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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive

S-4 (SS-109)


S-4 Class Submarine (Government Type): Laid down, 4 December 1917, at Portsmouth Navy Yard, Portsmouth, NH; Launched, 27 August 1919; Commissioned, USS S-4, 19 November 1919; Redesignated USS S-4 (SS-109), 17 July 1920; on 17 December 1927, while surfacing from a submerged run over the measured-mile off Provincetown, Cape Cod, Mass., she was accidentally rammed and sunk by the U.S. Coast Guard vessel Paulding (CG-17), ex USN destroyer DD-22), with the loss of 40 men;
Decommissioned, 19 March 1928; Recommissioned, 16 October 1928; Decommissioned 7 April 1933 and laid up in the reserve fleet; Struck from the Naval Register, 15 January 1936; Final Disposition, destroyed by sinking, 15 May 1936.

Specifications: Displacement, Surfaced: 876 t., Submerged: 1092 t.; Length 231' ; Beam 21' 10"; Draft 13' 1"; Speed, surfaced 14.5 kts, submerged 11 kts; Depth Limit 200'; Complement 4 Officers, 34 Enlisted; Armament, four 21" torpedo tubes, 12 torpedoes, one 4"/50 deck gun; Propulsion, diesel electric engines, New London Ship and Engine Co. diesel engines, 2000 hp, Fuel Capacity, 36,950 gal.; Westinghouse Electric Co., electric motors, 1,200 hp, Battery Cells, 120, twin propellers.
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SS 10993kInterior view of the S-4 (SS-109), looking aft in the Crew's Quarters (Battery Room), 25 December 1919. Taken by the Portsmouth Navy Yard, Kittery, Maine. Note folding chairs and tables, coffee pot, Christmas decorations and door to the Control Room. USN photo # NH 41847, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center.
SS 109106kInterior view of the S-4 (SS-109), Crew's Quarters (Battery Room), 25 December 1919. Taken by the Portsmouth Navy Yard, Kittery, Maine. Note folding chairs, table, benches and berths; also Christmas decorations. USN photo # NH 41848, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center.
SS 109108kView on deck, looking aft from the S-4's (SS-109) bow, 25 December 1919. Taken at the Portsmouth Navy Yard, Kittery, Maine. Israel (DD-98) is partially visible at right. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 41839.
SS 109102k View on deck, looking forward from the S-4's (SS-109) stern, 25 December 1919. Taken at the Portsmouth Navy Yard, Kittery, Maine. Israel (DD-98) is partially visible at left. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 41840.
SS 109104kOne of the S-4's (SS-109) officers and several crew members pose on deck, at the Portsmouth Navy Yard, Kittery, Maine, on 26 December 1919. Destroyer in the immediate background is Israel (DD-98). Note that S-4's 4"/50 deck gun has not yet been installed. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 41837.
SS 109 1.11k S-4 (SS-109) underway off Navy Yard Portsmouth, N.H. on 26 December 1919. Photo # 19-N-2757 courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
SS 109154k S-4 (SS-109) underway, circa 1920. Official USN photo submitted by Robert M. Cieri.
R-3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10, S-3 & 4 191k R & S boats nested together, May 1920, alongside Submarine Tender Camden (AS-6). From inboard to outboard:
R-4 (SS-81),
R-5 (SS-82),
R-6 (SS-83),
R-10 (SS-87),
R-9 (SS-86),
R-8 (SS-85),
R-7 (SS-84),
R-3 (SS-80),
S-4 (SS-109)
and S-3 (SS-107).
Note that all the R-boats have gun platforms, but that guns are fitted only on R-10,
and R-3.
S-4 has a platform for a 4"/50 gun (but no gun is installed), while S-3 still has no gun platform.
USN photo # 19-N-9936, from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), courtesy of Daniel Dunham.
Text i.d. courtesy of USNHC photo # NH 41855.
SS-84 & friends 79k The Submarine Tender Camden (AS-6) off New York City with twelve submarines alongside, circa 1920. Submarines are, from inboard to outboard (left to right):
R-1 (SS-78),
R-2 (SS-79),
R-4 (SS-81),
R-5 (SS-82),
R-6 (SS-83),
R-10 (SS-87),
R-9 (SS-86),
R-8 (SS-85),
R-7 (SS-84),
R-3 (SS-80),
S-4 (SS-109)
and S-3 (SS-107).
Official USN photo # NH 99892, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
S Boats 62k S boats at the Cavite Navy Yard, Philippines, in 1923-1924. These submarines are (from left to right): S-17 (SS-122):
S-4 (SS-109):
S-15 (SS-120); and
S-14 (SS-119).
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 90306. Courtesy of Captain A.L. Prosser, USN (Retired), 1979.
