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USS Celtic (AF-2), 1891-1923

Fleet Provisions Store Ship


Displacement: 6,750 tons Length: 383 ft 1 in Beam: 44 ft 7 in Draught: 21 ft
Propulsion: One triple-expansion steam engine. Two coal-fired Scotch boilers, with a single propeller. 1,690 shp / 757 ton coal capacity.
Speed: 10.5 kts Complement: 9 Officers and 119 enlisted men Armament: Four 3-inch 50 Cal., one 3-inch AA Gun


USS Celtic shown on May of 1898

USS Celtic (AF-2) was a refrigerated stores ship acquired by the U.S. Navy for use in the Spanish-American War. Celtic (AF-2) was built in 1891 by Workman, Clark and Co., Ltd., Belfast, Northern Ireland, as the SS Celtic King. Prior to the U.S. Navy purchase in May of 1898 the Celtic King was owned and operated by the Tysor Line and steamed between London, Australia and New Zealand, carrying commercial trade.

The William Ross and Company of London were the registered ship owners of the Celtic King, which in 1891 was their newest ship. The ship was leased and operated by the Tysor Line and used for their frozen meat trade. Together with her sister ship the Maori King the Tysor Line ships would ply between London and Australia and New Zealand carrying frozen meat.

She was built especially for this trade and carries the latest technology of the day. Her hull was constructed of mild steel throughout, and has three decks with deep framing, with two of the decks being steel making her a very strong and sea worthy vessel. Her hull was launched November 1, 1890 at the Workman, Clark and Company Yard No. 73, and she was completed on January 18, 1891.

She measures 383-feet, 1-inches in length, with a beam of 44-feet, 7-inches. The depths of her holds were 27-feet, 8-inches, and her gross tonnage was 3,738, or a net register of 2,429 tons. Substantial watertight bulkheads divide her hull, and she has a double bottom, which extends 266 feet of the length her bottom. This allows for 704-tons of water ballast to be carried. There is an additional tank aft of the peak, which holds another 54-tons of ballast. The bridge area of the ship spans 105 feet in length and the poop deck aft is 38 feet in length. Her saloon area is spacious for a cargo ship and is stylishly decorated with fine materials and polished wood.

The Workman, Clark and Company of Belfast built the ship, and J. G. Thomson of Glasgow, who has engineered several of the fastest Atlantic liners of that time, designed her. She has a triple-expansion engine with a high-pressure cylinder diameter of 26 1/2 inches, medium cylinder of 44 inches and a low-pressure cylinder of 71 inches. Her piston stroke is 48 inches. Her engines are surface condensing and direct acting giving her a nominal horsepower rating of 375 hp, or 2,300 hp effectively. The boilers are steel fitted with Turner's patented furnaces. The working steam pressure is 160 pounds. Her refrigeration equipment consists of two condensers made by the Hall Company. Her frozen lockers are said to have the capacity to store 45,000 sheep carcasses.

For the Celtic King's first voyage she had loaded a partial cargo in Glasgow and then shifted to London to finish loading her holds. The Master of the Celtic King was Captain J. F. O’Toole and her maiden voyage was started on February 6, 1891 from London. But due to a very dense fog she was detained until February 8 when she finally left England.

Her first leg was from London to Tenerifle in the Canary Islands with fine weather along the way. There she re-coaled and was again underway on February 15. The ship crossed the Equator for the first time on February 23, 1891 at 10.5 Degrees West Longitude, where she met with strong winds and a moderate sea as they encountered the southeast trade winds for the first time. The next stop was at Adelaide, Australia on March 30 where the crew offloaded the first of her cargo. After a stay of only one day she was again on her way. March 2nd the Celtic King reached Melbourne where another 3,000 tons of cargo was off loaded. Among this cargo were four field guns for the Victorian Defense Department. Again on her way she reached Sydney Head at 7:10 in the morning of April 13. There she ended her first voyage as she was moored to the Circular Quay in Sydney.

She started her second voyage from London on September 7, 1891 and reached Sydney on November 2, 1891 under the command of Captain J. F. O’Toole. Her deck officers were F. J. Willis, W. Richmond, and J. Solberg. Mr. R. Morrison was the Celtic King's chief engineer.

Her first year of operation consisted of the usual daily routines of a merchant ship, always loading or unloading one thing or another, and miles and miles of sea put behind her in her wake. Captain O’Toole took the Celtic King to Auckland leaving Sydney at 3 o'clock on the afternoon of December 17, 1892 having beautiful weather the entire way to Auckland. She arrived shortly after one o'clock on the afternoon of December 22, 1892 in Auckland coming from London via Tenerifle, Melbourne, and Hobart. She had a partial cargo of some 250 tons of general English merchandise. Once she unloaded her cargo she was to take on 500-tons of general produce bound for London and would sail within a week for Wellington on her way to England.

The Celtic King on July 27, 1893 was in Wellington and took on the following cargo; for Williams and Kettle, Ltd., 211 bales of wool, 99 casks of tallow, 65 casks of pelts, 12 casks of stearine, 83 casks of oleomargarine. For Hawke's Bay Farmers' Co-operative Association, 6 bales of wool. For Wenley and Lanauzc, 24 bales of wool. New Zealand Land Association, 47 bales of wool. Dalgetty and Co. Ltd. 7 bales of wool.

1894 Allan Hughes (who founded The Meteor Steam Navigation Company in London in 1892) purchased the assets goodwill and flag of Money Wigram and Sons. The company name was changed to King Steam Navigation to match the names of its first ships, Celtic King and Maori King. In 1895 the name was changed again to the Federal Steam Navigation Co Ltd, which became one of Britain’s most illustrious shipping companies.

The Celtic King on August 27, 1894 was moving out of Darling Harbor in Sydney, Australia, and her skipper had her helmsman running at dead slow on her engines. At the same time the Steamer Nemesis of the Huddart, Parker & Company had just arrived from Adelaide and was backing into the wharf. The Nemesis was also running at dead slow. When the two vessels were in close proximity to each other a strong westerly gale blew in and the wind was such that it affected the larger Celtic King and pushed her into the Nemesis. The Celtic King's bow crashed through bow-plates of the Nemesis and entered the area where the men's sleeping quarters were located. The wind then drove the two vessels apart and swung them around. The collision was accidental and was attributed to the force of the wind that had kicked up and to the fact that the Celtic King was only partly loaded making her much lighter and easy for the wind to act upon her hull in the water.

Due to war needs during the Spanish-American War the United States Government purchased the SS Celtic King on May 14, 1898 for use by the Navy as a store ship. Transferred to the navy she was converted at the New York Navy Yard, with modern refrigeration equipment and ample storage capacity for use as a store ship to the fleet when deployed. Her name was changed to USS Celtic and she was fully commissioned as a United States Naval vessel on May 27, 1898, with Lieutenant Commander Nathaniel Jordan Knight Patch in command.

On May 25, 1898 the Secretary of the Navy sent a letter to Lt. Robert Howe Pinckney, USN the Commander of the South Carolina Naval Militia to “Furnish 6 officers and 80 enlisted men to go to New York for duty on several ships and shore stations, among the ships was the USS Celtic, and to notify the Secretary where and when a recruiting officer could meet and enlist men.” Lt. Pinckney replied with a wire “Crew ready. Recruiting officer can meet men here as soon as he can get here.” With only twelve hours time allowed to select and enlist crew, it was done; the officers nominated to serve on the Celtic are as follows:

Lieutenant, James J. Igoe
Lieutenant, Thomas F. Webb
Lieutenant (jg), John A. Patjens
Lieutenant (jg), William M. Bostick
Lieutenant (jg), Wade F. Webb
Ensign, W.H. Touchstone, Assistant Engineer

Enlisted men of the South Carolina Naval Militia:

Chief Master-at-Arms, Thomas B. Hays
Chief Quartermaster, A. M. Lewis
Chief Boatswain Mate, Henry A. Torck
Chief Carpenters Mate, M. Meyers
Chief Machinist, Thomas Hancock
Chief Machinist, S. J. Mazyck
Chief Machinist, J. J. O’Connor
Chief Machinist, C. B. Scanlon
Machinist First Class, C. Atkinson
Machinist First Class, Hugh Taylor
Quartermasters Mate, First Class, T. J. Aldret
Quartermasters Mate, W. A. Webb
Seaman, J. S. Beaudrot
Seaman, H. Decon

Seaman, J. A. Gurney
Seaman, A. McBride
Seaman, M. Mitchum
Seaman, C. Oehmig
Seaman, M. H. Owens
Seaman, J. W. Perry
Seaman, J. F. Pills
Seaman, C. D. Pinner
Seaman, J. F. Powers
Seaman, J. E. Webb
Ships Cook First Class, J. E. Cooper
Cabin Cook, E. J. Quinby
Cabin Steward, L. E. Roberts

Cabin Mess Attendant, W. Schultz
Ward Room Cook, Isaac Harris
Ward Room Steward, R. E. Bize
Ward Room Mess Attendant, W. J. Burke
Ward Room Mess Attendant, F. Burkhardt
Ward Room Mess Attendant, J. G. Magwood
Ward Room Mess Attendant, C. H. Tavel
Coal Passer, W. L Beaudrot
Coal Passer, J. W. Davis
Coal Passer, J. E. Churchill
Coal Passer, E. R. McDonald
Coal Passer, G. B. S. Seyle
Coal Passer, J. W. H. Weatherhorn

They were all examined and subsequently commissioned, and with the 80 petty officers and men left Charleston, SC May 26th, 1898, for New York. Once the detail of men from the South Carolina Naval Militia reached New York the men selected for duty aboard the Celtic reported aboard ship. Lt. James Igoe served as the Executive Officer of the Celtic under Captain Patch during the Spanish-American War. This contingent filled out the ships company and was under orders to steam to Santiago de Cuba, being attached to the North Atlantic squadron. The men of the South Carolina Naval Militia were honorably discharged after termination of war.

Among the young officers already aboard the ship were the likes of Carl Theodore Vogelgesang who at the height of his naval career would become a Rear Admiral. While serving aboard the Celtic from 1898 through 1906 Vogelgesang received the Spanish Campaign Medal in 1898, the Philippine Campaign Medal in 1899, and the Cuban Pacification Medal in 1906.

Another of her officers was John Jay Phelps who was an Acting Lieutenant and the Celtic’s Signal Officer, and also served as the Captain’s clerk, from June through July 1898, during the Spanish-American War. In later years during WWI, Phelps would serve as the Captain of the USS Calumet. Phelps was the son of a United States Congressman from the state of New Jersey, and was born on September 27, 1861 in Paris, France. Phelps was a Yale Graduate with the class of 1883. After life in the navy Phelps in civilian life, was a noted fancier and yachtsman before passing away in New York in 1948.

After her shakedown cruise Celtic was deployed to the waters off Florida and Cuban waters from June 11 through September 25, 1898. Celtic was detailed to supply fleet units with medical supplies and fresh provisions including ice. The American Navy had then been involved in chasing Spanish Admiral Cervera's fleet and had them blockaded in Santiago, Cuba. Celtic was involved in supplying various American vessel’s in this area of operation although she was not directly involved in the actions of July 3, 1898 when the Spanish Navy was defeated.

By mid June 1898 Celtic is steaming to Cuban waters with over 300,000 pounds of frozen beef and mutton, which was kept at a tempature of 10 degrees above zero, and 300,000 pounds of fresh vegetables in another compartment kept at 40 degrees. She also carried aboard several cases of ale and wine that the officers of the fleet could purchase if they so desired. In addition she carried an ample supply of the everyday small items the men of the fleet would need, which included every thing from shaving cream to candy bars.

Undated photo showing the Celtic’s refridergation plant machinery with two very stern looking seaman of the engineering division posing for the camera. Handwriting on back of this photo said “The ice machine”

After her duty in Cuban waters Celtic shifted to duty in the southern Pacific areas in Austrailian waters.

In an article from the North Adams Transcript (North Adams, Massachusetts) on January 12, 1899 a description of the newest technology being employed by the United States Navy, that of a refrigerated naval store ship. The battleships USS Oregon and Iowa and the distilling ship Iris, the gunboat Castine and two colliers were to sail from New York to Manila, Philippines a journey, which would last nearly 100-days. The Celtic was to accompany the battleships to the Philippines and she would serve as the fleets supply ship during the journey. By the time the fleet reached the Hawaiian Islands they had been at sea for over 60-days.

