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The S-Boats
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USS S-1 SS 105
USS S-1 SS 105.

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The USS S-1, USS S-2 and submarine tender USS Beaver moored at New York city. The sign on the building in the background says "New York Central Line". The time frame is pretty tight as the S-2 was modified with a large flared bow and a bow buoyancy tank soon after trials and this is missing in this photo. The S-1 was commissioned on June 5, 1920 and the S-2 on May 25, 1920 and the Beaver left July 22, 1921 for the Pacific with S-2 and others. I give the date of this photo to be late summer 1920.

The S-2 left for the Pacific on July 22, 1921 with boats of Submarine Divisions 18 and 12, for what was, at that time, the longest cruise on record for American submarines. They sailed via the Panama Canal to Pearl Harbor and then on to Cavite, Luzon, in the Philippine Islands.

The S-1 was part of Submarine Division 2 with subsequent operations out of New London, Connecticut, cruising the New England coast until 1923. On 2 January 1923, she shifted to SubDiv Zero, as the sole sub in that division, a division created for experimental work, and conducted winter maneuvers in the Caribbean Sea. She returned to New London in the spring to continue experimental duty.

As part of a series of studies conducted by the United States Navy after World War I into the possibility of submarine-borne observation and scouting aircraft, S-1 became the experimental platform for this project late in 1923. She was altered by having a steel capsule mounted abaft the conning tower; a cylindrical pod which could house a small collapsible seaplane, the Martin MS-1.

Note the officer on the top bridge of the Beaver and the crew on the bow and seveal other locations along her side.

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

Cdr. Vincent John Moore

Cdr. Vincent John Moore was XO of the USS S-1 SS 105 in 1921. He later became the CO of the USS R-9. He was a graduate of Annapolis, Class of 1917. He served on board USS Pennsylvania when it went to Europe with President Wilson to sign treaty ending WWI. Cdr Moore retired from the Navy in 1924 due to health reasons. He was recalled to active duty in 1942 as an instructor. He passed away on Dec. 9, 1973.

Photo provided by his great grandneice Patricia M. Lynn


S boat seen from the deck of a ship in WW II
S-boat seen from the deck of a ship during WW II

USS S-1 SS 105
USS S-1 SS 105. First US Submarine to carry an airplane.

USS S-1 SS 105
USS S-1 SS 105 flooded down for retrieving the aircraft.

USS S-1 SS 105
USS S-1 SS 105 with the crew on deck.

USS S-1 SS 105 crew
USS S-1 SS 105 with the crew on deck. Blur is due to slow film and speed of boat.
US Navy Photo

USS S-1 submerging with cameraman on bridge
USS S-1 submerging with a movie cameraman on bridge filming the dive.
Photo from the Private Collection of Ric Hedman

USS S-1 submerging with cameraman on bridge
USS S-1 submerging with a movie cameraman on bridge filming the dive.
Photo from the Private Collection of Ric Hedman

USS S-1 submerging with cameraman on bridge
USS S-1 submerging with a movie cameraman on bridge filming the dive.
Photo from the Private Collection of Ric Hedman

USS S-1 surfacing with cameraman on bridge
USS S-1 surfacing with a movie cameraman on bridge filming the action.
Photo from the Private Collection of Ric Hedman

USS S-1 firing a torpedo
USS S-1 firing a torpedo. You can see the curving track.
Photo from the Private Collection of Ric Hedman

Torpedo practice head reaching the end of its run
The torpedo has reached the end of its run. The practice head that was filled with water
instead of explosive is blowing out the water with compressed air.
Photo from the Private Collection of Ric Hedman

USS S-1 firing a torpedo
The torpedo has reached the end of its run.
Photo from the Private Collection of Ric Hedman

Torpedo being retrieved by tender
The torpedo has reached the end of its run and is being retrieved by a small boat.
Photo from the Private Collection of Ric Hedman

S-1 surfacing after a dive
The USS S-1 surfacing after a dive.
Photo taken on the Thames River, New London, Ct, July 22, 1926.
Photo from the Private Collection of Ric Hedman

S-1 surfacing after a dive
The USS S-1 surfacing after a dive.
Photo taken on the Thames River, New London, Ct, July 22, 1926.
The #3 main ballast tank is still flooded in this photo.
Photo from the Private Collection of Ric Hedman

A number of unidentified S boats
A number of early unidentified "S" boats under construction at Portsmouth Shipyard.
S-10 thru S-13 were built with 1 stern tube at Portsmouth Shipyard.
These could be those boats.
Photo from the Private Collection of Ric Hedman


A number of unidentified S boats
3 unidentified "S" boats under construction, Portsmouth Shipyard.
Photo from the Private Collection of Ric Hedman


USS S-2 in dry dock in Tsingtau China
The USS S-2 in dry dock in Tsingtau, China in the 1920's.
The photo was taken by Lcdr Louis Schebia who made an inspection of our
Far East Fleet at that time. The photo clearly shows the old deck line prior to the
addition of the bow buoyancy tank by Simon Lake giving her the very
distinctive, (and very ugly) profile she sported the rest of her career.

Photo contributed by Rick Larson


USS S-2 SS 106
USS S-2 SS 106.
I received this e-mail about this photo:
My comments in red.
July 7, 2001
Ric,

I like a challenge, so I took you up on your offer concerning the photo of the S-2 with her bow out of the water on your "Looking Glass" page.