SS 109103k The Submarine Tender Holland (AS-3) in port, with several S-boats type submarines alongside, circa 1926. Note the Submarine Division Eleven insignia on the fairwaters of the two inboard subs. Submarines present are (from inboard to outboard):
unidentified;
S-25 (SS-130):
S-7 (SS-112):
S-4 (SS-109):
S-6 (SS-111) &
S-8 (SS-113).
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 53436.
S-4,6,& 7 686k Officers and crew of submarines S-4 (SS-109), S-6 (SS-111) & S-7 (SS-112) are lined up on deck during inspection. Photo by NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images, courtesy of gettyimages.com.
Photo added 01/23/17.
S-8, 3, 4, & 6 74k The S-8 (SS-113); S-3 (SS-107); S-4 (SS-109) & S-6 (SS-111) at Portsmouth, NH. The boat on far left can't be identified. USN photo courtesy of Milne Special Collections, University of New Hampshire Library, Durham, N.H.
Photo and text contributed by by Ric Hedman/rddesigns.com.
SS 109 400k Interior Photo of the torpedo room. The detail of the overhead track for the chain hoists can be seen. There is a fore and aft track that leads to the port and starboard torpedo tubes. There is also a semicircular track that allows the transfer of torpedoes from side to side. The track is "gated" and can be swung into position for the use of the center track.
The large vertical tanks on each side are impulse air for firing the torpedoes out of the tubes. The bracing sticking out from the hull on each side provided storage for up to ten torpedoes for reloads. The submarine carried a total of fourteen torpedoes. Four of them were in the tubes and ten in the room. Two each on each of the lower wider brackets and one each on the top shorter bracket.
Text courtesy of Ric Hedman.
USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
SS 109129k Portsmouth Times newspaper PDF file on the sub's sinking and the death of one of the S-4's (SS-109) crew, in particular; Commissary Victor Haney. Contributed in his memory by his nephew, Raleigh Haney.
SS 10944kChief Machinists Mate Aaron (Aron) Hodges, of the S-4 (SS-109) at the time of her loss. His body was one of first three recovered from the sub. Photo courtesy of Robin Hodges Schwartz, Great niece of Aaron (Aron) Hodges, Chief Machinist of the S-4 (SS-109).
SS 10944kRoy Kehlor Jones, Lieutenant Commander (Commanding Officer) of the S-4 (SS-109) at the time of her loss. USN photo courtesy of oneternalpatrol.com.
SS 109 259k Press refused admittance to board Paulding (CG-17) by Admiral Brumby, in charge of S-4 (SS-109) disaster. Photo courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection via Sean Hert & flickr.com.
SS 109 277k S-4 (SS-109) disaster: note written by entombed crewman. Photo courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection via Sean Hert & flickr.com.
SS 109 685k S-4 (SS-109) disaster. Officers huddle to plan rescue of crew. Photo courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection via Sean Hert & flickr.com.
SS 109 102k Wright sails into Boston with pontoons from Norfolk, VA, to assist in raising the S-4 (SS-109). Photo courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection via Sean Hert & flickr.com.
SS 109 241k Giant crane Hercules removing pontoons from Wright. Photo courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection via Sean Hert & flickr.com.
SS 109 771k Planes from New Jersey being loaded with tanks of nitrogen and oxygen to be flown to S-4 (SS-109) disaster off Provincetown. Photo courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection via Sean Hert & flickr.com.
SS 109 660k Navy tug Sagamore (ATO-20) with pontoons, at Provincetown to raise S-4 (SS-109). Photo courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection via Sean Hert & flickr.com.
SS 109 680k Diver from Falcon (AM-28) going down to S-4 (SS-109). Photo courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection via Sean Hert & flickr.com.
SS 109 695k The grave of the S-4 (SS-109), off Provincetown, Cape Cod, with naval vessels keeping vigil above spot where submarine went down. The S-4 lies on the bottom lengthwise between positions of the Falcon (AM-28) (A) and the Wandank (AT-26) (B) about a mile from shore (C). Photo by NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images, courtesy of gettyimages.com.
Photo added 01/23/17.
SS 109 877k Ship and floating crane over sunken S-4 (SS-109) off Provincetown. 40 man crew died. Photo courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection via Sean Hert & flickr.com.
