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USS Washington / USS Seattle ACR-11


Length: 504 feet 5 inches. Breadth: 72 feet 10 1/2 inches. Mean Draft: 25 feet. Displacement: 14,500 tons normal, 15,712 tons full load. Machinery: 28,600 IHP; Babcock boiliers, 2 sets of 4-cylinder, Triple Expansion Engines, 2 screws, outward turning. Speed: 22.16 knots. Coal Bunker Capacity: 900 tons normal, 1,992 tons maximum. Batteries: Main Battery: four 10-inch, 40 cal. breech-loading rifles, sixteen 6-inch, 50 cal. rapid fire guns. Secondary Battery: twenty-two 3-inch, 50 cal. rapid fire guns, two 3-inch antiaircraft, four 3 pdr. saluting guns, two 3-inch field pieces, six automatic guns, caliber .30, four 21-inch submerged torpedo tubes. Armor: Belt, 3 to 5 inches; turrets, 5-9-inches; barbettes, 5-inches; deck, 3 inches; Conning Tower, 9 inches. Complement: 41 officers, 850 men (921 as flagship). Built by: New York Shipbuilding Co., NY Class: Tennessee

This is an early undated photo of the Washington under way making good speed. This is a view of the Washington as she was built before she was re-fitted with her cage style mast.


The seventh Washington (Armored Cruiser No. 11) was laid down on 23 September 1903 at Camden, N.J., by the New York Shipbuilding Company. She was launched on 18 March 1905 and sponsored by Miss Helen Stewart Wilson, the daughter of United States Senator John L. Wilson of Washington State. Washington was commissioned into the Navy at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 7 August 1906 with Captain James Dextor Adams in command as her first skipper.

Washington finished her fitting out process in the Philadelphia Navy Yard through the end of October 1906. Her first trip was on 1 November when she got underway for Hampton Roads, Virginia, where she departed a week later as an escort for USS Louisiana (Battleship No. 19), which was then carrying President Theodore Roosevelt to Panama for an inspection of progress of work constructing the Panama Canal. During that voyage, the Washington stopped at Hampton Roads and Piney Point, Virginia, Colon, Panama, Chiriqui lagoon, and Mona Passage before she returned back to Newport News Virginia on 26 November. She headed back toward the Delaware capes on 8 December, arriving at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on the 11th, and remained there undergoing repairs into the spring of 1907.

Washington departed League Island on 11 April 1907 and arrived at Hampton Roads the next day. She remained there into May participating in festivities of the Jamestown Tercentenary Exposition, which commemorated the founding of Jamestown in 1607, the first permanent settlement of Anglo-Saxon people in America. She returned northward soon thereafter, spending most of May undergoing docking and tests at the New York Navy Yard. She then shook down off Tompkinsville, Staten Island, New York, from 28 May to 5 June 1907 before she returned to Hampton Roads for further observances at the Jamestown Exposition.

Washington departed Hampton Roads on 11 June and sailed via Bradford, R.I., to Newport where she joined Tennessee (Armored Cruiser No. 10) before heading across the Atlantic on the 14th, bound for European waters. The sister ships visited the French ports of Royan, Ile díAix, La Pallice, and Brest between 23 June and 25 July, before returning to Tompkinsville, New York in August 1907 to run speed trials.

Following those trials and a period of yard work at the New York Navy Yard, Washington set sail for the Pacific Station, again in company with Tennessee. The two armored cruisers subsequently called at Hampton Roads, Virginia; Port-of-Spain, Trinidad; British West Indies; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Montevideo, Uruguay; Punta Arenas, Chile; Callao, Peru; Acapulco, Mexico; and Pichilinque Bay, Mexico, before they joined the Pacific Fleet in time to fire target practices with them at Magdalena Bay, Mexico, from late December 1907 into January 1908. Washington subsequently operated both in company with the Fleet and on independent tactical exercises out of Magdalena Bay, Mexico into March 1908, operating also off Santa Barbara, San Francisco, and San Diego, as well as San Pedro, California. Other ports visited by the armored cruiser into the summer of 1908 included Redondo Beach, Venice, Monterey, Angel Island, California and Port Townsend, Port Angeles, Seattle, Tacoma, and Bremerton, WA. She was among the units of the Fleet reviewed by the Secretary of the Navy at San Francisco between 6 and 17 May 1908.

Now under the command of Captain Theodoric Porter, Washington operated off the west coast until she was ordered to form a special Pathfinder Squadron with the USS Tennessee. Leaving the west coast she made her way to the east coast to meet the Tennessee. This Pathfinder Squadron was formed on the orders of Admiral Sebree and was to traverse the course that would be sailed for the upcoming cruise of the battleships of the famous Great White Fleet two months later. Washington and Tennessee steamed out of Hampton Roads, Virginia on October 12, 1908 bound for Magdalena Bay, Mexico, where they met up with the USS California and the USS South Dakota. The California and the South Dakota then were joined with the Pathfinder Squadron and together all four cruisers steamed for San Francisco. President Teddy Roosevelt wanted to have the First Cruiser division consisting of the USS Colorado, USS Maryland, USS Pennsylvania and the USS West Virginia then on station in the China Sea join the now larger Pathfinder Squadron. These 4 Cruisers sailed to San Francisco and met with the four cruisers of the Pathfinder Squadron. But orders were changed and only the USS West Virginia, California, South Dakota and Tennessee sailed direct to Pago Pago, Samoa and then Honolulu from San Francisco on August 17, 1908. Roosevelt felt that they would give him an additional force of ships in the Pacific area that could be called on if the fleet needed them in case of hostile actions. Washington remained on the west coast until she got underway from San Francisco on 5 September 1909 and called, in succession, at Honolulu, Hawaii from 10 to 20 September, and Nares Harbor, Admiralty Islands, where she re-coaled between 17 and 25 October and then sailed for Manila, Philippine Islands, where she arrived on 30 October 1909.

After visiting Woosung (near Shanghai), China, from 14 to 30 December 1909, Washington and her fleet mates called at Yokohama, Japan, from 3 to 20 January 1910, and Honolulu from 31 January to 8 February, before returning to the west coast. Washington made port back at San Francisco via Port Discovery and Bremerton, Washington on 3 March 1910. She then returned to Bremerton where she commenced a period of repairs on 21 March 1910. After the repairs were completed she again had a change of commanders. Washington was now under the command of Captain Melvin Austin Knight.