I did a little research and discovered that the bulbous tank at S-2's bow was not original equipment. Apparently, Simon Lake was concerned about her seakeeping qualities and decided that a bow buoyancy tank would solve the problem. The Bureau refused to let him modify the boat during construction so that the prototypes S-1, S-2, and S-3 could be evenly compared during trials. 
( all built by different shipyards ) After the trials completed, the Bureau relented and allowed him to make the modification in (according to Norman Friedman) "about" 1921. ( Norman Friedman's outstanding work U.S. Submarines Through 1945: An Illustrated Design History )

One other clue jumped out at me when looking at the photo. On the other side of the pier, just to the left of the enclosure, is the conning tower of the USS(?) U-111, a German U-boat taken over by the USN for study. After an extensive series of trials, it was decommissioned (again according to Friedman) in April, 1920. ( S-2 was commissioned May 25, 1920 )

I also could not find any reference (yet) of the S-2 ever having accidentally sunk alongside.

Given these facts, I am speculating that this photo was taken shortly after the completion of the BBT mod in 1921 and this was an alongside static dive to test the tank's operation and integrity. This also jibes with the boat's large up-angle in a shallow water dive.

Strangely, the only fact that doesn't fit is the U-111's presence in the photo. If she was decommed in April, 1920, why is she still around in 1921? Either she wasn't immediately disposed of (I haven't been able to find a date for that yet), or one of Friedman's dates are wrong.
( U-111 was sunk as a target in the Atlantic in July of 1921 )
What do you think?

See ya

Dave Johnston

My thanks to Dave Johnston for this information and pointing out the U-111 in the
background of this photo. I had missed that completely.

USS S-2 in dry dock
USS S-2 in dry dock.

USS S-2 in dry dock
USS S-2 in dry dock

USS O-1 and the USS S-3 during construction
USS O-1 and the USS S-3 during construction
You can see the O-1 is much farther along in the building process.
Milne Special Collections, University of New Hampshire Library, Durham, N.H.

USS S-3 launch
USS S-3 SS 107 being launched from the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard 12/21/1918

USS S-3 on a trial trip
USS S-3 on a trial trip.
Milne Special Collections, University of New Hampshire Library, Durham, N.H.

USS S-3 on trial trip
USS S-3 on a trial trip.
Milne Special Collections, University of New Hampshire Library, Durham, N.H.

USS S-3 running submerged trials
USS S-3 running submerged trials
Milne Special Collections, University of New Hampshire Library, Durham, N.H.

USS S-3 SS 107
USS S-3 SS 107

USS S-3 in Dry Dock
USS S-3 in Dry Dock
USS S-3 in Dry Dock
USS S-3 in Dry Dock with the USS San Francisco circa 1934
USS S-3 in Dry Dock
USS S-3 in Dry Dock a 4 stack cruiser is in the background
USS S-3 in Dry Dock
USS S-3 in Dry Dock
USS S-3 crew
USS S-3 crew circa 1920
Photo provided by Rick Larson MMCM (SS) (ret.)
USS S-3 crew
USS S-3 crew circa 1920
Stewardsmates

Photo provided by Rick Larson MMCM (SS) (ret.)
USS S-3 crew
USS S-3 crew circa 1920
Photo provided by Rick Larson MMCM (SS) (ret.)
USS S-3 crew
USS S-3 crew circa 1920
Photo provided by Rick Larson MMCM (SS) (ret.)
USS S-3 crew
USS S-3 crew circa 1920
Photo provided by Rick Larson MMCM (SS) (ret.)
USS S-3 crew
USS S-3 crew circa 1920
Photo provided by Rick Larson MMCM (SS) (ret.)
USS S-3 crew
USS S-3 crew circa 1920
Photo provided by Rick Larson MMCM (SS) (ret.)
USS S-3 officres
USS S-3 officers circa 1920
Captain and XO to the left and probably Engineer and Navigator or Weapons to the right.
(Order of officers unknown)

Photo provided by Rick Larson MMCM (SS) (ret.)
USS S-3 chiefs
USS S-3 Chief Petty Officers circa 1920
Photo provided by Rick Larson MMCM (SS) (ret.)
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The USS S-3 left the east coast of the US with SubDiv's 12 and 18 for, at time, the longest cruise ever undertaken by US submarines to the Philippines on July 1921. The two divisions were assigned to the Asiatic Fleet as SubFlot 3 at the Cavite Naval Station.

Upon reaching Pearl Harbor the S-3 was detached and reassigned to operate on the west coast from Mare Island, Calif. She departed Pearl Harbor on November 9, 1921 and sailed to the west coast where she operated until mid-July 1923. On July 17, 1923 she took departure from San Francisco Bay to retransit the Panama Canal en route to New London.

This photo was taken in that short period when she was in Hawaiian waters in 1921. This photo was taken by Ray Suess, SN/1c from the deck of the USS R-14

Original Photo in the Private Collection of Ric Hedman

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The USS S-3 moored outboard the USS S-4 and 10 R-Class submarines. All moored to the the submarine tender USS Camden. The photo was taken at the 79th Street Boat Basin at New York City on the west side of Manhattan Island. The R Boats are the 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 and10. Submarine Division 9 was en-route to the Caribbean for maneuvers. Later in late 1920 early 1921 SubDiv 9 redeployed to the Pacific but the R-9 wasn't with them. She didn't deploy to the Pacific until 1924.

An Original Photo in the Private Collection of Ric Hedman

USS S-4 coming to the surface
USS S-4 coming to the surface.
USS S-4 SS 109
USS S-4 SS 109
USS S-4
USS S-4
The story of the ill-fated S-4 by J. L. Christley EMCS(SS) USN (ret)


MP3 File of the song about the sinking of the S-4.
It was recorded on 12/29/27 - five days after the rescue efforts were abandoned.
"The Sinking Of The Submarine S-4"
Thanks to Bill Whalen for this copy.

