sub are in background.
Photo courtesy of Carolyn Fields Snider  whose Uncle, Harry Fields  took the photos or is in them.

H-3 laoding a torpedo
H-3 loading a Mark 7 - Bliss-Levitt torpedo
Photo courtesy of Carolyn Fields Snider  whose Uncle, Harry Fields  took the photos or is in them.

H-3 loading torpedo
H-3 loading a Mark 7 - Bliss-Levitt torpedo
Photo courtesy of Carolyn Fields Snider  whose Uncle, Harry Fields  took the photos or is in them.

H-3 crewmembers
H-3 crew members. Harry Fields is identified as being in the photo.
Based on other pictures it appears he is in the front row, third man from left.
Photo courtesy of Carolyn Fields Snider  whose Uncle, Harry Fields  took the photos or is in them.

H-3 crew on deck at sea
H-3 crew on deck at sea. Notice gangway plank bolted to deck.
Photo courtesy of Carolyn Fields Snider  whose Uncle, Harry Fields  took the photos or is in them.

H-3 deck at sea with gangway plank
H-3 deck at sea with gangway plank bolted to deck.
Photo courtesy of Carolyn Fields Snider  whose Uncle, Harry Fields  took the photos or is in them.

H-3 crew on deck
H-3 crew on deck and conning tower.
Gunners mate Long is at top of masts. View is looking forward.
Photo courtesy of Carolyn Fields Snider  whose Uncle, Harry Fields  took the photos or is in them.

USS H-3 at sea from the bridge
USS H-3 at sea from the bridge. Good detail of radio antenna insulator.

H-9 & H-3 in dry dock
USS H-9 on the left & USS H-3 on the right in dry dock at Mare Island
Photo courtesy of Carolyn Fields Snider  whose Uncle, Harry Fields  took the photos or is in them.

H-3 torpedoroom
H-3 torpedo room
Photo courtesy of Carolyn Fields Snider  whose Uncle, Harry Fields  took the photos or is in them.

Interior H-3
Interior of the H-3. It is unclear what space this is, probably crew berthing.
Photo courtesy of Carolyn Fields Snider  whose Uncle, Harry Fields  took the photos or is in them.

H-3 helm
Helm of the H-3
Photo courtesy of Carolyn Fields Snider  whose Uncle, Harry Fields  took the photos or is in them.

H-3 enginroom facing forewards
H-3 engine room facing forward.
Photo courtesy of Carolyn Fields Snider  whose Uncle, Harry Fields  took the photos or is in them.

H-3 enginroom facing aft
H-3 engine room facing aft
Photo courtesy of Carolyn Fields Snider  whose Uncle, Harry Fields  took the photos or is in them.

USS H-3 with USS F-3
USS H-3 with USS F-3
Photo courtesy of Carolyn Fields Snider  whose Uncle, Harry Fields  took the photos or is in them.

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All six H-Boats in frame at Bremerton Naval Shipyard. H-4 thru H-9 were shipped from Canada in crates and assembled at the same time at Bremerton. Only four of the boats are visible in this photo. The H-4 at far right with the H-5 in right center foreground and to the left of the H-5 is the H6. To the left of the H-4 is the H-7.

The submarines had originally been built for Tsarist Russia but were not shipped due to the Russian Revolution.

The subs were built and disassembled and crated and were to be shipped to Vladivostok and shipped by train across Russia for reassembly on the Baltic. The US bought them for addition to the US Fleet for WW I. Essentially these were huge "kit boats", just assemble them.

Under the crane boom can be seen the almost completed hull of the USS O-2

Original Photo from the National Archives

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This image shows the six Canadian built H-Boats undergoing reconstruction at the Bremerton Naval Shipyard in July of 1918. The submarines were laid down between May 12 and June 1, 1918. You can see how quickly the assembly process was progressing.

They were all launched and commissioned between August and November of 1918. The first to go was the H-6 being launched on August 26, 1918. The next to hit the water was the H-5 with splashdown on September 26th. The H-4 was third on October 9th followed by H-7 on October 17th. This cleared the raised ways on the dock. Fifth was the H-8 on November 14th and H-9 on November 23, 1918. Around a six months construction time to build six submarines!

