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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive

Contributed by Mike Smolinski

Triton (SS-201)

Radio Call Sign: November - Alpha - Victor - Foxtrot

Tambor Class Submarine: Laid down, 5 July 1939, at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, ME.; Launched, 25 March 1940; Commissioned, USS Triton (SS-201), 15 August 1940; Triton was reported overdue from patrol and presumed lost, 10 April 1943. Post-war examination of Japanese records revealed that on 15 March 1943, three Japanese destroyers attacked a submarine a little northwest of Triton's assigned area and subsequently observed an oil slick, debris, and items with American markings. Triton received five battle stars for World War II service.

Specifications: Displacement, Surfaced: 1,475 t., Submerged: 2,370 t.; Length 307' 2" ; Beam 27' 3"; Draft 13' 3"; Speed, Surfaced 20 kts, Submerged 8 kts; Max. Depth Limit 250'; Complement 5 Officers 54 Enlisted; Armament, ten 21" torpedo tubes, six forward, four aft, 24 torpedoes, one 3"/50 deck gun, two .50 caliber machine guns, two .30 caliber machine guns; Propulsion, diesel-electric, four General Motors diesel engines, 5,400 hp, Fuel Capacity 93.993 gal., four General Electric motors, 2,740 hp, Battery Cells, 252, two propellers.
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Triton 22k Commemorative post mark on the occasion of Triton's (SS-201) keel laying, 5 July 1939, at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, ME. Courtesy of Jack Treutle (of blessed memory).
122k Triton (SS-201) was sponsored by Mrs Martha R. Egerton King. Photo courtesy of source removed since upload
Triton514kTriton's (SS-201) launching party. Photo courtesy of Wendy S. Gulley, Archivist Submarine Force Museum, Naval Submarine Base NLON Groton, CT.
NR New U. S. Sub Takes To The Sea
Portsmouth,. N. H.
The new submarine Triton (SS-201) gets its first taste of salt water as It slides down the ways stern first at Portsmouth navy yard after official launching ceremonies. Three hundred feet lone and weighing 1475 tons, it is sponsored by Mrs. Ernest J. King, wife of a rear admiral. The Triton is expected to be ready for duty about Dec. 1.
Image and text provided by Connecticut State Library, Hartford, CT.
Photo from The Waterbury Democrat. [volume] (Waterbury, Conn.) 1917-1946, 27 March 1940, Image 2, via
Triton 206k Triton (SS-201) slides down the ways at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, ME., 25 March 1940. USN photo courtesy of
Triton 142k Commemorative post mark on the occasion of Triton's (SS-201) launching, 25 March 1940. Courtesy of Jack Treutle (of blessed memory).
Triton 24k Commemorative post mark on the occasion of Triton's (SS-201) first day in commission, 15 August 1940. Courtesy of Jack Treutle (of blessed memory).
Triton 98k Cast iron model of the Triton (SS-201) and Shark (SS-174) class submarines. Photo courtesy of John Shane, whose grandfather, Lieutenant Commander Louis Shane, Jr. was lost at sea while commanding the Shark (SS-174), approximately 11 February 1942.
Secretary of the Navy Knox (near bow) threw a wreath over the side of Navy submarine Triton (SS-201) yesterday while a bugler blew "Taps" as funeral services were held at sea for 33 officers and men lost aboard the submarine O-9 (SS-70). Note the flag at half mast.
A. P. Wirephoto.
Image and text provided by Library of Congress, Washington, DC.
Photo from Evening Star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, 23 June 1941, Image 8, via
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.
Triton 46k Commemorative post mark on the occasion of Triton's (SS-201) deep dive, 4 December 1940. Courtesy of Jack Treutle (of blessed memory).
Triton 111k Triton (SS-201) underway at sea, circa 1940, seen from a blimp. Photo dated July 1943, but taken about two or three years earlier. High aerial view, taken from off Triton's port side, forward. Her bow is cropped out of the view, and her after portion is somewhat obscured by the blimp's engine and its supporting structure. Triton is in pre-war configuration, with the "201" painted on her sail in large numerals. USNHC photo # 80-G-42357, submitted by Bill Gonyo.
Triton 229k An American Submarine Teaches a Blimp the Tricks of Hitler's U-boats.
One of the airships motors, suspended from an outrigger, hangs over the Triton (SS-201) during a 1941 cruise off New Jersey. Today the submarine would scarcely dare to show herself in theses waters lest she be bombed. Wartime blimps and surface craft shoot first and ask questions afterword.
Photo courtesy of International News, from the the 1941 edition of National Geographic Magazine, page # 84 & submitted by Ron Reeves (of blessed memory).
High resolution courtesy of
Triton 100k Triton (SS-201) underway, circa 1941, with another submarine in the background. Probably taken with Trout (SS-202) and other submarines, when they conducted training operations with Submarine Division 62 until 29 November 1941 when she stood out of Pearl Harbor to conduct a simulated war patrol off northern Midway. Official USN photo # NH 99279, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
