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NavSource Online: Aircraft Carrier Photo Archive

USS PRINCETON   (CV-23)
(later CVL-23)


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Size Image Description Contributed
By And/Or Copyright
Loss of USS Princeton (CVL-23) — Battle of Leyte Gulf, October 24, 1944
CVL-23 Princeton
NS022302
50k Smoking after being hit with bomb from Japanese dive bomber. USN
CVL-23 Princeton
NS022305
116k

USS Princeton (CVL-23) burning, but still underway, about twenty minutes after she was hit by a Japanese air attack, 24 October 1944. Photographed from USS South Dakota (BB-57).

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (photo # 80-G-287962).

Scott Dyben
CVL-23 Princeton
NS022327
81k

Smoke rises after a massive explosion in Princeton's hangar deck, shortly after she was hit by a Japanese bomb while operating off the Philippines on 24 October 1944. A destroyer is visible at right.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (# 80-G-270546).

NHC
CVL-23 Princeton
NS022331
79k

Smoke rises from an explosion in Princeton's hangar deck at 1000.5 hrs. on 24 October 1944, shortly after she was hit by a Japanese bomb while operating off the Philippines. Photographed from USS South Dakota (BB-57).

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (# 80-G-287969).

NHC
CVL-23 Princeton
NS022332
62k

Princeton burning soon after she was hit by a Japanese bomb while operating off the Philippines on 24 October 1944. This view, taken from USS South Dakota (BB-57) at about 1001 hrs., shows the large smoke column passing aft following a heavy explosion in the carrier's hangar deck.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (# 80-G-287970).

NHC
CVL-23 Princeton
NS022333
52k

Princeton suffers another tremendous explosion, soon after she was hit by a Japanese bomb while operating off the Philippines on 24 October 1944. Photographed at about 1003 hrs. from USS South Dakota (BB-57), with USS Reno (CL-96) passing by closer to the camera.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (# 80-G-287972).

NHC
CVL-23 Princeton
NS022334
83k

USS Princeton (CVL-23) afire at about 1004 hours on 24 October 1944, soon after she was hit by a Japanese bomb during operations off the Philippines. This view shows smoke rising from the ship's second large explosion, as USS Reno (CL-96) steams by in the foreground. Photographed from USS South Dakota (BB-57).

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (# 80-G-287974).

NHC
CVL-23 Princeton
NS022334a
156k

USS Princeton (CVL-23), with an unidentified Fletcher-class destroyer alongside, after a single Japanese bomb exploded a loaded plane on the hangar deck.

From United States Destroyer Operations of World War II, by Theodore Roscoe.

Robert Hurst
CVL-23 Princeton
NS022320
68k

The burning Princeton seen from USS Birmingham (CL-62), during the effort to save the carrier on 24 October. She had been hit by a Japanese air attack while operating off the Philippines. Note Princeton's buckled flight deck and other damage resulting from explosions in her hangar deck.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (# 80-G-270395).

NHC
CVL-23 Princeton
NS022320a
68k

A closer view. National Archives photo (# 80-G-270566).

Tracy White, Researcher @ Large
CVL-23 Princeton
NS022320b
120k

There are not many known photographs of the damage as seen from Princeton's own flight deck.

Ernie Schirmer,
son of Ernest John Schirmer, Photographer's Mate aboard Princeton
CVL-23 Princeton
NS022322
71k

USS Reno (CL-96) comes alongside the burning USS Princeton (CVL-23) to assist in fighting fires, 24 October 1944. Princeton had been hit by Japanese air attack earlier in the day.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (# 80-G-270430).

NHC
CVL-23 Princeton
NS022323
72k

USS Reno (CL-96) fighting fires from alongside the port quarter of the burning USS Princeton (CVL-23), 24 October 1944. Princeton had been hit by Japanese air attack earlier in the day.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (# 80-G-270431).

NHC
CVL-23 Princeton
NS022336
74k

USS Reno (CL-96) stands off the starboard quarter of USS Princeton (CVL-23), while fighting fires on board the bombed carrier, 24 October 1944. Note Reno's forward 5"/38 twin gun mounts in the foreground, with local fire control sights on top.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center (# NH 63439).