While the Celtic is in New York she loads in her holds 250,000 pounds of fresh frozen beef, 25,000 pounds of fresh frozen mutton, and 250,000 pounds of vegetables. At the time this was said to have been the longest distance any frozen meat had been transported. This cargo was used to provision the ships on the voyage and also to re-supply the navy base in the Philippines. The meat was butchered at the Chicago Stockyards, and each quarter was sewed into cheesecloth and frozen. Then it was put onto refrigerated railcars and sent on to New York where it was loaded into the Celtic's holds fully frozen.

During the Celtic’s time she stayed in Sydney, Austrailia there was time for sporting events. One such event was a baseball game held on Saturday August 12, 1899 at Hampden Park in Sydney. The baseball game was between the Celtic’s team and a local team from Paddington. Davis the pitcher from the USS Celtic was said to have a curve ball that was nearly impossible for the Paddington team to hit. The final score was in favor of the Celtic team 20-11 over Paddington.

Later the next week after the ball game against Paddington on Thursday evening August 17, 1899 several of the crew of the Celtic along with crews from several British Royal Navy ships were invited by the New South Wales Cyclist’s Union to a smoker they held at the Quong Tart’s room of the Victoria Market in Sydney. It seemed that during the recent Spanish-American War Australia had great support and fondness of the American and the British Navies and this smoker was one way to show gratitude for the men of both countries. There was a stage set up in which there were two large American and British flags hung from the top. Charles Morgensen of the USS Celtic and E. J. Plamer of the HMS Pylades each raised their arms to touch each of the flags as C. W. Peters a Master-at-Arms from the USS Celtic standing between the men called out to the assembalage, “Is there anything on earth that can haul down these flags?” The crowd cheered so loudly and the excitement was so intense that it lasted a full five-minutes before subsiding. When this duty was over she sailed back to the New York Navy Yard.

Her stay at the New York Navy Yard was short for she was now under orders to transit to the Asiatic Fleet, Celtic steamed out of the New York Navy Yard on October 12, 1899 for duty as storeship during the Philippine-American War in which the United States was then involved. This was America's first true colonial war as a world power. After defeating Spain in Cuba and in the Philippines in 1898, the U.S. purchased the Philippines, Puerto Rico and several other islands from the Spanish. However, the Filipinos had been fighting a bloody revolution against Spain since 1896, and had no intention of becoming a colony of another imperialist power. In February of 1899, fighting broke out between the occupying American Army and the Filipino forces.

As the Celtic made her way to the Asiatic Station she had aboard a mess attendant who had a bit of mystery to him. Later in his life he would be known as “James Young Deer: The Winnebago Film-Maker.” He seemed to boast that he was full blooded Winnebago Indian, but his real name was James Young Johnson, a mulatto born on April 1, 1878. On the 1900 Federal Census he is listed as being “black” and had enlisted into the U. S. Navy on October 8, 1898. Now serving aboard the Celtic steaming to her Asiatic station, Johnson a mulatto had brown hair and brown eyes. He stood 5-foot 3 ¼” tall, and weighed 114 pounds. He had bad lower teeth and a scar on his right wrist and right neck.

Being a colored man in the navy meant his jobs were limited to being cabin stewards, mess attendants, or cooks. Johnson seemed to resent the Navy life with all its discipline. It seems that when Johnson spoke, his commanding officers complained that he was so disrespectful to his superiors, and was very slow to obey orders. James Young Johnson, by March of 1901 had had enough of the Navy life and went AWOL from the Celtic. Shortly he was captured and was placed into solitary confinement on bread and water. Somehow the Navy overturned his sentence and he spent five-months in the sick bay, receiving a medical discharge for epilepsy on October 7, 1901. Mysteriously he had concealed this condition prior to his enlistment in the navy. About a year later Johnson gave an interview to the newspaper “The Colored American” stating he would never reenlist into the Navy due to the navy’s “great prejudices.” It was after his time in the navy that he began to reinvent himself into the Winnebago Indian persona and began to call himself James Young Deer.

As the fall of 1899 grew into the winter of 1899-1900 the Celtic steamed down the United States east coast through Caribbean waters and down the east side of South America bound to round Cape Horn on the long route to the Asiatic Station. Finally the Celtic arrived at Cavite, Philippine Islands, on March 30 1900, and began her duty as store ship to the Asiatic Fleet.

1900 saw several new officers come aboard the Celtic, one of which was a young Lieutenant by the name of Yates Sterling, Jr. He would spend nearly a year aboard the Celtic and go on the be the commanding officer of the cruiser USS Columbia in 1915-16, and the commanding officer of the sub base at New London, CT. During WWI as the commanding officer he had the troopship USS President Lincoln shot out from under him and sunk by a German U-boat during one Atlantic crossing.

On August 1, 1900 Lt. Commander William A. Gill took command of the Celtic. Gill would later be promoted to Captain and command the armored cruiser USS Colorado. On Christmas Eve 1900 the Celtic is reported as being in the harbor at Sydney, Australia. The Celtic served to support the various naval units involved in the Philippine-American War, Celtic carried stores and passengers between the Philippines and Australian ports until mid-July, 1903.

Lt. CMDR Gill's Executive Officer was Lt. (j.g.) Frederick Ralph Holman, who in addition to being the XO served also as the ships Navigator. After the end of the Spanish-American War Holman was transferred to duty aboard the USS Celtic at the grade of Lieutenant, junior grade. On August 13, 1902 as the Celtic was near Sydney, Australia Lt. Holman passed away while serving aboard the ship, and the exact circumstances of Lt. (j.g.) Holman’s death are not known. It is also not known what happened to his body. It is likely that he may have been buried at sea but that is also not known.

Other officers serving under Lt. Commander Gill on the Celtic during 1903 were:

Warrant Machinist George Byron Coleman, who had been aboard ship since August 23, 1899
Boatswain Heinrich Seedorff, who had been aboard ship since May 7, 1901
Past Assistant Paymaster George Richard Venable, who had been aboard ship since November 14, 1900
Assistant Surgeon Lt. (j.g.) Louis Wilson Bishop, Medical Corps, who had been aboard ship since January 26, 1902
Lt. (j.g.) Irwin Franklin Landis, Line Officer who had been aboard ship since February 18, 1900

In October of 1900 during a return trip from the Philippine Islands to the west coast of the United States the Celtic acts as a hospital transport ship for a United States Army officer. Captain Samuel E. Smiley on duty with the 15th Infantry then in China took ill and needed transport back to the States. Captain Smiley was on the Staff of General Bates in the Philippines and had been transferred to the 15th Infantry in China. But within a few days Captain Smiley became ill and was ordered to the States. The Celtic was just about to start back to the west coast when word of Captain Smiley’s ill health was passed to them and transportation was arranged.

The new year of 1903 began with several transfers of men during the month of January. Pay Clerk J. L. Lohse on January 15, 1903, was transferred from the USS Yorktown to the Celtic for duty. And then on January 26 the following transfers between the Celtic and Yorktown were made:
                        Ordinary Seaman G. F. McCreary transferred from the Celtic to the Yorktown
                        Landsman J. Fletcher was transferred from the Celtic to the Yorktown
                        Machinist 1c W. E. Curtis was transferred from the Yorktown to the Celtic
                        Machinist 1c C. L. Niemes was transferred from the Yorktown to the Celtic
                        Coal passer W. Mitchell was transferred from the Celtic to the Yorktown
                        Coal Passer T. Murphy was transferred from the Celtic to the Yorktown

Relieved from duty with the Asiatic Fleet, Celtic, under the command of Lt. Commander Gill, weighed anchor on July 16, 1903 and steamed for Guam, starting her trip to the Puget Sound Navy Yard in Bremerton, Washington. Leaving Guam Celtic arrived in Honolulu, Hawaiian Territory, where she docked at 5:00 PM on August 13, 1903. After a few days the Celtic left Honolulu and steamed for Bremerton. Once she reached Bremerton she was placed out of commission on September 18, 1903.

While the Celtic lay in Bremerton in reduced commission a young Ensign by the name of Guy W. S. Castle reported aboard ship for duty on October 30, 1904. Ensign Castle would later in 1914 be awarded the Medal of Honor while serving aboard the USS Utah during the American intervention in Veracruz, Mexico. Within a month of Ensign Castle reporting aboard the Celtic he was made her navigator on November 21, 1904. Aboard the Celtic Captain Knapp had the honor on August 11, 1906 of promoting Castle from Ensign to Lieutenant, junior grade, and full Lieutenant simultaneously the same day.

Celtic remained out of commission until early fall of 1905 when she was given orders to steam to New York for Atlantic Fleet duty. Once more in commission Celtic left Bremerton on October 19, 1905 and made a stop in San Francisco on November 19, 1905, and then arrived at the New York Navy Yard on January 24, 1906. Celtic served as the store and replenishment ship for the Atlantic Fleet for a year until again on February 23, 1907 she would be placed out of commission. During this time Celtic was under the command of Commander Harry Shephard Knapp, and later in 1907 was commanded by Lt. Commander Lewis Clark.

At the end of December 1905 the Celtic under command of Lt. Commander Harry S. Knapp receives orders to shift from San Francisco to New York to become the fleet supply ship of the Atlantic Fleet. Captain Knapp was expected to have the Celtic arrive at the New York Navy Yard on January 25, 1906, and the New York Yard had orders from the Yard Commandant that they should be ready to supply the Celtic her cargo in two days notice.

In early February 1906 the Celtic is being loaded for her first voyage to the West Indies as fleet supply ship for the Atlantic Fleet.  The Celtic’s colossal capacity was at the time such a wonder to the men who loaded her and those who sailed on her. One of Captain Knapp’s sailor’s remarked about the capacity, “Two wholesale grocery stores, half a dozen delicatessen shops, a couple of packing plants, and as many potatoes as Kilkenny could eat in a week.”

Loaded in her hulls for this first voyage was said to have been 400,000 pounds of fresh beef, 10,000 pounds of fresh mutton, 20,000 pounds of chicken, 300,000 pounds of potatoes, 10,000 pounds of cheese, and over 100 tons of ice. The Yard workers were so amazed at the staggering amounts of food she stuffed into her hulls that one man worked out how much food this would be per man in the Atlantic fleet. It went something like two pounds of chicken, forty pounds of beef, one pound of mutton, and one pound of cheese to every officer and enlisted man in the fleet. And as for the potatoes, with figuring four potatoes per pound each officer and enlisted man would have 120 potatoes each. 

Early August 1906 the Celtic is in Cuban waters and enters into Guantanamo Bay to off load her cargo of 25,000 pounds of watermelons and other fresh fruits and vegetables. While in Cuba Captain Knapp receives orders he is to have the Celtic present during the naval display in Oyster Bay on Labor Day. The crew finishes the tasks at hand in Cuba and makes preparations for getting under way and the steam north. But on August 17, 1906 as the Celtic is leaving Guantanamo she runs aground in the mud. But just as quick as she had stuck on the shallow shoal she was pulled off and re-floated again with no discernible damage to her hull.

Monday, January 14, 1907, 3:30 p.m. It was a regular day ­ sunny and hot ­ with a cloudless sky and what was said to be a faint breeze. At 3:32 p.m. the city of Kingston was busy enough ­ all was alive and well. Suddenly there came the sound of a rushing, mighty wind, followed by the sound of a train roaring in a tunnel and the violent shaking of the earth so that men and buildings were tossed about like puppets. Screams split the air. Within 10-20 seconds a town of 46,000 had been rendered immobile ­ hundreds lay dead or dying buried beneath mounds of rubble and dust. By 3:33 p.m. three shocks had been felt and every building in Kingston sustained some damage; many in the lower part of the city were destroyed.

Days later Kingston resembled a ghost town empty, silent, dark and broken. Assistance came from America, England and Cuba in the form of ships laden with provisions, extra surgeons and soldiers. Not all assistance was met with equal grace, however, as there was some concern, even in the face of such unmitigated disaster, that American troops could land on English soil. The idea of taking aid from the Americans apparently did not sit well with all. Admiral Davis, USN landed armed marines without the express sanction of Jamaican Governor Swettenham who asked for their immediate removal. The Americans were insulted, the Governor forced to apologize and shortly afterward, he tendered his resignation.

In Guantanamo, Cuba Admiral Evans reported that the battleships Indiana and Missouri along with the cruiser Yankton arrived in Kingston, Jamaica ready to help in anyway that could but were promptly told "Services Not Required" by the local Jamaican officials. The next day on January 20th the Celtic arrived in Kingston to offload supplies and the too were told the same, "Services Not Required." The Celtic was reported to have arrived in Kingston to the Navy Department but at the time did not know for sure where the Celtic was. They assumed she turned around and steamed back to Guantanamo.