Submarine Base,Pearl Harbor 1.14k Aerial view of the Submarine Base, Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii, with part of the supply depot beyond and the fuel farm at right, looking north on 13 October 1941. Note the fuel tank across the road from the submarine base, painted to resemble a building. The building beside the submarine ascent tower (in left center, shaped like an upside-down "U") housed the U.S. Fleet Headquarters at the time of the Japanese attack on 7 December 1941. Office of Admiral Husband E. Kimmel, the Fleet's Commander in Chief, was in the upper left corner of the building's top floor.
Wharton (AP-7) is in right foreground. Among the submarines at the base are Tuna (SS-203), Gudgeon (SS-211), Argonaut (SS-166), Narwhal (SS-167), Triton (SS-201) and Dolphin (SS-169). Holland (AS-3) and Niagara (PG-52) are alongside the wharf on the base's north side.
In the distance (nearest group in upper left) are the battleship Nevada (BB-36), at far left, Castor (AKS-1) and the derelict old mine-layer Baltimore. Cruisers in top center are Minneapolis (CA-36), closest to camera, and Pensacola (CA-24), wearing a Measure 5 painted "bow wave".
Text from USN photo # 80-G-451125, now in the collections of the National Archives.
USN photo # 80-G-651517 from NARA, College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
Submarine Base,Pearl Harbor 1.07k Two additional aerial views of the Submarine Base, Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii, with part of the supply depot beyond and the fuel farm at right, looking north on 13 October 1941. USN photo # 80-G-651516 & 651518 from NARA, College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
Triton 17k Triton (SS-201) is shown in prewar configuration. A 0.50 caliber machine gun was set up forward of her bridge. The gun could not be permanently mounted, nor could it be located atop the bridge because of its interference with radio antennas. Submariners disliked this arrangement. It entailed delay, which meant that a submarine often could not defend herself against a surprise attack. Drawing by Jim Christley.
Text courtesy of U.S. Submarines Through 1945, An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman. Naval Institute Press.
Triton311kLCDR Charles Cochran Kirkpatrick was in command of the Triton (SS-201) from 31 March 1942 to 14 Feburary 1943. He was awarded the Navy Cross three times during his service aboard the Triton. He was credited with the sinking of eleven enemy vessels and other probable's unconfirmed. From the Army he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for action near Wewak, New Guinea, on 26 January 1943 for attacking a Japanese convoy apparently with the intention of landing supplies and reinforcing the enemy defenses in that area. While commanding officer of the Shea (DM-3), in action against enemy Japanese forces in the vicinity of Okinawa, on 4 May 1945 was awarded the Silver Star.USN photo courtesy of Bill Gonyo.
NR Lieutenant Commander Charles C. Kirkpatrick, Commanding Officer of the Triton (SS-201), receives the Navy Cross from Rear Adm. R.E. English for outstanding success in attacking enemy shipping, 1942.
Photo courtesy of
Triton208kTriton's (SS-201) CO, Lt. Commander Kirkpatrick & crew pose for a group photo on 16 July 1942 at Dutch Harbor, Alaska.Photo Source: NARA College Park, Maryland, Photo # 80-G-206171 courtesy of Tracy White @ Researcher @ Large.
Triton213kTriton's (SS-201) CO, Lt. Commander Kirkpatrick, 16 July 1942 at Dutch Harbor, Alaska.Photo Source: NARA College Park, Maryland, Photo # 80-G-206173 courtesy of Tracy White @ Researcher @ Large.
Triton 78k Triton (SS-201) at Dutch Harbor, Alaska, 16 July 1942.Official USN photo from the collections of the Naval Historical Center. USNHC photograph # NH 99280.
Triton651kOn 16 December 1942, Triton (SS-201) got underway for a position 20 miles east of Wake on the Midway-Wake route. She was one of three submarines stationed between the two islands to mark the way for Army Liberator bombers in strikes on Wake and to rescue the crews of any planes forced down at sea. She made no rescues, but, on the night of 23 December, she aided in guiding the Liberators in a night bombing attack on the island. On Christmas Eve, the submarine sighted the mast of a ship on the horizon that was headed for Wake anchorage. Triton closed to 1,000 yards and fired two torpedoes. One hit under the stack and the other hit under the foremast. Amakasu Maru No.1 was obliterated in a cloud of smoke and steam as she went under.
Raw multibeam point data of suspected wreck of Japanese destroyer Hayate. Further investigation with ROV Deep Discoverer confirmed it is Japanese cargo ship, Amakasu Maru No.1.
Considerable damage seen on the hull of the Amakasu Maru No.1 may be due to torpedoes fired by the American submarine, Triton.
Text courtesy of DANFS & NOAA.
Images courtesy of, Gary Fabian & the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Deepwater Wonders of Wake.
Triton 138k Color drawing of the Subchaser No. 46 (left)(indicative of the class of submarine chaser which might have sunk the Triton (SS-201) and the destroyer Shimakaze (right) as depicted by Takeshi Yuki, "Color Paintings of Japanese Warships").