Washington next operated off the west coast into the autumn of 1910, holding target practices off Santa Cruz, California, before returning to San Francisco. She coaled ship at Tiburon, California, on 7 and 8 August before shifting to San Francisco to prepare for her next deployment. On 14 August, she departed San Francisco, bound for South America on the first leg of her voyage to the east coast to join the Atlantic Fleet. With the ships of the 1st Division of the Pacific Fleet, Washington visited Valparaiso, Chile, and took part in the observances of the Chilean Centennial Celebration from 10 to 23 September. She then resumed her voyage around South America, touching at Talcahauano and Punta Arenas, Chile; Rio de Janeiro; Carlisle Bay, Barbados; and St. Thomas, Danish West Indies; before she arrived at Culebra, Puerto Rico, on 2 November to prepare for target practice with the Fleet.

Washington’s next area of operations was the Tidewater area of Virginia--especially Hampton Roads and Lynnhaven Bay--before the armored cruiser underwent repairs at the Norfolk Navy Yard from 20 December 1910 to 2 January 1911. The Washington, now under command of Captain Rees William Rush, subsequently underwent another period of repairs at the Portsmouth (N.H.) Navy Yard before heading south with stores and material for delivery to the 5th Division of the Fleet in Cuban waters. She arrived at Guantanamo Bay on 20 March 1911 and remained there into the summer, conducting trials and exercises with the 5th Division. She then returned northward and stopped at Hampton Roads from 21 to 24 June before pushing on to New York, where she arrived on the 25th.

The armored cruiser operated off the northeastern seaboard through the summer, holding exercises and maneuvers in areas ranging from Cape Cod Bay to Hampton Roads. During that time, she cruised briefly with the Naval Militia from 19 to 21 July 1911, and acted as a reference ship for torpedo practice off Sandwich Island, MA, on 2 August 1911.

During a live fire target experiment held on 27-28 August 1911, to test the effect of shell fire on the navy’s new cage style fore masts, Washington stood by as the Delaware (Battleship No. 28) fired at the target hulk USS San Marcos, the former Second Class Battleship Texas. After which the Washington conducted battle practice with the Fleet off the southern drill grounds.

On 31 October 1911 Secretary of the Navy Meyer reviewed 102 Naval vessels in New York Harbor, which was the largest assemblage of United States warships reviewed at that time. The crowd assembled to look at the great warships numbered in the hundreds of thousands. Each ship was decked out with all the trimmings and each sailor was dressed in his whites making quite a sight to the onlookers. There were 17 battleships there that day along with the cruisers Washington and North Carolina.

Washington then participated in a search problem out of Newport, R.I., from 9 to 18 November before she sailed for the West Indies in company with North Carolina, arriving at Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on 26 November. Washington subsequently returned home to Hampton Roads in company with her sister ship North Carolina, and went into dry dock at the Norfolk Navy Yard three days before Christmas of 1911.

After returning to the Fleet and participating in maneuvers in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in late January and early February 1912, Washington steamed back to the Norfolk Navy Yard where, between 13 and 19 February, she underwent special preparations to embark the Secretary of State and his party. The armored cruiser then shifted to Key West where she embarked the Secretary on 23 February. In the ensuing weeks, Washington carried the honorable Philander C. Knox and his guests to such ports as Colon, Panama; Port Limon, Costa Rica; Puerto Barrios, Guatemala; La Guaira, Venezuela; Santo Domingo; St. Thomas; Puerto Cabalo, Venezuela; San Juan; Port-au-Prince; Guantanamo Bay; Kingston, Jamaica; and Havana, before disembarking her distinguished guests at Piney Point, Maryland, on 16 April 1912.

The high point of the spring of 1912 for Washington was her service as temporary flagship for the Commander in Chief, Atlantic Fleet, while she was at the Philadelphia Navy Yard between 19 April and 3 May. Washington subsequently paused at New York from 9 to 12 May and at the Portsmouth (N.H.) Navy Yard for an inspection by the Board of Inspection and Survey for ships before she conducted maneuvers out of Provincetown and Newport and then received Rear Admiral Hugo Osterhaus--the Commander in Chief, Atlantic Fleet--on board on 26 May 1912. After shifting to Hampton Roads, Washington embarked a detachment of additional marines on 27 May, took on stores, and set out that day for Key West. There, she awaited further orders between 30 May and 10 June, while President Taft concentrated a strong naval force there to prepare for possible action which might be required by internal problems in Cuba.

In the late spring and early summer 1912, a rebellion occurred in Cuba that caused the United States to have a force of ships in Cuban waters as a show of force. Washington accordingly departed Key West on 10 June and arrived at Havana later that day. She remained there on "duty in connection with the Cuban rebellion" until 1 July when she shifted to Guantanamo. The rebellion on the island was put down by the Cuban Government, resulting in the withdrawal of the American naval and marine representation there. Accordingly, Washington sailed to Hampton Roads, where she discharged her marines and equipment and went into "first reserve" at the Portsmouth (N.H.) Navy Yard on 9 July.

She remained inactive until 8 October 1912 when she sailed for New York to participate in the naval review held there between 10 and 15 October, and then resumed her reserve status at Portsmouth on 17 October. Shifted subsequently from Portsmouth to the New York Navy Yard--via President Roads, MA, and Tompkinsville, Staten Island-- Washington was assigned duty as receiving ship at the New York Navy Yard on 20 July 1912.

Washington was placed in commission again on 23 April 1914, with Captain Edward Walter Eberle in command. Later that spring, the armored cruiser took on board drafts of men from Norfolk and Port Royal, South Carolina to bring her up to sea going strength. Setting out from the New York Navy Yard on 30 April bound for Key West, Florida and reaching her final destination on May 2, 1914.

Once again there was unrest in the Dominican Republic. A revolution in the northern province of Santiago, against the rule of Provisional President Jose Bordes Valdes, had been quelled; but one in the province of Puerto Plata, near the capital of Santo Domingo itself, continued unchecked and was marked by severe fighting. The fighting was so severe that the officers and crew of the Washington felt “marked apprehension”.

