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USS Long Beach (ID-2136) on 29 October 1918
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Class: LONG BEACH (AK-9)
Design Cargo, 1892
Displacement (tons): 5,800 normal
Dimensions (feet): 330.0' oa, 318.2' pp x 41.9' wl x 22.3' load
Original Armament: 2-3"/50
Later armaments: none (1920)
Complement 88 (1920)
Speed (kts.): 8.5
Propulsion (HP): 1,300
Machinery: Vertical triple expansion, 1 screw
||22 May 17
||William Pickersgill & Sons
||5 Oct 92
||20 Dec 17
||26 Apr 21
||24 May 22
On 5 October 1892 Wm. Pickersgill & Sons, of Southwick, Sunderland, launched the "finely-modeled" steel screw steamer YARROWDALE, built to the order of Messrs. Robert Mackill & Co. of Glasgow. She had triple-expansion engines by George Clark, Ltd., of Sunderland, and two extra-sized boilers. YARROWDALE was sold in 1902 to C. N. Castriotis of Piraeus, Greece, and became NICOLAOS CASTRIOTIS. The ship was sold again in 1905 to Fuhrmann, Nissle & Gunther of Hamburg, Germany, and became HOHENFELDE. In August 1914 the elderly freighter took refuge at Savannah, Ga.
On 31 Jan 17 Germany notified the United States that it intended to resume unrestricted submarine warfare the next day and the crews of many of the German ships in the U.S. began to sabotage the machinery of their ships to prevent their use when the U.S. entered the war, which occurred on 6 Apr 17. HOHENFELDE was seized on 6 Apr 17 at Savannah. On 21Apr 17 SecNav informed the Charleston, S.C. Naval Station that arrangements had been made to repair HOHENFELDE at the Charleston Navy Yard and directed Charleston to make necessary arrangement with Treasury Department representatives to take her over. On 25 Apr 17 the Bureau of Ordnance described plans to place an armed guard and a gun battery on the ship, which was then expected to become a merchant ship, and on 2 May 17 Charleston appointed a board to itemize the work that would be needed to put her in condition for service as a general cargo carrier.
On 22 May 17 Presidential Executive Order 2625 ordered that HOHENFELDE be transferred from the Treasury Department to the Navy Department for use as collier and cargo carrier. She was one of 14 seized steamers for which SecNav announced new names on 4 Jun 17. These, including LONG BEACH for HOHENFELDE, were promulgated in Navy General Order 301 of 9 Jun 17. A inspection board reported on 11 Jun 17 that the ship's construction was such as not to adapt her readily for re-design into a Naval Auxiliary because she had no structure above the main deck adequate for crew's quarters. In addition her hull was generally badly corroded and there was thick scale on the inside of all holds. The machinery had gone without repairs for so long that it was in very poor condition, and there was no electric plant on board nor was there wiring for one. Plans called for giving the ship an armament of 2-3"/50 guns but a arrangement with adequate coverage could not be found and Charleston on 24 Jul 17 recommended a four gun armament. BuOrd replied that "LONG BEACH is in very bad condition and probably not structurally strong enough to carry four guns even if they were available." It recommended that two guns be mounted on raised platforms on the center line of the ship, and on 8 Aug 17 BuC&R informed Charleston that this installation was authorized, with one gun forward and one aft. LONG BEACH was commissioned at Charleston on 20 Dec 17.
LONG BEACH left Charleston on 26 Dec 17 for Jacksonville, Fla., where she loaded a cargo of lumber and delivered it to Philadelphia, Pa., on 9 Jan 18. On 17 Jan 18 she sent a radio message to CNO requesting that a Board of Survey examine the bow of the ship, which was leaking badly. Daylight was showing through holes in several places on both bows near the waterline, and these holes would be below the waterline if the ship loaded bunker coal for a voyage. Repairs made, the ship sailed from Norfolk on 4 Feb 18 for Queenstown, Ireland. Upon arrival there on 26 Feb 18 she was assigned to the Army Coal Trade operating between Welsh and French ports. On 3 Apr 18 while enroute from Brest to Bordeaux in a coastal convoy she ran on the rocks at Pointe de Penmarch during in a fog. She was refloated and taken into Brest on 18 May. From May to November 1918 she was drydocked for general overhaul and repairs to her bottom. She remained in the Army's Cross Channel service until 23 April 1919, when she sailed for Norfolk with a cargo of aviation materiel, arriving 13 May. After overhaul at Philadelphia, LONG BEACH carried coal from her home port at Norfolk to Portsmouth, N.H., Boston, Mass., and Key West, Fla. She also made two trips to West Indian ports, one between 19 Feb 20 and 20 Mar 20 and one between 29 Oct 20 and 4 Dec 20, to supply Marine detachments there. She was designated AK-9 when the Navy's standard hull classification scheme was implemented on 17 Jul 20.
LONG BEACH departed Norfolk on 19 Dec 20, delivered a cargo of coal to Melville, R.I., and then entered Boston Navy Yard where she decommissioned 26 April 1921. She was ordered sold on 16 Jul 21 and was sold on 24 May 22 to B. L. Stafford, Jr., of New York for $20,000. Initially registered in merchant service as LONG BEACH, she was resold to the New York firm of Callaghan, Atkinson & Co. in July 1923 and renamed GOLDEN GATE. The ship was scrapped in Italy in October 1924.
||Ex merc. HOHENFELDE, ex-NICOLAS CASTRIOTIS, ex- YARROWDALE (ID-2136, completed Nov 92). Converted by NYd Charleston, S.C. Merc. LONG BEACH 1922, GOLDEN GATE 1923, scrapped October 1924.
Compiled: 26 Aug 2012
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2012