The Triton might very well have been sunk by the Japanese Mutsuki class destroyer Satsuki or Subchaser No. 24 north of Admiralty Islands, according to Submarines Lost Through Enemy Action
Photo courtesy of
Triton 53k Color print of the Japanese Mutsuki-class destroyer Satsuki which might very well have been sunk the Triton (SS-201) north of Admiralty Islands, according to Submarines Lost Through Enemy Action Photo courtesy of
Triton 4k Map showing the area where the Triton (SS-201) torpedoed and sank the Japanese transport ship Kiriha Maru (3057 BRT) and torpedoes and damages the Japanese merchant Mito Maru (7061 BRT) some 145 miles northwest of the Admiralty Islands in position 00.37N, 145.30E. Triton reports this "kill" on 11 March but she is never heard from again. Photo & text courtesy of Great Circle Mapper - Karl L Swartz /
Triton 79k Google Earth satellite photo of the general area in which Triton (SS-201) is assumed to have been lost. View courtesy of Google Earth.
Triton 107k Another theory on the loss of the Triton (SS-201) suggests that it may have been sunk by "friendly fire" in the Brisbane River or somewhere near Brisbane between 27 and 29th March 1943.
If so, this is a Google Earth satellite photo of the general area in which Triton's last approximate position based during post-war debriefings.
View courtesy of Google Earth.
Triton 84k Commemorative photo in honor of the memory of the crew of the Triton (SS-201).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
Triton1.56k9 page PDF of Triton's (SS-201) history.USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen &
NR Navy Loses Triton (SS-201), Submarine Which Sank 11 Ships in Year
The submarine Triton, reported overdue by the Navy, is shown as tugs nosed her up to the docks after she was launched at the Portsmouth (N. H.) Navy Yard on 25 March 1940.
A. P. Wirephoto.
Image and text provided by Library of Congress, Washington, DC.
Photo & text by Evening Star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, 22 July 1943, Image 2, courtesy of
Triton 18k George Kenneth Mackenzie, Jr., Lieutenant Commander (Commanding Officer) of the Triton (SS-201) at the time of her loss.
The submarine Triton, "has failed to return from patrol operations and must be presumed to be lost," the Navy Department announced today. The vessel, which up to 3 May had sunk 11 Japanese ships in the Pacific, was commanded, at the time of her disappearance, by Lt. Comdr. George Kemneth MacKenzie, jr., of New York. For several years, beginning in February. 1936, he was on duty at the Washington Navy Yard as a student at the Deep Sea Diving School. The disappearance of the Triton, brings to eight the number of undersea craft lost in combat in the Pacific. The others are the Shark (SS-174), Sealion (SS-195), Perch (SS-176), Grunion (SS-216), Argonaut (SS-166), Amberjack (SS-219) and Grampus (SS-207).
The Triton was placed in commission 1 October 1940. She was christened by Mrs. Ernest J. King, wife of Admiral King. The vessel carried a normal war complement of 60 officers and men. On 3 May the Navy announced that a submarine had taken a toll of at least 11 enemy warships and merchantmen and today it announced that the subject ship of that announcement was the Triton. Her skipper up to that time was Lt. Comdr. Charles C. Kirkpatrick, who is now on duty in the Navy Department. The toll of 11 ships was taken in a little more than a year's operation cf the Triton. The vessel for a time operated off Wake Island. Lt. Comdr. MacKenzie, a native of Brooklyn, was graduated from the Naval Academy in 1931. He was a member of the Navy Olympic track squad in 1932, after having served for a time on the cruiser Raleigh (CL-7).
He went to the submarine school at New London, Conn., in 1933, after which he was assigned to the Bonita (SS-165) and Plunger (SS-179). After attending the Deep Sea Diving School at the Navy Yard here, beginning in 1936, he was made an instructor at the Submarine Escape Training Camp at New London. He became commander of the submarine salvage vessel Falcon (ASR-2) and assisted in the raising of the Squalus (SS-192). He returned to New London for the advanced course in the submarine officer school in 1942, and later joined a submarine squadron in the Pacific. In February of this year he assumed command of the Triton.
USN photo courtesy of
Image and text provided by Library of Congress, Washington, DC.
Photo & text by Evening Star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, 22 July 1943, Image 2, courtesy of
515k With proud dignity, 8 year old Donna MacKenzie accepts the Navy Cross from Rear Admiral F.A. Daubin at the New London Submarine Base. It's for her father, Lt. Comdr. George Kenneth Mackenzie, Jr., missing sub commander from Brooklyn, for successful attack of Japanese convoy. Image and text provided by
Triton 963k A marked crew.
Crew photo of the Triton (SS-201), possibly after returning to Pearl Harbor on 7 September. She then entered the navy yard for an overhaul that lasted until 6 December 1942.
Those individuals marked with Xs might well be those who perished with her on her last patrol.