On 1 May 1914, the Petrel (Gunboat No. 2) had been ordered to Dominican waters, but a further show of force seemed to be in order. Accordingly, Washington was chosen to "show the flag" in those troubled waters. She departed Key West on 4 May and arrived at the beleaguered city of Puerto Plata on 6 May to protect American interests, joining the gunboat Petrel. Six days later, Captain Eberle invited representatives of both warring parties, the insurgents and the government, out to his ship, in an attempt to persuade both sides to come to an amicable settlement.

Unfortunately, the attempt failed, and the fighting continued. The insurgents were aided by a recent large consignment of guns and ammunition smuggled across the Haitian border that had given them new blood. The revolutionaries soon recaptured the key city of Le Vega and were successfully holding Puerto Plata. Government forces, laying siege to that port and shelling the insurgents, clearly endangered the lives of the neutral citizens still living in the city. Captain Eberle objected to the bombardment and warned President Valdes repeatedly. On June 6, 1914 Washington was relieved by the USS Machias (Gunboat No. 5) and departed Puerto Plata with the conflict between the insurgents and the government of President Valdes still unresolved.

Washington coaled ship and took on stores at Guantanamo Bay from 7 to 10 June 1914 before she sailed for Veracruz, Mexico. She then remained in Mexican waters between 14 and 24 June before she shifted to Cape Haitien, Haiti, to protect American interests there during an outbreak of violence that summer.

Washington remained at Cape Haitien into July. In the meantime, the situation in the Dominican Republic had worsened when government shellings of rebel positions in Puerto Plata resulted in an inevitable "incident." On 26 June, a stray shell killed an English woman in Puerto Plata causing the gunboat Machias to shift to a berth in the inner harbor and shell one of President Valdes's batteries, silencing it with a few well-placed shots. During early July, Machias again fired her guns in anger when stray shots hit the ship.

In view of those developments, Washington returned to Puerto Plata on 9 July and remained there into the autumn, keeping a vigil to protect American lives and property and standing by to land her landing force if the situation required it. That August, Captain Eberle's attempts to bring about a conference finally bore fruit. The United States government sent a commission, consisting of J. F. Fort, the former governor of New Jersey, James M. Sullivan, the American Minister to Santo Domingo; and Charles Smith, a New Hampshire lawyer, to mediate a peace in the Dominican Republic.

Both sides ultimately accepted the American suggestions, which provided for the establishment of a constitutional government and the institution of elections under United States "observation." Washington left Santo Domingo on 20 November1914 but, later that month, continued high feelings over the closely contested election resulted in further unrest. This unrest was met by the dispatch of additional force of U. S. Marines sent to Santo Domingo. For Washington, however, her part in the Dominican intervention of 1914 was over. She sailed for home and arrived at Philadelphia on 24 November and became flagship of the Cruiser Squadron.

Now in the Portsmouth, New Hampshire Navy yard she underwent a routine overhaul from 12 December through 11 January 1915. She was loaded with ammunition and sailed on the 11th via President Roads MA for Hampton Roads, VA where she arrived on the 14th of January. After a five-day visit, during which she took on stores and provisions and an expeditionary force of marines, Washington sailed for Caribbean waters once more.

Two revolutions had rocked Haiti in 1914, and a third, in January of 1915, led by General Vilbrun Guillaume Sam, had resulted only in further unrest for that troubled nation. Washington arrived at Cape Haitien on 23 January; one week after General Sam’s troops had invaded it. The armored cruiser, flying the flag of Rear Admiral Caperton and commanded by Captain Edward Latimer Beach, Sr. (the father of the future naval officer Edward L. Beach, Jr., who would win fame as a famous WWII submariner and author) stayed in port there until the 26th investigating "political conditions" before she shifted to the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, on 27 January. There, she again observed local political conditions in the wake of General Sam’s takeover of the government before sailing, via Guantanamo, for Mexican waters.

Washington conducted sub-caliber practices, observed political conditions, and conducted torpedo practices off the ports of Tampico, Tuxpan, Progreso, and Veracruz into the summer of 1915. Receiving provisions and stores from the supply ship Celtic off Progreso on 26 and 27 June, Washington sailed for Guantanamo where she coaled and took on water on 30 June. She sailed the same day for Cape Haitien, as all reports from the American minister there indicated that yet another crisis was brewing.

While Washington awaited further developments at Cape Haitien, events in Port-au-Prince deteriorated, moving American Charge d'Affaire Davis to send a telegram on 27 July to the Secretary of State, Robert Lansing, reporting the troubled conditions. He reported that President Sam and some of his men had been surrounded in the presidential palace and that the presence of American war vessels was desirable.

In accordance with that message, the Navy dispatched Washington to that port. Meanwhile, Sam took refuge in the French legation where he hoped that diplomatic immunity would prevail. The mobs of angry Haitians, however, were not concerned with such international niceties, and they invaded the legation at 10:30 on the morning of 28 July 1915, forcibly removed former President Sam, killed and dismembered him, and paraded portions of his body on poles around the city. Washington arrived at Port-au-Prince the same day. Upon reviewing the situation, Admiral Caperton acted quickly. He ordered marines and a landing force ashore from his flagship the Washington to protect not only American interests but those of other foreign nations as well. Washington remained at Port-au-Prince into the winter. During that time, the United States effectively ran Haiti. On 12 August, Philippe Sudra Dartinguenave was elected president; and his government was recognized by the United States on 17 September 1915.

Ending that lengthy in-port period, Washington departed Port-au-Prince on 31 January 1916 and arrived at Guantanamo the following day. There, she transferred passengers and stores to other ships of the Fleet and later transferred a company of marines to Norfolk soon after her arrival in Hampton Roads on 5 February 1916. Washington steamed north, via New York and Boston, reaching Portsmouth, N.H., on 29 February. She began an overhaul period in the navy yard there, which lasted until the end of March 1916, after which she was placed in reserve status on 31 March 1916.

