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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive


Patch courtesy of
BMCS Don McGrogan, USN (ret.)

Gurnard (SS-254)
Keel Laying - WW II Service


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Decommissioning
Naval Reserve Training Vessel - Scrapping


Radio Call Sign: November - Foxtrot - Alpha - Yankee

Gato Class Submarine: Laid down, 2 September 1941, at the Electric Boat Co., Groton, CT.; Launched, 1 June 1942; Commissioned USS Gurnard (SS-254), 18 September 1942; Decommissioned, 27 November 1945, at San Francisco, CA.; Laid up in the Pacific Reserve Fleet; Placed in service, 1 July 1949 and towed to Pearl Harbor after fitting out at Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, San Francisco, CA. to serve as a Naval Reserve Training Vessel; Towed to Tacoma, WA., 18 May 1953, to serve as a Naval Reserve Training Vessel; Placed out of service in June 1960; Struck from the Naval Register, 1 May 1961; Final Disposition, sold for scrapping, 26 September 1961, to the National Metal & Steel Corp., Terminal Island, CA. for 41,379.00 Removed 10-29-61. Gurnard was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation and received 6 battle stars for World War II service.
Partial data submitted by Ron Reeves, HTC, USNR (ret.)

Specifications: Displacement, Surfaced: 1,526 t., Submerged: 2,424 t.; Length 311' 9"; Beam 27' 3"; Draft 15' 3"; Speed, Surfaced 20.25 kts, Submerged 8.75 kts; Complement 6 Officers 54 Enlisted; Operating Depth, 300 ft; Submerged Endurance, 48 hrs at 2 kts; Patrol Endurance 75 days; Cruising Range, 11,000 miles surfaced at 10 kts; Armament, ten 21" torpedo tubes, six forward, four aft, 24 torpedoes, one 3"/50 deck gun, two .50 cal. machine guns, two .30 cal. machine guns; Propulsion, diesel electric reduction gear with four Hoover, Owens, Rentschler Co. main generator diesel engines, 5,400HP, Fuel Capacity, 97,140 gal., four General Electric main motors, 2,740HP, two 126-cell main storage batteries, twin screws.
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254 560k Lepidotrigla pleuracanthica, alias Eastern Spiny Gurnard. Larger versions of this fish could originally be found growing in the waters off Groton, CT., approximately circa June 1942. Photo courtesy of scuba-equipment-usa.com.
254 452k The most versatile fish in the world. It swims, glides, floats, flies & walks.(It also sinks Japanese ships, the Gurnard (SS-254)). Photo from the collection of Jack E. Markley, USN, RM1C,{Plankowner Gurnard (SS-254)} via John E. Markley.
254 122k Commemorative postal cover on the occasion of the Gurnard's (SS-254) keel laying on 2 September 1941, at the Electric Boat Co., Groton, CT. Photo from the collection of Jack E. Markley, USN, RM1C,{Plankowner Gurnard (SS-254)} via John E. Markley.
254 839k Commemorative postal cover on the occasion of the Gurnard's (SS-254) keel laying on 2 September 1941, at the Electric Boat Co., Groton, CT. Photo from the collection of CWO 4 Benton E. Buell, USN, courtesy of David Buell.
254 454k Gurnard (SS-254) heads towards the sea stern first on 1 June 1942. Photo from the collection of CWO 4 Benton E. Buell, USN, courtesy of David Buell.
254 825k Commemorative postal cover on the occasion of the Gurnard's (SS-254) launching on 1 June 1942. Photo from the collection of CWO 4 Benton E. Buell, USN, courtesy of David Buell.
254 441k Commemorative postal cover & photo inset on the occasion of the Gurnard's (SS-254) launching on 1 June 1942, at the Electric Boat Co., Groton, CT. Photo from the collection of Jack E. Markley, USN, RM1C,{Plankowner Gurnard (SS-254)} via John E. Markley.
254 706k Commemorative postal cover on the occasion of the commissioning of the Gurnard (SS-254), 18 September 1942. Photo from the collection of CWO 4 Benton E. Buell, USN, courtesy of David Buell.
254 383k Commemorative postal cover on the occasion of the commissioning of the Gurnard (SS-254), 18 September 1942. USN photo & text from the collection of CWO 4 Benton E. Buell, USN, courtesy of David Buell.
Photo added 03/03/14.
Rosneath, Scotland78kTwo of the 6 subs of from Sub Squadron 50:
