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US Navy Sub Chaser SC110

World War One, Convoy Escort


SC110 was built in the first contract at the Charleston Navy Yard, Charleston, SC. The Navy Yards at Charleston built eight Sub Chasers, SC106-SC113. These wooden hull vessels were built from 1917-1919 for the US Navy and the French Navy During WWI. Some of the second contract boats were transferred to Cuba. During 1917-1919 there were 3 contracts with 38 different builders.

It is known that SC110 along with SC37, SC46, SC181, SC207 and SC329 were based out of Devonport, England and worked minesweeping duties in the North Sea.

Mike Fitzgerald shared this photo, which is believed to be SC110. This photo shows 3 Sub Chasers tied up in a harbor which may be Devonport, England while she was working minesweeping duties in the North Sea in 1919. The boat in the forground may be the SC110 as the hull number cannot be seen but on each crow nest is a canvas covering and only the 0 of the 110 can be made out. The middle boat is marked 220 so this may be the SC220 and the boat in back seems to be marked as 1 and could be the SC1. There are 16 crew visable on the SC110 and this is a good clear photo showing many of the details of the Sub Chasers. On the dock is a USN truck backed up to a building.

These wooden hull boats had a displacement of 77 tons normal and 85 tons fully loaded. The length was 110' and had a beam of 14', 8 ". They had a fully loaded draft of 5 feet 8- inches. Their power plants were 3 sets of 220 B.H.P. Standard petrol motors giving these a working speed of 16-17 kts. at full speed. The fuel that they carried was 2,400 gallons and this gave them a patrol range of 900 miles at 10 kts. The crew complement was 27 for this vessel.

These boats were designed to be armed with one 6 pounder and 2 machineguns. Not all boats were armed the same and the majority had one 3-inch (23 cal.), two Colt machineguns and one Y-gun. Some carried extra 6 pounders. All were equipped with depth charges.

Some of these boats carried Hydrophone gear and some were fitted with the K-tube hydrophones with a 30-mile acoustic radius. Other boats had SC and MB hydrophone tubes built into (and insulated from) the hull with a 3-mile acoustic radius. All the boats that had hydrophone gear carried extra depth charges. These boats were also known to be quick rollers in rough seas with periods of about 5 seconds.

Above is SC273 built by the Mare Island Navy Yard in the first contract group. It is of the same general type as the SC110. For additional information about WWI Subchasers visit Todd Woofenden's web site.

Petty Officer 1st Class Louis Fitzgerald, a jovial and articulate farm boy from Wisconsin, was trained as a cook at Great Lakes Naval Training Station and served on sub-chasers in the North Sea until the Armistice when he was transferred to the USS Zeppelin. Just a bit more trivia; he was the cousin of brothers Bob and Bing Crosby (through their grandmother Kate Harrigan) and a 4th cousin to John 'Honey-Fitz' Fitzgerald, the mayor of Boston and maternal grandfather of the Kennedy brothers.

This photo of Lou (seated) is with his young ship-mate Turk Dinton from his days on Sub-Chaser, SC110, before the Zeppelin, from Minneapolis, MN who once, during their Shore Patrol duty, followed Lou into a bar where British and US sailors were getting 'into-it' and Lou was 'taken-out' within seconds of entering. When he came 'to' he was propped up in a chair in front of the bar with Turk Dinton (the kid from Minneaplolis) twirling a set of brass knuckles around his index finger who told grandad that the swabbie who took him 'out' with 'these'-refering to the knucks, was taken out by THIS-pointing to his billie club! And after grandad cleared his head they had a laugh and a confiscated pint.

Mike Fitzgerald shared with me the photos of the SC110 and about his Grandfather who was a cook aboard the USS Zeppelin and was a crewmen on the SC110.


Date this page was last updated Sun, Jun 24, 2007

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