Celtic reached the Boston Navy Yard on Sunday February 10, 1907, and among her passengers was a marine who was locked in the ships brig. Private Edward S. Lang, USMC was ordered held without bail for the murder of Corporal John J. Quinn at Guantanamo, Cuba on November 13, 1906. The murder was said to have been over a quarrel between the two men. Prisoner Land was then removed from the ship and taken into custody by the MP’s from the Boston Yard.

Captain Clark’s Executive Officer on the Celtic was Lt. Joseph Knefler Taussig, who also served as the ships Navigator. Lt. Taussig was the son of Rear Admiral Edward D. Taussig and was a navy man to the core. Lt. Taussig was born in Dresden, Germany, and had entered the United States Naval Academy in 1895. In July 1916, after serving in battleships, cruisers, destroyers, and on staffs afloat, Taussig took command of Division 8, Destroyer Force, the first group of American destroyers sent abroad during World War I. After crossing the storm and gale filled Atlantic, Commander Taussig was asked by the Commander-in-Chief of the Coasts of Ireland when he would be ready for sea. Taussig replied in the now famous words; “We are ready now, Sir.” He received the Distinguished Service Medal for World War I service. After the war he continued to serve the Navy at home and abroad where at the height of his naval career Taussig would obtain the rank of Vice-Admiral.

Once more she was activated and she was made ready at the Boston Navy Yard on October 23, 1908. Celtic was once again to be the supply ship for the Atlantic Fleet, but due to a large earthquake on the island of Sicily she was, at the suggestion of her captain, Commander Huse, to President Roosevelt, ordered by the President to take the Celtic to Sicily to give aid and supplies the earthquake victims. This was partly because she was already full of Christmas provisions, and Commander Huse was very persuasive with President Roosevelt in sending aid to the Sicilians. The tactfulness and political skills of the Celtic’s skipper, Commander Harry McLaren Pinckney Huse, was already apparent as he later would become a Vice-Admiral of the Navy, and be awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the United States intervention at Veracruz, Mexico in 1914.

On December 31, 1908 Commander Huse steamed out of New York and had the Celtic steaming across the Atlantic and into the Mediterranean Sea with $1,500,000 worth of supplies bound for Messina. Once they arrive they set up a tent city at Messina and were there past the Middle of March 1909. In January of 1909 while still assisting in the earthquake relief Captain Huse was reassigned and Lt. Commander George Franklin Cooper took command.

The above photo is dated 1909 on the back side, and the photo is entitled “Refugees from Sicily” on the front. Additionally, on the back side someone has written; “Note the old navy steam launch -  Gasoline boats were just coming in and were the New Navy.” Whoever the sailor was that wrote this seemed like he was an old timer in the navy and still held onto the old navy traditions of steam, or possibly he was a sailor who saw himself as part of the “New Navy.” Out with the old and in with the new. This shows the side of the Celtic with her ships accommodation ladder down, allowing refugees to be brought aboard. The “old Navy” steam launch is in the background.

During the time the Celtic was assisting the earthquake relief her officers were as follows:

Captain, Harry McLaren Pinckney Huse, C. O.
Lieutenant, A. W. Pressey, Execuitive Officer
Lieutenant, John H. Blackburn
Ensign, Robert W. Spofford
Passed Assistant Surgeon, Martine Donelson
Assistant Surgeon, Frank W. Thompson
P. A. Paymaster, John N. Jordan
Chief Boatswain, John Mahoney
Chief Boatswain, Harry G. Jacklin
Chief Boatswain, William Spicer
Chief Machinist, John E. Cleary
Chief Machinist, Ben Smith
Paymaster's Clerk, Richard R. Bolles

Once the earthquake relief duty was completed Celtic returned to the United States. When the Celtic was back in United States waters she resumed her duties along the U.S. East Coast and Caribbean waters supporting and re-supplying the fleet until April 15 1909.

At the Navy Department, Bureau of Supplies and Accounts, on April 30, 1909, J. S. Carpenter, the Acting Chief of Bureau sends a letter to the General Storekeeper at the New York Navy Yard informing him that the Navy Department had the intention to have the fleet supply ships Celtic and the Culgoa, act as fleet supply to the Atlantic Fleet for the summer of 1909. By the middle of June 1909, the battleships would be out at sea and orders were given to the Celtic to be at the New York Yard on June 17 to begin to take on a load of stores and provisions for the fleet. After that date, the Culgoa would report to be loaded. It was noted that during the summer one of the two fleet supply ships should be with the fleet at all times. This was done so that the Atlantic Fleet battleships could reduce the number of stores they had to have aboard, and could be re-supplied from the Celtic and Culgoa, without having to leave station.

The Bureau was recommending that the following list of items be made available for the Celtic for the summer cruise beginning on June 15 and ending on September 30, 1909. These figures were based on a 108-day supply for the estimated 16,150 men in the fleet of the 13 battleships.

Coffee     
Tea               
Corn meal  
Wheat flour   
Oatmeal       
Rice          
Dried Apples  
Tinned Apricots
Tinned Peaches 
Fresh Beef  
Chicken  
Mutton 
Pork Lions 
Pork Sausage
Veal                          
Eggs
Bacon 
Chipped Beef
30,500 lbs
1,000 lbs
1,000 lbs
400,000 lbs
10,000 lbs
20,000 lbs
2,000 lbs
15,000 lbs
25,000 lbs
480,000 lbs
18,000 lbs
25,000 lbs
130,000 lbs
30,000 lbs
130,000 lbs
15,000 dozen
60,000 lbs
2,000 lbs
Corned Beef    
Salt Pork          
Bologna            
Frankfurters      
Smoked Ham    
Condensed Milk
Onions              
Potatoes            
Tinned Corn      
Tinned peas       
Tinned Tomatoes 
Butter               
Lemon Extract 
Vanilla Extract  
Lard               
Salt         
Sauerkraut  
Sugar   
50,000 lbs
20,000 lbs
12,000 lbs
30,000 lbs
60,000 lbs
25,000 lbs
90,000 lbs
890,000 lbs
20,000 lbs
10,000 lbs
20,000 lbs
45,000 lbs
40 Gallons
80 Gallons
20,000 lbs
10,000 lbs
7,500 lbs
65,000 lbs

The subject of Potatoes for the fleet was a great source of discussion in the Navy, it seemed that they were afraid they could not secure enough potatoes for the beginning of the summer cruise to August 9. Arrangements were being made for the Celtic to take delivery of 200,000 pounds of new crop Irish Potatoes at the Boston Navy Yard on July 28, 1909. P. H. Wall & Company was to deliver these potatoes at the contract price of $2.20 in ventilated barrels. But Being that the Celtic was going to be in the harbor in Provincetown on Sunday July 25, 1909 the T. D. Baker Company of Boston, who already had the potatoes on hand, got the contract at a quoted price of $1.98 per pound, which was in 2-bushel bags, and was preferred as they were much easier to handle in bags. On Monday 26 July in Provincetown, Massachusetts Celtic takes delivery of the potatoes. On July 29, a message was sent from A. W. Grant, the Chief of Staff at the Navy Department to Paymaster McGowan aboard the Flagship USS Connecticut, to be sent to the battleship fleet for each ship to “Report at once what quantity of fresh potatoes additional to quantity now on board will be needed to last through August 9.”

On July 30, the answer from the fleet came back stating they needing an additional 50,000 pounds of potatoes to last until August 9 when the USS Culgoa’s potatoes would be available. And so, it seems that the fleet was not powered by coal alone, it also took potatoes to keep the fleet at sea more so than coal. Captain Cooper receives orders to meet with the supply ship USS Culgoa where they were to transfer all fresh veal from the Culgoa to the holds of the Celtic. On September 24, 1909 the Celtic and Culgoa meet in Tompkinsville, New York and transfer the veal to the Celtic. Once completed the Celtic was to steam up river and anchor near where the USS Connecticut’s battleship division was at anchor. On September 27 the Celtic arrives in the North River adjacient to where the Connecticut’s battle group is and they begin to resupply the ships with provisions of meat and vegetables. In all 19 vessels were supplied inside of four-hours time, which speaks to how organized these resupply operations were. Each ship drew rations of beef, mutton, pork lions, veal, pork sausage, bologna, frankfurters, onions, and potatoes.

During the time Commander George F. Cooper was in Command these were his officers:

Lt. Aubrey K. Shoup, Executive Officer
Ensign Damon E. Cummings
Midshipmen James G. Stevens
Asst. Surgeon Maurice E. Rose
Paymaster John N. Jordan
Chief Boatswain John Mahoney
Chief Boatswain Harry G. Jacklin
Chief Boatswain William Spicer
Chief Machinist John E. Cleary
Pay Clerk Andrew J. McMullen
Chief Master-at-Arms Joseph P. Tall
Chief Boatswain Mate Michael Hellard
Chief Quartermaster Alfred A. Doucet
Chief Boatswain Mate John G. Haines
Chief Machinist Mate David E. Fox
Chief Machinist Mate Christopher J. Hogan
Chief Machinist Mate Joseph F. Arnold
Chief Machinist Mate Earl Flemming
Chief Yeoman George W. Case
Chief Yeoman Joseph T. Lareau
Hospital Steward Louis M. Deal
Master-at-Arms Ernest Stewart

Captain Cooper remained her commanding officer until June of 1910 when he was reassigned. On November 8, 1909 at least two changes were made to the officers of the Celtic. Lt. Commander Walter Selwyn Crosley was detached from the Celtic and assigned duty on the USS Vermont. Lt. CMDR Crosley was a veteran of the Spanish-American War and was advanced in grade for highly distinguished conduct in battle during the war. The other change was the addition of Ensign Damon Earhart Cummings who was detached from the USS Louisiana and re-assigned to the Celtic.

On Thursday July 22, 1909 the Celtic is in Cape Cod and anchored just off Provincetown. That afternoon the captain’s gig, or commonly known as a whaleboat was at the pier in Provincetown ready to shove off on it’s way back to the ship. Aboard the gig were about 15-20 sailors and among them were Acting Assistant Surgeon Frank W. Thompson, Chief Boatswain John Mahoney, and Boatswain William Spicer. The men had the gig under sail and although the sails were not large they gathered enough of the wind that afternoon to overpower the small gig. Along came a big gust of wind and quickly the gig was hard over on her beam with every man clutching the upper gunwales or treading water along side the boat. The wind was said to have been only about 15 knots at the time but local conditions displayed quite a chop on the water between the two piers. A moment of panic arose from those in the captain’s gig but this was quickly put to rest when quite by chance one of the other steam launches from the Celtic approached the swamped gig and instantly rendered assistance. The men were only in the water for a short time but it was long enough for those who had the misfortune of being tossed into the bay to be quite exhausted. Once the second steam launch collected the men from the captain’s gig they were once again set on the pier soaking wet and shivering in the brisk southwest wind before they were reloaded and taken back to the Celtic with all hands safe.

In late July 1909 a Typhoid outbreak occurred on at least two of the battleships of the Atlantic Fleet. The Maine had 14 cases and the Wisconsin had another 4 cases. The physician aboard the Celtic eliminated the cause from the ice cream and several other likely culprits, but finally tracked the cause down to bad potatoes. After an investigation into the several hundred barrels of potatoes aboard the Celtic, 60 percent were found to be bad and were condemned. On July 26, 1909 the Captain of the Celtic ordered her anchors up and she steamed out to sea and dumped the bad barrels of potatoes overboard.

The Celtic was in New Zealand waters towards the end of December 1909 and for three days from December 25th to the 27th the Auckland area was besieged with very strong southwesterly gale. On December 22 the Celtic had left Auckland and was running headlong into the storm. The seas were running very high and steaming was so rough that they caused the Celtic to lose 150-tons of coal. Additionally the seas bent the wire reel forward and damaged several hatch battens causing leaking in the holds. The Captain had had enough by December 26th and reversed course back to the relative safety of Auckland. But even in the harbor things were not calm as the SS Invertay dragged her anchors and got stuck in the mud bank in Shoal Bay. Ashore at times the gale was so violent that it uprooted several trees, broke the branches of others, leveled thousands of plants to the ground and blew down fences. On the evening of the 25th heavy rain descended and filled the street channels to overflowing, with heavy downpours occurred throughout the night.