USS S-4 in the Philipines circa 1922
USS S-4 in the Philippines circa 1922

A Tour Through The USS S-4 on Christmas Day 1919

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USS S-4 Exterior Photo, Christmas Day 1919, taken from the bow looking aft. Interesting to note that even though the S-4 has already been commissioned she was still in the yards being worked on. A large coil of rope lays where the 4"/50 deck gun will eventually go. On the right is the destroyer USS Israel DD 98 which is at Portsmouth for conversion to a mine layer. On the left it is thought to be the USS S-5 which was only a few months behind the S-4 in construction. Interesting to note that both were destined to sink.

US Navy Photos

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USS S-4 Exterior Photo, Christmas Day 1919, taken from the stern looking forward. On the left is the bow, with hull nember, of the destroyer USS Israel DD 98 which is at Portsmouth for conversion to a mine layer. The sub on the right is thought to be the USS S-5 which was only a few months behind the S-4 in construction process. Interesting to note that both were destined to sink.

US Navy Photos

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USS S-4 Interior Photo of the torpedo room. The detail of the overhead track for the chain hoists can be seen. There is a fore and aft track that leads to the port and starboard torpedo tubes. There is also a semicircular track that allows the transfer of torpedoes from side to side. The track is "gated" and can be swung into position for the use of the center track.

The large vertical tanks on each side are impulse air for firing the torpedoes out of the tubes. The bracing sticking out from the hull on each side provided storage for up to ten torpedoes for reloads. The submarine carried a total of fourteen torpedoes. Four of them were in the tubes and ten in the room. Two each on each of the lower wider brackets and one each on the top shorter bracket.

US Navy Photos

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USS S-4 Interior Photo of the torpedo room showing the forward port corner of the room and the port bank of torpedo tubes and their Impulse Tank. Associated piping is seen leaving the lower part of the tank and shows the cross over for the upper and lower tubes and the high pressure air piping at the top of the tank.

Note that the numbers '2' and '4' are on the torpedo tube doors. That means these are tubes # 2 & 4 . Tubes "1" & '3' are the starboard bank of tubes seen on the extreme right of the photo.

US Navy Photos

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USS S-4 Interior Photo of the torpedo room. The detail of the overhead track for the chain hoists can be seen. There is a fore and aft track that leads to the port and starboard torpedo tubes. There is also a semicircular track that allows the transfer of torpedoes from side to side. The track is "gated" and can be swung into position for the use of the center track.

This view looking aft shows the torpedo storage rack more clearly. The submarine carried a total of fourteen torpedoes. Four of them were in the tubes and ten in the room. Two each on each of the lower wider brackets and one each on the top shorter bracket. Bunks can be seen tilted up in the after end of the room The torpedo loading skid can be seen on the top brace on the right side of the photo. Looking through the door into the battery/berthing compartment you can see crews berthing with the bunks 'triced up'.

US Navy Photos

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USS S-4 after port corner of the Torpedo Room. A few interesting things here. The large circular object above the large piping is the back sides of a Fessenden Oscillator, an early underwater listening and communication device. There appears to be two electric space heaters fitted between the frames just forward of the Fessenden Oscillator. The piping is for the trim and drain system and fuel oil transfer system.

US Navy Photos

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This photo of the S-4 Battery Compartment/Berthing area gives a good perspective of the compartment. The view is looking aft toward the officers berthing and the Control Room. There appears to be several tables folded up on the bulkhead at the end of the compartment.

The bunks are triced up and have bedding on them so this is an actively used compartment. In later years a cover was developed that contained the mattress and bedding and helped protect these combustible materials from burning in case of a flash fire. It is called a 'Flash Cover' but are missing from this image.

You can see the support cables and turnbuckles used to stabilize the bunk stanchions. They were suspended from the overhead since nothing was attached to the battery cover. If you look carefully you can see the Christmas Bell hanging forward of the top far bunk and inline with the left door frame.

US Navy Photos

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USS S-4 Photo of the Battery Compartment, the view is looking forward toward the torpedo room. Note the fancy tissue paper Christmas Bell hanging from the overhead. Photo was taken on Christmas Day 1919. The bunks are 'triced up' meaning they are tipped up and out of the way for ease of movement through the vessel and for cleaning. The bunks are either attached to the hull and supported by chains or, in the case of the center tiers of bunks, supported by the stanchion from the overhead. There are 36 bunks in this compartment, three banks of 12, 4 per row and 3 high. Personal lockers are seen on either side of the compartment.

Nothing was attached to the deck since in was the cover for the battery and consisted of removable planking covered with painted and shellacked canvas for waterproofing. Even though it looks like the heater is attached to the deck that is just a wooden pad to protect the canvas from the metal legs. The heater is portable not attached to the bunk stanchion. You can see the power cord snaking up to the overhead and down to a plug-in on he right. The Bunks are all are braced by cables from the overhead to the foot of the stanchion to prevent sideways movement. A second space heater can be seen at the far end of the compartment and it looks to be bulkhead mounted.

The battery was made by Gould and was a Model 35-U. It was divided into two sections of 60 cells each. The total battery had a capacity of 1240 KWH. Just forward of the space heater you can see a light colored line going across the compartment. This is the divider bulkhead between the forward and aft sections of the battery.

The crew slept and ate in this compartment. The table to the left is just one of six fold up tables used for eating. When not in use they were folded up and stored at the aft end of the compartment. (see next photo) The chairs were for seating at the table as well as relaxing in. The rectangular ventilation duct work can be seen running a long the left side of the photo.

