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M.Y. Galaxy circa 1930, later USS Galaxy (IX-54)
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Class:        Small IX: Miscellaneous Types (1)
Design        Small acquired. These specifications are for IX-54.
Displacement (tons):        228 light, 320 full, 245 gross
Dimensions (feet):        130.0' oa, 121.7' wl x 21.3' x 7.0'
Original Armament:        Small or none (IX-50, 54)
Other armaments:        1-3"/23 (1943: IX-52)
Complement        23 (1944)
Speed (kts.):        11.9
Propulsion (HP):        750
Machinery:        2 screws, Winton diesels

IX Name Acq. Builder Keel Launch Commiss.
50 BOWDOIN 22 May 41 Hodgdon Bros -- 1921 16 Jun 41
52 CHENG HO 23 Jul 41 King Slipway, Hong Kong -- 1939 23 Jul 41
54 GALAXY 8 Sep 41 Pusey & Jones, -- 1930 20 Sep 41

IX Name Decomm. Strike Disposal Fate MA Sale
50 BOWDOIN 16 Dec 43 16 May 44 24 Jan 45 MC/S 24 Jan 45
52 CHENG HO 18 Jan 46 25 Feb 46 3 Feb 47 MC/S 3 Feb 47
54 GALAXY 25 Mar 46 1 May 46 20 May 46 MC/S 20 May 46

Class Notes:
FY 1941 (IX-50), FY 1942 BuShips Maintenance funds (others). Specifications above are for IX-54, those for others are in the Ship Notes.

IX-50: On 19 May 41 CNO asked BuShips to proceed with negotiations for the purchase of the auxiliary schooner BOWDOIN, which was owned by the MacMillan Arctic Association of Boothbay, Maine. Upon commissioning she was assigned to the South Greenland Patrol. She had been designed by William H. Hand, Jr. and built at East Boothbay, Maine, for the Arctic explorer Donald B. MacMillan who made 26 Arctic voyages in her between 1921 and 1941 and, after MacMillan bought her back in January 1945, from 1945 to 1954. She was at the Mystic Seaport between 1959 and 1968 and after being rebuilt in 1980-1984 was purchased in 1988 by the Maine Maritime Academy, for whom she still sails.

IX-52: On 27 May 41 CNO asked BuShips to negotiate for the purchase of the yacht CHENG HO at Honolulu for the sum of $1.00. Her owner, Anne Mills Archbold (a Standard Oil heiress), had offered her as a gift to the Navy. Anne Archbold was a supporter of botanical exploration and research in the Pacific Ocean and in 1939 financed the construction of CHENG HO, an authentic copy, although diesel powered, of a 15th-century Chinese junk. She supported, and participated in, two cruises of CHENG HO, one (January - July 1940), in the east Indies and one (November 1940 - July 1941) to the Fiji islands. Her plan was that the vessel was to be used as a station ship at Pearl Harbor during the emergency and then transferred to the Naval Academy as an exhibit ship along with some rare Chinese carvings. President Roosevelt orally directed in June 1941 that the acquisition be made. Possibly taken over on 27 Jun 41, she was formally accepted and placed in service on 23 Jul 41. Plans for converting her to a modified station ship, retaining her in her present condition as much as possible, were prepared in September 1941, but no commercial facilities were available until 19 Dec 41 and the work may not have been done following the Japanese attack. On 18 Jun 43 Commander Hawaiian Sea Frontier informed BuShips that CHENG HO had been fitted for service as a weather ship and was to be stationed about 800 miles northeast of Oahu in possible submarine waters. He recommended she be fitted with 1-3"/23 gun and two .50 cal. machine guns, which appears to have been done. On 12 Dec 44 Com-14 reported that the ship was unsuitable for any Naval use, and in response President Roosevelt in January 1945 directed that she be restored to her original condition and sent to Annapolis when conditions warranted. After considering transportation in LSD-6 CNO cancelled the project on 28 Dec 45 and directed that the vessel be returned to Anne Archbold, who bought her back for $1.00 in February 1947. CHENG HO was not registered for postwar service as an American yacht (she had also not been registered as a yacht before the war). According to www.navsource.org, she was last seen in 1990 derelict and beached at Papeete, Tahiti.

IX-54: On 4 Aug 41 CNO asked BuShips to negotiate for the acquisition of the diesel motor yacht GALAXY. This twin-screw steel-hulled motor yacht had been designed by B. T. Dobson and built in 1930 at Wilmington, Del., for R. R. M. Carpenter, a director of the DuPont company. The Navy acquired her in 1941 from Bernard W. Doyle, who had founded a plastics firm in Leominster, Mass., that became a DuPont subsidiary in 1925. She was assigned to the Underwater Sound Laboratory, Fort Trumbull, New London, Conn. Based at East Boston, she operated near Boston and New London and briefly off the Delaware breakwaters and in Chesapeake Bay helping to develop active and passive underwater detection equipment. In early 1945 the research activities that GALAXY had been supporting were transferred from Boston to New London, and the ship was transferred from the 1st to the 3rd Naval District and the ship was decommissioned and placed in service. GALAXY was replaced by unspecified service craft in early 1946 and Doyle bought her back in May 1946 and returned her to service as the yacht GALAXY. She was transferred to British registry in 1962. Her log books, along with those of the other research craft that served the Underwater Sound Laboratory (USS AIDE DE CAMP (IX-224) and the civilian JULDI WALLA II and CYTHERA), are preserved in the Harvard University Archives.

Ship Notes:
IX Name Notes
50 BOWDOIN Ex yacht BOWDOIN. Auxiliary schooner designed for Arctic exploration. 110 tons light, 210 tons full, 66 tons gross. 87.0' oa, 68.0' wl x 20.25' x 9.5'. Wood hull. Fairbanks-Morse diesel (fitted 1925), 150 HP, 8 kts.
52 CHENG HO Ex CHENG HO, replica of Chinese junk. 110 tons light, 175 tons full load. 94.0' oa, 84.5' wl x 23.3' x 11.0'. Wood hull. 2 screws, Superior diesels, 200 HP.
54 GALAXY Ex yacht GALAXY. Motor yacht. Steel hull. Specifications above. No conversion work performed. Decommissioned and placed in service 2 Aug 45.

Page Notes:
IX        1941
Compiled:        21 Dec 2010
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2010