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USS Hermes circa 1920-1921
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Class: HERMES (YX-12)
Design: Auxiliary schooner, 1914
Displacement (tons): 149 gross, 340 displ.
Dimensions (feet): 89.4' x 25.4' x 6.75' mn, 7.5' aft
Original Armament: 2 mg (1918)
Later armaments: none (1919);
Complement: 31 (1918)
Speed (kts.): 7
Propulsion (HP): 85
Machinery: Atlas diesel, 1 screw
||27 Sep 17
||W. F. Stone & Son
||1 Apr 18
||ca Jan 19
||21 Oct 26
This wooden hulled, copper sheathed trading schooner was built by W. F. Stone & Son of East Oakland, Cal., for Williams, Diamond & Co. as agents for the trading company Jaluit Gesellschaft of Hamburg, Germany, which used her as a copra trading ship in the German Marshall Islands and at Nauru. This yard had built three schooners of about the same size for the same agent in 1908-1911, one of which, the 110-foot seized German ATLAS, appeared on the Navy List as SP-2171 between May 1917 and February 1918 but was not placed in service.
HERMES was in port at Honolulu in April 1917 when the United States entered World War I. Presidential Executive Order No. 2709 of 27 Sep 17 ordered her seizure there by the Navy Dept. for Navy service. She was in use by 13 Oct 17 and was placed in commission at Pearl Harbor on 1 Apr 18. Originally intended as a submarine patrol vessel, HERMES was listed as a motor patrol craft (auxiliary schooner) and operated as such during 1918. She was ordered decommissioned on 16 Jan 19, her deck log ended on 23 Jan 19, and sne was loaned to the Hawaiian territorial government for use as a tender to the leper colony. Executive Order No. 3166 of 15 Sep 19 transferred her from the Navy Dept. to the Government of the Territory of Hawaii for this purpose, but the territorial government fount that it could not afford her upkeep and Executive Order No. 3261 of 23 Apr 20 revoked the transfer order. HERMES was then turned over to the Pacific Fleet's Air Detachment in Hawaii which, although she remained out of commission, she served as a store ship and general auxiliary craft.
HERMES was put in the "District Unclassified" category without a hull number in the 1920 Ships Data Book, which contained the Navy's standard hull classification scheme of 17 Jul 20 updated through 1 Oct 20. She was described as an auxiliary schooner on loan. In 1922 the Navy Filing Manual assigned the symbol YX-12 for filing correspondence relating to HERMES, but unlike IX the YX numbers never became hull numbers.
HERMES was sold on 21 Oct 26 to the Lanikai Fish Company and was renamed LANIKAI. After several changes in ownership LANIKAI was sold on 6 Apr 39 to E. M. Grimm of the Luzon Stevedoring Company of Manila, Philippines. On 2 Dec 41 President Roosevelt ordered Admiral Harold R. Stark to "charter three small vessels to form a defensive information patrol
to observe and report by radio Japanese movements in the west China Sea and Gulf of Siam." LANIKAI was commissioned as one of these vessels at the Cavite Navy Yard on 5 Dec 41. She escaped from Manila Bay on 26 Dec 41 and on 18 Mar 42, 82 days later, arrived at Fremantle, Western Australia. LANIKAI was decommissioned at Fremantle on 22 Aug 42 and was loaned on that date to the Royal Australian Navy. She was commissioned on 10 Dec 42 as HMAS LANIKAI and was used as a boom defense vessel. After the end of the war LANIKAI was paid off on 22 Aug 45, returned to the U.S. on 21 Jan 46, and sent back to the Philippines. She was returned to her previous owner at Manila in 1946 but the owner refused to accept her in such poor condition. While undergoing repairs at the U.S. base at Subic Bay, LANIKAI sank during a typhoon in 1947. In 2003 the wreck of the vessel was found in Nabasan Bay.
||Ex merc. HERMES (no SP/ID number). Sold 21 Oct 26 to the Lanikai Fish Co., merc. LANIKAI. To USN 5 Dec 41, to Australian Navy 22 Aug 42, returned 21 Jan 46, lost in typhoon 1947.
Compiled: 13 Mar 2013
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2013