On 9 November 1916, Washington was renamed Seattle (retaining her classification as Armored Cruiser No. 11). She was simultaneously taken out of reserve status and re-commissioned for duty as flagship of the Destroyer Force under the command of Captain DeWitt Blamer.

Seattle’s peacetime duties as flagship for the Destroyer Force were short. On 6 April 1917, the United States, after attempting patiently but futilely to remain neutral, despite repeated incidents on the high seas, finally entered World War I.

USS Seattle as she looked in 1918 during her convoy escort days.

Seattle arrived at New York on 3 June 1917 to be fitted out at the New York Navy Yard for war service. She sailed on 14 June as an escort for the first American convoy to European waters and as flagship for Rear Admiral Albert Gleaves. Captain Blamer’s crew, at 22:15 on 22 June 1917, encountered their first enemy submarines in latitude 48-00 N, longitude 25-50 W.

Shortly before the convoy was attacked, Seattle’s helm jammed; and she sheered out of formation sharply, sounding her whistle to warn the other vessels. A few minutes later, the ship was brought back on course. Soon lookouts noted a white streak in the water 50 yards ahead of the vessel, crossing from starboard to port at right angles to Seattle’s course. Admiral Gleaves, asleep in the charthouse at the time, awoke and was on the bridge with Captain Blamer in time to see the Seattle’s gun crews manning their weapons and the transport De Kalb opening fire on the U-boat.

Subsequently, the destroyer Wilkes (Destroyer No. 67) attacked an enemy U-boat but failed to sink the German submarine. Later information indicated that the enemy, probably aware of the approach of the first American expeditionary forces, had dispatched a pair of submarines to lie in wait for it. The attack, conducted under "ideal" conditions, was, fortunately for the Americans, unsuccessful. Admiral Gleaves, in his report to the Commander in Chief, Atlantic Fleet, on 12 July 1917, reported unequivocally: "their [the enemy's] failure to score hits was probably due to the attack being precipitated by the fortuitous circumstances of the Seattle’s helm jamming and the sounding of her whistle, leading the enemy to suppose he had been discovered."

Seattle operated on comparatively uneventful escort duties for the remainder of World War I, completing her ninth round-trip voyage at New York on 27 October 1918. The only change to break the long hours of escort duty was a change of commanders on January 7, 1918. After the armistice of 11 November 1918, Seattle, like many other ships, was fitted with extra accommodations to enable her to function as a transport, and she brought back doughboys from France until 5 July 1919. Later, after all of her special troop fittings had been removed, Seattle sailed for the west coast to join the Pacific Fleet.

Stearn view of the Seattle, still in her war paint, in the dry-dock at Portsmouth, NH Navy Yard. This is possibly during her re-fit for carrying troops after the war.

Reviewed by President Woodrow Wilson on 12 September at her namesake city, Seattle, the armored cruiser shifted to the Puget Sound Navy Yard where she was placed in "reduced commission." While in that inactive status, Seattle was reclassified a heavy cruiser, CA-11, on 17 July 1920.

Placed in full commission again on 1 March 1923, with Captain George Loring Porter Stone in command, Seattle became the flagship for the Commander in Chief, United States Fleet. In that role, over the next four years, she wore the four-starred flags of a succession of officers: Admiral Hilary P. Jones, Admiral Robert E. Coontz, Admiral Samuel S. Robison (who was embarked in the ship at the time of the Australian cruise of 1925), and Admiral Charles F. Hughes. During that time, Seattle operated from Seattle, WA to Hawaii and from Panama to Australia. Command of the Seattle passed from Captain Stone to Captain Clarence S. Kempff in 1924 and again to Captain Charles Seymour Freeman in early 1926.

The United States Pacific Fleet in the summer of 1925 embarked on what was officially known as the Australian Cruise of 1925 but was more commonly known as “The Cruise Down Under” to many of the men aboard the ships. Some 145 ships took part on the cruise, which began in San Francisco and visited Hawaii, Samoa, Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart, Auckland, Wellington, San Pedro, Panama and San Diego. The Seattle was one of the ships to take this “Cruise Down Under.”

This South Pacific Cruise to Australia was for good will but it also served as an important experiment in radio communications of the time. This cruise was an important one for the U.S. Navy, in that the experiments undertaken during that cruise validated the ideas of using high-frequency transmissions rather than low-frequency transmissions for long-distance ship-to-shore contact. This made possible a major reorientation of tactical, operational and strategic-level naval communications, with other serious larger implications that had not been fully explored, in 1926. What the navy learned from this cruise they used to envision a new plan that came after this, which formed the basis for what is the present day international radio spectrum.

To the men aboard the Seattle this was a leisurely cruise and many a men had a great time while “Down Under” One such sailor was Fireman Stanley A. Goetz, who crossed the equator for the first time on July 6, 1915 at Longitude 165-25W as the Seattle was bound for Samoa. Stanley or “Mike” as he was known would have received his Shellback certificate on this cruise and had many stories to tell his family when it was over. His favorite story was once in Melbourne the 22-year old sailor, and a fellow shipmate rented an Indian motorcycle and traveled around the area while on leave and got back late almost missing the ship. They were busted a grade but didn't much care as it was one of the greatest experiences of his life.

In late August of 1926 the United States Battle fleet was returning to San Francisco, California with Secretary of the Navy Wilbur traveling on the Battleship USS California. The cities of San Francisco and Oakland had planned a great celebration of the returning Fleet and 70 warships of the fleet anchored in the harbor on August 20, 1926. Admiral Samuel S. Robison, Commander in Chief of the U.S. Fleet arrived on the flagship Seattle in San Francisco at 7:00 in the morning several hours ahead of the main body of the fleet. The celebration was a 10-day event with many speeches and celebration dinners, parades and all sorts of local events were planned to welcome the fleet back home. Also during the celebrations was held the annual Pacific Coast Championship Yachting Regatta. The bay cities played host to over 25,000 officers and men of the fleet.

Subsequently returning to the Atlantic in June of 1927, Seattle passed in review before President Calvin Coolidge on 3 June 1927.

Another view dockside in Melbourne, Australia showing the Seattle’s stern. The 3 Melbourne, Australia photos provided by Chris Summers of Melbourne, Australia.

