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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive


Contributed by Mike Smolinski

S-44 (SS-155)


S-42 Class Submarine: Laid down, 14 January 1921, at Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp., Quincy, MA.; Launched, 27 October 1923; Commissioned, USS S-44 (SS-155), 16 February 1925; Final Disposition, lost 7 October 1943, as a result of enemy surface action en route to patrol area in Kuriles. S-44 was sunk by IJNS Ishigaki, a Shimushu class escort. S-44 earned two battle stars during World War II.

Specifications: Displacement, Surfaced: 903 t., Submerged: 1126 t.; Length 225' 3"; Beam 20' 8"; 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, 1,200 hp, Fuel Capacity, 46,363 gal.; Electro Dynamic Co., electric motors, 1,200 hp, Battery Cells, 120, twin propellers.
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T-2 1.20k AA-2 (SS-60) at Fore River Ship Yard, 1 October 1921.
Note the submarine being built in the boat house above the docked AA-2. The last 3 S-boats being turned out there were S-44 (SS-155), S-46 (SS-157) & S-47 (SS-158); respectivley laid down 14 January, 23 February & 26 February 1921.
US National Archives photo # 19lc 1 from NARA, College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
S-18, 47, & 44 200k From left to right: S-18 (SS-123), S-47 (SS-158), & S-44 (SS-155) tied up at Groton, CT., 8 April 1924. The 3 subs are moored to the self propelled barge Isaac L. Rice. EB used it for submarine testing and acted as a tender for subs under construction or undergoing maintenance while at EB. USN photo # 19-N-10282, from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), courtesy of Daniel Dunham.
Text courtesy of Ric Hedman.
SS 153 270k Typical of the last E.B.'s S-boats S-42-47 (SS-153-58) is shown as in 1924-25 (the date of final changes to the original plans is illegible). These boats were part of a second, redesigned series. They were lengthened enough to accomodate both the new 4in/50 gun & the gun access hatch shown (arrowed) forward of the conning tower fairwater (it is the main visual difference between these and earlier E.B. units) Drawing & Text courtesy of U.S. Submarines Through 1945, An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman. Naval Institute Press.
SS 160 949k S-44 (SS-155) at Charlestown Navy Yard, circa 1924 / 25. Photo courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection via Sean Hert & flickr.com.
SS 160 893k S-44 (SS-155) in drydock, circa 1924 / 25. Photo courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection via Sean Hert & flickr.com.
SS 160 636k S-44 (SS-155) in drydock, circa 1924 / 25. Photo courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection via Sean Hert & flickr.com.
SS 160 255k S-44 (SS-155) being repaired in Navy Yard circa 1924 / 25. Photo courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection via Sean Hert & flickr.com.
SS 155 74k S-44 (SS-155), retrieving torpedoes in 1926. Note crewman kneeling on the starboard diving plane, holding a boat hook. The torpedo is faintly visible to the right of the boat hook's far end. USN photo # NH 80595, courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation, collection of Lieutenant O.E. Wightman.
SS 155 67k S-44 (SS-155), undergoing repairs at Coco Solo, Panama Canal Zone, 1926. . USN photo # NH 80746, courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation, collection of Lieutenant O.E. Wightman.
SS 155 906k S-44 (SS-155) crew photo, 1926, while in Panama. Third man from left, seated, is LT Marivn H Grove. Picture courtesy of his granddaughter, Lillis Stern via Ric Hedmen.
US Fleet Problem Number VI 1.72k Control Force Employment Schedule, 4 January to 1 March 1926. US Fleet Problem Number VI. Photo courtesy of Steve Ireland.
Photo added 01/25/17.
SS 155 114k S-44 (SS-155), underway during the later 1920s or 1930s. USN photo # NH 42262, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center.
SS 153 117k S-44 (SS-155), background and S-42 (SS-153), foreground at San Diego, in the 1920s or 1930s. USN photo # NH 42154, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center.
SS-155 124k The S-44 (SS-155), during the later 1920s or 1930s. USN photo courtesy ofussubvetsofwwii.org. Photo i.d. courtesy of USNHC.
SS 155 67k S-44 (SS-155) lays in the foreground as S-45 (SS-156) leaves Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, en route to Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, CA., in April 1927. Destroyer in the distance is Moody (DD-277). USN photo # NH 42189, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center.
SS 155 133k S-44 (SS-155), leaving Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, 1929. Photographed by Chief Quartermaster Peck. USN photo # NH 42264, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center.