Barb (SS-220),
Blackfish (SS-221),
Herring (SS-233),
Shad (SS-235),
Gunnel (SS-253), and
Gurnard (SS-254) tied up at Rosneath, Scotland, circa 7 December 1942. The sub tender Beaver (AS-5) is in the background.
USN photo courtesy of jmlavelle.com.
Rosneath, Scotland
98k A 1943 Watercolor by the artist Dwight Clark Shepler entitled "Jerry Hunters, Rosneath, Scotland." portrays the stern view of the sub tender Beaver (AS-5) and 3 of the 6 subs of Sub Squadron 50:
Barb (SS-220),
Blackfish (SS-221),
Herring (SS-233),
Shad (SS-235),
Gunnel (SS-253), and
Gurnard (SS-254).
Painting #87 / 88-199-CK.
Courtesy of the USNHC.
254 125k Crew of Gurnard (SS-254). Date is not certain, but her CO, Charles H. Andrews, is still a Lt. Cdr., so it is early in her career, probably after the second or third war patrol. He is the officer just to the right of the hatch. Photo from the collection of CWO 4 Benton E. Buell, USN, courtesy of David Buell.
254 217k Japanese kill flags early in her career, probably early 1944. USN photo from the collection of CWO 4 Benton E. Buell, USN, courtesy of David Buell.
Photo added 03/03/14.
254 500k Photo taken through the periscope of Mount Fuji (Fujiyama in Japanese) on Christmas Day 1943 from Gurnard (SS-254)submerged in Tokyo Bay. Very risky photography, given the proximity to major Imperial Japanese forces at that time. USN photo & text from the collection of CWO 4 Benton E. Buell, USN, courtesy of David Buell.
Photo added 03/03/14.
254 247k The setting of the rising sun: Gurnard's (SS-254) Xmas party at sea, 1943. Photo from the collection of Jack E. Markley, USN, RM1C,{Plankowner Gurnard (SS-254)} via John E. Markley.
254 53k Commanding Officer of Gurnard (SS-254) in the first part of World War II, Commander Charles H. Andrews, receiving the Navy Cross from Vice Admiral Charles A. Lockwood, ComSubPac. Date unknown, but probably late 1943-early 1944. Admiral Lockwood was promoted to Vice Admiral in October 1943. This is the first Navy Cross for Cdr. Andrews. He received a second Navy Cross later in the war. Location was probably at Pearl Harbor. Photo from the collection of CWO 4 Benton E. Buell, USN, courtesy of David Buell.
Photo added 03/03/14.
254 463k The officers of Gurnard (SS-254). This was taken on the day that her CO, Cdr. C.H. Andrews, third officer from the left, was awarded the Navy Cross by VADM Lockwood, ComSubPac. The officer on the far left, Lt. George S. Simmons III, was aboard Gurnard at commissioning and went on to become her third and final Commanding Officer (as a Lt. Cdr.) on 5 March 1945. He was also the only officer plank-owner when Gurnard decommissioned on 27 November 1945. Photo from the collection of CWO 4 Benton E. Buell, USN, courtesy of David Buell.
254 324k Gurnard (SS-254)) award ceremony her for the crew & her CO, Cdr. C.H. Andrews. Photo from the collection of Jack E. Markley, USN, RM1C,{Plankowner Gurnard (SS-254)} via John E. Markley.
254 584k Gurnard (SS-254), underway, circa 1944-45, probably off the California coast. US Navy Photo # 80g-1041908 from NARA, College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
254 56k Lt. Comdr. C.H. Andrews graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1930 and then attended Submarine School at New London, Connecticut. He was Commanding Officer of Gurnard (SS-254) from 18 September 1942 to September 1944. On six war patrols he and his crew sunk 11 ships for a total of 71,500 tons. He was awarded two Navy Crosses for his second and fifth war patrols and two Silver Stars. He was placed on the Roll of Honor at the Submarine Base, Pearl Harbor. Prior to his retirement from the Navy he was promoted to Rear Admiral. USN photo from the collection of CWO 4 Benton E. Buell, USN, courtesy of David Buell.
Text courtesy of Bill Gonyo.
254 313k Officers and wives of Gurnard (SS-254) at a ship's party at "Spengerís Fish Grotto" on 6 March 1944 (and 2013 version here). Gurnard was in overhaul at Mare Island at that time, between war patrols 4 and 5. She would leave after overhaul and proceed to Pearl Harbor from where she would commence her 5th war patrol on 16 April 1944. She would finish the patrol in Fremantle, Australia from where she would operate until 1945.