Another view of the Seattle in Melbourne, Australia July 27, 1925 shown with 2 other unidentified Battleships. On this cruise the fleet consisted of the Seattle as Flagship, with the battleships Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Oklahoma, along with the Marblehead.

The Seattle dockside on the Prince's Pier in Melbourne, Australia July 27, 1925 during her Australian Cruise of Admiral Coontz

ADMIRALS MESSAGE.
FAREWELL TO AUSTRALIA.
"Outpouring of Friendship."

Admiral Coontz issued the following farewell message last night'

USS Seattle, Flagship,
Melbourne, Victoria,
August 5, 1925.

On the eve of our departure from Australian waters the commander In-chief of the United States Fleet is glad to have the opportunity to say a parting word. He believes that the visit of the portion of the United States Fleet that has made the cruise to the southern seas has been most successful. For three years it has been talked of and looked forward to, and has finally come to a full and complete fruition.

The arrangements for handling the fleet during its stay in Australian waters and the care taken therewith have been phenomenal and successful. The visit has exceeded our fondest expectations. Those of us who were here in 1908 in junior capacities well remember the openhearted hospitality and kindness with which the fleet was greeted. But the present stay has even put that memorable experience in the shade.

In all his experience the commander-in-chief has never seen such an outpouring of friendship and kindness on the part of each and every one, high and low, as has been given to our fleet. Our people have been taken into your homes and given great opportunities to see your wonderful country.

It was with regret that decision had to be made not to visit other of your great cities on the east coast and in Western Australia. Time, repairs, overhauls, and fuel and food replenishments did not permit. If there has been any case of a letter unanswered or a request not acceded to, the commander-in-chief feels sure that when the writer or tenderer understands the vast volume of work imposed on officers of the fleet during such occasions of this kind they will pardon such errors of unintentional omission.

The fleet leaves Australia with the kindest thoughts for its people; with thankful hearts for the great courtesies so friendly extended; believes that Australia has a great future and a wonderful place in the world in the years to come; and bids them good-bye and Godspeed along the road.

R. E. COONTZ,
Admiral, U.S. Navy,
Commander-in-chief,
United States Fleet

On the 25th of July 1927 while the Seattle was at anchor in Portland, Maine Colonel Charles A. Lindbergh while flying his famous plane the “Sprit Of St. Louis” nearly landed on the deck of the cruiser. Lindbergh was flying his famous plane over the city giving official honors to the military and Naval forces assembled there. After circling the city several times Lindbergh made a pass over the harbor to Great Diamond Island, paying respect to the Citizen’s Military Training Camp and to Ft. McKinley. Then he made another pass up the harbor dipping down twice and on the second time almost hit the Seattle. Rear Admiral Hughes likely had a few welcoming words to say to Lucky Lindie after his “pass” over his Flagship.

After a cruise along the east coast, the ship arrived at New York on 29 August 1927 to assume duties as the receiving ship at that port. Captain Freeman relinquished his command of the Seattle on 31 October 1927 to Captain John Charles Fremont. On 1 July 1931, the ship's designation was changed to "unclassified."

As receiving ship at the New York Navy yard, Seattle served as a floating barracks, a "clearance house for personnel" into the 1940s. Ships and stations transferred men to her for attending various schools in the 3d Naval District, and she provided men for tugs and other district craft, as well as naval escorts for patriotic functions, parades and funerals, etc., and, on board her, crews for ships preparing to go into commission were assembled. Among those ships was the light cruiser USS Honolulu (CL-48). During this time she had several commanders and among them were Captain Frederick Lansing Oliver (1932-1936) and Captain Harry Earl Shoemaker (1939-1940).

On 17 February 1941, the ancient cruiser Seattle was reclassified as IX-39. She was ultimately placed out of commission at New York on 28 June 1946 and was struck from the Navy list on 19 July of the same year. Sold on 3 December 1946 to Hugo Neu, of New York City, the former flagship of the United States Fleet and receiving ship at New York was subsequently scrapped.

A view of the Seattle’s stern, taken sometime in 1923 showing the flag at half-mast.


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 Washington USS Seattle please e-mail them to: Joe Hartwell


Oscar H. Riddle, WWI Seattle Crewman

Oscar Henry Riddle was born on June 11, 1894 to Willis R. and Margaret J. Riddle. Oscar was born in Arkansas and in April of 1910 the family lived on a farm in Giles Township of Cleburne County, Arkansas.

Oscar’s father Willis was born about 1856 in Mississippi and his mother Margaret was born about 1860 in Alabama. Willis and Margaret were married about 1879. By April of 1910 Margaret had given birth to eight children, sis of which were still living. When the Federal Census was taken at the Riddle home on the 23rd of April 1910, three children lived in the home. They were a daughter named Clara born about 1882 in Mississippi, Oscar Henry born June 11 of 1894 in Arkansas and another son named Price who was born about 1898 in Oklahoma. Willis worked the family farm to support the family.

When Oscar had turned 22 America was declaring war with Germany, and as such he registered for the federal Draft in Giles Township, Arkansas on June 5, 1917, 6 days before he would have turned 23-years old. At that time Oscar was a single man living in Shiloh, Arkansas, which was in his home county of Cleburne. Oscar worked as a farm laborer for R. W. Riddle, which was likely a relative of his. Oscar as stated on his draft card was a tall medium built man with light blue eyes and black hair.

Oscar served his time in the military in the United States Navy and was serving on the Armored Cruiser USS Seattle, which served as an escort for the American convoys to European waters and as flagship for Rear Admiral Albert Gleaves.

After the war ended Oscar was discharged from the navy and returned to his home in Giles township of Cleburne, Arkansas. In January of 1920 Oscar lived on the farm of his younger brother Price, who was married to Meda and they had a 1-year old son named Clinton F. There were 3 families of Riddles all living next to each other in Giles Township. Oscar’s father and mother lived in one farm and Gordon Riddle and his wife, Nonie and their son Darrell and daughter Seattle on another farm. Gordon was 30-years old and may have been another brother to Oscar. It is curious that the 1-year old daughter of Gordon and Nonie was named “Seattle” which was the name of the ship that Oscar served on during WWI.

Nothing more is known about Oscar H. Riddle past the 1920 Federal Census.