Holland 102k Holland (AS-3) moored at San Diego, CA., circa 1930. Submarines alongside, apparently holding inspection, are (from inboard):
V-3 (SF-6), later Bonita (SS-165);
V-2 (SF-5)
, later Bass (SS-164);
S-45 (SS-156);
S-43 (SS-154);
S-44 (SS-155)
; and
S-42 (SS-153).
USN photo # NH 53437, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center.
SS 155 127k S-44 (SS-155), ship's Company posed on board, at Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, CA., circa later 1920s or early 1930s. USN photo # NH 70777, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center.
SS 155 47k S-44 (SS-155), probably entering Pearl Harbor, maybe circa December 1930, when the S-boat was transferred to Hawaii where her division, now SubDiv 11. USN photo courtesy of Hyperwar US Navy in WWII. Text courtesy of DANFS.
S-boats 327k Submarine Division 11 is shown moored together here in this photograph, probably taken in 1936 at the Submarine Base in Coco Solo, Panama Canal Zone. Shown are the S-46 (SS-157), S-43 (SS-154), S-47 (SS-158), S-42 (SS-153), S-44 (SS-155), and S-45 (SS-156). Photo i.d. & text courtesy of Dave Johnston, USNR.
USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
S-boats 848k Photo of the S-44 (SS-155) passing through the Panama Canal. It was taken during 1938-39 when the contributor's father, Jewell W. Webb was a crew member on the S-44. USN photo courtesy of William J. Webb.
SS 155 363k S-44 (SS-155) engine room. USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com
SS 155 667k A close shave. USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com
SS 155 143k S-44 (SS-155), was one of six E.B. boat's extensivley modernized during WW II. The refit included installation of air conditioning, with the unit installed in the crew space abaft the control room, alongside the refrigerator.
S-44 was fitted with radar (SJ forward, SD abaft the bridge), a loop antenna built into the periscope shears for underwater reception, & a free flooding structure carrying a 20-mm anti-aircraft gun, with a box for 4-in ready-service ammunition below it.
A JK passive sonar, probably installed at Philadelphia during a refit between November & December 1941, was located on the forward deck. On the keel below it was a pair of oxcillators.
Drawing by Jim Christley. Text courtesy of U.S. Submarines Through 1945, An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman. Naval Institute Press.
SS-155 129k The Furutaka-class heavy cruiser HIJMS Kako underway during exercises in 1940, with her forward gun turrets trained out to port, as seen from another Japanese warship. Kako was torpedoed on 10 August 1942, by the submarine S-44 (SS-155) off New Ireland (02 degrees 15' South, 152 degrees 15' East). Text info courtesy of "Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1869-1945" by Hansgeorg Jentschura, Dieter Jung and Peter Mickel, Translated by Antony Preston and J.D.Brown, courtesy of Robert Hurst.
Photo donation of Kazutoshi Hando, 1970. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph. Photo # NH 73014.
SS-155 177k "The S-44 (SS-155), vs HIJMS Kako. Patrolling off New Ireland, the veteran S-boat ambushes enemy cruiser division at entrance to Kavieng Harbor. Four torpedoes (range 700 yards) sends Kako to the bottom, an 8,800-ton warship sunk by an 850-ton sub. This sinking of first Japanese heavy cruiser avenged defeat at Savo Island." Drawing by Lt. Cmdr. Fred Freemen, courtesy of Theodore Roscoe, from his book "U.S. Submarine Operations of WW II", published by USNI.
SS 155 99k Captain Ralph W. Christie, USN, Commander Task Force 42 and Submarine Squadron Five (left), congratulates Lieutenant Commander John R. Moore, USN, Commanding Officer of S-44 (SS-155)," as he returned to this South Pacific base after a very successful week of patrol activity". (quoted from original World War II photo caption).
The original caption date is 1 September 1942, which is presumably a release date. S-44 returned to Brisbane, Australia, on 23 August 1942 at the end of a war patrol in the Solomon Islands, during which she sank the Japanese heavy cruiser Kako. The photograph was probably taken at about that time.
OfficialUSN photo now in the collections of the National Archives. USN photo # 80-G-12171 from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center.
SS 155 316k Photo dated 1 September 1942: crew of the S-44 (SS-155) relax around the deck gun, while moored at Brisbane before the start of her 4th patrol. US National Archives photo # 80G 16109 from NARA, College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
SS-155 130k The S-44's (SS-155) 4"/50 deck gun crew manning her gun, January 1943.
