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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive

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Sealion (SS-195)

Radio Call Sign: November - Echo - Lima - Quebec

Sargo Class Submarine: Laid down, 20 June 1938, at the Electric Boat Co., Groton, CT.; Launched, 25 May 1939; Commissioned, USS Sealion (SS-195), 27 November 1939; Damaged by Japanese aerial bombardment, 10 December 1941, with the loss of 4 lives, at Cavite Navy Yard, PI; Final Disposition, all salvageable material removed and destroyed by explosives, 25 December 1941; Struck from the Naval Register, (date unknown).

Specifications: Displacement, Surfaced: 1,400 t., Submerged: 2,350 t.; Length 310' 6"; Beam 27' 1"; Draft 13' 8"; Speed, Surfaced 20 kts, Submerged 7.75 kts; Complement 5 Officers, 50 Enlisted; Maximum Depth Limit, 250'; Armament, eight 21" torpedo tubes, 24 torpedoes, one 3"/50 deck gun, two .50 cal machine guns, two .30 cal machine guns; Propulsion, diesel-electric engines, GE diesel engines, HP 5500, Fuel Capacity, 190,000 gals., GE motors, HP 2740, 252 battery cells. twin screws.
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Sealion48k Commemorative post mark on the occasion of Sealion's (SS-195) keel being laid, 20 June 1938, at the Electric Boat Co., Groton, CT. Courtesy of Jack Treutle (of blessed memory).
Sealion339k Sealion (SS-195) was sponsored by Mrs. Claude C. Bloch, 25 May 1939.Text courtesy of DANFS.
Electric Boat Company photo, courtesy of Wendy S. Gulley, Archivist Submarine Force Museum, Naval Submarine Base NLON Groton, CT.
Sealion500kSealion (SS-195), starts her slide into the water, 25 May 1939 at the Electric Boat Co., Groton, CT.Electric Boat Company photo, courtesy of Wendy S. Gulley, Archivist Submarine Force Museum, Naval Submarine Base NLON Groton, CT.
Sealion21k Commemorative post mark on the occasion of Sealion's (SS-195) launching, 25 May 1939. Courtesy of Jack Treutle (of blessed memory).
Sealion21kRoster of Sealion's (SS-195) officer plankowners and sponsor / supervisor. Courtesy of Jon Bailey.
Sealion33kRoster of Sealion's (SS-195) crew plankowners. Courtesy of Jon Bailey.
Sealion79kSealion (SS-195) shows off the new stern form introduced to accommodate four rather than two after tubes. She is shown, newly completed off Provincetown, Massachusetts, on 6 October 1939.Text courtesy of U.S. Submarines Through 1945, An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman. Naval Institute Press.
USN photo courtesy of Hyperwar US Navy in WWII.
Sealion141kStarboard view of the Sealion (SS-195), newly completed off Provincetown, Massachusetts, on 6 October 1939.USN photo courtesy of webpage.
Sealion62kSealion (SS-195) off Provincetown, Massachusetts, during trials, 6 October 1939. Photograph # NH 19-N-20993, from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives, courtesy of the U.S. Naval Historical Center.
Sealion38k Commemorative post mark on the occasion of Sealion's (SS-195) first day in commission, 27 November 1939.
Note: YN1 Loyal Day was a plankowner of Sealion and aboard when she was bombed on 10 December 1941.
Courtesy of Ric Hedman.
Sealion31k Commemorative post mark & photo of Sealion (SS-195) off the New England coast during her sea trials following her commissioning, 16 January 1940. Courtesy of Jack Treutle (of blessed memory).
Navy Day46k Commemorative post mark on the occasion of Navy Day, 27 October 1940, commemorating the participation of:
Sailfish (SS-192),
Seadragon (SS-194),
Sealion (SS-195),
Searaven (SS-196),
Seawolf (SS-197),
Tambor (SS-198),
Tautog (SS-199),
Thresher (SS-200), &
Triton (SS-201).
Note: YN1 Loyal Day was a plankowner of Sealion and aboard when she was bombed on 10 December 1941.
Courtesy of Ric Hedman.
Sealion & Seadragon214kDirect hit! Two bombs strike Sealion (SS-195) almost simultaneously. First U.S. submarine casualty of the war, she went down in the shambles of Cavite - was later raised from the shallows off Machina wharf and sunk in Manila Bay to prevent capture. Seadragon (SS-194) (shown at right) narrowly escaped the blast. Drawing by Lt. Cmdr. Fred Freemen, Courtesy of Theodore Roscoe, from his book "U.S. Submarine Operations of WW II", published by USNI.
Sealion125kDrawing of the wreck of the Sealion (SS-195). Photo courtesy of Scott Koen &