On August 5, 1910 the Celtic was present for the dedication and laying of the cornerstone of the Pilgrim Monument on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. President William H. Taft had been invited to the cornerstone laying event and his Yacht the Mayflower was escorted to Cape Cod by Rear-Admiral Seaton Schroeder, U. S. Navy, Commander in Chief, U. S. Atlantic Fleet, which consisted of 8 Battleships and 6 other escorting ships of which the Celtic was a part of. The Celtic was then under the command of Commander Arthur Bainbridge Hoff. The fleet arrived off Provincetown on August 4, 1910 with the official ceremonies to be held the next day. For the occasion of the laying of the cornerstone, a platform, with a large system of raised seats for the use of spectators, was erected at the south of the monument, the entire structure affording accommodations for upward of three thousand people.

At about nine-thirty in the morning the government yacht Mayflower, with President Taft and his party on board, entered the harbor of Provincetown and dropped anchor near the place where the ship Mayflower was thought to have anchored in November of 1620. The President was received with the customary naval honors by the vessels of the assembled Atlantic fleet. Rear-Admiral Schroeder, accompanied by the captains of the battleships, paid their respects to the President on board the Mayflower, which courtesy was, soon after, returned by President Taft.

Celtic in much need of some normal repairs and overhaul arrives at the Charleston Navy Yard, in South Carolina on October 12, 1910. She spends several weeks there before returning to duty. After her repairs are completed the Navy Department assigns the Celtic to the Boston Navy Yard. This will be her new homeport, which was strongly recommended by Massachusetts Senator Henry Cabot Lodge. She will be maintained and repaired there and also the supplies she would be carrying in the future for the fleet would come from the Boston Market.

In several newspapers across the country on December 30, 1910 the following article appeared about the Celtic.

$1,500,000 IN GOLD CARRIED ON SUPPLY SHIP FOR FLEET

Boston, Dec 30 – If there are twentieth century Kidds or other buccaneers scouring the Spanish main with pirate dreadnaughts they will have a chance next week of tackling a treasure ship laden with gold and modern "pieces of eight" when the United States supply ship Celtic steams into the Caribbean Sea to pay off the fleet.

The Celtic is loading about a million and a half of gold Eagles and double eagles, in connection with beef, bacon and other "grub" which the tars of the Atlantic fleet will want when they arrive from European waters.

The Celtic will land her gold and stores at Guantanamo and it will be payday for the fleet as soon as the ships arrive.

It was on January 4, 1911 that a guard detail of 7 sailors from the Celtic arrived at the United States Treasury building in Boston where they were met by Assistant United States Treasurer George H. Doty who was to place in their charge $1,300,000 for payment of the more than 13,000 sailors of the fleet in Cuban waters. Eight mail sacks containing bills of $20, $10, $5, $2, and $1 were handed to the Celtic’s guards. The bags were loaded into the elevator and taken up to the street where they were loaded into a car from the National Shawmut Bank and driven to the dock where the Celtic was moored. The bags were then placed into the Celtic’s paymaster’s safe and locked up for the voyage to Cuba.

The second week of March 1911 the Navy Yard in New York saw a flurry of activity as the Atlantic Fleet’s 5th Division consisting of the 4 big armored cruisers Tennessee, Washington, North Carolina, and Montana, the Stores ships Celtic and Culgoa, the Hospital ship Solace, the repair ship Panther and three naval tenders, Patapsee, Petuxent, and Yankton were all under orders to transport 600 marines to Guantanamo. The 5th Division was under the command of Rear Admiral Sidney A. Staunton. The cruise from New York to Guantanamo was about 1,300-miles. Ammunition was loaded aboard the ships of the fleet on March 7 and coaling all ships on March 8 with the fleet sailing on Thursday March 9.

In the spring and early summer of 1911 the Celtic was supporting the Marine Battalion that was stationed in Guantanamo, held there to be used if required in Mexico due to the fighting between Mexican President Diaz’s forces and the rebels lead by Madero. On June 8, 1911 the Celtic arrived in port at the Portsmouth Navy Yard and began to take on stores and cargo for the marines stationed at Guantanamo. Once she was tied up four large supply barges came along side and began to off load flour, potatoes, and beef. It was reported that one of the Celtic’s refrigeration units was out of service but she had enough capacity to handle this cargo anyway. Due to the urgent need of this cargo the refrigeration unit was not repaired, and she sailed south 11-days later on June 19 for Cuba.

In June of 1911 a young Midshipman came aboard the Celtic, which was the start of 35-year naval career. This young Midshipman’s name was Stewart Allan Manahan and would retire in 1946 at the rank of Commodore from the United States Navy. Midshipman Manahan had graduated from the Naval Academy on June 4, 1909 and had been serving aboard the USS Nebraska (BB-14) since July of 1909 when he was transferred to the Celtic. On June 5, 1911 Manahan received his commission as an Ensign while still serving aboard the Celtic. Ensign Manahan served on the Celtic until April of 1912 when he was transferred to the USS Flusser (DD-20).

In early summer 1911 there were those in the navy who had felt that New York City was venerable from an attack from the "back door" to New York. This attack was thought that a force may work its way down Long Island Sound past Gardiners Bay at the eastern end of Long Island. In this light the Navy Department devised the summer battle practice of 1911 with this attack plan in mind.

The "Blue Fleet" was designated the enemy fleet and was to be commanded by rear Admiral Hugo Osterhouse, the Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Fleet. Defending the city would be the "Red Fleet" commanded by Commander Edward W. Eberle. The planned mock battle was to take place over a 3-day event from July 18-20, with the Blue Fleet consisting of the 17 battleships, and a force of 10 other ships of which was the Celtic acting as fleet supply ship. The Blue Fleet steamed out of New York on July 16 to a point 200-miles out off Sandy Hook, New Jersey before the mock battle began. Commander Eberle’s Red Fleet defending the city consisted of 2 small cruisers, with 20 torpedo boats, and 11 submarines.

Aboard the Celtic on August 16, 1911 a dispatch is delivered to the Captain’s cabin addressed to Commander Arthur B. Hoff, Commanding Officer, USS Celtic.  Commander Hoff opens and reads the orders, which state that he has been appointed to be the naval attaché at Berlin, Germany and at The Hague in the Netherlands.

The officers serving under Commander Hoff in 1911 were:

Lt. Aubrey K. Shoup, Executive Officer
Midshipman Eddie J. Estess
Midshipman James G. Stevens
Assistant Surgeon Maurice E. Rose
Passed Assistant Paymaster John N. Jordan
Chief Boatswain Harry G. Jacklin
Chief Boatswain William Spicer
Chief Machinist John E. Cleary

USS Celtic shown in October of 1912 at anchor in New York

In mid September 1911 the Celtic is at anchor in the Boston Navy Yard. While at Boston it was reported in the September 25 edition of the Portsmouth Herald that Pay Clerk Andrew McMullen was once again reappointed to duty aboard the Celtic as Pay Clerk. McMullen was a native of Boston.

On November 4, 1911 Lt. Owen Hill took command of the Celtic and commanded the ship into 1912 when relieved by Lt. Commander Watson.

Early 1912 the Celtic was under the command of Lt. Commander Edward Howe Watson. Later in his naval career Watson was a commander of a destroyer squadron and was court martialed for his leadership during the event known at the Honda Point Disaster. On September 8, 1923, dead reckoning navigation errors on his flagship resulted in the loss of seven of the squadron's destroyers through stranding on the rocky coast at Honda Point, California.

The Celtic was in Guantanamo, Cuba in mid February 1912, and on February 11 she starts north for home. Now under the command of Lieutenant Owen Hill, Celtic runs head long into bad weather and rough seas on February 21-23. When the Celtic made port at the Charlestown Navy Yard at 8:00 O’clock on Sunday morning February 25 she was already three days overdue. Lieutenant Hill was heard to say that “Last week’s terrific wind storm was the worst that I have experienced in my 20-years service.” Lt. Hill had spent over 48 hours continuously on the bridge of the Celtic during the height of the storm. Lt. Hill had entered the navy as an enlisted man and had risen through the ranks becoming a commissioned naval officer. His efforts in guiding the Celtic through the storm were highly praised in the naval circles.

View of the Celtic in the storm of February 21-23, 1912. This photograph was taken from the aft deck of the ship and is looking forward as she takes a heavy roll to her starboard side. Note that on the left side of this photo a sailor with a oilskin slicker and watch cap, holds the rail to remain upright.

While at the Charlestown Yard she undergoes some minor repairs and re-supplies. By March 25 she had rejoined the Atlantic fleet assembled at Hampton Roads.

It was in May of 1912 that an uprising in Cuba took shape, and the disturbance was of a size that it caused concerns to the Navy Department. They called up a provisional brigade of 2,000 marines to be transported to Cuba, which was under the command of Colonel Lincoln Karmany. The second regiment of this Brigade was under the command of Colonel James Mahoney, and among his men was the famous Sergeant Dan Daly, a Medal of Honor award winner. Colonel Mahoney’s second regiment took nine different ships south to Cuba and by the time they arrived off shore in early June the uprising was dispersing, and most of the marines were not needed. But Sgt. Dan Daly, who was with Company A, remained at Camp Meyer in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba until August, 1912. It was then that the USS Celtic was in Cuban waters and took aboard Daly’s Company A for transportation back north. But Sgt. Daly transferred out of Company A and into Company E and remained at Camp Meyer as part of the Guantanamo Bay camp garrison. It was on August 2, 1912 while anchored in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, that she took aboard 250 Marines from Company A of Colonel Karmany’s provisional brigade. Once the Celtic was loaded she steamed north for Boston, where on August 8, she arrived at the Boston Navy Yard where she disembarked the marines of Company A.

In the last quarter of 1913, nine Atlantic Fleet battleships, and five support ships participated in the U.S. Navy's October-December 1913 Mediterranean cruise. This cruise was described in that year's "Annual Report of the Secretary of the Navy" as: "... arranged largely for the educational advantages to be derived by officers and enlisted men from an opportunity to visit foreign ports and to travel in foreign countries. Such diversion from the usual exercises of the fleet conduces to increased contentment; and, in consequence, more widespread interest in the Navy and increase of its popularity will result."

Among Admiral Badger’s staff was Commander Charles F Hughes, and he had suggested the idea that the fleet while on this tour should not take any coal or provisions in any foreign port. They would only be re-supplied from United States Naval supply ships. So, for this voyage a supply train of three navy colliers and the Celtic were detailed to be this supply train and were under orders to remain within sight of the fleet at all times. By October 20 the Celtic was loading her holds at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in preparation to sailing across the Atlantic with the fleet. Once the fleet of Battleships reaches Gibraltar in early November the Celtic had the duty to re-supply the fleet with food and provisions before proceeding on into the Mediterranean.

The nine battleships that made the voyage were the USS Wyoming, serving as flagship for Fleet commander, Rear Admiral Charles J. Badger, along with the Arkansas, Utah, Florida, Delaware, Kansas, Vermont, Connecticut, and Ohio. The five auxiliary ships were the three large colliers, USS Cyclops, Jason and Orion, the hospital ship Solace and the store ship USS Celtic. These five auxiliaries assisted the warship force to a great extent, independently of shore support, thus lending an element of strategic "reach" to what was otherwise a friendly sightseeing voyage.

Once the fleet is re-supplied by the Celtic, the fleet split up, with Arkansas and Florida going to Naples for three weeks, while the other ships visited Malta, Genoa, Villefranche and Marseilles. Crewmen received leave for extensive sightseeing, the ships were opened for visits by local residents and officers and men were liberally entertained ashore. A good time appears to have been had by all.

After her re-supply of the fleet the Celtic enters into the Mediterranean Sea and on November 8, 1913 enters the harbor at Marseille, France to a cheering crowd. Along with the Celtic the battleships Vermont and Ohio were also anchored with the Celtic. The shore and docks were lined with locals who had come out to see the American battleships and the American sailors. As the two battleships entered the anchorage the French Flag was saluted with saluting charges from both battleships, which the courtesy was promptly returned from French shore gun batteries. Officers of the American Fleet made their official greeting to the local French authorities dressed in gold braids and all the pomp and ceremony of such an occasion. But due to a smallpox outbreak on the Vermont the crews of both the Vermont and Ohio could not leave the ship. There were only two cases of smallpox but local French officials did not relent and refused to give the ships a clean bill of health. All the sailors could do, was stare off the deck railings at all the French girls ashore and dream.

In Mid-November, the Celtic is anchored in Naples. Just off her starboard side is the towering dormant volcano Vesuvius, that in AD 79, had erupted and buried the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. By the end of November on the 28th, the Celtic is finished with her re-supply of the Atlantic Battleship Fleet and leaves Naples, Italy with the collier Cyclops and heads out of the Mediterranean Sea for the Atlantic.