The Chief all the way left in the photo is Chief Torpedoman Harold Arvid Stromsoe. He went down with the boat when she was sunk.
US National Archives photo # 80-G-33750, a USN photo now in the collections of the US National Archives. Text i.d. courtesy of Ric Hedman.
SS 155 77k S-44 (SS-155), underway off the Panama Canal Zone, circa February 1943, while en route to the Philadelphia Navy Yard for overhaul. US National Archives photo # 19-N-41382, a USN photo from the Bureau of Ships Collection now in the collections of the US Naval Archives.
High resolution US National Archives photo # 80G 36130 from NARA, College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
SS 160 722k The submarine S-44 (SS-155) enters port after a war patrol. Left to right CDR F. R. Brown, Reno NA (Commanding Officer); SI/C G. F. Smith, Akron OH; LTJG R. Fox, Milwaukee, WI; LT C. W. Flanninken, Hanburg NY. Photo released on 8 February 1943. Photo from the files of the Vallejo Naval & Historical Museum via Darryl L. Baker.
SS 160 811k Submarine mascots meet aboard S-44 (SS-155): Dink (right) is mascot aboard S-44 and Flange Face is the mascot of an unknown submarine. Photo released on 8 February 1943.
The chief in the right background with the beard is Chief Torpedoman Harold Arvid Stromsoe who went down with the boat.
Text i.d. courtesy of Ric Hedman.
Photo from the files of the Vallejo Naval & Historical Museum via Darryl L. Baker.
SS 155 204k Photo dated 8 February 1943: S-44 (SS-155) on her way to Philadelphia via the Panama Canal. US National Archives photo # 80G 36128 from NARA, College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
SS 155 1.10k Photo dated 8 February 1943: Short sleeves and warm weather waters as the S-44 (SS-155) makes her way to Philadelphia via the Panama Canal. US National Archives photo # 80G 36129 from NARA, College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
SS 155 607k Photo dated 8 February 1943: Old Glory flies from the conning tower as S-44 (SS-155) turns about near the Panama Canal.
Note the # 155 on her bow.
US National Archives photo # 80G 36131 from NARA, College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
SS 155 62k S-44 (SS-155), underway off Philadelphia Navy Yard, after her last overhaul, 11 June 1943. US National Archives photo # 19-N-46193, a USN photo now in the collections of the US National Archives
S-23 73k An 1942 oil painting on board, by the artist William F. Draper entitled "Sub and Yippy Tie Up."
In a quiet inlet of the Bering Sea in 1942, a YP boat gets a coat of paint and an S-boat ties up for fuel and provisions. The short Alaskan day is ending and lights may be seen in the barracks until total darkness requires a blackout.
The S-boats that served in the Aleutians theater were:
S-18 (SS-123),
S-23 (SS-128),
S-27 (SS-132),
S-28 (SS-133),
S-30 (SS-135),
S-31 (SS-136),
S-32 (SS-137),
S-33 (SS-138),
S-34 (SS-139),
S-35 (SS-140),
S-36 (SS-141),
S-40 (SS-145),
S-41 (SS-146),
S-42 (SS-153),
S-44 (SS-155),
S-45 (SS-156),
S-46 (SS-157), &
S-47 (SS-158).
Sub and Yippy Tie Up by William F. Draper.
Painting #13 / 88-189-N. Courtesy of the USNHC.
SS 155 262k Chief Torpedoman Harold Arvid Stromsoe points with pride to the record of sunken Japanese ships noted on the # 2 inner door. USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com
SS 155 127k Francis Elwood Brown, Commander (Commanding Officer) of the S-44 (SS-155) at the time of her loss. USN photo courtesy of oneternalpatrol.com.
SS 155 73k Drawing of a Type C Escort vessel similar to the Ishigaki, which sank the S-44 (SS-155). Type C Escort by Takeshi Yuki scanned from "Color Paintings of Japanese Warships." Photo courtesy of combinedfleet.com.
SS 155 92k Commemorative photo in honor of the memory of the S-44 (SS-155).Photo courtesy of Tom Kermen. Dante's Prayer courtesy of Loreena McKennitt via quinlanroad.com.
SS 155 55k Google Earth satellite photo of the S-44's (SS-155) last approximate position based during post-war debriefings. This position is thought to be the final resting place of the S-44 and her crew. View courtesy of Google Earth.
SS 155 1.5m Image of the Kuril Islands of Paramushir, Atlasov, and Shumshu, 28.5 meter resolution. The survivors of the S-44 (SS-155) were taken to here after the boat was lost somewhere off her coast. Landsat 7 photo courtesy of en.wikipedia.org.
Tolling the Boats 117k Joyce DaSilva, the wife of Jesse DaSilva of the Tang (SS-306), one of the nine survivors of the boat, tosses a flower into a reflecting pool to honor the memory of one of the 52 submarines lost during World War II at the National Submarine Memorial-West on board Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach, Calif. On this Veterans Day, the Submarine Veterans of World War II transferred ownership of the memorial to the U.S. Navy.