The vessels had originally been built, complete and ready to go, in Vancouver, B.C., Canada and then disassembled for shipment to Vladivostok, Russia, then loaded on the Trans Siberian Rail Road for shipment to the Baltic for reassembly. The Russian Revolution broke out and the shipment was canceled until the outcome of the revolution was known. With the success of the Bolsheviks the sale was canceled as the contract was signed with Tsarist Russia.

The US Navy stepped in and bought the six submarines since the US was involved in WW I and all the subs she could acquire were needed. The vessels were transported from Vancouver, Canada to Bremerton, Washington, a distance of barely over 120 miles and were quickly sorted and building ways set up.

According to a diagram discovered in reference documents made by submarine author Bill Lightfoot, author of "Beneath the Surface, WWI Submarines Built in Seattle and Vancouver", the vessels seen in this photo are, starting from the left rear to forward, are the H-9 and the H-8. The submarine behind the crane boom is the H-7 with the H-6 in the center foreground. The submarine on the right is the H-5. Unseen in the photo is the H-4 behind the H-5. The H-6 and the cab of the crane is blocking the view of the H-4.

The crane is in the process of lifting a hull plate into position to be riveted to the H-8 hull frames. There is already one plate on the port side of the hull about the location of the engine room. This might be the matching plate for the starboard side. All parts were cut and formed in Canada and just needed to be fit into place and fastened. It made for quick assembly.

Lower hull plating has been applied to the H-7, H-6 and H-5 also. It can only be assumed that the same is true for the H-9 and H-4 as the angle of the photo doesn't allow us to see those boats or see them clearly.

Negative in the collection of Ric Hedman

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This second view is looking southwest across Sinclair Inlet, towards the city of Port Orchard. On the right is the H-9 with the H-8 in front of it towards the water. The submarine bisected by the pole is the H-7 with the H-6 in front of her. To the left is the H-4 and completely unseen in the white glare is the H-5.

Negative in the collection of Ric Hedman

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The photo isn't distinct enough to be certain but there appears to be a sailor in summer whites standing on the platform in the foreground at the bow of the H-7. If it is a sailor it confirms the time frame for after June 1 when the uniform changes from Blues to Whites. What he may be doing is unknown. He seems to be the only person in a uniform in the photo. Even the fact that he is an officer or enlisted is not certain.

Negative in the collection of Ric Hedman


USS H-4 on Launch Day
USS H-4 on launch day, Oct. 9, 1918 at Bremerton Naval Shipyard. The H-7 is along side to the right.
Photo provided by Rick Larson MMCM (SS) (ret.)

Crew and yard workers on ddeck
USS H-4 Crew and yard workers on deck in preparation for launching.
Photo provided by Rick Larson MMCM (SS) (ret.)

Crew and yard workers on deck
USS H-4 crew and yard workers on the back deck.
Photo provided by Rick Larson MMCM (SS) (ret.)

Crew standing on the deck of another submarine underconstruction
Crewmen of H-7 under construction shown at far right in large photo.
Note the incomplete nature of the hull shown in next photo.
USS H-7 was launched October 17, 1918.
Photo provided by Rick Larson MMCM (SS) (ret.)

sub under construction
Torpedo tube outer doors shown.
Shutter door operating arm hull penetration shown to the right of the two tube doors
Photo provided by Rick Larson MMCM (SS) (ret.)

Subs official lauching dignitaries
USS H-4's official launching dignitaries. One of the two women
is Mrs. Ralph O. Davis, the ships' sponsor.
Photo provided by Rick Larson MMCM (SS) (ret.)

The Fessenden oscillator for communication
A good photo of the subs Fessenden Oscillator for underwater communication.
Photo provided by Rick Larson MMCM (SS) (ret.)

Workers wait under the hull to knock the bracing loose
Yard workers wait under the hull to knock the bracing loose
to allow the submarine to slide down the ways into the water.
Notice that each man has a sledgehammer to do his job.
Photo provided by Rick Larson MMCM (SS) (ret.)

Workers waiting under the hull
Workers waiting under the forward  part of the hull.
Note sledgehammers to be used to launch the submarine.
Photo provided by Rick Larson MMCM (SS) (ret.)

Onlookers
A few of the onlookers to the launching.
Possibly family of the sub sailors and yard workers.
Photo provided by Rick Larson MMCM (SS) (ret.)

