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USS Irene Forsyte (IX-93) on 14 September 1943
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Class:        Small IX: Miscellaneous Types (3)
Design        Small acquired. These specifications are for IX-93.
Displacement (tons):        200 light
Dimensions (feet):        144.0' oa, 125.0' wl x 27.7'
Original Armament:        1-4"/50 1-40mm 2-20mm (IX-93 as Q-ship)
Later armaments:        Small or none (others)
Complement        --
Speed (kts.):        12.5
Propulsion (HP):        500
Machinery:        2 screws, 2 GM diesels

IX Name Acq. Builder Keel Launch Commiss.
91 PALOMAS 23 Sep 42 Bethlehem Steel, Wilm. -- 1922 2 Oct 42
92 LISTON 9 Oct 42 Harry Stilman -- 1923 13 Apr 43
93 IRENE FORSYTE 16 Nov 42 MacLean Const. -- 1920 26 Aug 43
94 RONAKI 4 Nov 42 G. Niccol, Auckland, N.Z. -- 1922 26 Nov 42
95 ECHO 4 Nov 42 Brown & Sons, Kaipara, N.Z. -- 1905 26 Nov 42
97 MARTHA'S VINEYARD 11 Jan 43 Gas Engine & Power -- 1911 30 Mar 43
101 BIG CHIEF 5 May 43 Neafie & Levy -- 1897 5 May 43

IX Name Decomm. Strike Disposal Fate MA Sale
91 PALOMAS 10 Aug 46 25 Sep 46 3 Mar 47 MC/S 24 Feb 47
92 LISTON 12 Jul 43 29 Jul 44 12 Dec 45 MC/S 12 Dec 45
93 IRENE FORSYTE 16 Dec 43 22 Dec 44 18 Oct 45 MC/S 18 Oct 45
94 RONAKI -- 15 Jul 43 18 Jun 43 Lost --
95 ECHO 15 Mar 44 25 Mar 44 15 Mar 44 RTO --
97 MARTHA'S VINEYARD 18 Apr 46 5 Jun 46 6 Sep 46 MC/S 28 Aug 46
101 BIG CHIEF 28 May 46 3 Jul 46 14 Jun 46 MC/R 26 Feb 48

Class Notes:
FY 1942 (IX-101), FY 1942 BuShips Maintenance funds (IX 91-92), and FY 1943 (IX 93-95, 97). The specifications above are for IX-93, those for the others are in the Ship Notes.

IX-91: On 22 Jul 42 CNO asked WSA and BuShips to requisition-purchase the schooner yacht GOODWILL for delivery to Com-11. This vessel had been designed by Henry J. Gielow and built at Wilmington, Del., for Keith Spaulding (Pasadena, Calif.) of the sporting goods family. Acquired from Mr. Spaulding, she was initially used as a patrol craft in the 11th Naval District. She was reassigned to Servron Two on 20 Sep 43 and reported to COTCPac, the Pacific Fleet's training command in California, for use as a training ship on 24 Oct 43. COTCPac reported on 9 Dec 43 that she was available for conversion to a CIC training ship. The schooner was sold in February 1947 to the estate of Mrs. Endora H. Spaulding of Pasadena, Calif. and delivered on 3 Mar 47. She was bought by industrialist Ralph Larrabee 1950 and was wrecked on Sacramento Reef, Baja California, 25 May 69, with all on board being lost.

IX-92: On 26 Sep 42 CNO asked WSA and BuShips to requisition-purchase the Bay schooner ELEANOR V. ROBBINS for delivery to Com-4. This Delaware Bay schooner was acquired from Wilbert H. Robbins, Port Norris, N.J., for whom she had probably been built in 1923. She was converted by the Essington Yacht Repair and Storage Co. between 12 Oct 42 and 8 Mar 43. She entered service in the 4th Naval District, but by this time the Navy had decided to decommission most of its smaller acquired craft (see IX-88) and her service was very short. She was sold in December 1945 to John A. Tarburton of Dover, Del., and resumed service as the fishing vessel ELEANOR V. ROBBINS. She was still in service in 1972.

IX-93: On 31 Oct 42 VCNO directed BuShips to negotiate the purchase of the auxiliary schooner IRENE MYRTLE directly with her owner as the vessel was under Canadian registry and could not be requisitioned through WSA. This three-masted schooner had been built in 1920 in Nova Scotia as MACLEAN CLAN for the coastal trade. An auxiliary engine was fitted in 1926, and in the early 1930s she was purchased by Captain Thomas Antle of Parrsboro, Nova Scotia and renamed IRENE MYRTLE. Antle died on board while the ship was loading coal at New London, Conn., in the summer of 1942 and the vessel was eventually put up for sale. The Navy wanted a smaller coastal vessel to serve as a Q-ship, complementing the larger ships BIG HORN (AO-45), ASTERION (AK-63), and ATIK, and purchased IRENE MYRTLE for this purpose from Antle's estate on 16 Nov 42. Converted at the Thames Shipyard, New London, Conn., she was fitted with new engines and concealed guns, radar, sonar equipment, and two Mousetrap A/S rocket launchers. Practically everything in the ship had to be replaced except for the bare hull, in which numerous frames were replaced. On her first mission in October 1943 her seams opened in a storm and she had to run her pumps continuously to get to Bermuda. She was ordered decommissioned soon after arriving at the New York Navy Yard in early November 1943. On 17 Dec 43 SecNav approved loaning the vessel to the War Shipping Administration for used as a Merchant Marine Cadet Corps training ship. She was returned to the Navy at the New York Navy Yard on 28 Nov 44 and was stricken the following month. She was sold in October 1945 to Horace H. Work, Jr., of New York as MACLEAN CLAN and was then sold by him in 1947 to a Cuban firm as SANTA CLARA. The old schooner took on water and foundered in heavy weather off La Ceiba, Honduras, on 21 Dec 51.