The following text is from The Coming Fury by Bruce Catton., pg. 478.
"Major Sullivan Ballou of Rhode Island was killed in the battle, and just before it he had wrote to his wife, Sarah, to tell her that he believed he was going to be killed and to express a tremulous faith that could see a gleam of light in the dark:
"But O Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and float unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you in the gladdest days and in the gloomiest nights, always, always, and if there be a soft breeze upon your chest it shall be my breath, as the cool air fans your throbbing temple it shall be my spirit passing by. Sarah, do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait, for we shall meet again!"
Text i.d. courtesy of Marlynn Starring. Photo i.d. courtesy of Chuck Senior, Vice Commander, Los Angeles-Pasadena Base, USSVI.
USN photo # N-1159B-021 by Journalist 2nd Class Brian Brannon, courtesy of news.navy.mil.
SS 155 56k S-44 (SS-155), underway off Philadelphia Navy Yard, after her last overhaul, 11 June 1943. She would be lost in less than 4 months with almost her entire crew.

In Memorium:

In the Second Book of Shmuel (Samuel), 22nd chapter, 5th through the 20th 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 / He brought me forth also into a large place: / he delivered me because he delighted in me./"
US National Archives photo # 19-N-46194, a USN photo now in the collections of the US National Archives.

View the S-44 (SS-155)
DANFS history entry located on the Haze Gray & Underway Web Site.
Crew Contact And Reunion Information
U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation
Fleet Reserve Association

Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
Historic Submarine Replica
On Eternal Patrol
ComSubPac Report of loss of USS S-44 (SS 155) October 7, 1943 - 56 Men Lost
PigBoats.COM TM A Historic Look at Submarines

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