On December 3, 1913, the fleet passed Gibraltar, homeward bound, leaving behind a Europe that just nine month later would be convulsed by the first of the Twentieth Century's pair of great World wars. At the time, however, the coming cataclysm was quite unanticipated -- the Navy's big worry then was the Mexican Revolution, which, in the spring of 1914 generated a major U.S. Naval combat operation at Vera Cruz, involving most of the ships that had enjoyed a peaceful trip to the "Old World" just a short time before.

In 1914 and 1915 there was much unrest in Mexico and the Navy Department sent several Armored Cruisers to patrol off the coast of Mexico on the Pacific side. Celtic was in Mexican waters early in 1914 and had made at least one trip back to New York to pick up additional supplies and men in April. During her service in Mexican Waters her crew were entitled to be awarded the Mexican Service Medal for the following times she was in the area supporting the fleet:

April 25- May 5, 1914
July 5-July 13, 1914
September 4-October 12, 1914

Outbound from Norfolk in the first week of April 1914 the Celtic receives by radio orders to steam to New York and pick up a draft of 160 apprentice seamen, coal passers and other men for distribution among the ships of the Atlantic fleet. As soon as the Celtic arrived and the men were aboard she was back out at sea on April 6. The draft included 40 seamen for the USS Texas; 40 seamen for the USS Louisiana; coal passers for the USS New York and North Dakota; a chief quartermaster for the destroyer USS Macdonough; 2 hospital apprentices for the USS Solace; and 2 buglers for the North Dakota.

When she finished delivering her load of new sailors to the Atlantic Fleet she steams back to New York for her next assignment. On April 23, 1914, the Celtic is at the Brooklyn Navy Yard taking on stores and supplies for a re-supply trip down south to Tampico, Mexico.

Starboard side view of the Celtic as she is taking aboard supplies to be delivered to the fleet in Mexican waters. This was taken at the Brooklyn Navy Yard on April 23, 1914. Another View taken on April 23, 1914. Many horse and wagons along with trucks can be seen offloading various stores for the fleet.

Celtic sailed at 9:00 PM on May 5, 1914 from Tampico, Mexico bound for the New York Navy Yard. Once at the New York Navy Yard Captain John V. Klemann, who had previously been attached to the Battleship USS North Dakota for the past two-years, was ordered to take command of the Celtic. Captain Klemann would later command the cruiser USS Pittsburgh from 1922-1924. Celtic again cruised Mexican waters from June 16, 1914 through out July 24, 1915, with the fleet supporting key operations of the army troops that had landed in Veracruz in April 1914.

While in the Gulf of Mexico bound for Haiti and Santo Domingo the Celtic’s refrigeration plant breaks down and she quickly steams to Galveston, Texas for repairs. She has a perishable cargo worth over a half million dollars that is in danger of spoiling and as soon as she reaches Galveston the cargo is taken off the ship and placed in local cold storage and freezer warehouses in Galveston. Once the repairs were completed she begins to reload her cargo on September 20. After having spent over a week in Galveston the Celtic is again ready for duty and steams out of Galveston bound for Vera Cruz, Mexico on September 23, 1914. Celtic has a cargo of 250,000 pounds of beef, butter and eggs along with several tons of miscellaneous supplies bound for the warships off Vera Cruz. Once finished re-supplying the ships in Vera Cruz, Celtic will return to New York and reload cargo and steam back south to Mexican waters once again.

In October 1914 the Celtic shifted from Mexican waters to Haitian waters. From October 19th through October 25, 1914 Celtic supported the USS Tacoma as she was protecting American interests in Haiti during a revolution that was currently going on there. On October 24, 1914 a landing force, under command of Lieutenant (j.g.) L.S. Stewart, USN was landed from the Celtic at Cape Haitian, Haiti to re-enforce Captain John Hood’s landing force from the Tacoma. The Celtic’s landing party was withdrawn later the same day.

On the 3rd of February 1915 the Celtic runs aground on Half Moon Shoal in Nantucket Sound, stuck in the mud in the less than 24-foot depths. The Celtic usually drew about 21-feet of draft making for little room for shifting shoals. By then next afternoon she was re-floated and steaming on her way to New York. Once she reached the Brooklyn Navy Yard she would be examined to what if any damage had occurred and repairs made if deemed necessary.

Just off the coast of Progreso, Mexico, which is located in the Yucatan on the Gulf of Mexico on June 26-27, 1915 the Celtic, re-supplies the armored cruiser USS Washington. The Washington had been patrolling Mexican waters and once the stores and provisions had been loaded aboard the Washington then steamed on to Guantanamo to re-coal and take on fresh water on June 30. The Celtic remained in the waters off the Yucatan resupplying other ships. During that time she remained with the fleet except for occasional cruises to Key West, Florida and Cape Haitien, Haiti to pick up additional stores and supplies.

It was in October of 1915 that the 15th Company of Marines had seen much action on Haiti fighting with the Cacos, and by the end of 1915 things had been settled and the Marines were to be brought back north to Norfolk, VA. In late December 1915, the Celtic is off shore of Haiti ready to load the Field and Staff, 1st Regiment and the 2nd Regiment of the 15th Company, for transportation north. Among the members of the Second Regiment was Gunnery Sergeant Dan Daly who boarded the Celtic. When G/Sgt. Daly reached the States, his current term of service was ending and he promptly reenlisted again for another term. G/Sgt. Daly had the distinction of being awarded the Medal of Honor twice, the first award was in 1901 and the second award came in October of 1915, in the actions he had just came from fighting the Cacos on Haiti.

While in the waters off Mexico and Haiti, a wireless message is sent to the Celtic for the attention of her commanding officer. The message was for the captain to inform his Chief Commissary Steward, Frank Donnely that his wife was gravely ill and he should seek transportation home as quickly as possible to be at her bedside. But the Celtic had duties to provision the fleet in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and could not steam north. The officers of the Celtic as well as those of other naval ships in the area began to look for ways Chief Donnely could return back to his home in Newport News. Finally on Saturday January 1, 1916 Chief Donnely arrived in Norfolk aboard the Collier Jupiter and raced to his wife’s bedside. Chief Donnely was able to be with his wife and held her hand as she passed from this life within the hour that he had arrived to her bedside.

In 1916 at the Navy Department they at the time had four Navy Supply ships, the USS Supply, Culgoa, Celtic and Glacier. All four ships were quickly obtained and fitted out for service in 1898 to meet the needs of the Spanish-American War. The age of these ships was causing concurs at the Navy Department. The Supply was beyond her usefulness and had been retired as a supply ship, the Culgoa was quickly approaching her service limit. Only the Celtic and Glacier were still able to be of use for some years to come. But in 1913 a new supply ship was authorized and in 1915 they ask for another new ship but this was not approved, so, again in the 1916 budget they asked for another supply ship to be brought into the fleet. 

Celtic remained on limited duty carrying stores from the New York Navy Yard to American forces in the Caribbean regions until late June of 1917. By that time America was now at war with Germany the Celtic had new orders. Now she was carrying supplies and cargo to the new American bases in Queenstown, Ireland and Brest, France. She cleared New York on her first voyage on July 2, 1917. Upon her return to New York on August 27, 1917 Celtic resumed runs to Caribbean areas until about July 1, 1918. Now under the control of the Naval Overseas Transportation Service, Celtic crossed the Atlantic twice to English ports and once to the Adriatic Sea with ammunition and stores during the War.

On September 27 of 1917 the Celtic made her first crossing of the Atlantic during war time. On that first voyage, she carried the 103rd Infantry consisting of 35 officers and 1,165 enlisted men. Her second crossing was on November 14, 1917, when she carried Companies I, K, L, and M of the 168th Infantry, the 168th Infantry Sanitary Detachment, the 166th Field Hospital, a Gas Defense unit, a detachment of Army nurses and several casuals. On her third trip across she carried the Mechanical Repair Shop No. 303, along with several casuals. Her fourth trip was on March 6, 1918 where she had aboard 33 female telephone operators, Aero Squadrons 187, 188, and 247, and the 2nd Battalion, 7th Engineers of the 5th Division.

Partial List of those who served aboard the Celtic during WWI

F2c Charles W. Perry, from Erie County, New York
Second Machinist Louis A. Klein, from Erie County, New York
Watertender Joseph A. Orlowski, from Erie County, New York

Seaman 2c John K. Vanderveer, Patchogue, New York

USS Celtic as she looked during the 1920's

In the late fall of 1917 while assigned to the Caribbean runs there is time for recreation. In a baseball game held in Yorktown, Virginia against her fleet-mate, the supply ship USS Culgoa, the Celtic’s team defeated the Culgoa’s team by the score of 3 to 2.

A few days later another match up between the Celtic and Culgoa took place where there was a 1-mile 10-oared cutter race held. The crew from the Celtic had a regulation 10-oared cutter, and the Culgoa’s boat was something that looked like a cross between a dinghy and a rowboat. There were arguments about the Culgoa’s entry but officers agreed that it did resemble a cutter because it had 10-oars, and so the race was on. Through out much of the mile course both boats were fairly even but about 200-yards from the finish the Celtic’s crew opened up the lead a bit and walked away from the Culgoa’s boat. When the Celtic’s crew tossed their oars at the finish line passing between the Celtic and Colgoa the decks of the Celtic were alive with cheering shipmates. But over on the Culgoa her deck looked as if they had been cleared for action, not a man in sight. Two defeats at the hands of the Celtic was about enough for the crew of the Culgoa. But the winning crew was treated to a royal feast consisting of Beef Steak, Fried Potatoes, Peas, Macaroni, Fried Eggs, Fried Onions, Cold slaw, Coca, Pears, Jams and Cigars. The Captain of the Celtic showed his support for his winning cutter crew by giving them two days Liberty when they arrived in New York.

The Celtic’s cutter crew was:

G. I. Michaud, Seaman
C. C. Lott, Chief Boatswain
U. V. Martin, Electrician 3c
J. Streck, Seaman
D. Zimmer, Coxswain
R. A. Riehl, Boatswain Mate1c
H. A. Dierkes, Storekeeper 2c
H. C. Merkel, Coxswain
J. J. Leddy, Coxswain
V. Belloise, Seaman
H. J. Smith, Boatswain Mate1c (Coxswain of the Cutter)

But the Culgoa’s bad luck against the Celtic did not end there, as several days later at the Gloucester Point Recreation Grounds another baseball game took place, where the Celtic’s team again beat the Culgoa’s team 10 to 7.

Once the war had ended the Celtic was also used in returning soldiers back from France. At least one homeward bound trip started from Brest, France on January 24, 1919. Celtic was anchored in the harbor and two harbor boats brought men out to her and were off loaded from the Nennette and Tudno onto the Celtic. For this voyage, she took aboard the 1st Gas Regiment, the 308th Sanitary Train, and several casuals and sick and wounded men. All totaled for that trip she had aboard 165 officers; 1 Army Field Clerk; 9 Army Nurses; 2 Civilians; and 2,928 enlisted men. It was at 10:20 in the morning that they tied up at the dock in Hoboken, New Jersey, and began the offload process.

After the end of the First World War Celtic was reassigned to the U.S. Pacific Fleet on June 30, 1919. Celtic cleared New York August 31, 1919, arriving at San Pedro, California, on September 22, 1919. Celtic was being overhauled at the Mare Island Navy Yard in San Francisco from December 8, 1919 until June 25, 1920. Continuing her service after overhaul she cruised the west coast of the United States re-supplying the Pacific Fleet until March 22, 1921, when she was assigned to duty as cold storage station ship at Apra, Guam.

The Celtic on May 15, 1921 notes on her deck log as she is about to pass into the ship channel to the entrance to Pearl Harbor, that she passes the submarine S-4 on her way out of Pearl on their way to sea. The S-4 was lost when she sank on December 17, 1927 during an accidental ramming by the USS Paulding. All 40 men aboard the S-4 were killed during the sinking.

Celtic sailed from Guam on her last naval voyage on May 17, 1922, where she arrived at Cavite in the Philippine Islands on May 26, 1922.

While still in the Navy Yard in Cavite, P.I. Celtic was deemed no longer useful to the navy and she was decommissioned for the last time on June 23, 1922. Celtic was stripped of any essential navy equipment and her worn out hulk was sold on January 23 of 1923. Celtic retuned to merchant service briefly and operated for an unknown line as the “S.S. Celtic” until she was scrapped in Osaka, Japan in 1929. The Japanese company that likely broke her up was the Osaka Iron Works, which was a shipbuilding company of the era.