USS H-4 on Launch Day
USS H-4 on launch day, Oct. 9, 1918 at Bremerton Naval Shipyard.
It looks to be a very grey and damp day the
way the flags are hanging on the sub.

US Navy Photo

USS H-4 on Launch Day
USS H-4 on launch day, Oct. 9, 1918 at Bremerton Naval Shipyard.
It looks to be a very grey and damp day the
way the flags are hanging on the sub.

US Navy Photo

USS H-4 SS 147
USS H-4 SS 147

H-boats San Pedro, CA
H-boats San Pedro, CA. circa early 1920's. USS H-9, USS H-6 & USS H-5 The two left hand boats can't be positively identified as H-class submarines. The men have been doing their laundry and it is drying in the sunshine. The notation on the back of the photo says these boats are moored at "Berth 'M' Pedro".


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The torpedo room of the newly assembled submarine USS H-5. Shown on either side in the lower storage racks are two of the four reloads for the torpedo tubes. The submarine could carry a total of eight torpedoes with one in each tube and one a reload for each tube.

The reloads were lifted by the chain-hoists shown on the near ends of the curving overhead tracks shown in the overhead of the photo and then moved into position along the track. At this time the torpedo was swinging free and would have been very difficult to control in an other than smooth sea. These are Bliss-Levitt Mark 7 torpedoes. I can't determine the Mod number due to the lack of detail.

The large wheel shown above the tubes is to turn the heavy bow casting that closed off the outer ends of the torpedo tubes. There were two openings that allowed the firing of the torpedoes. These were asymmetrical and allowed a top tube on one side and a bottom tube on the other to be fired. The the cap was then rotated and the other two tubes were then able to be fired.

US Navy Photo

Conning tower H-5
Conning tower H-5. An officer or Chief is standing forward of the con,
Torpedo loading hatch is open to aid in cooling and ventilating the boat.

USS H-6 SS 149
USS H-6 SS 149

USS H-6 off San Pedro with Battleships.
USS H-6 off San Pedro with 3 Battleships.
Submarine H-6, BB on left is either Wyoming BB-32, or Arkansas BB-33.
Closest BB on right is either South Carolina BB-26, or Michigan BB-27.
No clear view of third BB.  Circa 1919.
Many thanks to Steve Reichmuth for providing the historical information.

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USS H-6 sitting still for a nice photo on a calm San Pedro Bay, circa 1920. You couldn't ask for a more idyllic scene for a photo. On the deck behind the Conning Tower are a civilian man and woman taking in the experience.

US Navy Photo

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USS H-6 sitting still for a nice photo on a calm San Pedro Bay, circa 1920. You couldn't ask for a more idyllic scene for a photo. On the deck behind the Conning Tower are a civilian man and woman taking in the experience. Ships crew sitting on the forward deck relaxing.

US Navy Photo

Conning tower USS H-6
Conning tower USS H-6. Sailor to the left of the conning
tower is either working or relaxing in the shade. All hatches seem
to be open to help cool and ventilate the boat

H-6, H-7 ,H-8 & H-9 at San Pedro, Ca
H-6, H-7, H-8 and H-9 moored at San Pedro Submarine Base in 1919.
These boats were 4 of 6 such EB boats originally to go to Russia
but the delivery was not made because of the Russian Revolution. Some
(and maybe all) of them were partially completed and parts shipped to Puget
Sound Naval Shipyard where they were assembled.
Photo provided by Stan Lintner, his father, Harold Lintner, served aboard the H-8 as a Chief Radioman

USS H-7 SS 150
USS H-7 SS 150

USS H-8 SS 151
USS H-8 SS 151 under construction, Bremerton, Washington.