Sue Riddle Scivally, great-grand niece of Oscar H. Riddle.

FM2c Lynnly C. Adams, WWI Seattle Crewman

Seaman Lynnly C. Adams pictured while stationed on the Receiving Ship at Philadelphia in 1918. His uniform shows him at his rating of the time, Seaman Recruit.

Lynnly Creighton Adams was born February 16, 1895 in Clarksburg, Scott County Mississippi. As a small child he moved with his parents to Rankin County, Mississippi, and he was still living there when he enlisted in the U.S. Navy on October 15, 1917 in Jackson, Mississippi. He was sent to Norfolk, Virginia for training where he remained until January 25, 1918 when he was sent to the USS Illinois for a month of shipboard training. On February 15, 1918 he was sent to a receiving ship at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to await assignment.

On February 27, 1918, he was assigned to the USS Seattle as a Fireman 3rd Class. From his service record it appears he was a good sailor as he only had one blemish on his record - on May 9, 1918, he was given eight hours extra duty for throwing a cigarette butt on deck. Shortly after the war ended Lynnly was stricken with double pneumonia twice, and his service record indicates that he was sent to the U.S. Navy Base Hospital No. 5 at Brest France. He was very ill and he remained at the hospital from December 28, 1918, to March 3, 1919. Lynnly was discharged from the navy on August 14, 1919 at Atlanta, Georgia.

He went back to Mississippi and resumed his pre-war occupation as a farmer. He died at the Veteran's Hospital in Jackson, Mississippi, on November 24, 1952, and is buried in the New Prospect Cemetery eight miles east of Brandon, Mississippi.

Written by Jeff Giambrone, grandson of Lynnly C. Adams.

Coxswain, Harry Tice, WWI Seattle Crewman

Harry Tice was born on December 27, 1899 in Bergen County, New Jersey to Herman A. and Charity Tice. Herman Tice worked as a Pharmacist in Ridgewood, New Jersey. Herman and Charity were married sometime in 1891 and by 1910 Charity had given birth to 5 children but as of May 1910 only two were living, Mabell age 12 and Harry age 10.

At the age of 16 years and 9 months old Harry Tice, a 120-pound young lad with blue eyes and brown hair enlisted into the U.S. Navy as an Apprentice Seaman at the New York Naval Station on October 5, 1916. Young Harry Tice was sent to the Naval Training Station, Newport, Rhode Island.

Once on Active duty it is known that he served on the Armored Cruiser USS Seattle during WWI, as he was discharged with Honor on 18 November 1919 as a Seaman. While in the Navy, Harry found a life long occupation, that of life in the military. It is not known when but after he was released from active duty with the navy he joined the army. This is known from a certificate dated June 6, 1922 where he was promoted from Private First Class to the rank of Corporal.

Then again on July 9, 1923 Harry Tice enlisted for the second time in the navy with the rating of Seaman First Class at the New York Navy Yard, the same place he had enlisted in 1916. During this second time in the navy Harry served until discharged on 7 July 1927 with the rating of Coxswain, again serving on the USS Seattle.

During the later part of Harry Tice’s duty on the Seattle, she served as Flagship for the Commander in Chief, United States Fleet. And in March of 1927 while Admiral Charles F. Hughes was Commander in Chief, United States Fleet, Coxswain Harry Tice was involved in a motor launch accident aboard the Seattle in which another man was killed and Harry was given a letters of commendation.

On March 21st, three days after the accident, the Commanding Officer of the Seattle, Captain C. S. Freeman writes a letter to Coxswain Tice.

Gonaives, Haiti,
21 March 1927

1. On 18 March, 1927, while the first motor launch of this ship of which you are coxswain was being hoisted, a defective link of the chain hoisting slings gave way and permitted the stern of the boat to drop about thirty-five feet to the water, precipitating you and three other occupants of the boat into the water, injuring all of you and fatally injuring C. A. Le Cureux, seaman first class, whose right leg was torn off by the whip of the parted slings, and who was helpless and presumably unconscious in the water. Disregarding your own injuries, consisting of a bruised right upper leg and a lacerated left knee, you promptly swam to Le Cureux, supported him on the surface of the water, and were finally instrumental in assisting him to the boat which had immediately been dispatched to the scene of the accident.

2. For this unselfish act of courage in going to the assistance of an injured shipmate, I take pleasure in Publicly commending you and shall cause a copy of this letter to be placed on file with your service record.

This letter of Commendation was written by Admiral Hughes and delivered by the Seattle’s commanding officer Captain C. S. Freeman, who, in the words written on the commendation was “delivered with pleasure.” The Commendation from Admiral Hughes written on April 12, 1927 while the Seattle was at Guantanamo, Cuba reads as follows:

Conduct during recent accident while hoisting in motor launch.

1. On 18 March 1927, the after sling carried away while hoisting the first motor launch aboard the USS Seattle. As a result of this accident Claude A. Le Cureux, late Seaman first class, U.S. Navy, lost his life. At the time of this accident you were in the first motor launch, performing the duties as coxswain of that boat. The Commander-in-Chief notes from the record of the Court of Inquiry held in this case that you were thrown into the water when the boat slings carried away, the boat at the time having been hoisted tow blocks. He further notes with pleasure your prompt action in immediately swimming to the assistance of Le Cureux who was mortally injured and entirely incapacitated to help himself. It is due to this action, in a very large measure, that Le Cureux was recovered, and taken into a boat for first aid treatment in an effort to save his life.

2. The court of Inquiry cites your conduct as worthy of commendation. The Commander-in-Chief feels that commendation is particularly deserved because under the circumstances the natural impulse of anyone less mindful of his duty to a shipmate, would have been to insure his own safety first, rather than to be concerned with the safety of others who were involved in the accident. Your conduct during this emergency, especially in view of the fact that you yourself were injured in the fall, is considered most exemplary, and in accordance with the highest ideals of the Naval Service.

And then in early June 1927 word of this heroic event reached all the way to the Secretary of The Navy. Acting Secretary Richard Henry Leigh wrote the following commendation, which was then delivered to Coxswain Tice on June 8 by Captain Freeman aboard the USS Seattle.