The connection between the Celtic and the Unkai Maru No. 6 and Truk Lagoon

Excerpts from Michael McFadyen’s scuba diving web site. Michael’s email address: question@michaelmcfadyenscuba.info

William Gray and Co, West Hartlepool, England, originally built the Unkai Maru No 6 as the SS Venus. She was powered by a single three-cylinder coal powered steam engine with two scotch boilers (although in WII Wrecks of the Kwajalein and Truk Lagoon by Dan E. Bailey it is claimed that it is a diesel engine - see later in article). Blair and Company, Stockton-on-Tees, built the engine. The new ship was 3,152 tons gross, 93 meters (331.0 feet) long and 13.3 meters (49.2 feet) wide. The ship was originally ordered by the Venus Steamship Company, Newcastle, however, after she was launched on 30 October 1905 (completed December 1905), the new ship's first owner was Cornhill Steamship Co Ltd., and was managed by Harris and Dixon Ltd of London.

In about 1911 it was sold to Leander Steamship Co Ltd (Managers Scaramanga Brothers) and in about 1918 the Manager changed to Petersen and Co Ltd. It was still registered in London. In about 1920 the SS Venus was again sold, this time to Thompson Steam Shipping Co Ltd with W. Petersen and Co managing her. This ownership was short lived as in about 1921 she was sold to S. Nakamura of Kinoye, Japan, and renamed the Unkai Maru No 6. The ship appears to have remained owned by the same person/company with some minor name changes (1930 to Nakamura Gumi Ltd, 1940 to Nakamura Kisen KK) till its demise. At some time it was sold for £32,500. However, this is reported to have happened in 1911 to a Japanese company, possibly Nakamura Kisen K. K., and renamed Unkai Maru No 6. I think that this was possibly the sale in about 1921. It may have operated at some time under charter to the Japanese Navy (this is what is implied in Hailstorm over Truk Lagoon by Klaus Lindemann).

On 17 February 1944, the Unkai Maru No 6 was anchored just over half a kilometer north of Uman Island, about a third of the way towards Eten Island. There are two different reports of the sinking of the ship in the two references listed below. The first report in WWII Wrecks... it is reported that during the first day of Operation Hailstorm, the ship was attacked a number of times. The first was by Grumman TBF Avenger dive-bombers from Strike 2B from USS Essex and hits on the portside and port quarter were reported. It was reported to be listing to starboard. Later the same day she was also hit by a plane from USS Yorktown (Strike 1EY) and USS Bunker Hill (Strike 3E). A fire was seen to erupt after this attack. The next day she was again attacked by Douglas Dauntless SBD dive-bombers from the USS Essex with two direct hits on the bow and three hits on the rest of the ship.

In Hailstorm, Klaus Lindemann says that at about 12:00 hours on 17 February 1944, a plane from Strike 3D from USS Bunker Hill torpedoed the Unkai Maru No 6. It was reported that the next attack (Strike 3E) had two near misses with bombs and one miss with a torpedo (another hit a coral reef).

It is not clear which of these two reports is correct, but there is no obvious torpedo damage and, from what I remember, no obvious major bomb damage that might have caused the ship to sink. Klaus Lindemann found the ship on 4 July 1980 during a search using photographs from the attack and a depth sounder.

In 1993 Brian Bawcombe filmed a dive on the Unkai Maru No 6. He was diving with the Thorfinn. On this dive, he was shown a bell, which was hidden in coral nearby. It was said to be the bell of the Unkai Maru No 6. In August 2012 Brian was re-editing the video when he noticed that the bell was engraved with the word CELTIC. It also appears that this word is the first part of a two-word name. This is strange and does not seem to match up with the accepted history of the ship as outlined above.

Some research by Brian and myself have shown that there was a ship called the SS Celtic King, which became the USS Celtic. This ship ended up as the SS Celtic and it was scrapped in Osaka, Japan, in 1929. How did the bell end up being transferred to the Unkai Maru No 6? Perhaps we will never know. It is certain that the ship in Truk Lagoon is not the former USS Celtic as it was a far bigger vessel. Today the Unkai Maru No 6 lies upright on a sandy bottom. The depth to the sand is about 40 meters and the decks 23 to 25 meters, shallower on the bridge.


The bell hidden on the Unkai Maru – clearly engraved Celtic and perhaps more.


Ships Muster

As I find names of men who sailed this ship I will add them here with what I know of each. If you know additional facts about these men or others who were crew of the USS Celtic please e-mail them to: Joe Hartwell


Lt. (j.g.) Frederick Ralph Holman, Ship's Navigator and Executive Officer

Frederick Ralph Holman on August 13, 1902 passed away while serving aboard the Fleet Store Ship USS Celtic. At the time the Celtic was near Sydney, Australia and the exact circumstances of Lt. (j.g.) Holman’s dead are not known.

Frederick R. Holman graduated with the class of 1897 from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis. He had been appointed to the Naval Academy from the State of Iowa. And while serving as a Midshipman aboard the battleship USS Texas under the command of Captain Philip, Holman was in command of a 6-inch gun during the battle of Santiago, Cuba on July 3, 1898. After the end of the Spanish-American War Holman was transferred to duty aboard the USS Celtic at the grade of Lieutenant, junior grade. On the Celtic Lt. (j.g.) Holman’s duties were both as the ships Navigator and as the Executive Officer.

Frederick Ralph Holman was born on March 15, 1874 in Denver, Colorado. He was the youngest son of Dr. Henry Ralph Holman (b. June 12, 1832) and Chloe Alvina Chruchill Holman (b. abt. 1835). Henry and Chloe were married on July 16, 1856, and had 5 children, 3 of who lived to adulthood. Fred Augusta Churchill was the first son born on June 11 of 1857 to Henry and Chloe. Little Fred would only live 2-years before he died on June 25, 1859. Carrie Maud was the next child born on September 2, 1859, followed by Frank Foster on October 17, 1861 and he only lived about 6-months when he died on March 2, 1862. Following next was Charles Henderson born on December 2, 1862 and he like his father Henry would later in life become a Doctor. The youngest and last child born the Henry and Chloe was Frederick Ralph Holman on March 15, 1874.

When Lt. (j.g.) Frederick Ralph Holman died on August 13, 1902 it is not known what happened to his body. It is likely that he may have been buried at sea but that is also not known.

Ensign John Edward Cleary, Chief Engineer of the Celtic


Ensign John E. Cleary Chief Engineer, USS Celtic

John Edward Cleary shown in the photo above, which was taken on the deck of the USS Celtic, was her Chief Engineer from about 1908-1912. John Edward Cleary was born on January 11, 1869 or 1870 in New York and on August 23, 1899 entered the navy from his home State of New York.

Cleary served during the Spanish-American War, and also during the Boxer Rebellion in 1900-1901. Cleary served aboard the USS Buffalo AD-8 during the Boxer Rebellion, and likely was aboard the Buffalo when she was at Taku, China when the Seymour Relief Expedition started for Peking in 1900. On June 2, 1900 the Federal Census was taken aboard the Buffalo, and Acting Warrant Machinist John E. Cleary is listed among the crew. On that day the Buffalo then under command of Commander Charles Hutchins, was then anchored just off Gibraltar.

The Buffalo was an auxiliary cruiser built in 1892 and during the time Cleary was aboard, the Buffalo starting in October of 1900, served as a training vessel making voyages from east coast ports to the Philippine Islands with replacement crews for the Asiatic Fleet.

About 1906 John Cleary married, his wife’s first name was Albertina, she being born in New York State sometime about 1880. Albertina’s mother was Irish born and John’s father and mother were both Irish born.

On October 23, 1908 Cleary reported for duty aboard the USS Celtic and was on board when she sailed to Sicily as the Celtic rendered aid during the earthquake of 1908. By 1910 Cleary was the Chief Engineer of the USS Celtic, and by the time he came aboard the Celtic he had been commissioned and held the rank of Ensign. Ensign Cleary would serve as the Engineering officer on the Celtic until July of 1912. Ensign Cleary’s Signal number was 3909 and his call letters were FNAS.

Transferred from the Celtic to the USS Illinois he reported aboard ship on July 1, 1912 as an Engineering officer. Ensign Cleary served for a year aboard the Illinois. He was advanced in grade to Lieutenant junior grade in 1915 and was not advanced to full Lieutenant until 1918 during WWI. At that time he then served at the Bureau of Steam Engineering, Inspection Duty. After duty with the Bureau of Steam Engineering was finished Lt. Cleary then served at sea again aboard the USS Yukon.

Lt. Cleary reported aboard the Yukon on August 3, 1920. The Yukon was an Arctic-class store ship serving with the Pacific Fleet through 1920-1922. On April 14, 1922 the Yukon was placed in reduced commission at Philadelphia. This may have been when he left the Yukon.

Lt. Cleary would continue to serve in the navy and in April of 1930 was living with his wife Albertina in a rented home located at 2503 Cleveland Ave. in Philadelphia where he was still an active duty navy officer. John Cleary and Albertina never had any children during their marriage.

The ending to the story of Lt. John Edward Cleary is not known but Cleary’s naval career would span more than 32-years service to his country.

Lt. James J. Igoe, Executive Officer during the Spanish-American War

On May 25, 1898 the Secretary of the Navy sent a letter to Lt. Robert Howe Pinckney, USN the Commander of the South Carolina Naval Militia to “Furnish 6 officers and 80 enlisted men to go to New York for duty on several ships and shore stations.” Lt. Pinckney was to notify the Secretary where and when a recruiting officer could meet and enlist men. Lt. Pinckney replied with a wire “Crew ready. Recruiting officer can meet men here as soon as he can get here.” With only twelve hours time allowed to select and enlisted suitable men, Lt. Pickney had his crew ready to go. Among the officers selected to serve aboard the USS Celtic was a 38-year old Lieutenant by the name of James Joseph Igoe. Lt. Igoe was a member of the South Carolina Naval Militia and was an experienced ship pilot by trade. Lt. Igoe served as Lieutenant Commander Nathaniel Jordan Knight Patch’s Executive Officer aboard the Celtic.

James Joseph Igoe was born on July 7, 1859 to Thomas and Theresa (Donoghue) Igoe, who were both born and raised in County Longford, Ireland. Thomas and Theresa where married in Ireland and about 1855 immigrated to the States, settling in Charleston, South Carolina.

During the American Civil War as Charleston, South Carolina was under siege by the Union Army Thomas Igoe fell in ill health and needed to leave Charleston. In 1863 Thomas left his wife who was pregnant with a baby girl that would be named Mary Ann, and son James and new born son named Thomas, and took passage aboard a blockade runner, but this ship was captured by the Union Navy, and Thomas Igoe was taken prisoner and sent to confinement in New York City. Thomas did not recover from his sickness and passed away while in the prison camp and he was buried in a Catholic cemetery in Flatbush, New York.

Theresa remained in Charleston giving birth to daughter Mary Ann in 1864 and raised the children there in a strong Catholic faith, which would be the backbone to the family’s success in the coming years. She would later re-marry and become the wife of Edward Donnelly and continue to live in Charleston for the rest of her life.

James Joseph Igoe being the eldest son had to take a role of male provider to the family. In the years after the Civil War during the Reconstruction life was a bit on the lean side and the Igoe family existed on luck and hard honest work. As such James grew into a fine man of great moral fiber. Being that Charleston was a city on the bay James found work on boats and ships. He took an apprentice as a ship pilot and quickly he advanced. He had a keen mind for the sea and in the study of navigation at sea. Throughout his life he was known as one of the best and most skillful ship pilots in the Charleston area and also along the east coast of the United States.

James Igoe on November 25, 1885 married Caroline Florence Humphry of New York, and together they would have 13 children. James and Caroline would live their entire lives in Charleston, SC in the house they built at No 9 New Street.

This is the Igoe home located at No. 9 New Street, Charleston, as seen in 2016

At the time America entered into the Spanish-American War James, or “Captain Igoe” as he was known then was master of the dispatch boat USS Confidence, which was then detailed to help with the investigation of the sinking of the USS Maine in Havana, Cuba. Ever the patriotic man James Igoe was among the first men from Charleston to volunteer for service and was a member of the First Company of the South Carolina Naval Militia. As a member of the Militia Igoe served as a Navy Lieutenant and in May of 1898 was selected to serve aboard the USS Celtic as the Executive Officer. Transporting supplies and ammunition between the Brooklyn Navy Yard and points in the Caribbean Theater of operations was the majority of the Celtic’s mission during the Spanish-American War. Once the war was over Lt. Igoe was discharged and returned to his former civilian job as a ship pilot in the Charleston, SC area. He would serve as a ship pilot for the remaining years of his life.