I'm told that the crews only head was at the forwaard end of this compartment and was used by Officers and Enlisted alike.

US Navy Photos

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USS S-4 Photo of the Battery Compartment, the view is looking aft toward the officers berthing and the Control Room. Again, note the fancy tissue paper Christmas Bell hanging from the overhead. Photo was taken on Christmas Day 1919. There appears to be 3 tables folded up on the left side of the passageway and two on the right. Officers bunks were in the two staterooms on either side of the passageway to the Control Room. Assuming one for the Captains Stateroom the other officers must have bunked in the other one.

The ever ready urn of coffee, life blood of the Navy, sits on the counter. A tiny Christmas tree sits on the counter next to it. The battery compartment ventilation fan is on the right side of the photo.

US Navy Photos

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USS S-4 Navigation table and compass binnacle located in the forward Starboard corner of the Control Room. The drawers held charts and other navigation gear such as the parallel rulers and dividers and probably the Navigators sextet.

US Navy Photos

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USS S-4 Photo of the Control Room looking Forward to the Crews Berthing. The compass binnacle can be seen fwd of the electrical panels on the right. Next to that ts the chart table used for navigation. In the center of the room is the periscope in its lowered position. On the left are the bow and stern planes control wheels. The Air Manifold is on the fwd bulkhead. Steering was performed in the tiny conning tower using electrical switches or from the bridge, while on the surface, using a control box on a long cable passed up from the conning tower.

The electrical panels on the right are part of what later would be moved aft to an area known as the 'Maneuvering Room'. The electrical power to the motors was controlled from here. It also was here the current from the generator put a charge back into the battery during a battery charge. The "Controllerman" or "DC Electrician' sat at his station on the seat provided and operated the 'Sticks' as needed to carry out the propulsion requirements of the submarine.

The large motor in the center of the overhead is thought to be for raising and lowering the telescoping radio mast. The location is correct based on the observed drawings of this class submarine.

US Navy Photos

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USS S-4 Photo of the Control Room looking aft towards the Engine Room. The electrical panels on the left are part of what later would be moved aft to an area known as the 'Maneuvering Room'. The electrical power to the motors was controlled from here. It also was here the current from the generator put a charge back into the battery during a battery charge. The "Controllerman" or "DC Electrician' sat at his station on the seat provided and operated the 'Sticks' as needed to carry out the propulsion requirements of the submarine.

The two rooms with the corrugated sheet metal bulkheads are the Radio Room on the left and what most likely is the Galley on the right. Through the door you can see the Starboard diesel engine. The Trim Manifold is on the right side of the photo. The rheostat for controlling the trim pump is seen at the center of the photo edge.

US Navy Photos

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USS S-4 Photo of the after starboard corner of the Control Room. These are the handles to open and close the Kingston Valves or the main Ballast Tank Vents The Kingstons were located under Control on the outside of the hull for admitting water to or from the ballast tanks. Speaking tubes can be seen just above them. One for talking aft the other for talking forward. The electrical panels on the left are part of the Maneuvering area handling the electrical power to the motors.

The door to the Radio Room is open and a small portion of the Radio and its associated equipment can be seen. You can see that the door is quite thick so the room is probably well sound insulated so the radioman can have no problems hearing the signals.

US Navy Photos

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This a photo taken on the USS S-5 but it shows the after port corner of a Control Room of the same class. These are the handles to open and close the Kingston Valves or the Main Ballast Tank Vents. The Kingstons were located under Control on the outside of the hull for admitting water to or from the ballast tanks. Vents let air escape from the ballast tanks so water can fill them to allow the sub to dive. Seen next to the Kingston levers is the Trim Manifold used for moving water around the sub for ballasting and also used to pump the bilges.

An engine order telegraph like device can be seen up towards the overhead. I do not know what the bottle looking device is unless it is to trap air caught in the pumping system.

Seen on the bulkhead to the left is the drop down serving window from the ships Galley.

US Navy Photos

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USS S-4 Photo from the forward end of the Engine Room looking aft to the door to the Motor Room. The ladder to the Engine Room deck hatch can be seen in the foreground. It was movable and probably was stowed out of the way or maybe even folded up into the overhead to make passage through the boat easier.

The two 700 HP NELSECO 4-cycle diesel engines are seen filling the room either side of the center walkway.

US Navy Photos

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USS S-4 Photo from the aft end of the Engine Room looking forward to the door to the Control Room. The ladder to the Engine Room deck hatch can be seen in the background. The external rocker arms for opening and closing the valves to admit fuel and air and expel exhaust can be seen clearly on the sides of the NELSECO diesels.

Far from being a dark and dingy place the engine room is well lite and clean.

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USS S-4 Photo of the Motor Room taken from the forward end looking aft toward the Tiller Room. This where the 600 horse power Westinghouse motors were placed. To the right you can see the Westinghouse Logo embossed on a piece of equipment. At the far end of the Motor Room you can see the secondary steering station wheel.

The ladder leads up to a deck hatch. In the overhead behind the ladder you can see the mechanical steering rod linkage heading aft to the Tiller Room.

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USS S-4 Photo of the Motor Room taken from the aft end looking forward toward the Engine Room. This where the 600 horse power Westinghouse motors were placed. To the right you can see a lathe and vice. Repairs to equipment and machinery could be made using this work area and new parts could be fabricated by a skilled machinist. Forward of the lathe can be seen a couple of 'MG' sets (Motor Generators) for turning DC power into AC power. This class of submarine were the first to have mechanical refrigeration, among other things, for keeping food from spoiling so many different voltages of electricity were needed to meet the new electrical needs of the submarine.