SS 109 795k S-4 (SS-109) comes to surface off Provincetown after being on the bottom for 4 months in 102 ft. of water. Photo courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection via Sean Hert & flickr.com.
SS 109 608k The submarine rescue vessel Falcon(AM-28) that raised the submarine S-4 (SS-109). Photo courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection via Sean Hert & flickr.com.
SS 109 811k S-4 (SS-109) being towed to Navy Yard from off of Provincetown. The trip took 14 hours to go the 49 miles. Photo courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection via Sean Hert & flickr.com.
SS 109 861k S-4 (SS-109) being towed into drydock at Navy Yard. Photo courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection via Sean Hert & flickr.com.
SS 109 899k View of ill-fated S-4 (SS-109) tied up at pier at Navy Yard before entering drydock. Photo courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection via Sean Hert & flickr.com.
SS 109 384k Inquiry board inspects S-4 (SS-109) in drydock. Photo courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection via Sean Hert & flickr.com.
SS 109 899k Bow view of ill-fated S-4 (SS-109) in drydock. Photo courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection via Sean Hert & flickr.com.
SS 109 923k S-4 (SS-109) in drydock showing damage. Photo courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection via Sean Hert & flickr.com.
SS 109 222k S-4 (SS-109) battery room where several of the crew met instant death when salt water reached the batteries and made chlorine gas. Photo courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection via Sean Hert & flickr.com.
SS 109 918k S-4 (SS-109) drydock filling up. Photo courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection via Sean Hert & flickr.com.
SS 109 970k S-4 (SS-109) about to be floated. Photo courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection via Sean Hert & flickr.com.
SS 109 500k Ill-fated sub S-4 (SS-109) all painted and repaired and ready to be floated, at Navy Yard. Photo courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection via Sean Hert & flickr.com.
SS 109105kGoogle Earth satellite photo of the area of Provincetown, Massachusetts where the S-4 (SS-109) sank after colliding with USCGC Paulding on 17 December 1927. View courtesy of Google Earth.
SS 10994kView amidships of the S-4 (SS-109), taken soon after entering dry dock at the Boston Navy Yard, Charlestown, Massachusetts, on 19 March 1928. Note flag flying at half-mast, in honor of crewmen who lost their lives when S-4, collided with USCGC Paulding on 17 December 1927. USN photo # NH 41820, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center.
S-4 635k Sailors salute bodies recovered from S-4 (SS-109) submarine that sank after collision with USCGC Paulding during an exercise off Provincetown, Cape Cod. Photo by NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images, courtesy of gettyimages.com.
Photo added 01/23/17.
SS 109 613k Shipyard workers make repairs to the damaged S-4 (SS-109) while she is in dry-dock. Photo courtesy of Bill Gonyo.
SS 109141k S-4 (SS-109) in dry dock at the Boston Navy Yard, Charlestown, Massachusetts, 19 March 1928, following salvage. The original caption reads: "S-4 in drydock, with bodies of eight seamen still sealed in one of its compartments .... The S-4 as she slowly emerged from the water in dry dock today, disclosing the huge hole in her side." The submarine sank after colliding with USCGC Paulding on 17 December 1927. The hole from the collision was in her starboard hull side, just forward of her deck gun, and is not visible in this photograph, which was taken from off S-4's port quarter. Salvage pontoons YSP-10 and YSP-6 are visible in the background. Several diving support rafts are alongside the submarine. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 41819.
SS 109 293k S-4 (SS-109) alongside submarine rescue vessel Falcon (AM-28) on 17 December 1928. Photo # 19-N-2757 courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
SS 109203kDrydock #2, Charlestown Navy Yard, Boston. 23 September 2009. Photo courtesy of David Johnston.
SS 109102kUSCGC Paulding on the Marine Railway at the Boston Navy Yard, Charlestown, Massachusetts, 26 December 1927, showing damage to her bow from her collision with S-4 (SS-109) on 17 December 1927. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 69120. Courtesy of the San Francisco Maritime Museum, San Francisco, California, 1969.
