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USS Newton (IX-33) with YP-11 and Eagle No. 55 at Jersey City, N.J., in 1935
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Class: BRIARCLIFF (IX-3)
Design: EFC Design 1001
Displacement (tons): 2,551 gross, 5,990 load
Dimensions (feet): 281.5' oa, 268.0' pp x 45.2' x 23.9' load
Original Armament: 1-4"/50 (by 1924: IX-3)
Later armaments: 1-4"/50 4>2-6pdr (by 1929: IX-33)
Speed (kts.): 8
Propulsion (HP): 1,400
Machinery: Vert. triple expansion (IX-33 only), 1 screw
||19 Jan 22
||29 Jul 18
||6 Mar 19
||19 Jan 22
||2 Oct 22
||H. L. Shattuck
||10 Apr 18
||4 Jan 19
||2 Oct 22
||29 Dec 38
||29 Dec 38
||14 Nov 45
||8 Jan 46
||3 Oct 46
On 1 Feb 17 Germany resumed the use of unrestricted submarine warfare in waters around the United Kingdom. On 23 Feb 17 a Boston engineer and yachtsman named Frederic A. Eustis proposed to the Chairman of the new United States Shipping Board, William Denman, that the U.S. build a fleet of small mass-produced wooden steamers, hundreds of which would carry supplies to the Allies and solve the shipping shortage. As part of this program, 218 small wooden freighters were completed to the design of Theodore E. Ferris, the chief naval architect for the Shipping Board (EFC Design 1001), most of them after the end of the war and some, including BRIARCLIFF, without engines. There was little postwar demand for these ships and many were laid up immediately after delivery and eventually sold in large batches for scrapping.
BRIARCLIFF was completed without engines on 5 Sep 19 and was laid up by the Shipping Board at Wilson's Point Storage Yard, Wilson's Pt., Conn. She was taken over by the Commandant, 3rd Naval District, from the Shipping Board on 19 Jan 22 for use by the Naval Militia of the State of New York. CNO confirmed on 26 Jan 22 that the ship would be listed in the Unclassified section of the Navy Register. On 24 Jan 22 the Navy asked the President for an Executive Order formally transferring the ship from the Shipping Board to the Navy, and this order was signed on 28 Jan 22. The ship was moored alongside a pier at Tompkinsville, Staten Is., N.Y. and was used as a floating armory for the Tompkinsville Division of the New York State Naval Militia, whose men were also members of the U.S. Naval Reserve. In 1922 the Navy Filing Manual assigned the symbol IX-3 to BRIARCLIFF, but during the life of the ship this symbol was used solely for filing paperwork and not as a designator for the ship. According to an inspection report dated 4 Oct 33 BRIARCLIFF originally had two well decks, but the after well was decked over to form the main drill deck and a house was built over the same to within about four feet of the after end of the poop deck. The mainmast was removed when this deck was housed over, although the foremast remained in place. A 4"/50 gun was located on the poop deck within the housed-in space and was available for drill purposes during all weather conditions. Seven large (38 x 40 inch) ports were cut in the port side of the 'tween deck space and nine in the starboard side for light and ventilation for the enlisted berthing spaces.
On 25 Nov 38 BRIARCLIFF sank at her pier at Tompkinsville due to leakage during a severe snowstorm. On 2 Dec 38 the Navy hired Merritt-Chapman & Scott to raise her. By 5 Dec 38 CNO had approved the recommendation of Com-3 that she be towed into deep water and sunk. She was officially returned by New York State authorities to the Navy on 8 Dec 38, and she was also refloated on that date. BRIARCLIFF was towed out and sunk on 29 Dec 38. On 26 Jan 39 SecNav struck her from the Navy List effective 29 Dec 38.
NEWTON was completed on 12 Nov 19, machinery being installed after delivery by the shipbuilder, and was assigned to USSB recruiting duty. On 30 Sep 22 the Navy Department directed that NEWTON be taken over from the Shipping Board and prepared for service with the Naval Militia of the State of New Jersey. She was taken over by the 5th Naval District on 2 Oct 22 and towed to New York. On 9 Oct 22 SecNav directed that she was to be carried in the Unclassified section of the Navy Register. In 1922 the Navy Filing Manual assigned the symbol IX-33 for filing correspondence relating to NEWTON, and on 17 Feb 41 this symbol was assigned by SecNav as a designator (hull number) for the ship. NEWTON was moored in 1922 at Perth Amboy, N.J. for service with the Naval Reserve unit there and was moved to the Armed Guard Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., in May 1943.
NEWTON was decommissioned in November 1945, and in January 1946 she sank in the Hudson River. She was advertised for sale in April 46, the successful bidder being required to remove the vessel in 30 days or title reverted to the Government. She was reported sold and removed from Naval custody on 12 Sep 46, but she was also recorded as destroyed on 3 Oct 46 suggesting that the bidder failed to remove her.
||Ex merc. BRIARCLIFF (no ID number, completed 5 Sep 19). Sank at pier 25 Nov 38, raised 8 Dec 38, scuttled at sea 29 Dec 38.
||Ex merc. NEWTON (ID-4306, completed 12 Nov 19). Sank, probably at pier in Brooklyn, in January 1946, sold 12 Sep 46 and/or hulk destroyed 3 Oct 46.
Compiled: 20 Mar 2013
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2013