NHC
CVL-23 Princeton
NS022306
128k

USS Birmingham (CL-62) comes alongside the burning USS Princeton (CVL-23) to assist with fire fighting, 24 October 1944.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (photo # 80-G-281660-2).

Scott Dyben
CVL-23 Princeton
NS0406209
159k

USS Birmingham (CL-62) shown on October 24, 1944 helping fight fires aboard the USS Princeton (CVL-23). The carrier exploded violently, shortly after this photo was taken, sealing her fate and grievously killing and injuring the Birmingham's topside crew and severely damaging the cruiser too.

USN
CVL-23 Princeton and CL-62 Birmingham
NS0406210
77k

Crewmen on USS Birmingham (CL-62) play fire hoses on the burning USS Princeton (CVL-23), as their ship comes alongside to assist in damage control measures, 24 October 1944.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (photo # 80-G-270357).

Scott Dyben
CVL-23 Princeton
NS022318
52k

View of Princeton's after port side and flight deck, seen from USS Birmingham (CL-62) as she came alongside to help fight fires during the afternoon of 24 October 1944. Note aircraft elevator blown out of position and turned upside down, and flight deck buckled by the hangar deck explosions that followed a Japanese bomb hit. The ships were operating off the Philippines.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (# 80-G-270359).

NHC
CVL-23 Princeton
NS022321
79k

View of Princeton's port midships area, showing her collapsed forward aircraft elevator and shattered flight deck, the results of explosions in her hangar deck following a Japanese bomb hit off the Philippines on 24 October 1944. Photographed from USS Birmingham (CL-62), which was coming alongside to assist with firefighting.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (# 80-G-270398).

NHC
CVL-23 Princeton
NS022303
68k Photo taken just prior to torpedo storage explosion. Note the damage from the single bomb. USN
CVL-23 Princeton
NS022319
55k

Damage control parties standing on Princeton's forward port flight deck, during attempts to control her fires during the afternoon of 24 October 1944. Photographed from USS Birmingham (CL-62), which was assisting from alongside. Note the 40mm twin gun mount at left, whose shield has been torn off by Birmingham's Number Two gun turret as the two ships rolled and pitched while in close contact with each other. They were then operating off the Philippines.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (# 80-G-270375).

NHC
CVL-23 Princeton
NS022319a
55k

Damage control party examines Princeton's shattered hangar, after she was ripped by explosions following a Japanese bomb hit off the Philippines on 24 October [1944]. Note the burned out airplane inside the carrier's hangar, and the top of her hull blister in the lower foreground. Probably photographed from USS Birmingham (CL-62), which was alongside to assist with firefighting.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (# 80-G-270542).

Courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com
CVL-23 Princeton
NS022304
86k Photo taken just prior to torpedo storage explosion. Note the damage from the single bomb. USN
CVL-23 Princeton
NS022324
89k

Princeton's port forward area, as seen from USS Birmingham (CL-62) during attempts to control her fires during the afternoon of 24 October. She had been hit by a Japanese air attack while operating off the Philippines. Note damage to Princeton's 40mm gun position and catwalk, caused by Birmingham's Number Two 6"/47 gun turret as the two ships grind together. Also note flight deck tractor partially hung up on Princeton's deck edge, F6F and TBM airplanes parked forward, floater nets and life rafts on Birmingham's gun turret.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (# 80-G-270437).

NHC
CVL-23 Princeton
NS022339
173k

USS Princeton (CVL-23) alongside USS Birmingham (CL-62) in the vicinity of the cruiser's 5" gun mount No. 3. This picture was recorded by the Mare Island Navy Yard (photo # 7309-44) when CL-62 was repaired there.

Darryl Baker
CVL-23 Princeton
NS022325
98k

View from the foredeck on USS Birmingham (CL-62) as she stood alongside Princeton to help fight her fires, during the afternoon of 24 October. The carrier had been hit by a Japanese air attack while operating off the Philippines. Note fire hoses on Birmingham's deck and details of the underside of her Number Two 6"/47 gun turret.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (# 80-G-270453).