The silvery vertical stripe seen off to the left in the foreground is the back side of a sight glass probably showing the fluid level of the aft trim tank, In the photo above you can see the front of this . It bisects the ships wheel.

US Navy Photos

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USS S-4 Photo through the Tiller Room door of the gearing for the ships rudder and stern planes. To the left you can see a bench grinder. Part of the machine shop in that part of the submarine to do repairs underway. To the right of the light in the overhead, seen through the rectangular opening, is the mechanical steering rod penetrating the bulkhead. This runs from the Control Room to be able to steer the sub by direct turning of the wheel if electrical power was lost.

On the USS S-5 the Tiller Room is where the crew cut a part of the hull away to effect an escape from the sunken submarine.

US Navy Photos

End of the Tour Through The USS S-4

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USS S-4 mooring up to another submarine in Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii circa May 15, 1921. She was reported to be making active operations at Pearl Harbor on that date being referenced in the logbook of the USS Celtic, a refrigerated stores ship. The Celtic reported passing the S-4 exiting Pearl Harbor as the Celtic was making to enter the harbor on that date.

Several Auxiliary Mine Warfare vessels can be seen in the background. One is most likely to be the USS Lapwing, AM-1, engaged in mine sweeping operations in Hawaiian waters from January 1921 until she decommissioned April 11, 1922. The other is most likely the USS Oriole, AM-7, who was also decommissioned in 1922 on May 3rd. Both were decommissioned due to the Washington Treaty B terms.

The S-4 sailed with SubDiv 12, and SubDiv 18 from Portsmouth, NH for Cavitie in the Philippines on November 18, 1920 and arrived, via the Panama Canal, at Pearl Harbor on April 15, 1921. They departed Pearl Harbor on November 3, 1921 for Cavite, arriving December 1, 1921.

Original Photo in the Private Collection of Ric Hedman

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USS S-4 in dry dock in Hawaii circa May - October 1921. The S-4 sailed with SubDiv 12, and SubDiv 18 from Portsmouth, NH for Cavitie in the Philippines on November 18, 1920 and arrived, via the Panama Canal, at Pearl Harbor on April 15, 1921. They departed Pearl Harbor on November 3, 1921 for Cavite, arriving December 1, 1921.

She is shown here along with the tender USS Alert AS-4 and at least one more submarine. Her stern planes are visible in the upper right. There are most likely two more submarines in the dock with them but are not shown. The Alert was decommissioned at Mare Island on March 9, 1922.

Original Photo in the Private Collection of Ric Hedman

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USS S-4 along side the submarine tender USS Holland for routine work. A chain has been run under the bow of the S-4 and using a purpose built hoisting system built into the clipper bow of the Holland, the bow is being raised for maintiance work most probably on the torpedo tube shutter doors or tube outer doors.

In this circa 1926/27 photo you can see that the bow has already been raised about three to four feet judging by the marine growth seen on the hull. Location is either San Diego or Panama, the S-4 was in both locations with the Holland prior to her move to the east coast.

US Navy Photos

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USS S-4 along side the submarine tender USS Holland for routine work. A chain has been run under the bow of the S-4 and using a purpose built hoisting system built into the clipper bow of the Holland, the bow is being raised for maintiance work most probably on the torpedo tube shutter doors or tube outer doors. circa 1926/27. Location is either San Diego or Panama, the S-4 was in both locations with the Holland prior to her move to the east coast.

Most likely, to make lifting the bow easier, the aft group of ballast tanks may have been partly flooded putting an angle on the sub. Though the forward trim tank pumped empty and the aft trim filled would also make this lifting easier. Just lifting the bow would contribute somewhat to the stern being forced under as seen here. What procedure used on this day is not certain.

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USS S-4 along with sister subs 6, 7, 8, 25 and one unknown moored to the USS Holland in this circa 1926 photo. Location may be Panama.

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This combined image from two photos show a total of 10 S class submarine at Coco Solo, Panama circa March / April 1927. We know this date since it was the only time the S-4 could have operated in these waters before she was rammed and sunk. The ships anchored in the background are waiting for their scheduled transit times through the Panama Canal.

In the top portion of the photo are all Portsmouth Naval Shipyard built submarines. Left to Right are the USS S-4 The USS S-6, then the USS S-8 and lastly the boat is most likely the USS S-9 as she was the only vessel that meets the visuals of this boat in the photo that was in Panama in 1927. You can see another raft of nested submarine behind these boats.

On the bottom section of the image are 6 Electric Boats design submarines. The USS S-19 is outboard to the left followed by what may be the USS S-18. Next are the USS S-27 and the USS S-1, The S-1 was the only S class to have that configuration of limber holes. The last submarine we can identify is the USS S-22. The sub on the right is still being researched at this time. A small skiff is moored to the bow of the S-19.

Thanks to Dave Johnston for much of this information.

Original Snapshots In The Private Collection Of Ric Hedman

USS S-4 SS 109 circa 1921, Portsmouth, NH<br>Crew doing laundry
USS S-4 SS 109 circa 1921, Portsmouth, NH
Crew doing laundry



USS S-4 Salvage Photos Here



USS S-4 SS 109 circa 1931, Mare Island, Ca
USS S-4 SS 109 circa 1936, Mare Island, Ca.
The S-4 at the end of her long but tragic life, waiting scrapping.
This may be one of the very last photos taken of the S-4 before she was taken out and scuttled.