From: The Secretary of the Navy
To: Tice, Harry, Cox. 10420-24, USN
Via: Commanding Officer, USS Seattle

1. The Commanding Officer of the USS Seattle has brought to the attention of the Department the heroic conduct displayed by you on the occasion of the fatal injury of the late Claude A. Le Cureux, U.S. Navy.

2. It appears that on 18 March 1927 at about 4:00 p.m., the first motor launch of the USS Seattle was being hoisted aboard. The boat had reached the required height to be swung into the skids and the signal had been given, but before the crane could move, at least one link of the after sling carried away and the stern of the boat fell. Another open link of the stern sling carried away, releasing the wire leg to the stern sling, but leaving attached to this wire leg a heavy shackle, ring and broken link. The wire sling went forward and struck Le Cureux, his right leg was jammed between the bow of the boat and the forward sling and amputated below the knee, allowing him to fall into the water. He also suffered a crushed pelvis and crushed chest. Regardless of the fact that you were injured at the time of this accident, you swam to the assistance of Le Crueux and succeeded in supporting him on the surface of the water until a boat arrived and you were both taken aboard.

3. It is a pleasure to the Department to commend you for your unselfish disregard of your own personal comfort on this occasion. It is reported that you suffered a lacerated left knee and that you’re right upper leg was injured but regardless of this fact you rendered every possible assistance to your shipmate who was fatally injured.

Signed R. H Leigh
Acting

Harry Tice was married sometime after duty with the USS Seattle and 1938. Harry and his wife Hazel had their first and only child, a son named Harry Allan Tice who was born on August 20, 1929. The son, Harry A. married on May 9, 1959 to Alina Ferretti and she has shared the photo and information about Chief Harry Tice, her father-in-law.

The above photo shows Chief Boatswain Harry Tice. It is known that he entered the Navy during WWII on January 8, 1942 and in the photo Harry has 4 Service Stripes on his are. The Navy and Marine Corps both wear Service Stripes and each one represents 4 years of service, so Chief Tice would have been in the Navy for at least 16 years in this photo and this would date it to at least 1958 or 1959.

During WWII Harry was still on active service with the US Navy and served through out the war years at the rating of Chief Boatswain Mate.

It is not known when Harry Tice closed his career in the military but sometime after he worked as a Merchant Marine aboard the USNS Sgt. Archer T. Gammon. This ship was a 1,455’ Victory ship launched in January of 1945 with her original name of Yale Victory. In March of 1950 she was transferred to the Military Sea Transport Service (MSTS) and given the name USNS Sgt. Archer T. Gammon. As a point of interest Harry Tice’s son, Harry Allan Tice served on the USS Yale Victory during 1946.

While serving aboard the Archer Gammon, Harry Tice distinguished himself again. At an unknown date but must have been between March of 1950 and his death in March of 1967, Harry received a Distinguished Sea Rescue Award from the American Merchant Marine Institute. Apparently during a Typhoon, the USNS Sgt. Archer T. Gammon came to the rescue of a sinking Japanese ship named Yoneyama Maru. Harry Tice was there to help in the same way he did in 1927 when he came to the aid of a fellow shipmate.

Harry Tice lived at the end of his life in San Francisco, California and it was on March 25, 1967 that he passed away of a heart attack while still serving in the Navy. On March 29, 1967 Harry Tice, a man who lived most of his life on the sea, was buried in the Golden Gate National Cemetery, Section J, Site 42-D.

MM2c Lester P. Lipe, WWI USS Seattle Crewman

Lester P. Lipe was born on May 23, 1890 in Charlotte, North Carolina. At the time of his registering for the Federal Draft on June 5, 1917 Lester lived at 1411 Belmont Street in Washington D.C. where he worked for the Federal Government as a Mechanical Engineer for the Signal Corps. Lester was married and had one child in June of 1917 and possible his mother may have lived with him at his home on Belmont Street.

Previous to WWI Lester had served 7 years in the U. S. Navy as a Machinist Mate 2nd Class. Lester was a medium built man with grey eyes and dark hair. He was slightly balding and on his Draft card he listed that he was missing his middle finger on his left hand. This apparently did not keep him from serving a second time in the navy. During WWI Lester served aboard the Armored Cruiser USS Seattle. Lester reported aboard the Seattle on May 8, 1917 and was involved with the launching of airplanes from a catapult constructed on the stern of the ship. Additionally Lester may have served at the Pensacola Naval Station before reporting to the Seattle.

Seaman Sterling Wing Lockwood, USS Seattle

Undated photo of USS Seattle crewman Sterling Wing Lockwood, standing left end.
It is assumed the the other three sailors are also Seattle crewmen.

Chief Boatswain Theron DeWitt Carter, USS Seattle

Theron DeWitt Carter shown in an undated photo but his rating sleeve patch shows that of a Quartermaster Second Class.
Undated photo with Theron Shown as a Warrant Officer, third from the left.

Theron DeWitt Carter was a career navy man and at the time of his death had served more than 20-years in the navy, serving on several ships and shore stations.

Theron Carter, born in February of 1898, was the son of William Carter a 36-year old man who had been widowed prior to 1900 and was left to raise three children. The children were Willard, Mildred and Theron the youngest. Theron’s father, William Carter was one of four sons born to Mary E. and William H. Carter Sr., of Washington, New Jersey. In 1880 the William Carter Sr. family consisted four sons, Henry, J. Calvin, William Jr., and Ellsworth.

In the early summer of 1900 the William Carter Jr. family was living on 9th Street in Keyport, New Jersey where William supported his three children and Georgiana Walters who was the housekeeper William employed, by working in the garment industry as a shirt cutter.

Ten years later in 1910 the William Carter Jr. family still lived on 9th Street with William still working in the garment industry. By then eldest son Willard was away from the home serving in the navy. Now living in the home with William Jr., Mildred and Theron was William’s 78-year old father, William Sr. While Theron’s oldest brother Willard, was serving in the navy he likely saw inspiration from his brother and one day he too would follow his brothers footsteps and put on the blue uniform of a sailor.

