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UNITED STATES NAVY
TEMPORARY AUXILIARY SHIPS
WORLD WAR I

Photo # NH 99785:  USS Californian sinking in the Bay of Biscay, 22 June 1918

Online Library of Selected Images:
-- U.S. NAVY SHIPS --

USS Californian (1918-1918).
Originally the Civilian Freighter Californian (1900).

S.S. Californian, a 5658 gross ton freighter, was built in 1900 at San Francisco, California. Operated commercially by the American Hawaiian Steamship Company, she was acquired by the Navy in mid-May 1918 and placed in commission as USS Californian (with no identification number assigned). Late in that month the ship left the U.S. to take fuel and supplies to American forces fighting in France. On 22 June, while in the Bay of Biscay, USS Californian struck a mine and sank, though all of her crew were rescued.

Note: This ship should not be confused with the British flag (Leyland line) steamer Californian, which became notorious for its involvement in the Titanic tragedy of April 1912.

This page features all available views concerning USS Californian and the commercial freighter Californian of 1900.


Click on the small photograph to prompt a larger view of the same image.

Photo #: NH 75276

S.S. Californian
(American Freighter, 1900)

In the lift drydock at the Union Iron Works shipyard, San Francisco, California, during the final stages of her construction, 18 June 1900.
This ship served as USS Californian in 1918.

Courtesy of the San Francisco Maritime Museum, 1972. Copied from the Union Iron Works Scrapbook, Vol. II, page 144.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 58KB; 740 x 325 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 75274

S.S. Californian
(American Freighter, 1900)

Underway in San Francisco Bay, California, during builder's trials in 1900. She was constructed by the Union Iron Works, San Francisco.
This ship served as USS Californian in 1918.

Courtesy of the San Francisco Maritime Museum, 1972. Copied from the Union Iron Works Scrapbook, Vol. II, page 144.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 75KB; 900 x 380 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 75275

S.S. Californian
(American Freighter, 1900)

Underway in San Francisco Bay, California, during builder's trials in 1900. She was constructed by the Union Iron Works, San Francisco.
This ship served as USS Californian in 1918.

Courtesy of the San Francisco Maritime Museum, 1972. Copied from the Union Iron Works Scrapbook, Vol. II, page 144.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 48KB; 740 x 295 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 75110

Union Iron Works, San Francisco, California


Panoramic view of shipways and outfitting area, 1900.
USS Wisconsin (Battleship # 9) is fitting out at left. Ships on the ways are (from left to right):
USS Paul Jones (Destroyer # 10);
USS Perry (Destroyer # 11);
USS Wyoming (Monitor # 10);
USS Ohio (Battleship # 12); and the
S.S. Californian.

Courtesy of the San Francisco Maritime Museum, 1971. The original print is in the Union Iron Works scrapbook, Volume II, page 157.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 118KB; 1200 x 410 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 99785

USS Californian
(1918-1918)

Sinking in the Bay of Biscay on 22 June 1918, after hitting a mine.

Collection of Paul F. Wangerin, 1975.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 80KB; 740 x 485 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 99784

USS Californian
(1918-1918)

Sinking in the Bay of Biscay on 22 June 1918, after hitting a mine. A boat is alongside, below Californian's bridge, probably taking off her crew.

Collection of Paul F. Wangerin, 1975.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 87KB; 740 x 490 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 61072

USS Californian
(1918-1918)

Sinking in the Bay of Biscay after striking a mine, 22 June 1918.
Photographed from USS Corsair (SP-159).

Collection of Paul F. Wangerin, 1975.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 68KB; 740 x 460 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 99783

USS Californian
(1918-1918)

Sinking in the Bay of Biscay on 22 June 1918, after hitting a mine.
Photographed from USS Corsair (SP-159).

Collection of Paul F. Wangerin, 1975.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 85KB; 740 x 615 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 99786

USS Californian
(1918-1918)

Sinking in the Bay of Biscay on 22 June 1918, after hitting a mine.
Photographed from USS Corsair (SP-159).

Collection of Paul F. Wangerin, 1975.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 87KB; 460 x 765 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 99903

USS Californian
(1918-1918)

One of the ship's lifeboats comes alongside USS Corsair (SP-159), as Californian was being abandoned in the Bay of Biscay on 22 June 1918. She sank after hitting a mine.
The original print bears the hand-written note: "S.S. Californian last boat."

Collection of Paul F. Wangerin, 1975.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 71KB; 455 x 765 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 99787

USS Corsair
(SP-159)

Survivors of USS Californian on Corsair's quarterdeck, 22 June 1918, after being rescued from their sinking ship.
Note the cork life vests worn by many of these men.

Collection of Paul F. Wangerin, 1975.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 101KB; 740 x 480 pixels

 


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Page made 8 December 2004
New image added 30 December 2004