IX 94-95: An OpNav dispatch of 26 Nov 42 stated that the designations IX-94 and IX-95 had been assigned to two vessels acquired under Reverse Lend-Lease through the New Zealand Government, RONAKI and ECHO respectively. Both were cargo schooners with auxiliary propulsion, ECHO being more precisely described as a hold-scow. The Navy used them to supply Army outposts in the New Hebrides and nearby island groups. RONAKI sank after grounding on Kingston Reef, Norfolk Island, on 18 Jun 43 while ECHO was returned to New Zealand in March 1944 and resumed merchant service there, operating between Wellington on the North Island and Blenheim on the South Island as she had since 1920. She ceased operating as a commercial vessel in 1965 and was hulked, but she still existed in 2005 as a museum and restaurant at Shelly Beach at Picton.

IX-97: On 30 Dec 42 VCNO asked WSA and BuShips to purchase the turnscrew gas yacht THELMA. She was designed by C. L. Seabury and built at Morris Heights, N. Y. The craft was acquired from Irving Goss of New York, apparently representing George A. Miller, Jr. of Baltimore and Connecticut, her owner. She was assigned on 23 Jan 43 to the 3rd Naval District for use at the Underwater Sound Laboratory, Fort Trumbull, New London, and was converted by Brewer's DD between 11 Jan 43 and 29 Mar 43. The conversion included fitting Hall Scott Invader engines from SC-64, which was being scrapped. Replaced by unspecified service craft ca. early 1946. Resold in August 1946 to George A. Miller of New York and delivered to him on 6 Sep 46, she resumed service as the yacht THELMA and was abandoned in 1950.

IX-101: On 23 Apr 43 SecNav requested that the inland freight vessel M/S BIG CHIEF, owned by WSA, be bareboat chartered to the Navy. This vessel had been built as the merchant steamer PLYMOUTH in 1897 and was commissioned on 18 Dec 99 as IRIS by the Lighthouse Service for use as an engineering tender in the 4th Lighthouse District. Her specifications at this time were 606 tons, 153' x 30.1' x 13.3' (or 8.6'), with a 800 HP steam engine. IRIS was under Navy control between 11 Apr 17 and 1 Jul 19. She was decommissioned by the Lighthouse Service on 21 Jun 34, sold into merchant service as a small inland freighter, renamed BIG CHIEF, and given a diesel engine in 1938. The Army took her over as a tug ca. 1942 and fitted her for overseas service but delivered her to the War Shipping Administration on 18 Apr 43. The Navy acquired her from WSA in response to a requirement to deliver Mark 29 gear (reels of explosive hose, paravanes, etc.) from the Naval Mine Depot at Yorktown to WSA merchant vessels in the Chesapeake Bay area. Due to the confidential nature of this gear it was necessary that the ship be manned with a naval crew. She was assigned to the 5th Naval District for use at Yorktown and received no Navy conversion. One of her other tasks was dumping obsolete ammunition at sea, for which she was retained into 1946. Placed in the NDRF on 14 Jun 46, she was sold in February 1948 to W. S. Sanders of Norfolk, Va. Purchased by the Atlantic Fishing Co. of Norfolk, Va., from Mr. Sanders's estate in 1949, she was converted into the Menhaden fishing vessel B.O. COLONNA at Colonna's Shipyard, Norfolk, in 1955 and departed on her first fishing voyage in 1956. She was scrapped in 1973.

Ship Notes:
IX Name Notes
91 PALOMAS Ex yacht GOODWILL. Auxiliary schooner. 200 tons light, 312 tons gross. 161.0' oa, 120.0' wl x 30.2' x 15.25'. Steel hull. 1 Winton diesel (fitted 1937), 275 HP, 10 kts.
92 LISTON Ex merc. ELEANOR V. ROBBINS. Bay auxiliary schooner. 75 tons light, 41 tons gross. 65.0' oa, 62.5' wl x 21.1'. Wood hull. 1 diesel. Crew 9 (1944).
93 IRENE FORSYTE Ex merc. IRENE MYRTLE, ex MACLEAN CLAN. Auxiliary schooner, Wood hull. See above for specifications and history.
94 RONAKI Ex merc. RONAKI. Listed in SD43 as IX-94, ex RONAKI, no data. Auxiliary cargo schooner. 300 tons light, 255 tons (gross?). 112' x 27' x 8' Wood hull.
95 ECHO Ex merc. ECHO. Listed in SD43 as IX-95, ex ECHO, no data. Auxiliary cargo schooner (scow). 340 tons light, 132 tons (gross?). 104' x 25' x 6'. Wood hull. Two 80-HP diesel engines.
97 MARTHA'S VINEYARD Ex yacht THELMA (renamed 23 Jan 43). Power yacht. 92 tons light, 141 tons gross. 138.0' oa, 131.0' wl x 16.3' x 4.75'. Steel hull. 2 screws, Speedway (replaced by Hall Scott) gas engines.
101 BIG CHIEF Ex merc. BIG CHIEF, ex PLYMOUTH 1938, ex IRIS (U.S. Lighthouse Service) 1934, ex PLYMOUTH 1899. 600 tons light, 382 tons gross. 150.0 oa, 146.5' wl x 30.1' x 10.1'. Steel hull, engine aft. Re-engined in 1938 with 1 Fairbanks Morse diesel,

Page Notes:
IX        1942
Compiled:        21 Dec 2010
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2010