Making Movies on the H-8
This photo taken on August 9, 1919 shows a mixed group of H-8 crew and
movie actors including Wallace Beery, (right center, second row),
Jane Novak and Hobart Bosworth, (left center, second row),  with
USS H-8 in the background disguised as the German U-98. The real Captain of
the boat, Lt. John B. Cooke is in his normal uniform (center front) as is CE(Radio) Harold Lintner,
kneeling, 1st man, bottom row at left side of photo. A number of the crew are dressed
as german sailors and worked as extras in the movie. This silent movie was called "Behind the Door".
Photo provided by Stan Lintner, his father, Harold Lintner, served aboard the H-8 as a Chief Radioman

Some crew up for air aboard the USS H-8
Some crew up for air aboard the USS H-8 sometime in 1919.
They were  maybe on the way back to the base after the day's
exercises and just trying to get some fresh air after a day spent down
below. The blonde haired man on the right is CE(R) Harold W. Lintner.
I think that meant he was a Chief Electrician qualified to operate
and maintain radio equipment and was the rating before there was a
radioman rate per se. This was in the very early days of naval radio.
On submarines, many times the radioman was responsible
for all the electrical equipment as well as the radios.
Later on his rate was changed to CRM, (Chief Radioman).
Photo provided by Stan Lintner, his father, Harold Lintner, served aboard the H-8 as a Chief Radioman

USS H-8 SS 151 in dry dock, Mare Island Aug. 1920
USS H-8 SS 151 in dry dock, Mare Island Aug. 1920
Another sub is at the right in the photo.


USS H-8 SS 151 in dry dock, Mare Island Aug. 1920, Crew on deck
USS H-8 SS 151 in dry dock, Mare Island Aug. 1920
Crew on deck. It is not clear if the sub is entering or leaving the dock.


USS H-8 SS 151
USS H-8 SS 151

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February 5, 1920 the USS H-8 has been visiting Redondo Beach, Calif. Just north off the Redondo Beach Pier that use to sit on its shore just north of the beach side railroad station. The pier was replaced after it was damaged in Pacific storms. There are now a number of pier complexes in the location. It is unknown if the submarine has been anchored out just for the day or for several days. We can not locate any information about this visit. We do know she is in an anchorage area just to the north of the pier.

Original Photo In The Private Collection of Ric Hedman

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February 5, 1920 the USS H-8 has been visiting Redondo Beach, Calif. The H-8 has apparently motored out from the anchorage and has just started her starboard diesel engine. She appears to be charging her batteries. The sun is nearing the horizon through a offshore fog on the waters. It is probably a stunning sunset.

Original Photo In The Private Collection of Ric Hedman

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February 5, 1920 the USS H-8 has been visiting Redondo Beach, Calif. The H-8 is still not underway just charging her batteries. She has two rowboats near her. One just off her Port stern and the other rowing past to starboard. Behind her she has been passed by a lumber schooner leaving a trail of black smoke from her funnel. Just at her bow, touching the horizon is the sun, ready to plunge under the horizon in what is probably a spectacular red/orange sunset in the fog.

Original Photo In The Private Collection of Ric Hedman

USS H-9 SS 152 launch day
USS H-9 SS 152 launch day November 23, 1918

Conning tower USS H-9
Conning tower USS H-9. Three crew are standing on the aft deck.

H-9 assisting diver training at San Pedro, Ca
H-9 assisting diver training at San Pedro, Ca
Diver is Harry Wayne Fields, crewman from the H-3
Photo courtesy of Carolyn Fields Snider  whose Uncle, Harry Fields  took the photos or is in them.

H-9 in dry dock
H-9 in dry dock Mare Island Shipyard, CA
Photo courtesy of Carolyn Fields Snider  whose Uncle, Harry Fields  took the photos or is in them.

Stern of H-9 while in dry dock
Stern of H-9 shown while in dry dock, Mare Island Shipyard, CA.
Photo courtesy of Carolyn Fields Snider  whose Uncle, Harry Fields  took the photos or is in them.

USS H-9 SS 152
USS H-9 SS 152 off San Pedro, Ca.

USS H-9
USS H-9 with the USS MINNEAPOLIS C-13 and the Hospital Ship USS Comfort AH-3 in the background.

H-9 on the surface
H-9 on the surface. Signalman with flag is standing on top of periscope sheers
Photo provided by Stan Lintner, his father, Harold Lintner, served aboard the H-8 as a Chief Radioman

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USS H-9 diving off Southern California near San Pedro. A complimentary photo to the one below.

US Navy Photo

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A hand colorized photo of the USS H-9 surfacing off Southern California near San Pedro. It appears to be the complimentary photo to the one above it of the H-9 diving.

US Navy Photo

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