The Commander nearest the chef is the Gurnard's CO, Charles H. Andrews. The other officers and ladies are not identified. The Commander on the far left is not a Gurnard officer.
NOTE- The officer third from the left is George Stuart Simmons. He was a plank owner and later the final Commanding Officer. The woman standing right in front of him is his wife, Virginia Moss Simmons.
Photo & text i.d. courtesy of George Dietz.
USN photo from the collection of CWO 4 Benton E. Buell, USN, courtesy of David Buell & the collection of Jack E. Markley, USN, RM1C,{Plankowner Gurnard (SS-254)} via John E. Markley.
254 302k Jack E. Markley, USN, radio & sonar operator of the Gurnard (SS-254)) & Bronze star receipient. Photo from the collection of Jack E. Markley, USN, RM1C,{Plankowner Gurnard (SS-254)} via John E. Markley.
254 160k Forward plan view of the Gurnard (SS-254) departing Mare Island on 13 March 1944. USN photo # 1707-44, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
254 155k Aft plan view of the Gurnard (SS-254) departing Mare Island on 13 March 1944. The Howard W. Gilmore (AS-16) is in the background. USN photo # 1708-44, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
254 91k Gurnard (SS-254) departing Mare Island on 14 March 1944. The ammunition depot on the South end of Mare Island is in the background. Gurnard was in overhaul at the shipyard from 18 January to 25 March 1944. USN photo # 1711-44, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
254 75k Bow view of the Gurnard (SS-254), underway, off Mare Island CA., following an overhaul, 14 March, 1944. USN photo # 1709-44, courtesy of ussubvetsofwwii.org.
254 140k Stern view of the Gurnard (SS-254), underway, off Mare Island CA., following an overhaul, 14 March, 1944. USN photo # 1713-44, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
254 210k Gurnard (SS-254) after overhaul in Mare Island in 1944. USN photo # 1712-44, from the collection of CWO 4 Benton E. Buell, USN, courtesy of David Buell.
254 92k The moving force behind the Gurnard (SS-254), "Penny" the mascot, taken late 1944 or early 1945. USN photo from the collection of CWO 4 Benton E. Buell, USN, courtesy of David Buell.
254 56k The Gurnard (SS-254) underway, and what looks like the 4" gun forward, so this would date the photo mid-to-late 1944 or early 1945 since she is painted in one of the lighter camouflage schemes which replaced the dark coloration scheme she was painted in during her early 1944 Mare Island overhaul. Location unknown. USN photo from the collection of CWO 4 Benton E. Buell, USN, courtesy of David Buell.
254 49k Benton E. Buell, young shaggy-haired sailor third from the right with the Japanese life preserver of an unknown Maru now resting on the bottom of the Pacific, celebrate Gurnard's (SS-254) latest handiwork, circa 1944. USN photo from the collection of CWO 4 Benton E. Buell, USN, courtesy of David Buell.
254 52k The conning tower view was taken late 1944 or early 1945, before Gurnard's (SS-254) final major wartime overhaul. Note that she still has the 4" gun forward and the 20mm forward on the conning tower. During this time she was operating out of Australia, and this photo may have been taken there. USN photo from the collection of CWO 4 Benton E. Buell, USN, courtesy of David Buell.
254 80k The awards ceremony aboard Gurnard (SS-254) on 27 February 1945 at Fremantle Australia. The presentation is being made by Captain Elliot H. Bryant, at the podium. The main recipient is Lt. Cmdr. George S. Simmons III, the officer on the far left of the front rank. He is receiving the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, and a Gold Star in lieu of a second Bronze Star. He would assume command of Gurnard the following week on 5 March 1945. MoMM1c Benton E. Buell, the shorter, grim-looking sailor in the second rank received a Letter of Commendation on the same date. Photo from the collection of CWO 4 Benton E. Buell, USN, courtesy of David Buell.