NHC
CVL-23 Princeton
NS022338
164k

Another view from USS Birmingham (CL-62). This picture was recorded by the Mare Island Navy Yard (photo # 7308-44) when the light cruiser was repaired there.

Darryl Baker
CVL-23 Princeton
NS022326
186k

Damage control party examines Princeton's shattered hangar, after she was ripped by explosions following a Japanese bomb hit off the Philippines on 24 October. Note the burned out airplane inside the carrier's hangar, and the top of her hull blister in the lower foreground. Photo taken from USS Birmingham (CL-62), which was alongside to assist with firefighting, and recorded by the Mare Island Navy Yard (photo # 7307-44) when the light cruiser was repaired there.

Darryl Baker
CVL-23 Princeton
NS022326a
125k

Light cruiser USS Birmingham (CL-62) as she comes alongside the USS Princeton (CVL-23) after the flattop was hit by Japanese bombs in one of the battles for Leyte Gulf. Moments later the Princeton blew up, killing and maiming hundreds of men on the cruiser's deck. Photo USN.

Photo and text from Aircraft Carriers, by Norman Polmar.

Robert Hurst
CVL-23 Princeton
NS022307
90k

Heavy explosion aft on USS Princeton (CVL-23), with USS Birmingham (CL-62) alongside, 24 October 1944.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (photo # 80-G-281663-3).

Scott Dyben
CVL-23 Princeton
NS022328
86k

USS Birmingham (CL-62), at left, and a destroyer pull away from USS Princeton (CVL-23) following the big explosion that destroyed the carrier's stern at about 1523 hrs. on 24 October 1944. This blast killed over two hundred men aboard Birmingham, which was alongside Princeton fighting fires. Note the light smoke over Birmingham's midships and stern areas. Princeton's stern, and a good deal of her after superstructure, has been blown off.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (# 80-G-270553).

NHC
CVL-23 Princeton
NS022335
85k

USS Princeton (CVL-23) blows up after being torpedoed by USS Reno (CL-96) on 24 October 1944. Princeton had been fatally damaged by Japanese air attack earlier in the day, and was scuttled by torpedoing to permit U.S. forces to clear the area.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (# 80-G-47305).

NHC
CVL-23 Princeton
NS022335a
51k

"'Coup de grace' for the fatally wounded USS Princeton—24 October 1944.

Mary -
CVL-23 Princeton
NS022329
142k

Princeton survivors jumping from a motor whaleboat to swim to USS Cassin Young (DD‑793), 24 October 1944.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (# 80-G-281662-6).

NHC
CVL-23 Princeton
NS022337
74k

Plaque and letter of appreciation exhibited on board USS Reno (CL-96). They were presented by the Commanding Officer of USS Princeton (CVL-23) in recognition of fire fighting assistance and survivor care rendered by Reno on 24 October 1944, when Princeton was fatally damaged by Japanese air attack.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center (# NH 98471-A).

NHC
CVL-23 Princeton
NS022337a
112k

"Princeton's Gothic Chapel—The Princeton University Chapel still displays a service flag that once flew on [USS] Princeton [(CVL-23)]—In the still air of both transepts are a series of flags which represent both the University's motto 'In the Nation's Service,' and its religious affiliations. In the Marquand transept, to the north, flies the American flag which flew over Washington D.C. during Woodrow Wilson's administration. Next to it is the flag of USS Princeton LPH-5, which was decommissioned in 1970. The third flag is a World War service flag. The stars on the flag indicate the number of Princetonians killed in World War II. Finally, there is the surviving flag [(pictured)] of the ill-fated USS Princeton CVL-23, sunk in World War II."

Garland L. "Red" Smith comments: "I'm trying to find out what the Plaque (bottom left [of the picture]) has on it. Hopefully it will tell me the name of the guy that went back to the ship to get this Flag. We have information that it was David Sabo. I would like to find out if the Plaque has his name on it... If so I would like to get that Information to his Grandson."

"David Sabo was a boiler tender on the CVL-23. He was aboard when she was sunk. He received a medal for saving the American flag that flew aboard the Princeton before she went down. I have heard that he actually returned to the ship to retrieve the Flag."

G.L. (Red) Smith, President,
USS Princeton Veterans, Inc.

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Last update: 14 September 2014