Original photo From the Private Collection of Ric Hedman
USS S-4 SS 109 circa 1936, Mare Island, Ca
Close up of the USS S-4 SS conning tower.
Periscopes have been removed and the radio mast is askew.
You can see power cables coming from a junction box just below her running light on the front of the bridge.
Some lead to the sub moored to the left to provide power to that boat. Most Likely for minimal lighting and bildge pumps.
This may be one of the very last photos taken of the S-4 before she was taken out and scuttled.

Original photo From the Private Collection of Ric Hedman
USS S-4 SS 109 circa 1936, Mare Island, Ca
Close up of the USS S-4 SS forward deck.
The deck gun is gone but the pivot mount has been built up with wood to provided a lodging point for the anchor chain.
The chain could be used for mooring and most likely for towing after her decommissioning.
You can see the shackle that attached the chain to the towing cable.
The cable can be seen laying along the deck inside the lifelines. Probably too rusty to trust with a tow.
You can see how rusty the superstructure is on the side of the sub.

Original photo From the Private Collection of Ric Hedman
USS S-5 SS 110
USS S-5 SS 110
USS S-5 underway
USS S-5 underway
Milne Special Collections, University of New Hampshire Library, Durham, N.H.

USS S-6 SS 111
USS S-6 SS 111 at Mare Island Shipyard, California
Photo courtesy of Carolyn Fields Snider  whose Uncle, Harry Fields  took the photos or is in them.

S-6 with captured German U-111

S-6 (left) with captured German U-111 in center of the photo. The photo is indistinct but it appears that the US sub on the far left of the photo is the S-3, one of the two subs the U-111 toured the east coast with on a bond drive to raise money for off setting war debts. The retractable radio antenna's can be seen on the starboard side of the U-111.
Milne Special Collections, University of New Hampshire Library, Durham, N.H.



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The USS S-6 seen here moored to an unidentified tender and at an unidentified location circa 1920's. Four crew are on deck three forward and one aft. Two large sacks which may be anything from produce to garbage sit at the front of the conning tower fair water.
Original Photo in the Private Collection of Ric Hedman

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The USS S-6 shown with the destroyer USS Borie DD 215 which has just run over the S-6 when she was submerged and damaged the S-6 periscopes and radio masts.
Photo courtesy of Jim Townsend son of Charles J. Townsend

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The S-6 entering harbor after the collision with the USS Borie. I'm not familiar with the harbor.
Photo courtesy of Jim Townsend son of Charles J. Townsend

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Damaged to the USS S-6 seen after returning to port. Port side view of damage. In the center of the photo crouching on the aft end of the bridge is Charles J. Townsend. The other men are not identified.
Photo courtesy of Jim Townsend son of Charles J. Townsend

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Damaged to the USS S-6 seen after returning to port. Starboard side view of damage. In the center of the photo is Charles J. Townsend standing on the bridge. To the left in the photo is what is left of the telescoping radio mast. It should look like the raised mast seen behind the damaged periscope fairing. On the right side can be seen the stub of what is left of the forward periscope.
Photo courtesy of Jim Townsend son of Charles J. Townsend

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Damaged to the USS S-6 seen after returning to port. Starboard side view of damage. To the left in the photo is what is left of the telescoping radio mast. On the right side can be seen the stub of what is left of the forward periscope.
Photo courtesy of Jim Townsend son of Charles J. Townsend

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Damaged to the USS S-6 seen after returning to port. Port side view of damage. To the Right in the photo is what is left of the telescoping radio mast. On the left the stub of what is left of the forward periscope. Unidentified subs and ship in the background.
Photo courtesy of Jim Townsend son of Charles J. Townsend

Charles J. Townsend seen after his naval service and in his Coast Guard uniform circa 1927. He joined the Coast Guard to stay closer to home after his Asia service in submarines.
Photo courtesy of Jim Townsend son of Charles J. Townsend

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Crew members of the USS S-6 getting haircuts on the aft deck of another submarine while the subs are in dry dock. The S-6 can be seen to the left. Another submarine is on the right.
Photo courtesy of Jim Townsend son of Charles J. Townsend

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The S-6 gun crew going through a drill. The men are unidentified but a Black crewman can be seen seated in the far gun seat. There were numbers of Black sailors in many positions in the Navy before President Wilson segregated the services and relegated Blacks to serving positions only. Those in a rate were allowed to stay.
Photo courtesy of Jim Townsend son of Charles J. Townsend

USS S-7 SS 112
USS S-7 SS 112.
The stern of a  4 turret battleship in the background to the right.
USS S-7 SS 112
USS S-7 SS 112
USS S-7 SS 112
USS S-7 SS 112 surfacing after a static dockside dive.
Another "S" boat is behind and an Armored Cruiser along side.
Officers & Crew of the USS S-7
Officers & Crew of the USS S-7. Date of photo not known.
Milne Special Collections, University of New Hampshire Library, Durham, N.H.

USS S-8 and an unidentified S-boat at pierside.
USS S-8 and an unidentified S-boat at pier side.
Milne Special Collections, University of New Hampshire Library, Durham, N.H.

USS S-8 SS 113
USS S-8 SS 113 being examined by Navy officers for clues on how to
salvage the USS S-4 that has sunk with all hands.
The USS S-8 was at one point the Flagship for Submarine Division Twelve.
USS S-8 in dry dock
USS S-8 in dry dock, note stern plane arrangement.
It seems to be one large plate with a single ram for moving it.
Milne Special Collections, University of New Hampshire Library, Durham, N.H.

USS S-9 in Dry Dock circa 1925
USS S-9 SS 114
In Dry Dock circa 1925, possibly Mare Island Shipyard since the boats
near her in the dry dock were all reported to be at Mare Island at that time too.