254 109k Gurnard (SS-254) on 27 February 1945, at Fremantle Australia. The two sailors are TM3c Charles Pencak, left, and my father, MoMM1c Benton E. Buell. Both men had just received Letters of Commendation at an earlier awards ceremony on board Gurnard. This picture was taken at the front of Gurnard's conning tower. The dog of course is "Penny", the boat's dog which was part of all functions, official or otherwise. USN photo from the collection of CWO 4 Benton E. Buell, USN, courtesy of David Buell.
254 123k Photo of Gurnard's (SS-254) stern area as two sailors are going into the water. This is a tradition called "wetting down" where newly-promoted Chiefs, (my father in this case) get tossed into the nearest available body of water for a dunking. CWO 4 Benton E. Buell is the uppermost of the two sailors going into the water with his right foot still on the hull of Gurnard. USN photo from the collection of CWO 4 Benton E. Buell, USN, courtesy of David Buell.
254 44k Gurnard's (SS-254) crew ham it up for the camera in this May 1945 photo. Benton E. Buell is the young Chief in the white shirt. USN photo from the collection of CWO 4 Benton E. Buell, USN, courtesy of David Buell.
254 422k Photo taken on 18 May 1945 as Gurnard (SS-254) arrived at San Francisco for overhaul. She was returning to the USA for the first time since she departed Mare Island in early 1944 for SoWesPac, where she operated out of Australia. The aerial photo was taken by an airship (blimp) from squadron ZP-32 based at Moffet Field, as Gurnard approached the Golden Gate. USN photo from the collection of CWO 4 Benton E. Buell, USN, courtesy of David Buell.
254 122k Japanese flags are festooned from the Gurnard (SS-254) as she approached the Golden Gate. USN photo from the collection of CWO 4 Benton E. Buell, USN, courtesy of David Buell.
254 113k Gurnard (SS-254) approaching the headlands just north of the Gate on 18 May 1945. USN photo from the collection of CWO 4 Benton E. Buell, USN, courtesy of David Buell.
254 71k Getting the boat underway, the crew of the Gurnard (SS-254) are stowing items below through a hatch under the watchful eyes of Benton E. Buell, CWO USN. Since the antenna shown was removed during the 1945 overhaul, this was probably taken just before she began overhaul in mid 1945, possibly after her 9th war patrol. What looks like Diamond Head is in the center distance. USN photo from the collection of CWO 4 Benton E. Buell, USN, courtesy of David Buell.
254 100k Some boats never did have their bridges completely cut down.Gurnard (SS-254) is pictured here at Mare Island on 23 July 1945. Note her gun access trunks fore & aft, to serve 5 in/25 guns in either position. Her port forward gun access trunk had been blanked off. The circled alteration on the periscope presumably indicates installation of the ST range-only radar there. Photo & text courtesy of U.S. Submarines Through 1945, An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman. Naval Institute Press.
254 94k Some boats never did have their bridges completely cut down.Gurnard (SS-254) is pictured here at Mare Island on 23 July 1945. Note her gun access trunks fore & aft, to serve 5 in/25 guns in either position. Her port forward gun access trunk had been blanked off. The circled alteration on the periscope presumably indicates installation of the ST range-only radar there. Photo & text courtesy of U.S. Submarines Through 1945, An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman. Naval Institute Press.
254 233k Stern view of Gurnard (SS-254), departing Mare Island on 26 July 1945. The other submarine in the background (right of Gurnard) is either Sunfish (SS-281) or Flounder (SS-251). USN photo # 5462-45, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
254 193k Bow on view of Gurnard (SS-254), departing Mare Island on 26 July 1945. She was in overhaul at the yard from 18 May to 11 August 1945. USN photo # 5466-45, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
254 233k Gurnard's (SS-254) WW II scorecard. Courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.

View the Gurnard (SS-254)
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
Ep-21 (1) - Victory At Sea ~ Full Fathom Five - HQ

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