Even at the age of 58 in 1917 during the First World War, Captain Igoe still had more to give of himself. As America again was pulled into a war he taught navigation to young men at the Naval Training Station in Charleston. He even held evening classes at his home, which through his efforts many men owed their commissions to the knowledge Captain Igoe was able to give them. It was said of Captain Igoe that “He stood four-square to every wind that blows,” and to all who knew his he was held in the highest regard.

On July 3, 1919 Captain James Igoe would pass away and he is buried in the Saint Lawrence Cemetery in Charleston, South Carolina. His wife would pass away on October 29, 1942 and she was buried next to her beloved “Captain.”

Captain James Joseph Igoe

On July 17, of 2012 at the Charlton Hall Galleries an auction took place for a gold pocket watch belonging to Captain James Joseph Igoe. The watch was retailed by S. Thomas Jr. & Bro, a jewelry store in Charleston, South Carolina sometime about 1880-85, and in 2012 had an estimated auction valve of $4,000-6,000. The Serial number of the watch was 63618 and was of 18K yellow gold engine-turned case centering shield surrounded by foliate designs and engraved with initials, jeweled movement marked: Patek, Philippe & Co., No. 63618, Geneva; case marked twice; enameled dial with Arabic and Roman numerals, marked by retailer: S. Thomas Jr. & Bro, Charleston, S.C. The watch sold at auction for $3,600.

Chief Boatswain Henry August Torck

During the early months of the Spanish-American War, on May 25, 1898, Navy Secretary John Davis Long directed that a letter be sent to the Commander of the South Carolina Naval Militia (SCNM) to raise a contingent of men to serve aboard the USS Celtic, USS Chickasaw, USS Cheyenne, USS Waban, and man the artillery batteries at Port Royal, SC during the war efforts. Within 12-hours of the message being received, Lt. Pinckney, who was the commander of the SCNM had responded back to Secretary Long with a cable message stating that his crew was ready. Among the enlisted men of Pinckney’s men was Chief Boatswains Mate Henry August Torck.

Henry August Torck was born on August 21, 1865 to Anna Margrata Jacobson (1827-1915) and Henry Andreas Torck (1826-1875). Both Anna and Henry Andreas were Germans and had immigrated to America before the Civil War. Henry August was the seventh of eight children and was born in the Mount Pleasant, South Carolina area.

Henry August grew up during the Reconstruction Period after the Civil War, and lived within 10-miles of Fort Sumter, and Fort Moultrie, saw first-hand the after effects of the Civil War and the battles that took place in the Charleston area. Henry August Torck also would have been exposed to sea life and he likely lived less that 5-miles from the Atlantic and very close to the Wando, Cooper and Ashley Rivers, which were busy with river and sea-going boats of all kinds. And so, it is a fair presumption that he, during his early life, found that working on boats and sea life was his calling.

At some point, likely in his late twenty’s or very early thirties, Henry Torck joined the South Carolina Naval Militia, and was a member of the 2nd Division, Chicora Company. On May 25, 1898 when his unit was called into Federal Service, Chief Boatswain Henry A. Torck reported for duty aboard the USS Celtic.

The detail of SCNM men selected to serve aboard the Celtic were under the command of Lt. James Igoe and they reported to the New York Navy Yard on May 26 and went aboard the Celtic. Lt. Igoe would serve as the Celtic’s Executive Officer during the Spanish-American War. Chief Torck served aboard the Celtic from May 26 through his discharge on October 3, 1898.

After discharge from active service Henry Torck returned back to his home in the Mt. Pleasant and Charleston, South Carolina area. In June of 1900 Henry August Torck was a single man working as a ferryboat captain along the Charleston, South Carolina waterfront. Henry would work as a ferry boat captain nearly his entire working life, and he would never be married except to life upon the water. During the 1920’s Henry would live with his younger brother Bernhardt Frederick Torck, and wife and four children in Christ Church, South Carolina.

By 1930 Henry had purchased a home located at 283 Whilden Street, in Mount Pleasant, which was only about 4 block from the waterfront of Charleston Harbor. Henry who was then 65-years old was by then retired from his job and was still single. Henry would live in this house until he passed away.

At 8:55 in the morning of December 28, 1943 Henry, who was then a patient in the Roper Hospital in Charleston, passed away from complications from heart disease. Being Henry was not married his younger brother Bernhardt took care of the burial arrangements. Henry was buried in the Saint Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. The final chapter to Henry’s life transpired on February 13, 1946 when his brother Bernhardt filled out the paperwork for a military white marble gravestone to be placed upon Henry’s grave. In September of 1947 it was placed upon his grave and still stands today reminding all who pass it that this is a place where quietly, an American who served his country is resting in peace.

Henry August Torck, Chief Boatswain, USS Celtic, Spanish-American War

John Harmonis, Aviation Chief Radioman, Permanent Appointment

In January of 1920 in Midland, Pennsylvania there was a boarding house located on Midland Avenue, in which there was an 18-year old boy named John Harmonis who was the cook for the boarding house. Likely the pay was not too good and did not hold the interests of the young John Harmonis, who likely watched the river boats and barges traveling up and down the Ohio River. From the boarding house Harmonis could look out and see the river and all the ships going and coming to places that were, well not in Midland.

John Harmonis was born in Pennsylvania on June 3, 1903 to Czechoslovakian immigrants. John had a yearning to see more of the world than just what western Pennsylvania had to offer, and so on December 20, 1920 John Harmonis joined the United States Navy. This would be a career choice that would lead him on more that a 27-year adventure with the navy.

John’s first 4-year enlistment began with John serving as a Fireman Third Class and then ending his career as a Chief Aviation Radioman (PA). Harmonis would serve aboard several ships during his career, and he served aboard the USS Celtic from March 31, 1921 through June 9, 1922. Harmonis would serve on the Celtic in her last years of service. He would have been aboard when the Celtic was serving as the cold storage station ship at Apra, Guam in the Pacific, and would have been aboard for her last naval voyage when she steamed from Guam to Cavite, Philippines and arrived on May 26, 1922.

On January 7, 1933 while serving in the navy at Pearl Harbor, TH Chief Harmonis re-enlisted for another 4-year term after his last term had ended.

During 1939 Harmonis had been serving aboard the Aircraft Carrier USS Lexington as a Chief Radioman when he was transferred to duty at a Naval Aircraft Factory. On March 31, 1939 Chief Harmonis boarded the USS Pennsylvania (BB38) in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba on his way to his new duty assignment. On April 5 the Pennsylvania arrived at Annapolis, Maryland, and then on to Norfolk, Virginia where Chief Harmonis left the Pennsylvania, and reported to the Receiving Ship at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. He would live aboard the Receiving Ship at the Yard for at least the next 3-years while he worked his assigned duty at the Naval Aircraft factory.

While stationed aboard the Receiving Ship at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on January 4, 1940 Chief Harmonis current enlistment period had ended. The next day on January 5 he again re-enlisted again for another 4-year term. He would be bunked at the Philadelphia Navy Yard Receiving Ship through at least past March of 1942. On March 1, 1942 Chief Harmonis’ rating was changed to ACRM (PA), which was Aviation Chief Radioman, Permanent Appointment.

Chief Harmonis may have served during the war years on the West Coast but did not serve time overseas during the war. On August 18, 1945 Chief John Harmonis Service No. 355-35-72 was honorably Discharged from the Navy. But by March 16, 1946 Harmonis was again serving with the navy as a Fleet Reservist and had re-enlisted again into the navy. Chief Harmonis would serve as a Fleet Reservist through at least January of 1948.

After Harmonis had retired from the navy he returned to civilian life and made his home at 430 Emmett Street in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Emmett Street was just on the other side of the Lackawanna Railroad tracks that ran along next to the Lackawanna River, and also just across the river was the great Lackawanna Rail Yard and roundhouse. It is not known if he was married and he may have been single his entire life.

John Harmonis would live the rest of his life in Pennsylvania until his death on October 15, 1991 at the age of 88. He is buried in the St. Nicholas Byzantine, Slavic Cemetery in Old Forge, Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania.

Fireman 1c Charles W. Perry

During WWI Fireman Second Class Charles William Perry served aboard the USS Celtic from October 24, 1917 past the end of the war on November 11, 1918.

Perry was born on December 31 of 1892 to Mary Jane and James Perry in Niagara Falls, New York. Both Mary Jane and James were Canadian with Mary Jane being Welch descent and James was German descent. In 1910, the James Perry family lived in East Aurora, New York, where James worked as a race horse driver to support his family of four children. At the time, Charles was 18-years old and had now taken a job as a mason’s helper.

Sometime thereafter but before 1917, Charles Perry had enlisted into the New York State Naval Militia, and had served as a seaman. On June 5, 1917 during the first call up of men for the draft, Charles Perry went to Buffalo, New York and registered for the draft. At the time, he was living at 438 Woodlawn Street in Buffalo, NY. He was 25-years old and was a short, medium built man with blue eyes and brown hair. His present job was working for the Frank Lenahan & Sons scrap metal dealers, located at 53 Fulton Street in Buffalo.

Eleven days after Charles Perry registered for the Draft he, on June 16, 1917 enrolled into the National Naval Volunteers at Naval Recruiting Station, Buffalo. Recruit Perry was placed into the 5th Division, 3rd Battalion and was sent to the Great Lakes Naval Training Station in Chicago, Il for his basic training.

Perry underwent basic training, which was completed on August 11, 1917 when he was detailed for duty at the Summerville Armory in New York at the rank of Fireman Second Class. Here at the Summerville Armory Perry remained until October 24, 1917 when he reported for duty aboard the USS Celtic, then arriving in New York from Ireland. Fireman Perry boarded the Celtic and made several voyages south to Caribbean waters supplying the fleet with stores.

Perry would remain aboard the Celtic throughout the war and likely until August 6, 1919 when his status was changed to inactive. He would remain in the Naval Reserves on inactive status until discharged from service on June 15, 1920 at the rank of Fireman First Class.

After the war, Charles William Perry would live in and around East Aurora, and Buffalo, New York the remainder of his life. Perry would pass away in 1926 and is buried with his mother and father in the Oakwood Cemetery in East Aurora, NY.

Watertender Joseph Anthony Orlowski

In the spring of 1910 at 146 Weiss Street in Buffalo, New York there lived the Anthony Orlowski family. The house was a row style house that looked about the same as every other house on Weiss Street. The front porch of the Orlowski home was likely where Anthony and Anna’s second eldest child named Joseph Anthony who was then 13-years old, would set and watch his father come home from work every night. Anthony Orlowski was a polish immigrant and had been Naturalized in 1871. Anthony set a good example for his children Mary, Joseph, Anna, Michael, and Francis. Joseph took his middle name from his father, who was a Buffalo city policeman.

Joseph Anthony Orlowski, likely was instilled a sense of duty to his fellow citizens from the example of his father serving the citizens of Buffalo as a policeman. When young Joseph turned 17-years old he acted upon that sense of duty, and enlisted into the United States Navy. On April 17, 1914 at the recruiting station in Buffalo, NY Joseph Orlowski enlisted as an Apprentice Seaman. Once trained he was probably sent to duty aboard the USS Celtic.

When America entered the First World War on April 6, 1917, Orlowski was already serving on the USS Celtic, as a fireman in the engineering force. His first 4-year term was up on December 13, 1917 and the next day he re-enlisted back into the navy and stayed aboard the Celtic, then at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. His rating at the time was Fireman First Class. During the war, Fireman Orlowski advanced to Engineman Second Class, and then to Watertender before the hostilities ended on November 11, 1918. He remained aboard the Celtic after the war ended and was discharged from Active Duty on August 23, 1919 at the Navy Demobilization Station in Pittsburgh, PA. Orlowski would serve aboard the Celtic with at least 2 other Buffalo boys, Fireman Charles W. Perry and Machinist Louis A. Klein. All three served in the engineer division of the Celtic.

After five and a half years serving in the Navy Joseph Orlowski returned home and walked up the steps of his parents’ home on Weiss Street, just as his father had did every night after work. Joseph had left as a 17-year old boy, but now had returned as a man. Now 22-year old Joseph Orlowski took a job working for the New York Central railroad in the rail yard repairing cars.