Launching of the USS S-10
Launching of the USS S-10 Dec 9, 1920
Milne Special Collections, University of New Hampshire Library, Durham, N.H.

USS S-10 SS 115
USS S-10 SS 115

USS S-10 SS 115
USS S-10 SS 115 Portsmouth NH. January 24, 1925
US Navy Photo

USS S-10 bow
USS S-10 SS bow close up. January 24, 1925
US Navy Photo

USS S-10 SS 115
USS S-10 close up of ice and snow. January 24, 1925
Just above the limber holes on the right side of the photo are the words; "Bow Planes Keep Clear"

US Navy Photo

USS S-10 SS 115
USS S-10 close up of ice and snow on the deck gun and conning tower fairwater.
January 24, 1925

US Navy Photo

USS S-10 SS 115
USS S-10 close up of ice and snow on the gun and bridge. January 24, 1925
US Navy Photo

USS S-10 SS 115
USS S-10 most likey at anchor on very still day.
The crew is relaxing around the deck gun and laundry is drying from the radio antenna aft.
circa 1925

USS S-10 SS 115
USS S-10 crew is relaxing around the deck gun.
circa 1925

USS S-10 SS 115
USS S-10 most likey at anchor and laundry is drying from the radio antenna aft.
circa 1925.

USS S-10 and USS S-20
USS S-10 and USS S-20 warping out from the seawall.
USS O-3, USS O-4 & USS O-1 are at the finger piers in background.
USS O-3 conning tower is just above the conning tower of S-10.
New London Sub Base circa 1928, 29.

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The USS S-11 in dry dock at what is thought to be the Naval Shipyard Boston circa 1924, maybe prior to her transit of the Panama Canal in October of that year heading to California and then Hawaii. Some sort of work is going on at the bow in and around the torprdo tubes though what it is isn't clear since, what appears to be a barrier, actually a barge in the dry dock with the S-11, has blocked the view. A block and tackle has been rigged and hangs over that location. Some crew has been doing some laundry. A crew man stands on the deck near the gun.

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Close up of the man on deck and the types of laundry hanging to dry from the Jack Stays. It appears to be two white hats, four shirts and a set of longjohns along with a matress cover and pillowcase. Behind those and harder to see are several pairs of dungaree pants and some socks.

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Close up of the work area showing the port torpedo tube shutter doors open and the port bow plane with its guard above it. Just aft and seen just above the plank scaffold as a circular disk is the Fessenden Oscillator sound head, used for underwater communication and sound detection.

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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A stern view of the S-11 in the dry dock. A barge can be seen in front and to the left side in the photo. Access tunnels into the dry dock can be seen at the far end and to the right. This S class design has a single stern plane stretching across the stern aft of the props.

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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A slightly different angle of the stern and the planes and rudder. The S-10 through S-13 were the first US subs designed with an aft torpedo tubes. This came about at the insistence of sub skippers who had WW I experience and wished they had one. When it was discovered the German subs had aft tubes these boats were redesigned to test the concept.

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Close up of the stern from the image posted above showing the stern plane, rudder and aft tube. It may look like the port propeller has been removed but it is just at a different place in rotation than the starboard one.

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

USS S-12 was part of submarine Squadron 6 in 1937

USS S-12 just after launching at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard

USS S-12 just after launching at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard
Milne Special Collections, University of New Hampshire Library, Durham, N.H.

USS S-12 leaving port
USS S-12 leaving port.
Milne Special Collections, University of New Hampshire Library, Durham, N.H.

USS S-13 SS 118
USS S-13 SS 118
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The USS S-14 at the Lake Torpedo Boat Company shipyard on January 3, 1921. The S-14 was launched from the same yard on October 22, 1919. She still wasn't commissioned at this time. That happened on February 11, 1921.

US Navy Photo via Navsource and Daniel Dunham.

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The control room of the S-14. The view is looking aft. To the right of the periscope at the far end is the ships galley, you can see a small window where men could pick up their food. To the left of the periscope is the radio room. In the left foreground is a wash basin. It is flipped in an upright position to get it out of the way and this also how the basin was drained. The water poured out the back into a drain tank. Bow and stern planes wheels and the trim systems are seen on the right side of the photo. All the way in the far right corner of the room are the levers for operating the Kingston Valves.

US Navy Photo via Navsource and Darryl Baker.

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The Engine Room of the S-14 looking aft. Interesting that we know the time of the photo since there is a clock on the right side. The photo was taken at about ten minutes to ten. Above the clock is one of the Engine Order Telegraphs where engine speed requests from control was received and acknowledged. At the aft end of the compartment, through the door way, you are looking into the Motor Room. At the far end of the Motor Room you can see the secondary steering station wheel.

US Navy Photo via Navsource and Darryl Baker.

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The torpedo tubes of the S-14. From the boxes in the foreground and the following photo it is believed to be taken about January 1928. She shifted her home port from Mare Island to Coco Solo, Panama at that time. The quantity of stores portends a lengthy voyage.

US Navy Photo via Navsource and Darryl Baker.

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From the boxes in the foreground and the quantity of goods stored in and around the torpedoes it is believed to be taken about January 1928. She shifted her home port from Mare Island to Coco Solo, Panama at that time. The quantity of stores portends a lengthy voyage. Through the open door way bunks can be seen in their "triced up" position.

US Navy Photo via Navsource and Darryl Baker.

USS S-15 in Dry Dock circa 1925
USS S-15 SS 120
In Dry Dock circa 1925, possibly Mare Island Shipyard since the boats
near her in the dry dock were all reported to be at Mare Island at that time too.