Sealion76kCavite Navy Yard, Philippine Islands. Fires at Cavite resulting from the 10 December 1941 Japanese air raid. Barge # 181 (YF-181 ?) -- perhaps visible in the right center -- is loaded with burning torpedoes. At the time this photograph was taken, small arms ammunition was exploding in the center of the heavy blaze on the left. The submarine whose bow is visible at the far right is probably Sealion (SS-195), which had been hit by bombs and had settled by the stern. Photograph # SC 130991, from the Army Signal Corps Collection in the U.S. National Archives, courtesy of the USNHC.
Sealion68kCommander Richard George Voge served a four-month tour of duty as commissioning executive officer of Rowan (DD-405)) from late September 1939 to late January 1940. In mid-February Comdr. Voge returned to the Asiatic Fleet and assumed command of Sealion (SS-195), based at Cavite in the Philippines, and commanded that submarine until the opening day of American participation in World War II. At the outbreak of hostilities on 8 December 1941 (West Longitude Time), Voge suffered the double ignominy of having his command caught in overhaul and, three days later, of losing her to enemy bombs while still at Cavite Navy Yard. Voge, however, quickly recovered from that blow, assumed command of Sailfish (SS-192) on 17 December 1941. Photo courtesy of the Lucky Bag yearbook Class of 1925 via Bill Gonyo.
Sealion132kCavite Navy Yard, Philippine Islands. Damage to yard facilities from Japanese air attacks. Photographed on 17 December 1941, looking across the Receiving Ship toward the power plant. The remains of the Post Office are in the left foreground, and the bomb-damaged submarine Sealion (SS-195), lies across the center of the image. Official USN photo # 80-G-243717, now in the collections of the National Archives, courtesy of the USNHC.
Sealion516k Sealion (SS-195) photographed at the Cavite Navy Yard, Philippine Islands, after its capture by the Japanese. Sealion had been fatally damaged by Japanese bombs on 10 December 1941 and was scuttled on 25 December, before U.S. forces abandoned Cavite. Photo courtesy of
Sealion79kSealion's (SS-195) wrecked hulk at the old Cavite Navy Yard, Philippines, in November 1945. Her conning tower, with periscopes, is at left, with her stern at right. Sealion had been scuttled at Cavite on 25 December 1941, after suffering fatal damage during a Japanese air attack there on 10 December. Photographed by B. Eneberg, who was then navigator of a Royal Australian Air Force PBY-5 aircraft. Courtesy of B. Eneberg, 1977. USNHC photograph # NH 85725.
Sealion116kSealion (SS-195) salvage at Cavite Navy Yard, Philippines, 1959.Photo courtesy of Rich Crank, ENCS, USN Ret.
Sealion151kSealion (SS-195), salvage at Cavite Navy Yard, Philippines, 1959.Photo courtesy of Rich Crank, ENCS, USN Ret.
Grayling 391k Google Earth satellite photo of the general area in which the Southern Philippines including Manila Bay, where the Sealion (SS-195) lies scuttled. The Grayling (SS-209) lies on the other side of the peninsula. View courtesy of Google Earth.
Sealion91kCommemorative photo in honor of the memory of the crew of the Sealion (SS-191) K.I.A.Photo courtesy of Tom Kermen.
Dante's Prayer courtesy of Loreena McKennitt via
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
Sealion41kThe remains of the Sealion (SS-195) following salvage at Cavite Navy Yard, Phillipines, 1959?Photo courtesy of John Clear, EMC(SS), USN Ret.
Sealion274kI served aboard the Princeton (LPH-5) from 1961-63. We were in the Philippines on a WestPac cruise and during that time...We were asked to perform a burial at sea for two of the men who were killed aboard the Sealion (SS-191) when it was sunk at Cavite Naval shipyard, Manila, PI. Two sets of Skeletal remains were brought aboard and placed in repose in the ship's chapel.
The remains were sewn into canvas bags and weighted. I helped adjust them on the tables which they were laid on and could feel the bones through the canvas, so I am positive they were skeletal. We pulled out of Manila Bay and out into the S.China sea, How far I cannot remember, but we came to a halt and mustered the ships company for the service and with the accompanying salutes fired by the Marine Guard, we committed the remains to the deep.

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..."
Photos & text courtesy of Ron Hoak, Historian/Chaplain for the Princeton Veteran's Association Inc.

View the Sealion (SS-195)
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
On Eternal Patrol
PigBoats.COM TM - A Historic Look at Submarines
ComSubForPac USS SEALION (SS 195) December 10, 1941 - 5 Men Lost
Saga of the Sealion
Ep-21 (1) - Victory At Sea ~ Full Fathom Five - HQ
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