Sometime about 1922 Joseph had met and fell in love with an 18-year old polish girl named Helen Pacynski. They were married, and in the summer of 1925, were renting from Stanley Bernach at 323 Lovejoy St. in Buffalo. At the time, Joseph was then working at a local Arcade Park to support his wife and son named Adam who was born about1923.

Around 1928 the Orlowski family grew again with the birth of a second son named Joseph, Jr. By 1930 the Orlowski’s had now moved to a larger home, one they rented that was located at 152 Lewis Street in Buffalo. The rent was $27.00 a month, and Joseph had then taken a job as a butcher in a slaughter house to pay the bills. Living in the home with Joseph and Helen and the two boys were Helens mother and father Michael and Francis Pacynski. They had immigrated to the states about 1904 or 1905, and Michael who was 59-years old worked as an agriculture inspector.

The 1930’s were the growing years for the Orlowski’s as four more children were born into the family. About 1934 a son named Vincent was born, and around 1935 a son named Michael was born. About a year later still another son named Norman was born. Finally, about 1937 Helen gave birth to a girl who they named Rose Marie. Now with six children the family needed more space so, about 1935 they had moved yet again. Still in Buffalo, they moved to a home on Bailey Street.

With so much new life in the Orlowski home, they were about to be given a blow that would change the family forever. Sometime after the birth of Rose Marie and the spring of 1940, Joseph A. Orlowski would pass away from an unknown cause. Helen would raise the six children on her own, and remained in the Bailey Street house. On the 1940 Federal Census, Helen had a 43-year old single man living as a lodger with the family to help make ends meet. His name was John Gorski and was working as a carpenter.

It is not known where Joseph A. Orlowski was buried but it is assumed that it was in or near Buffalo. By 1950 Adam the eldest son was living on his own and was married, working at the Chevrolet plant in Buffalo as a machine operator. Joseph, Jr. the second son was also living on his own and was working as a car repairman for the DL & W Railroad. His mother Helen was living with him at his home located at 43 Spiess Street in Buffalo.

Helen Orlowski towards the end of her life had moved to Sebastian, Florida, likely to live with one of her children. She would live to be 92-years old when she passed away on April 18, 1996 in Sebastian, Florida, and she was buried there.

Chief Yeoman Joseph T. Lareau

In 1910, aboard the Fleet Provision Store ship USS Celtic, under the command of Commander George F. Cooper, USN, was a Chief Yeoman by the name of Joseph Thomas Lareau. He would retire from Active Service with the Navy in February of 1944, with the rank of Lt. Commander. Lareau would serve in the Spanish-American War, the First World War and the Second World War.

Joseph Thomas Lareau was born on January 7, 1880 in Chatham, Ontario, Canada, into the good Catholic family of Philomene Leriger-LaPlante and Casimir Lareau. The Lareau family, which consisted of 13 children, came to America through Detroit, Michigan on May 1, 1890. It was not until March 29, 1914 that Joseph T. Lareau became fully naturalized.

Sometime about 1898 Joseph T. Lareau had joined the United States Navy. In June of 1900 he was serving aboard the USS Prairie as a Yeoman. By 1909-1910 he was serving aboard the Fleet Provisions ship USS Celtic under the command of Commander George F. Cooper. His grade at that time was Chief Yeoman. In 1916 Lareau wed Miss Elizabeth Marion Christian (1889-1976), and about 1917 while Joseph was stationed in South Carolina, they would have their first child, a son they named Joseph. This was followed by a daughter named Patsy in 1923, another daughter named Lucille in 1924, both born in California, and lastly a son named Richard in 1928, born in Washington State while Joseph was serving at the Bremerton Navy Yard.

Lareau accepted a commission as an officer in the Navy’s Supply Corps soon after he was transferred off the Celtic, and continued on Active Service during the First World War. By 1920 he was then stationed aboard the USS Sara Thompson out of Cavite, Philippine Islands, as a Lieutenant, junior grade. And by 1930 he was now a Paymaster in the Navy, stationed out of San Diego, California. On February 20, 1934 Joseph T. Lareau, USN Paymaster was advanced in grade to Lt. Commander.

By 1940 the Lareau family had moved to New York City as Joseph was then stationed at the New York Navy Yard. During WWI Lareau had duty in the Panama Canal Zone. On June 6, 1942 Lt. CMDR Lareau sailed aboard the MS British Columbia Express sailing out of Balboa in the Canal Zone on official Navy orders to Los Angeles, California.

On February 1, 1944 Lt. CMDR Lareau retired from Active Service with the Navy after at least 46-years of service. Joseph and Elizabeth would live the rest of their lives in San Diego, California. Joseph’s death occurred on October 27, 1960. He was buried in the Ft. Rosecrans National Cemetery in Section V, Site 1198. His wife Elizabeth was laid next to Joseph when she passed away in 1976.

Seaman William Lockwood Beaudrot

William Lockwood was a member of the South Carolina Naval Militia that came aboard the Celtic in 1898. Beaudrot was born on October 22, 1878 in South Carolina. On May 24, 1898, he had been assigned to the Celtic from the 1st Division, from Lafayette, County of the South Carolina Naval Militia. There was another Beaurdot that came aboard the Celtic the same time. He was J. S. Beaudrot and was also from the 1st Division, Lafayette, County, and so he likely was a relative of William Lockwood Beaudrot. While aboard the Celtic William Beaudrot served as a Coal Passer.

William Lockwood Beaudrot was a machinist in life and was married to Mamie. William and Mamie would live thier entire lives in Charleston, South Carolina. William passed away on June 24, 1950, and was burried in the Bethany Cemetery, which is located in or near Myers, South Carolina. His grave is marked with a flat Granite military grave stone.

Lt. (jg) John Andreas Patjens

One of the six officers from the South Carolina Naval Militia who reported for duty with the USS Celtic in May of 1898, was Lt. (jg) John Andreas Patjens. He was a member of the 2nd Division South Carolina Naval Militia (SCNM) from Chicora County, and was appointed a Lieutenant, Junior Grade, in the Navy on May 26, 1898.

John had been born on March 31 of 1868 in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. He was the eldest son of Rebecca Catrina Eliese Tiencken (1845-1926) and Johann Heinrich Patjens (1839-1903). The Johann Patjens family were farmers and may have also ran a grocery store, who lived on a rural farm near Mount Pleasant where John Andreas and his siblings were born.

John Andreas had been married about the age of 24 in 1892 to Annie C. Kruer (1872-1970) and in the summer of 1892 traveled to Germany, likely to see family as John’s parents were German by birth. On July 2, 1892 John A. Patjens applied for a United States Passport. He states his occupation was a bookkeeper. John traveled to Europe with his wife Annie and would return to the States after about 2-months abroad. On September 28, 1892, the SS Lahn, a 5,099-gross ton, Norddeutscher-Lloyd line single screw steamer of 448-feet in length, and 49-feet at her widest, arrived in New York from Bremen, Germany with John and Annie aboard returning from their trip.

John and Annie made their home on Church Street in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. By May 19, 1893, they had their first child, a son named Henry K. Annie then gave birth to three more children; Andreas A. born on June 28, 1894, Elinor C. born in 1899 and Elise C. born in January of 1899. Elinor may have died before she turned a year old.

Just before the Spanish-American War John Patjens had become a member of the South Carolina Naval Militia. Patjens was serving with the 2nd Division out of Chicora County. There had been summer cruises aboard the USS Columbia and Yale, in which the SCNM men had gained valuable training. Each member of the SCNM had to pay their own expenses in transportation and lodging when assembled for the summer cruises, and they were the only Militia in the State of South Carolina who were or could be ready at a moment’s notice. The SCNM also helped man the Signal Stations at Charleston and Morris Island.

It was on March 28, 1898, that the Commander of the SCNM was to put his Militia into a state of readiness, and to be able to answer the call of the President if called upon. That call came on May 25, 1898, and within 12-hours the officers, of which Lt. (jg) Patjens was among them, had assembled. They were to go to New York and report aboard the USS Celtic for duty. Lt. (jg) Patjens would serve aboard the Celtic throughout the duration of the Spanish-American War and would be discharged on October 3, 1898.

Now back home in Mount Pleasant, John had become the United States Assistant Postmaster in Mount Pleasant. On February 4, 1903, he was appointed Head Postmaster in Mount Pleasant. He would serve in this capacity until November of 1918. His wife Annie would serve as the Assistant Postmaster for several years.

By 1920 the Patjens family, which at the time consisted of John and Annie and 25-year old Andreas and 20-year old Elise, are living near Mount Pleasant in Christ Church Township on a farm. Ten years later in 1930 John and Annie had moved back to Church Street in Mount Pleasant, where John ran his own transportation firm, which may have been a delivery or trucking company. John and Annie would live on Church Street for likely the rest of their lives.

On November 2, 1946 at the age of 78, John Andreas Patjens passed away. He was buried in the Saint Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery in Mount Pleasant, SC. On May 10, 1970, at the age of 98, Annie passed away and she was laid to rest next to her beloved husband John.

J. Andreas Patjens
South Carolina
Lieut. (JG) U. S. Navy
Sp. Am War
March 31, 1868 Nov. 2, 1946

 

Seaman Second Class John W. Vanderveer

Seaman Second Class John K. Vanderveer, USNRF made at least two trips across the Atlantic during WWI aboard the USS Celtic, and received a letter of commendation for bravery from Navy Secretary Daniels. Although Sadly, the exact circumstances of the act of bravery, are not known.

John Kouwenhoven Vanderveer was born on March 1, 1890, in Brooklyn, New York. He was the son of Julia R. and John K. Vanderveer, Sr. The Vanderveer family in 1910 lived at 284 Ocean Avenue in Patchogue, New York where John, Sr. was a merchant. The family then consisted of Julia and John, Sr, and three children, Marrietta, Stephen and John, Jr. There was also May W. Collier who was 13-years old and was a niece living with them. The Vanderveer’s must have been of some means as they employed in the home a 22-year old woman named Mary Nabbobile as a servant.

By the time, John K. Vanderveer, Jr. was 27-years old in the spring of 1917, he had moved out of the 284 Ocean Ave. home and was then living at 507 West Main St. in Patchogue. He was single at the time and was then working as a florist and farmer. As America was now at war, John during the first call up for the Federal Draft, on June 17, 1917, registered in Suffolk County, New York. Venderveer was a tall medium built man with gray eyes and light sandy brown hair.

Vanderveer would enlist into the United States Naval Reserve Force on March 23, 1918. He would take his basic training at the Naval Training Station, Camp St. Helena in Virginia, and then reported to the Receiving Ship, Norfolk, Virginia for orders. His rating was Seaman Second Class, and on June 25, 1918, Seaman Vanderveer reported for duty aboard the USS Celtic, a fleet provision and store ship.

It was noted in the “History of Patchogue In the World War” written by Dr. W. E. Gordon, that Seaman Vanderveer had received a letter of commendation for bravery from Navy Secretary Daniels while serving aboard the Celtic. Unfortunately, there is no surviving information that tells the story of what the act of Bravery was. Seaman Vanderveer would serve aboard the Celtic until his discharge on January 13, 1919.

After his discharge from the Navy Vanderveer returned home to Patchogue, New York. He went back to the home he had lived at before the war on West Main Street, where his mother Julia and eldest sister Marrietta, were also living. John’s father had passed away by then and the big home on Ocean Ave. was too big for his mother and sister during the First World War, and so, they moved into the home John had on West Main Street. John again as before the war, was working as a florist and farmer.

By April of 1923 John K. Vanderveer had been married to Jeanette Fletcher. On February 24, 1924 John and Jeanette had their first child a son they named John Kouwenhoven Vanderveer, Jr. By 1926 the Vanderveer’s were thinking of leaving New York, and on September 25, 1926 they boarded the SS Lurline in Seattle, Washington bound for Honolulu, Hawaii. They arrived in Honolulu on October 4, and it was not known what the reason for traveling there was, but by 1930 they were living in California.

In the spring of 1930 John, and Jeanette and John, Jr were living in a rented home on Anaheim Street in Newport Beach, in Orange County, California. John at the time was working as a florist. On a 1930 Voter registration index the Vanderveer’s were listed as being Republicans and John’s occupation was listed as florist and Jeanette’s was housewife.

It is not known how long the Vanderveer’s stayed in California as on a WWII Draft Registration Card for John’s son, John K. Vanderveer, Jr. was then living in Beaufort, North Carolina, and he passed away in 1998 in Nashville, Tennessee. The last chapter for John and Jeanette Vanderveer is not known, and so sadly we don’t know where they lived or when they passed away.


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This page was created on 29 March 2011, and last modified on: October 16, 2017

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