USS S-16 SS 121 Ship is "dressed" with all her "bunting".
Maybe commissioning day or some other major event or holiday.
USS S-16 SS 120
USS S-16 SS 121 in the process of tying up to a pier at
Cebu on Cebu Island, P.I. January 5, 1923, note 4th man
from left. he appears to be tossing a heaving line to the pier.
Picture submitted by John Clear EMC (SS) USN Ret.
USS S-16 and O boats
USS S-16 SS 121, moored inboard of a nest of O-boats.
L to R: S-16, O-8, O-10, O-7, O-9 and O-6.
Boats are moored at Coco Solo, Panama, circa 1925. S-16 Stewrdsmate sitting on foredeck.

Photo provided by Rick Larson MMCM (SS) (ret.)
USS S-16 Stewardsmate
Officers Stewardsmate, USS S-16 SS 121, relaxing on the foredeck.
Boat is moored at Coco Solo, Panama, circa 1925.

Photo provided by Rick Larson MMCM (SS) (ret.)
USS S-18 moored to dock
USS S-18 moored to dock circa 1922.
Photo NOT in public domain
USS S-18 conning tower
USS S-18 conning tower with squadron 4 insignia.
Photo NOT in public domain
USS S-18 conning tower
USS S-18 ships davit is being used to stretch the radio aerial.
The frame for a weather cover over the torpedoroom hatch is in place.

Photo NOT in public domain
USS S-18 moored to the barge Isaac L. Rice
TheUSS S-18 SS 123 moored to the self propelled
barge Isaac L. Rice at Groton on June 2, 1922.

US Navy Photo
USS S-18 moored to the barge Isaac L. Rice
The USS S-18 SS 123 moored to the self propelled
barge Isaac L. Rice at Groton on June 2, 1922.

US Navy Photo
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USS S-19 ran aground off Chatham, Mass Jan 13, 1925 on the southern coast of Cape Cod, on Nauset Beach after foggy weather, strong winds and unusually heavy seas had pushed her far from her course. The Coast Guard Cutters TAMPA (Coast Guard Cutter No. 48) and ACUSHNET came her assistance. Here, the searchlight from the TAMPA illuminates the S-19 in the dark.

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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The Coast Guard Cutters TAMPA (Coast Guard Cutter No. 48) and ACUSHNET, seen left to right, stand by to assist the S-19.

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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The S-19 was finally pulled off the beach and placed in a dry dock at the Boston Navy Yard for repair. Here she is seen with the dock pumped half down and shorings in place to brace the hull. The damage to her starboard stern plane and rudder is evident.

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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The S-19 was finally pulled off the beach and placed in a dry dock at the Boston Navy Yard for repair. Here she is seen with the dock pumped half down and shorings in place to brace the hull. The damage to her starboard stern plane and rudder is evident as the water receeds. The Navy Yard Dive boat has shifted its position to the other side of the dock.

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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A photo taken moments after the one just above. The dive boat is in a slightly different position.

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Divers assistents can be seen suiting up the hard hat diver so he can inspect the keel blocking and make adjustments if possible.

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Again, a photo taken meer momemts after the previous one seen above. A work raft with a hand driven divers air pump has been moved into position in the dry dock. The water level can be seen to have dropped even lower and the pumps empty the dock. The whole stern of the submarine appears to have been twisted to starboard by the grounding.

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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The S-19 is sitting high on her keel blocks and the divers are wrapping up their work.

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Close-up of the diver and assistences taking care of last minute details before the dry dock is completely emptied.

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Written on the dry dock wall is "USS GALVESTON". The Cruiser Galveston, CL-19, returned from duty in the Mediterranean and reached Boston on September 17, 1920. It appears she went into dry dock at the Navy Yard because the crew left their "calling card" in paint. Someone else, maybe the Galveston crew, tried to put a ships name two tiers up but all there is is the "USS".

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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The crew of the S-19 had been taken of the submarine on Jan 14, 1925 before the attempt to pull her off the beach. Here the crew has returned to the submarine after the dry dock was pumped down and the vessel stable. They are seen milling about waiting for the official muster.

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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The crew of the S-19 had been taken of the submarine on Jan 14, 1925 before the attempt to pull her off the beach. Here the crew has returned to the submarine after the dry dock was pumped down and the vessel stable. They are seen milling about waiting for the official muster.

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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The crew of the S-19 had been taken of the submarine on Jan 14, 1925 before the attempt to pull her off the beach. Here the crew has returned to the submarine after the dry dock was pumped down and the vessel stable. They are seen milling about waiting for the official muster.. Some of the men have noticed the photographer taking pictures.

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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The crew of the S-19 had been taken of the submarine on Jan 14, 1925 before the attempt to pull her off the beach. Here the crew has returned to the submarine after the dry dock was pumped down and the vessel stable. The crew standing in formation for muster and general orders and the Plan Of the Day are read.

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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The repaired S-19 ready to hit the water once more. The stern plane has been repaired or replaced and the whole stern section returned to its original postition.

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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The repaired S-19 ready to hit the water once more. The stern plane has been repaired or replaced and the whole stern section returned to its original postition.

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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The repaired S-19 ready to hit the water once more. The stern plane has been repaired or replaced and the whole stern section returned to its original postition.

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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The repaired S-19 ready to hit the water once more. The stern plane has been repaired or replaced and the whole stern section returned to its original postition.

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

USS S-20 in the Canal Zone
USS S-20 SS 125 in the Canal Zone. The S-20 was used as a test
platform for the "new" fleet submarine bow design.
USS S-20 SS 125
USS S-20 SS 125


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