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./"
USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen &
924k Interesting collection of offficers gathered for the re-commissioning of Lionfish (SS-298) & Scabbardfish (SS-397) at Mare Island on 31 January 1951.
Officers are from left to right.
Capt. Willis A. Lent Commander, Mare Island Group, Pacific Reserve Fleet. He wears two Navy Cross Stars (1) Commanding Officer, Grenadier (SS 210) & (2) Commanding Officer, Triton (SS-201) during WWII.
LCDR Richard M. Wright Commanding Officer of Scabbardfish (SS-397). He wears the Silver Star for actions as Asst. Approach Officer of Spadefish (SS 411) WWII and Navy & Marine Corps Medal for his action aboard Cochino (SS 345) in 1948 sinking.
RADM Thomas R. Cooley Deputy Commander, Pacific Reserve Fleet. He wears the Legion of Merit for his action as Commanding Officer, Washington (BB- 56) during WWII.
LCDR Arthur G. McIntyre Commanding Officer, Lionfish. He wears the Prisoner of War Medal for 22 months as a Japanese prisoner in WWII after sinking of Grenadier. He also wears a Purple Heart.
Photo from the collection of the Vallejo Naval & Historical Museum courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.

View the Triton (SS-201)
DANFS history entry located on the Haze Gray & Underway .
Crew Contact And Reunion Information
U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation
Fleet Reserve Association

Additional Resources and sites of Interest
ComSubForPac USS TRITON (SS 201) March 15, 1943 - 74 Men Lost
USS Triton (SS-201)
American Submrine SS-201 Triton, was it sunk by friendly fire?
Who sank the TRITON?
On Eternal Patrol
PigBoats.COM TM, A Historic Look at Submarines
Ep-21 (1) - Victory At Sea ~ Full Fathom Five - HQ

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