SS 10968kChief Gunner's Mate Thomas Eadie, USN wearing the Medal of Honor, which had just been presented by President Calvin Coolidge in ceremonies at the White House, January 1928. He received the medal for heroism in rescuing another man during diving operations on S-4 (SS-109) on 18 December 1927. Among his other medals are the Navy Cross and the World War I Victory Medal. Standing behind him are Secretary of the Navy Curtis Wilbur (left) and Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Charles F. Hughes. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 89419.
Photo courtesy of Bill Gonyo.
SS 10998kInterior view of the Battery Room of the S-4 (SS-109), looking aft and to port, 23 March 1928. Taken while she was in dry dock at the Boston Navy Yard, Charlestown, Massachusetts, after being salvaged off Provincetown, Massachusetts, where she had been sunk in collision with USCGC Paulding on 17 December 1927.
The irregular object running the length of the compartment, just above the lockers on the right (port) side, is the collapsed ventilator duct through which water entered the Control Room. Into this duct water forced the curtain and flag, which clogged the valve on the after side of the bulkhead, preventing it from closing. It was this water which forced the abandonment of the Control Room. S-4 flooded through a hole, made by Paulding's bow, in the forward starboard side of the Battery Room.
U.S Navy photo courtesy of Darryl Baker, text courtesy of NH 41833, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center.
SS 10959kS-4 (SS-109), in dry dock following her raising. Courtesy of Ric Hedman.
SS 1091.09kS-4 (SS-109), after commissioning for trial of safety devices, at New London, Connecticut, 16 October 1928. USN photo courtesy of ussubvetsofwwii.org.
SS 109105kS-4 (SS-109), with Falcon (AM-28), 14 December 1928. The original caption reads: "The submarine S-4 just one year after she sank with a loss of forty lives. The repaired craft will be sent to the bottom without anyone aboard at Block Island, New London, Connecticut, to test out various safety devices developed as a result of the S-4 and S-51 (SS-162) disasters." USN photo # NH 68837, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center. Courtesy of the San Francisco Maritime Museum, San Francisco, California, 1969.
SS 10943kCommemorative photo in honor of the memory of the S-4 (SS-109).Photo courtesy of Tom Kermen. Dante's Prayer courtesy of Loreena McKennitt via quinlanroad.com.
Memorial plaque91kMemorial plaque at Independence Seaport Museum, Philadelphia PA, July 2006 for the crews of United States submarines lost during peace time accidents:
F-1 (SS-20), F-4 (SS-23), G-2 (SS-27), H-1 (SS-28), O-5 (SS-66), O-9 (SS-70), S-4 (SS-109), S-51 (SS-162), Squalus (SS-192), Scorpion (SSN-589) & Thresher (SSN-593).
Photo courtesy of Wendell Royce McLaughlin Jr.
SS 109 348k Tender & S-4 (SS-109) prior to her scuttling. Photo 6079897172_beaac752cd_o courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection via Sean Hert & flickr.com.
SS 109245kMemorial to the crew of the S-4 (SS-109)

In Memoriam:


In the Second Book of Shmuel (Samuel), 22nd chapter, 5th through the 19th verses, translated from the original in Hebrew and published by the Koren Publishers of Jerusalem, Israel, 1982, can perhaps aptly describe the fate of the crew and all other U.S. submariners who died defending their county:

"When the waves of death compassed me / the floods of ungodly men made me afraid; / the bonds of She'ol encircled me; / the snares of death took me by surprise; / in my distress I called upon the Lord, / and cried to my G-D: / and he heard my voice out of his temple, / and my cry entered into his ears. / Then the earth shook and trembled; /the foundations of heaven moved / and shook because of his anger /...the heavy mass of waters, and thick clouds of the skies /... And the channels of the sea appeared, / the foundations of the world were laid bare, / at the rebuking of the Lord, at the blast at the breath of his nostrils. / He sent from above, he took me; / he drew me out of many waters; / he delivered me from my strong enemy, and from those who hated me; for they were too strong for me. / They surprised me in the day of my calamity: / but the Lord was my stay..."
Photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.

View the S-4 (SS-109)
DANFS history entry located on the Haze Gray & Underway Web Site.
Crew Contact And Reunion Information
Not Applicable to this Vessel
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On Eternal Patrol
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