It is not known for sure when Theron first entered the service but it is surmised to be sometime about 1916 due to the fact that Theron had left in his box of mementos a program from a Ball put on by the crew on June 15, 1916. Also in another of his photos of himself from the time he is shown in a Quartermaster's uniform and on his left sleeve are two service stripes showing that he had served at least one year in the war zone during WWI. In the 1920 Federal Census, Theron is listed aboard the Armored Cruiser USS Seattle as a Chief Quartermaster. He was then a 21-year old single man and listed his home of record in Keyport, New Jersey.

About 1924 Theron married and his wife’s first name was Margaret. She was six years younger than Theron born on June 10, 1903, and was English born having come to America in late 1903 as an infant. Theron and Margaret’s first child was born when Theron was stationed in Massachusetts likely at the Boston Navy Yard. They named their first child a daughter, Margaret in honor of her mother. The second and third children were also born in Massachusetts, Virginia and Theron DeWitt II.

About 1929 Theron was transferred to the Naval Station in Key West, Florida and he was now a Naval Warrant Officer. About that same time after the family was living in Key West another son named William was born. The family lived in a rented home on South Street in Key West City. Following duty in Key West Theron was stationed in New Jersey for a time and then finally at the Charleston, South Carolina Navy Yard.

His last duty was as the Executive Officer of the Naval Tug Umpqua (AT-25). The Umpqua was build and launched in 1919 and was a tug of exceptional power and seagoing ability. Umpqua spend nearly her entire service life working from the Charleston Navy yard in the 6th Naval District performing heavy duty towing and tug operations for the Atlantic Fleet.

In early February of 1940 the Umpqua with Chief Boatswain Theron Carter as the Executive Officer, was working in and around Guantanamo, Cuba. In the days before February 13 Chief Carter took ill and passed away in Guantanamo at the naval base. His body was then prepared for transport to the Norfolk, Virginia Navy Base aboard the destroyer USS Helena. His body was then taken to Washington, DC where his funeral was held in the Chapel in Arlington National Cemetery where he was subsequently buried in Section 6, Site 9329 on March 2, 1940. His wife Margaret and three children survived him. Margaret at the time was living at 59 Fenwick Drive in Windemere, South Carolina.

Margaret P. Carter would live on until she passed away on November 21, 1997 and was buried next to her husband in the Arlington National Cemetery. Theron’s son Theron DeWitt Carter II carried on the family tradition of the Carter serving in the Navy first begun by Willard Carter.

Theron Dewitt Carter II served in the navy starting about 1946, serving aboard several landing ships, LSM 480, LST 553, LSM 333, the escort carrier USS Wake Island (CVE-65), the destroyer tender USS Frontier (AD-25) and the destroyer USS McCaffery (DD-860).

Group photo of Chief Petty Officers of the USS Seattle.

Theron DeWitt Carter shown with a fishing pole and at least 3 large fish on his stringer.
On the deck just to the right of the fish is a small cat waiting for supper.
Theron stands behind what appears to be a 5-inch deck gun, he also is wearing a Chief’s hat.

Another undated photo of Warrant Officer Chief Boatswain Theron DeWitt Carter shown on a Quarterdeck of possible a battleship.

The USS Washington Marching Flag. This flag would have been used when a company of the Washington's men would march in formation.
Strangely the "T" in Washington seems to be underlined.

This is a photo of the outside cover of a small program of a Ball given by the crew of the USS Washington on June 15, 1916

Inside of the program showing the Informal Ball given by the crew of the USS Washington, Freeman's Hall June 15, 1916.

Theodore B. Henthorne, Electrician Third Class

Theodore B. Henthorne was the son of Grant and Ida (Williamson) Henthorne and was born on May 3, 1889 in Sidney, Illinois. Theodore Henthorne entered into service in the United States Navy at an unknown age and the only record of his service comes from a photo post card of he and his “Dynamo Busters” that he had sent back to his aunt in the states. The date of the writing on the backs is November 13, 1909 and was written when the USS Washington, the ship he was serving on was in Manila, Philippine Islands.

Henthorne was an Electrician Third Class and worked in the Dynamo room of the USS Washington. The dynamo of a US Navy ship is basically the electrical generator that is powered by the steam from the ships boilers. The Dynamo room is located deep down within the hull near the engine rooms but always in a separate compartment to keep the moisture and steam from shorting out the dynamo. The Dynamo room of the ship is where all the electrical circuits come to and are controlled from.

Seaman Henthorne most likely joined the Washington prior to the time she was leaving Hampton Roads, Virginia on October 12, 1908, when she was ordered to for the Special Pathfinder Squadron with her sister ship Tennessee. They were to join the other Armored Cruisers and scout a route that the main Battleship fleet would take when they cruised around the world, which was known as the famous cruise of the “Great White Fleet.” The Washington arrived in Manila, P.I. on October 30, 1909 about 2 weeks before Seaman Henthorne writes his post card to his aunt.

Above is the front side showing Henthorne seated 2nd on the left with his legs crossed. On the back of the post card Seaman Henthorne writes:

Manila, P.I.

Nov. 13, 1909

Dear Aunt: Here is a bunch of “dynamo busters” and myself photographed sitting on the anchor chain. You will recognize me as the 2nd one on the left setting. This is the way the front row looks in their everyday life on the ship. The ones in the back row are “Posing a trifle.”

Yours Ted Henthorne

After a cruise all around the Pacific Ocean aboard the Washington, Henthorne and his “Dynamo Busters” finally reach Bremerton, Washington after a final cruise from Hawaii on March 3, 1910. The Washington then underwent a period of overhaul in the Bremerton Navy Yard and she was still there on June 11, 1910 the day that the 1910 Federal Census was taken aboard the ship. Seaman Theodore B. Henthorne, Electrician Third Class was listed with the other third Class Electricians of the ship where he is recorded as a 21-year old single sailor born in Illinois. His father and mother are only listed as having been born in the United States.

The final chapter in the life of Seaman Henthorne ends four years later on April 8, 1914. That was the day he died from the effects of Tuberculosis. It was not known if he was still in the navy at that time, but he was buried back in his home state of Illinois. Today Theodore B. Henthorne rests in the Oak Hill Cemetery in Danville, Illinois.


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This page was created on 26 February 2005 and last modified on: 3/9/14

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